Welcome to the ultimate guide on the “May I” card game, a classic and engaging game perfect for friends and family gatherings. This comprehensive guide aims to equip you with everything you need to know about the May I card game, from the basic rules to strategic tips that can make you a champion. Whether you’re a complete beginner or looking to refine your skills, this guide has got you covered.

Understanding the Basics of May I Card Game

The “May I” card game is a variation of Rummy, known for its unique feature that requires players to request permission before they can pick up cards from the discard pile. This twist adds a strategic depth to the game, making it even more engaging and fun.


The primary objective in the “May I” card game is to form sets or runs and be the first to play all the cards in your hand.

Number of Players

The game is best played with 3 to 6 players, offering a dynamic and competitive atmosphere.

Required Deck

A standard 52-card deck is used, and for games with more than 4 players, two decks might be combined to accommodate everyone.

Step-by-Step Guide to Playing May I


To start the game, decide who will be the dealer. The dealer shuffles the deck and deals a specific number of cards to each player. The remaining cards are placed face down as the draw pile with the top card turned face up to begin the discard pile.

The Gameplay

Players take turns in a clockwise direction. During your turn, you have the option to draw a card from either the draw pile or the discard pile. If you wish to draw from the discard pile, you must ask, “May I?” and wait for the dealer’s permission. Successful melding of cards into sets or runs allows you to lay them down during your turn.

Strategy and Tips

Becoming proficient in the “May I” card game involves not just understanding the rules but also employing smart strategies. Here are some tips:

  • Aim to remember the cards that have been played or discarded to predict your opponents’ moves.
  • Be cautious with your “May I” requests. Each denied request costs you a penalty point.
  • Hold off on laying down your melds to keep your opponents guessing.
  • Discard carefully, especially if it’s a card that could help your opponent.


The May I card game is not only about luck but strategy, memory, and sometimes, the art of persuasion. By following this guide, engaging in practice, and adopting the tips shared, you’ll not only enjoy the game more but also enhance your chances of winning. Gather your friends or family, deal the cards, and may the best strategist win!

FAQs About May I Card Game

Question Answer
Can “May I” requests be denied? Yes, the dealer can deny a “May I” request based on the rules established before the game starts.
How many cards are dealt? This can vary, but typically 10 to 13 cards are dealt to each player depending on the variation being played.
Is there a limit to the number of “May I” requests per game? Yes, usually, each player is limited to three “May I” requests per game.