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Rummy is actually a number of different card games that are very similar. There is some dispute on the origins of the games. However, most people agree that it is a couple hundred years old. Some persons believe that the game was created in China, while others contend that it has Spanish or Mexican origins.
Conquian is a game that is very similar to gin rummy and is what some people believe to be the predecessor to rummy games that are played today. According to this theory, the games made their way from Mexico to Texas and then to other southwestern states some time in the latter portion of the 19th century. During this time, it was called Coon Can. Around this time, the game became pretty popular in England where it was called rum, which is a slang term commonly used for queer. Somehow, people in the United States begin using a form of this name as well, eventually settling on Rummy.
Another commonly held theory, depending on who you talk to, is that the game was inspired by poker. It was then taught by to others by French settlers. There is little dispute that there are some striking similarities between poker and rummy. This is one of the primary reasons why this origin theory rings true for some.
Lastly, there is some discussion and seemingly consensus in some circles that rummy games were developed based on a game called Khanhoo (Chinese origins), which was played in the later part of the 1800s. This game shares characteristics with both poker and rummy. There are similar games in the Chinese culture and this is one reason why some people believe that it was the game that birthed rummy.
As you can see, there are three primary beliefs about the origin of Rummy. Some groups and individuals believe that it was game developed from Khanhoo, a Chinese card came. Others contend that it is simply an offshoot or variation of poker, learned from French settlers. Still others believe that it was ‘birthed’ in Spain or Mexico and then made its way to the United States* and England.
Each of these origin theories has merit and offer some sort of evidence or ring of truth. What you choose to believe will probably be influenced by who you talk to and how strong their argument appears especially when compared with the others. Where the game originated will obviously be very important to some people, for most it is not a concern. What is important is that it is a great game that requires a great deal of skill and gamesmanship. Individuals interested in playing will be well served by studying as much as they can and learning effective strategies. It is a great game for people that appreciation competition and relying on their skill. A person has good amount of control because whether they win or lose will depend largely on how well they play and how much they understand the rules and nuances of the game.
*Note; Online Gambling is illegal in the US.