GIN RUMMY

The most popular 2-player card game in the US
Gin Rummy is a social card game that requires good observation, deduction and memory skills.

Gin Rummy Terms & Concepts

Set 3 or 4 cards of the same rank, e.g.
KKK666
Run a sequence of 3 or more cards in the same suit. Ace & King do not count as consecutive, but Ace and 2 count, e.g.
345
Meld A common term for both Sets and Runs. You may have 3 melds of which two are sets and one is a run. Each card can only be part of one set or run, for example if you have a 4, it cannot be a part of both 4,4,4 and 3,4,5.
Stock A deck of closed (face-down) cards in the middle of the table. Players draw one card from the Stock or from Discard (below) on every move.
Discard pile A pile of face-up cards next to the Stock. Players discard one card onto the Discard pile on every move.
Deadwood Any cards in a hand that are not parts of a meld.
Knocking Ending the round by placing a last discarded card face-up on top of the Stock pile.
Gin Knocking when all 10 cards in your hand are parts of melds with no Deadwood.
Lay off Adding your deadwood cards to an opponents' meld when opponent knocked without Gin.
Upcard The very first face-up card next to the closed Deck pile.

Gin Rummy Variations

In all 3 Gin Rummy variations below, picture cards count as 10, Aces as 1 and other cards count as their numeric values.
  • Standard Gin Rummy:   A main gin rummy variation where knocking is allowed when the value of deadwood points is 10 points or less.
  • Gin-Only:   A popular gin rummy variation where only knocking without any deadwood is allowed (Pure Gin).
  • Oklahoma:   A popular gin rummy variation where a maximum allowed knocking value is determined by the value of the first open card. For example, you will only be able to knock with deadwood value of 2 and below if the initial upcard is 2. If an nitial Ace is an upcard, the knocking can only be with 0 points in deadwood - Pure Gin.

Objective

The objective in Gin Rummy is to collect cards into melds and have as little deadwood as possible at the end of each hand (aka round). A game usually consists of several hands, and each hand is scored separately depending on how much deadwood opponents have at the end of a hand. The hand ends with one opponent knocking, ginning or with a draw. The full game ends when one player reaches an agreed-upon number of total points (e.g. 100 points).

Gameplay

For every hand, each player gets 10 cards. The remaining deck is placed on the table between the players face-down, and one card (sometimes called upcard) is put face-up next to the deck as the 1st card of the discard pile.

On each player's turn, that player must draw one card - either the top card from the deck or the top card from the discard pile. Unless drawing from a discard pile helps in creating own melds, it is usually advisable to draw the top card from the closed deck.

After drawing one card, a player must either knock or discard one card by putting it face-up on top of the discard pile. A top card drawn from the discard pile cannot be discarded on the same turn.

The game continues like above with every player drawing 1 card and discarding 1 cardand one-card, while players build sets and runs in their hands. The hand ends when one player knocks, by discarding a card and placing it face-up on the closed deck. After knocking, all cards for both players are open and deadwood is counted. The opponent of the knocker is allowed to lay-off any of own deadwood cards onto the knocker's melds if can be a part of the same meld. For example, if the knocker had a meld, 2 3 4 and the opponent has 5 as part of deadwood, the non-knocker can add that 5 to the knocker's meld, and then this card will not count as deadwood for non-knocker. If the knocker has Gin then the opponent is not allowed to lay off any cards.

In Standard Gin Rummy, you may only knock if you end up with 10 or fewer points in deadwood (picture cards count as 10, aces as 1 and other cards their numeric values). The card you knock with is not considered deadwood. So, if you have just drawn and you have 2,6,9 in deadwood you would be allowed to knock with the 9, and then you'd end up with 2+6=8 points in deadwood.

In Oklahoma variation of Gin Rummy, what you can knock with depends on what the first upcard was. For example, if the first upcard was 6, you may only knock if you end up with 6 or fewer points in deadwood. If the first upcard was Ace, then you will only be allowed to knock with Pure Gin (zero deadwood).

Knocking with no deadwood, i.e. all 10 card in you hands forming melds is called going Gin.

The game also ends if neither player has knocked and there are only two cards left in the deck. In that case the hand is a draw, and neither player gets points.

Scoring

  • Knock points: After knocking and lay-offs, the knocker scores the difference between own deadwood and the opponent's deadwood. For example, if the knocker has 8 points in deadwood, and the opponent has 20 points in deadwood, then the knocker scores 20-8=13 points.
  • Gin Bonus: If a knocker has no deadwood, it is Gin, and the knocker gets extra 25 extra points added to the knock points.
  • Undercut: If a player knocks but the opponent has less or equal deadwood points, then the non-knocker gets extra 25 points plus the difference in deadwood points, and the knocker gets 0 points.
Also see

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Selecting melds at knocking

When playing online and knocking, by default only the meld with the minimum points gets auto-selected. If this behavior is undesirable, then in Game table / Preferences you can select the setting 'Knocker Selects All Melds'. Melds will be shown as straight vertical or horizontal lines drawn on cards unless the option "Don't Mark Melds" is used. In the picture below, the possible melds intersect and the optimal meld is selected. You can use the 'Next' in the dialog to change the selection of melds.

End of the hand and the 50-th card rule

Modern Tournament Gin Rummy rules add an extra twist toelement of skill the relatively rare to gin rummy endgame - the case when the stock pile is reduced to only the last 2 cards. This is called the fiftieth card rule. When the 50th card is drawn from the stock pile before any player knocked or ginned, leaving twoand just 2 cards remain in the stock pile, the 50-th card rule states that says that both players may have action on the 50th card.
What it means in practice is the following:
  • Let's say that player A draws the 50th card and, instead of knocking, just discards any open card to the discard pile, Player B, then, will have the option to either take this open card and knock or pass without taking this open card. If nobody uses the 50th card for knocking, the hand ends with a draw.

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