Yaniv Card Game (Rules and Instructions)

Would you like to learn a truly unique version of Rummy? The Yaniv card game will surprise you with its distinctive rules and multiple twists. 

Yaniv (also called Dhumbal or Jhyap) is a popular Nepalese draw & discard card game that was imported to Western countries only recently. 

It’s slightly similar to Liverpool Rummy (see Liverpool Rummy rules) or Tonk (check out the Tonk rules), where players also get rid of cards by melding and discarding them.

Key highlights of this Yaniv card game rules guide:

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

Read on and discover how to play Yaniv. 

What is Yaniv?

Yaniv Card Game info image

Yaniv is a rummy-style card game that requires some tactics, good instinct, and a bit of luck. Players form sets of cards to get rid of them, aiming for the lowest score.

Number of Players: 2 – 8 

Ages: 10+

Difficulty: Easy

Length of Play: 30 – 60 minutes

Type of Game: Draw and discard card game

Similar to: Liverpool RummyTonkThree Thirteen

Main Objective: Get rid of your cards and score fewer penalty points than your opponents.

Our Take: If you feel like all the rummy games are the same, this original game will be a pleasant surprise.

What You’ll Need to Play Yaniv

To play Yaniv, you’ll need the following:

  • Decks: 1
  • Number of Cards: 54 (including Jokers)
  • Cards Omitted: None

Tip: If you play the game with more players (4+), you can use two decks of cards.

Yaniv Card Game Rules

This game can be played with as few as 2 and as many as 8 players. It probably works best with 4 to 5 players, having the proper dynamics.

The role of the dealer and the gameplay both move in a clockwise direction.

Starting the Game

First, start with shuffling the deck of cards. There is no unique mechanism to designate the dealer. You can decide freely. 

Each player gets five cards to start with. They must keep them hidden from their opponents. 

The remaining deck of cards will form a Draw Pile. Take the top card, flip it over, and place it as a Dump Pile (discard pile) on the side. 

Who goes first? It can be the youngest, the oldest, or the one who suggested playing Yaniv first. The first player has an advantage, so try to make it fair.

Later in the game, the previous round’s winner always opens a new round.

How to Play Yaniv

When it’s your turn, you can perform one of the following actions:

  • Discard one or multiple cards from hand to the Dump Pile and then draw one card from the Draw Pile OR Dump Pile (I will explain this shortly);
  • Call “Yaniv” to end the play if you think that the total value of your cards is SMALLER than that of any of your opponents AND less than six at the same time. 

To evaluate your eligibility for this, check the cards’ value in the Scoring section below. Also, remember that you aim for the lowest score in this game, not the highest!

Card Melds & Jokers

On each turn, unless you call Yaniv, you can discard individual cards or melds. The game’s objective is to get rid of as many cards as possible and thus avoid accumulating points.

The following sets of cards with equal ranks are allowed: 

  • Pairs
  • Triples
  • Quadruples

Tip: Playing with two card decks, you can also meld Quintuples.

Alternatively, you can meld a sequential run of 3 or more cards of the same suit. For this purpose, Ace is considered low (below 2), and you can use a Joker to replace any card. 

You can always make just one discard in a single turn. 

Example: You have two melds in hand: two Jacks and a sequence of Ace, Two, and Three of spades. On your first turn, you discard the sequence and keep the pair for the next round. 


Finish the turn by drawing a card from the deck. (Note that this differs from the classic Rummy, where you draw first and discard second).

You always draw ONLY one card, even if you have discarded multiple cards. You can, however, choose which card you want to draw. These are your options:

  • Draw the top card from the down-facing Draw Pile
  • Draw the top up-facing card from the Dump Pile OR
  • Draw the last card of the latest meld discarded to the Dump Pile

Example: The previous player discarded a run of A-2-3-4 of hearts. You can draw A or 4 – not the cards between or below the run. You can also draw the top card of the Draw Pile.

If you run out of cards in Draw Pile, shuffle and reuse the cards from the Dump Pile except for the last discard (a complete latest meld or an individual card – whichever applies).

Ending the Round

When a player discards and draws, their turn ends, and the next player’s turn begins. 

The game ends when one of the players calls ‘Yaniv’ (see what it means at the beginning of this guide)

Yaniv can only be called at the beginning of your turn. At this moment, the players expose their cards, and the scoring begins.

The player with the lowest score (= winner of the round) starts a new round. In case of a tie, it’s the first one to the left of the caller. 

Yaniv Card Game Scoring 

When a player calls ‘Yaniv,’ these are the possible outcomes:

  • If the caller truly has the lowest score:
    • The caller: 0 penalty points
    • Other players score points based on the value of the cards in their hands.
  • If another player scores the same or lower score than the caller (so-called ‘Asaf’):
    • The caller: 30 penalty points + the value of the cards in their hands.
    • Other players score points based on the value of the cards in their hands (including the one with the lowest score if he was not a caller)

A player with 200+ penalty points is eliminated. The game ends when there is only one left – the winner.

Cards Value

In Yaniv, the cards have the following points value:

  • Jokers: 0 points
  • Ace: 1 point
  • 2 – 10: face value
  • J, Q, K: 10 points

Yaniv Card Game Rules in Pictures

Step 1

Each player gets five cards from the card deck. The remaining cards form a Draw Pile. Take the top one, flip it over, and place it as a Dump Pile on the side.

Yaniv card game rules 1 image

Step 2

Start your turn by discarding one or more cards (melds) to the Dump Pile.

Yaniv card game rules 2 image

Step 3

Legitimate card melds include pairs, triples, quadruples, and sequences of 3+ cards of the same suit. 

Yaniv card game rules 3 image

Step 4

In a sequence, Ace is considered low, and Joker can replace any card. 

Yaniv card game rules 4 image

Step 5

You can make just one discard in a single turn. If you have multiple melds, store them for your next turn.

Yaniv card game rules 5 image

Step 6

Finish the turn by drawing the top card from the Draw Pile, the top card from the Dump Pile, or the last card of the latest discarded meld.

Yaniv card game rules 6 image

Step 7

The game ends when someone calls ‘Yaniv,’ convinced they have the lowest score. All the cards are exposed, and the scoring begins. If the caller was right, they win the game.

Yaniv Card Game rules 7 image

How to Play Yaniv – Video Tutorial 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you obliged to call Yaniv when your total score is five or less?

No, you are not obliged to call Yaniv at any time. You can continue playing and get even lower scores, but it’s risky, as someone can outrun you.

Can you draw a discarded Joker card when it’s your turn in Yaniv?

Yes, you can draw a discarded Joker. If the player before you used Joker in their meld as either the last or first card, you can pick it up from the free stack just like any other card.

Is Yaniv an Israelian game?

No. Yaniv is a Nepalese game, but since it was spread worldwide by Israeli backpackers, it’s best-renowned under its Israelian name as well.

What is the maximum number of players that can play Yaniv in a single game?

Yaniv can be played with a maximum of 8 players.

Other Similar Games to Yaniv (Our Guides) 

Here are our guides to a few exciting games similar to Yaniv you might enjoy:

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