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If you have a joker in your initial hand of 14 tiles, can it be played in a meld adding its value in order to pass the 30 points contract?

I.e. does a joker have the value of the number it replaces?

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Yes. This is almost literally in the rules:

The Joker:

There are two jokers in the game. They can be used for any tile in a set. A joker used in the opening set scores the value of the tiles it represents. A joker can be retrieved from a set on the table by a player who can replace it during his turn with a tile of the same numerical value and color it represents. The tile used to replace the Joker must come from a player's rack and not from the table. In the case of a group of 3, the joker can be replaced by the tile of either of the missing colors. A joker that has been replaced must be used in the player's same turn with 2 or more tiles from his rack to make a new set. Players cannot retrieve a joker before they have laid their initial set(s). A set containing a joker can have tiles added to it and can be split apart or have tiles removed from it. The joker has a penalty value of 30 points if it remains on a player's rack at the end of a game.

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  • Toon Krijthe - Thank you
    – Jan Mason
    Oct 3 '21 at 8:35
  • TIL that we've severely house-ruled Rummikub.
    – SQB
    Nov 5 '21 at 15:44

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