I'm aware that one cannot move a Joker tile out of a meld except by replacing the Joker with the number it represents. However, I'm confused about one situation which I haven't found rules to clarify:

What happens if I move every other number in the Joker's meld, leaving the Joker on its own?

  • Am I allowed to do this, or must I somehow preserve its meld?
  • What happens to the Joker's value? (Does it remain exactly what it was before, or can I pick a new value?)
  • Where can it go now? (Can I move it to another meld that's already on the table? Can I create a new meld around it using tiles from my hand?)

Example scenarios

Just to make it clear how this can happen. Both scenarios only involve moving the tiles surrounding the Joker, never the Joker itself (or at least that's the way I see it).

  1. There is a run of blue 1234, and a run of blue J567. I move the 567 to the other run, making a run of 1234567. The Joker is now all on its own.
  2. There's a run of 1234 in each colour, except blue which has 123J. I take the 1's, 2's and 3's away and make four-colour sets for each of those numbers. I make a three-colour set out of the red, yellow and black 4's. The Joker is now all on its own.

Or the same scenarios, pictorially:

  1. Board goes from 1234 / J5671234567 / J
  2. Board goes from 1234 / 1234 / 1234 / 123J1111 / 2222 / 3333 / 444 / J
  • 2
    Argh - a rules question where the publisher has changed the rules at some point! The best way to answer this is to go and read the rules you received with your version and answer it yourself. If you need clarification, you'll need to either write out all the relevant rules in your question, or find a link to rules which match your ones. In the meantime, I'm upvoting everyone who has an answer that matches at least one set of rules!
    – AndyT
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 13:13
  • @AndyT I suspect it might be American or International rules, now that I have a link to the different variations - one of which explicitly forbids this. I'll have to check later in the week. Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 13:16

5 Answers 5


Wow, they've really been messing with the rules of the game.
In every version of Rummikub that I've ever played (and I'm one for reading the rules before we start playing), this kind of thing is explicitly disallowed like this:

A combination which contains a joker can have further tiles added to it, but nothing can be taken from it, nor can it be rearranged in any way while there is a joker in it.

Here's a link if you're interested: http://www.pagat.com/rummy/rummikub.html

Obviously there are different publications of the game with different rule sets, but I far prefer this "joker melds cannot be split!" version.

  • I will note that the rule you're quoting from only belongs to the Sabra rule set; I might be playing with an American or International rule set. Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 13:15
  • Indeed. Like any game published by multiple sources, rule sets vary. The good thing about Rummikub is that the game bits are always the same and you can adopt any rule set you like! I'd suggest printing out the rule set you like the most and replacing the one the game came with. 8 )
    – Task
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 18:24
  • What happens if I move every other number in the Joker's meld, leaving the Joker on its own?
    • You can move and rearrange the Joker like every other tile.
  • What happens to the Joker's value? (Does it remain exactly what it was before, or can I pick a new value?)
    • you can use it for the value you want. Getting the Joker out of an existing row to use it elsewhere is a very common strategy.
  • Where can it go now?
    • everywhere, but you also have to use it on the same turn, what should not be a problem...

Your examples are fine, but of course the Joker has to be used and can not stand alone.

The complete rules can be found here.


We always played that Jokers value was 'set' until you replaced it with a chip from your hand. So if you had a Black 123J the Joker was a Black 4 until it was actually replaced with one from you HAND not elsewhere already in play. I don't have the rules to double check to make sure it wasn't a house rule.

  • It had to be from your hand in the version I played as a kid. So unlikely to be a house rule.
    – AndyT
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 12:48

Different versions of rummikub come with different rules. If you have a version of the rules which states that you cannot move the joker tile out of a meld, I would be very surprised if you were allowed to move other tiles out of the meld, as this would not make sense.

  • Removing other tiles from melds is a perfectly normal action, though, and I've yet to find a ruleset that says "You can't move tiles out of a meld with a joker in them." (Except until Task's quote, I guess!) Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 13:12
  • 1
    The rules I played with as a kid (version bought in the UK in the mid-90s) had that rule. The version I played last year (bought in the UK fairly recently) didn't! I suspect the quote which said you can't move a Joker out of a meld refers to a ruleset which said you can't move anything out of a Joker's meld.
    – AndyT
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 13:16

When you move or break melds you have to be left with valid melds. A lone joker is not a meld just as a lone black 4 could not stand alone.

  • The OP isn't planning on leaving the joker on its own at the end of his turn. Read the whole question.
    – AndyT
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 15:26

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