The rules of American Rummikub are similar to those for classic rummy, but it is played with tiles instead of cards. The object of the game is for a player to eliminate all of his tiles by creating sets and melding them onto the table.

American Rummikub is played with two to four players. Play begins by placing all the tiles face down and shuffling thoroughly. Next, each player draws 14 tiles. The remaining tiles are grouped in stacks of seven and lined up on the table to create the pool. The leftover tile is called the trump and is placed face up on top of the last stack. Each player arranges her 14 tiles into as many sets as she can and places them face up on the table. The player's whose turn it is draws a tile from the pool and melds as many tiles as possible. Once game play has started, turns move around the table to the right. The player then discards a tile face up to her right, and the next player takes a turn.

The two types of sets are a group and a run. A group is three to four tiles with the same number but different colors. A run is three or more tiles with the same color but in numerical sequence. Players may add to existing melds or begin new ones. A tile may not be used for more than one meld.