History of Rummy

Flash Rummy Online Gaming Guide
The History of Rummy

There are many, many variations of Rummy games in modern day, but the exact origins are not quite known. There are many who speculate the true history of Rummy, but with so many theories, who is to say which is correct?

The popular theories as to the history of Rummy are listed below. Based on the facts and speculations, one must decide for them self which to believe is true.

History of Rummy - The Conquian Theory

The most popular theory believed by many, states that the first version of Rummy was Conquian, originating in Spain hundreds of years ago, and then brought to Mexico. Others strongly believe the game actually originated in Mexico in the mid-1800's. The latter is more believable as Conquian made it's way to America before it was ever played in England. Had the game started in Spain, one would likely assume this theory in the history of Rummy to be the other way around.

Whichever the case may be, it is known that Conquian made it's way into the southern American states, starting with Texas, in the late 1800's. The earliest references to the rummy game in American were known as 'Cooncan'. Other variations on the Rummy game's title were 'Coon Can', 'Coon-Can', 'Conkin' and 'Coon-King'. The original name, Conquian comes from the Spanish language, con quien, which translates in English to with whom.

Along it's path, Conquian eventually made it's way into England, where it was labeled 'Rum'. In England, the word rum referred to anything strange, queer or odd. As travelers of the ocean between England and the Americas made their way back and forth, the English name was picked up and brought back to the states, presenting the game with it's final name, now known throughout the world, Rummy.

There is another popular theory that states Coon Can actually originated in the United States, where it was brought south to Mexico and labeled Conquian. In this plausible scenario, the name Conquian was not chosen for it's Mexican meaning "with whom", but rather simply because the Spanish words 'con quien' were the closest in sound to it's American name.

History of Rummy - The Whiskey Poker Theory

According to this theory, the history of Rummy came from a poker variation started by French settlers in America. There are similarities between Poker and Rummy to support this theory - A Rummy Set is the same as Three-of-a-Kind in Poker, a Run may have been developed from a Poker Straight.

The specifics of the poker origin theory state that Rummy was derived from the game 'Whiskey Poker', later named 'Rum Poker', which later evolved into 'Rum', then 'Rummy'.

History of Rummy - The Chinese Theory

Yet another theory is that Rummy actually originated in China. The Chinese have two card games, 'Khanhoo' and 'Kon Khin', with references dating back to the late 1800's. These games carry distinct similarities to both Rummy and Poker, using sequences and groups (Sets and Runs in Rummy). There are many Chinese games that have been developed in the past with this same style of combinations.

History of Rummy - Which Theory Is True?

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer as to which theory holds the true history of Rummy. By definition, a theory is something believed, based on the evidence available, but that cannot be proven. Many books have been written over the years supporting the various theories on the history of Rummy, most of which support the Conquian Theory, but it is likely the world will never know exactly where the history of Rummy originated.

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