Gin Rummy card game

This new guide will teach you everything there is to know about Gin Rummy.
First, we will see what it is and what the rules are.
Then, I’ll help you with the game strategies.
Sounds good? Let’s dive right in…


1: What is Gin Rummy?

2: Rummy Rules of Gin

3: How to Play Gin Rummy?

4: Playing Gin Rummy Online


1: What is Gin Rummy?

In this chapter I will give you a brief explanation what Gin Rummy is.
You will see some basic details.

Then in later chapters I will show you how to play it.

Gin rummy or simply gin, is a card game that was created in 1909 by Elwood T. Baker and his son C. Graham Baker. Gin rummy is a card game for two players.

It is said that the game is quite similar to a classic rummy, although it has some variations and particularities. Moreover, a classic rummy can be played among several players, whereas Gin Rummy is a game for two.
Gin is played with a standard 52-card pack of cards, with no jokers. The ranking from high to low is King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace.

Note that an Ace is always considered low card in Gin Rummy and it can never be used as high card. Also, face cards are worth 10 points each.
The goal of the game is to score points and reach an agreed number of points or more. That number is usually 100, before the opponent collects it.

You need to collect sets (three or four of a kind, or three or more consecutive cards of the same suit) to earn points. The game is played over several rounds. Usually, as in classic rummy, points are written down and then calculated from all the rounds that have been played.

The dealer changes for each round. He or she deals 10 cards to both players starting with their opponent, and then he or she places the next card in the deck face up, which begins the discard pile. And the face down pile is known as the stock pile.

2: Rules of Gin Rummy

In this chapter we will go through the rules of the game.
I will help you understand all the terms in the game.
After this chapter we will go through scoring.

So, as already mentioned, the game is made for two players.
The game is played with the deck of 52 cards, no Jokers. King is high, Ace is low.

First the dealer is chosen randomly and he or she is to deal the first round. In some variants, the dealer changes after each round while some suggest that the winner of each round is to deal the next.

The deck needs to be shuffled and then the dealer deals 10 cards to each players. When you get the cards, you should look at your hand and sort the cards.

The next card is turned face up in the middle of the table to start the discard pile. The remaining cards are placed face down next to the discard pile to form a draw pile.

In order to win, you must collect sets (three or four of a kind, or three or more consecutive cards of the same suit) to earn points. The game is played over several rounds.

Now, this is exactly how the game is played:
Each turn consists of two parts. First, you draw a card, either the top card from the draw pile or the top card from the discard pile.

Then, you must discard a card face up and place it on the top of the discard pile.

One interesting this is that on the very first turn of each round, the person who did not deal in that round can decide whether or not to take the first face-up card. If he or she declines, the dealer can take the card. If one of the players takes the card, that player completes his turn by discarding and then the other player takes a turn. If both players decline to take the card, the non-dealer starts the game by drawing the top card from the draw pile.

The round ends when one of the players “knocks”. Knocking can be done on any turn after a card is drawn, but before discarding. When a player knocks, it means he or she is able to form sets, discard one card, and have 10 points or fewer remaining in his or her hand.

After a player “knocks”, he or she needs to spread all of their cards face up on the table and to organize them in sets.

Unlike the classic rummy, here when a player knocks, the other player does the same – he or she shows his or her cards. If the knocker did not go gin, the opponent is also allowed to lay off any unmatched cards by adding to the knocker’s sets (e.g. adding a fourth card to a group of three of a kind, or adding further consecutive cards of the same suit to a sequence).

Mind you, you are never required to knock, as a first player. You can knock when you believe you are ready. You can continue playing as long as you wish, trying to make a better set of cards.

After the cards have been shown, players calculate their value of the unmatched cards. If the knocker’s count is lower, he or she scores the difference between the two counts.

If the knocker did not go gin, and the values are equal – or the knocker’s value is greater than his opponent’s — then the knocker has been undercut. The knocker’s opponent scores 10 points plus the difference between the values.

