Gin Rummy

Gin Rummy is a popular variation of the Rummy, which was invented by Elwood Baker back in the early 1900s. Two players usually play the game, but it can also be played with three players where one becomes the dealer.

You need to learn how to deal cards and form sets and runs to be able to play Gin rummy. You also need to know how to score. The game has various specific rules, some of which are highlighted below.

Number of Cards

Gin rummy uses a standard deck of cards, which contains of 52 cards. The jokers are not used. The cards rank from king to ace, with the king being the highest and ace being the lowest.

Each of the face cards has a value of 10 and ace counts as one. All the other cards have their face value. The five of diamonds, for example, has a value of five.

Starting the Match

The deck has to be shuffled before the game starts. After shuffling, each player should draw a card to determine the first dealer. The player who draws a card with the higher value gets to decide who will deal first.

In case the players draw cards of the same value, the rank of the suits is used. The suits rank spades, hearts, diamonds, and then clubs, with spades being the highest and clubs being the lowest.

Cutting and Shuffling the Deck

Any player can shuffle the deck. However, the dealer reserves the right to do the last shuffle. The player who is not dealing the cards must cut the pack.


The cards have to be distributed by the dealer, one at a time. The first card should go to the opponent, and all the cards are distributed face down. Each player should get ten cards.

After the last card has been distributed, the next one is placed at the center of the table, face up. That card is usually called the upcard. All the other cards form the stock and are placed next to the upcard, face down.

The Objective of the Game

Forming melds and runs are the main aim of the game. Melds, which refers to matching suits, are three or four cards that are of the same rank. A rank, on the other hand, refers to cards that rank consecutively and are of the same suit.


The non-dealer gets to decide whether to take the first upcard, which is already exposed. The dealer only gets the opportunity to take the card if the non-dealer communicates that he/she does not want to take it.

If the dealer also decides to pass on the first upcard, he/she can pick the top card from the stock, and the game will continue from there.

At the beginning of a turn, the player has to pick one card, which can be the top card on the discard pile or the top stock card. The turn ends by the player discarding the card that is least helpful in forming a meld or a run.

The discarded card has to be placed on the discard file, face up. If a player chooses to draw from the discard pile, he/she cannot discard the same card during that same turn.


All the cards that do not form a meld or run are referred to as deadwood. A player with less than ten deadwood points after discarding can choose to knock.

Knocking is done to show the end of a hand. To knock, the player should place the final card on the discard pile, face down. He/she then has to arrange his cards into melds and spread them on the table.

The opponent also spreads his/her hand on the table, laying off all the melds and cards that connect with the knocker’s melds.


The difference of the deadwood in the two hands is what forms the basis for scoring. The difference of the deadwood points is awarded to the person with the least deadwood.

However, if the opponent’s hand had more melds and he/she were in a position to lay off more points, his/her deadwood points would have been fewer than those of the knocker. Such a situation is called an undercut, which gives a bonus to the undercutter.

The knocker can earn a bonus as well. If the knocker ends up with zero deadwood points, he/she has what is referred to as a gin. A gin attracts a bonus of 25 points. A running score is kept for all the players. After each hand, a line is drawn beneath the score of the winner. The winner of that hand gets to deal the next hand.

A game ends after one player attains 100 or more points. The number of hands in one game will depend on the scoring of each hand. An additional 100 points are awarded as a bonus to that player who reaches 100 points first.

If the player has won all the hands in the game, he/she is awarded a further 100 points as shutout bonus. Each of the players then receives a line bonus or box bonus, which is 25 points for each of the hand that they won in the game.

The total score is then calculated for each of the players, which includes game points, game bonuses, shutout bonuses, and line bonuses. The difference in the total scores is awarded to the winner.


A match of gin rummy consists of several games. Typically, a match goes up to 500 points. However, the players can agree upon the match total before the match starts.

If the non-dealer deals the cards, the opponent has the right to stop the deal. However, he/she can only stop the deal if the upcard has not yet been turned. The deal stands if the upcard is already turned.

A new deal has to be done if a player is discovered to have more than or less than the correct number of cards before making the first draw.

If both players have an incorrect number of cards, a new deal has to be made even if a player has already made his/her first draw. If one player has an incorrect number of cards and the first card has already been drawn, the other player can demand a new deal or opt to continue.

To continue, the player with the incorrect number of cards can discard the extra cards without drawing or draw more cards without discarding.