Pay Me Card Game (Rules and Instructions)

Pay Me is a Rummy-style game for 2 to 6 players played over 11 rounds. This Pay Me card game rules guide will teach you how it’s played. 

Like in Three Thirteen (see Three Thirteen card game rules), Gin Rummy (see Gin Rummy rules), or other Rummy-style games, players in Pay Me Card meld cards to get rid of them.

The game is played over a series of rounds, with the number of cards increasing with each new hand.

Key highlights of this Pay Me card game rules guide:

  • What is the Pay Me card game?
  • Pay Me card game rules
  • Pay Me scoring 
  • Pay Me rules in pictures 
  • How to play Pay Me (Video tutorial)

Continue reading for detailed instructions on how to play Pay Me.

What is the Pay Me Card Game?

In Pay Me, players get rid of their cards by grouping them in sets and runs. Their goal is to have fewer points than their opponents, as this will guarantee them a victory. 

Number of Players: 2 – 6

Ages: 12+

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Length of Play: 30 – 45 minutes

Type of Game: Rummy-type card game

Similar to: Three ThirteenRummy 500Contract Rummy

Main Objective: Create melds of all the cards in your hand to avoid earning points. 

Our Take: Pay Me is another great variation of Rummy you can play with as few as 2 and as many as 6 players. It’s dynamic, unpredictable, and great for mastering your strategic skills. 

What You’ll Need to Play Pay Me

 To play Pay Me, you’ll need the following:

  • Decks: 1
  • Number of Cards: 54
  • Cards Omitted: None (Jokers are included too)

Tip: If you play with more players, add one or two identical card decks to the game.

Pay Me Card Game Rules

Pay Me is designed for 2 to 6 players, each playing individually over 11 rounds with slightly varying rules. 

Starting the Game

To determine who will take on the dealer’s role, draw random cards. 

The player with the highest-ranking card deals cards in a clockwise direction, starting with 3 cards for each player in the first round and adding one more in each new round.

Example: Players receive 3 cards each in the 1st round; 4 cards each in the 2nd round; 5 cards each in the 3rd round, and so on.

How to Play Pay Me

When the players have all their cards, the dealer places the remainder of the deck face-down in the center of the table as your draw pile

Turn over the top card and place it on the side as the discard pile. The player to the dealer’s left starts the game.

Players take turns trying to form valid melds (see below) from the cards in their hands. Each turn should proceed as follows:

  • A player begins by drawing either the top card from the discard pile or the top card from the draw pile. 
  • The player discards one card onto the top of the discard pile (face-up).
  • Once a player can use ALL the cards in their hand to form a legal meld(s), they can call “Pay Me” and lay their cards on the table.

Valid Melds

There are two types of melds you can form:

  • Set: 3 – 4 cards of the same rank and different suits.
  • Run (also called Straight): 3+ cards of the same suit in consecutive order.

When someone calls “Pay Me,” the opponents have one more turn each. They are prohibited to draw from the discard pile at this point.

If another player succeeds at melding all their cards on this final turn, they don’t have to draw or discard anymore. 

Once each player finished their last turn, they also expose their cards, showing any valid melds.

Additionally, they may add their cards to the melds of the player who called “Pay Me” (but not to the melds of the other players).

Next, the scores are determined (see scoring below).

Wild Cards

Jokers and Twos are considered wild cards, meaning they can be a substitute for any other card in the deck. 

Each round also has its specific wild card: it always corresponds with the number of the cards the players received, transformed into the cards’ ranking. 

Example: In the 1st round, the wild cards are Jokers, Twos, and Threes; in the 5th round, Jokers, Twos, and Sevens; in the 11th round, Jokers, Twos, and Kings.

There are a few rules you must follow when using the wild cards:

  • A meld cannot contain more wild cards than natural cards.
  • Two wild cards cannot be used directly in sequence in any run.
  • A wild card can serve as its own denomination as well. 
  • A melded wild card cannot be replaced with a natural card when the players add their cards to the melds of the round’s winner.

Pay Me Scoring 

First, let’s see how the cards are ranked in the Pay Me card game.

Card Ranks

The cards are ranked as follows (from high to low):

  • King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace.


After finishing their final turn in each round, the players earn points based on the cards left in their hands:

  • Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7: 5 points
  • 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King: 10 points
  • Jokers and other Wild Cards: 15 points

After the 11th round, the player with the lowest total score is declared the winner.

Pay Me Rules in Pictures

Step 1

Pay Me is played over 11 rounds. In the 1st round, each player gets 3 cards. Then add +1 in every new round until everyone gets 13 cards in the final round. 

Pay Me card game rules 1 image

Step 2

Place the remaining cards face-down in the center as your draw pile and use its topmost card to create a discard pile (face-up) right next to it. 

Pay Me card game rules 2 image

Step 3

On their turn, players always draw 1 card either from the draw pile or the discard pile and discard one of their cards to the discard pile in return.

Pay Me card game rules 3 image

Step 4

The ultimate goal is to form melds of all the cards in hand. A meld can be a set of 3 to 4 cards of the same ranking or a run of 3+ consecutive cards of the same suit.

Pay Me card game rules 4 image

Step 5

Jokers and Twos are wild cards that can replace any other cards. Additionally, the card rank corresponding to the number of dealt cards also serves as a wild card in each round (3 – K). 

Pay Me card game rules 5 image

Step 6

When a player can meld all the cards, they call “Pay Me” and reveal them. Others have one more round to meld their cards or add them to the winner’s melds. Then count the scores.

Pay Me card game rules 6 image

How to Play Pay Me – Video Tutorial

Video tutorial coming soon!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is known as Full Cycle in the Pay Me card game?

Full Cycle is a variation of the Pay Me card game played over 22 rounds. Players get +1 card in each round up until 14 cards and then -1 card until they’re back to 3 cards each.

How many decks of cards do you need to play the Pay Me card game with 6 players?

If you play Pay Me with 6 players, you must deal 78 cards among them in the final round and still have some left for the draw and discard piles. Therefore, you need at least 2 card decks.

Can you play the Pay Me card game with more than 6 players?

Theoretically, you can play Pay Me with any number of players, but make sure you have enough cards for each of them. You can add a third deck if necessary.

Other Similar Games to Pay Me (Our Guides) 

If you like Pay Me, here are a few of our guides to other exciting Rummy-style card games: 

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Read all the articles (121) written by Lucia Fajnerova