This is the explanation of the term going gin: If the knocker does not have unmatched cards, it is known as “going gin” and then he or she scores 25 bonus points (although in some sources we can find that it is said the bonus should be 20 points). Then, his or her opponent cannot score any points either, even if his or her opponent did not have unmatched cards as well.
Draw is achieved in such a way that if only two cards remain in the draw pile after a player discards and neither player has knocked. This round then results in a draw.

Rounds are played until one of the players’ cumulative score reaches 100 points or more. Then that player is the winner.

3: How to Play Gin Rummy?

In this chapter I will explain how the game is played.
We will go through some strategies
And we will see how the scoring is done.

One basic Gin Rummy strategy is improving one’s hand by forming melds and eliminating deadwood. In fact, gin has two types of meld: Sets of 3 or 4 cards of a same card value (for example, three sevens regardless of their suit) and runs of 3 or more cards in sequence, and of the same suit.

Now, deadwood cards are those that are not in any meld. Aces are considered of low rank and they can make a set with other aces, but they only make low end of runs. This means that you can make a run starting with Ace, then have a two and a three, but you cannot make a run with Queen, King and Ace.

When you want to make a combination of melds in your hand, you can form with sets, runs or a mix of both. A hand can contain three or fewer melds to knock or form legal gin.

The deadwood count is the sum of the point values of the deadwood cards – aces are scored at 1 point, face cards at 10. Other cards are scored by their real face numerical values.

Of course, you cannot intersect cards – use one card in two sets. For example, if a player has a three-card set and a three-card run sharing a common card, only one of the melds counts, and the other two cards count as deadwood.

On the first turn of the round, the player who was not dealing in that round can take the upcard on the discard pile or pass. If he or she takes the upcard, he or she must then discard a different card to the discard pile.
Then the player who plays second can take the top card from the pile of his or her choice. Still, if the non-dealing player passes the upcard, the dealer can take the upcard or pass. In this case, if the dealer passes as well, then the non-dealing player must draw from the stock pile, and then the next turn and after, players can draw from the pile of his or her choice.

On each subsequent turn, a player must draw either the (face-up) top card of the discard pile, or the (face-down) top card from the stock pile, and discard one card from his or her hand onto the discard pile.
The round is finished when one of the players knocks, goes Gin, or until two cards remain in the stock pile. In this case, the round ends in a draw and no points are awarded.

The game ends when a player wins 100 or more points.
In tournament rules the game is played in best of five with 250 points per game.

As for the knocking, in standard gin rummy, only a player with 10 or fewer points of deadwood can knock.

Knocking with 0 points of deadwood is called Gin or having Gin hand, and knocking with deadwood points is known as going down.

If you wish to knock, you discard as usual, then you announce knocking. In general you can do it by simply playing a discard face down.

Then your opponent is entitled to lay out any melds in his or her hand and he or she can then lay off any of his or her remaining deadwood cards that fit into the knocking player’s melds, provided that the knocking player does not have a gin hand.

For example, if you knock and you have a meld of three Queens, and your opponent has a deadwood of a queen, the player can lay off that queen, thus reducing the deadwood count by ten. The player who knocks can never lay off his or her deadwood in the defending player’s melds.
The round is over and scores are awarded once a player knocks or declares gin, and after this players cannot draw any more.

After this, the knocking player subtracts his or her deadwood points from the opponent’s deadwood points and the result is the number of points that the knocking player receives.

An undercut occurs if a player knocks and the defending player’s deadwood points are less than or equal to the knocking player’s. In this case the defending player receives an undercut bonus (usually 25 points) plus the difference in deadwood points.

If the defending player has less or equal deadwood to the knocking player’s deadwood after laying off any of his or her deadwood, then it is still a valid undercut.

Again, if all 10 cards in your hand fit into melds and you have no deadwood, this means you can go Gin and you are the winner of the round. Gin bonus you receive is 25 points plus any deadwood points in the opponent’s hand.

The defending opponent can only lay out his or her melds and cannot lay off any deadwood into the melds of an opponent that has declared Gin.
As already explained, Gin hand consists of 10 cards. However, it is possible to have a Gin made of 11 cards and this happens if a player chooses to draw so that 11 cards fit into melds. Then this Gin is declared Big Gin and thus the player receives a Big Gin bonus of 31 points plus any deadwood in the other player’s hand.


Now let us see how exactly the scoring is done. As already stated above, aces all face cards have a value of 10, and all other cards have their numerical values (with an Ace being 1).

Now, the number of points awarded for bonuses can actually vary from region to region. However, no matter what the bonus amounts are, points in Gin are scored as it follows:

Knock Points

The knocking player always receives a score equal to the difference between the two hands. For example, if a player knocks with 8, and the defender has 10 deadwood points in his or her hand after laying off, the knocking player receives 2 points for the hand.

Gin Bonus

After you go gin, you receive a bonus of 25 points plus the entire count of deadwood in the opponent’s hand. There is no chance to lay off when a player goes gin.

Undercut (or underknocking)

Undercut occurs when the defending player has a deadwood count that is lower than or equal to that of the player who knocks. In this care, the defender is awarded an undercut bonus of 25 points plus the difference in deadwood in the knocking player’s hand.

In some rule sets, the bonus is only 10 or 20 points, or is not awarded in case of a tie.

When a player has acquired 100 points, the game is over. The player is awarded a game bonus of 100 points.

There is also a line bonus or box bonus and this means that for every hand that a player won during the game, he or she is awarded 25 points to his or her score.

Before knocking, if all 11 cards in your hand form a legal gin, you can retain the extra card as part of your hand. Then you are awarded 31 points plus the count of deadwood in your opponent’s hand. This is the Big Gin Bonus. In some rule sets players may be awarded 50 points or another established amount plus the entire count of deadwood in the opponent’s hand.
If a game is finished with the winner who has won every hand, then the points for each hand are doubled before adding the line bonus. This is called Shutout Bonus.

4: Playing Gin Rummy Online

In this chapter I will show you the benefits of playing online
I will explain how Gin Rummy is played online.

Playing Gin Rummy on the Internet is a great way to play the game.
The first great thing about this is that you can play Gin Rummy both with the computer and with a live opponent. This has a giant advantage of, for instance, playing with your friend online if for any reason meeting in live is not possible. Furthermore, you can play with the computer and gain some practice if you wish to get more acquainted with the rules and the game strategies.

The rules are, of course, the same although scoring might vary from one website to another. You do not have to download any software, as you can play the Gin Rummy directly from your web browser.

If you feel like playing Gin Rummy, and your friends are not around, you can always play it online on various sites on the internet.

Of course it is free and you can choose the site that you prefer.
In general, casinos usually do not offer these games, so you will not be able to find them at online casinos. However, there are some casinos that might offer these games, although they are generally called “private card rooms. For example, there were two very well-known clubs called the Friar’s Club and the Hillcrest Country Club, both in Los Angeles. They offered high stakes Gin Rummy. They also offered many other games and were led by such people as the Marx Brothers and Louis B. Mayer.

In 1995, Bill Ingram, John Hainline, Jeff Mervis and a pool player from Florida split a $160,000 prize in 85-player Las Vegas International Gin Rummy Tournament of Champions held at the Maxim, leaving each of the four with a $40,000 cash prize. The top four players, then, played for a tournament trophy and Bill Ingram, the real estate broker from Texas and a great gin rummy player, had won and was declared a tournament winner.
Annual land-based Gin Rummy tournaments with big cash prizes are held in Las Vegas Riviera Hotel. Up to 300-400 of the world’s finest gin-rummy players compete for the title. Registration and more information is available at