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About Gin Rummy

About Gin Rummy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (

Gin rummy, or simply gin, is a two-player card game created in 1909 by Elwood T. Baker and his son C. Graham Baker. According to John Scarne, Gin evolved from 18th-century Whiskey Poker and was created with the intention of being faster than standard rummy, but less spontaneous than knock rummy.


Gin is played with a standard 52-card pack of playing cards. The ranking from low to high is 2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-J-Q-K-A.


The objective in gin rummy is to score more points than your opponent.

The basic game strategy is to improve one’s hand by forming melds and eliminating deadwood. Gin has two types of meld: Sets of 3 or 4 cards sharing the same rank, e.g. 8♥-8♣-8♠; and runs of 3 or more cards in sequence, of the same suit. e.g. 3♥-4♥-5♥-6♥. Deadwood cards are those not in any meld. The deadwood count is the sum of the point values of the deadwood cards—aces are scored at 1 point, face cards at 10, and others according to their numerical values. Intersecting melds are not allowed; if a player has a 3-card set and a 3-card run sharing a common card, only one of the melds counts, and the other two cards count as deadwood.


Dealership alternates from round to round, with the first dealer chosen by any agreed upon method. The dealer deals 10 cards to both players, and then places the next card in the deck face up. This begins the discard pile. On the first turn, the non-dealing player has first option of taking the upcard. If the non-dealing player does not want the upcard, the dealer is given the opportunity to take it. If the dealer also does not want it, the non-dealing player must draw from the stock pile.


On each 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.

Players alternate taking turns until one player ends the round by satisfying certain conditions and choosing to knock, or until only two cards remain in the stock pile, in which case no points are awarded.


In standard gin, a player may only knock if he has 10 or fewer points of deadwood, and must knock if he has 0 points of deadwood. Knocking with 0 points of deadwood is known as going Gin or having a Gin hand, while knocking with deadwood points is known as going down.

To knock, the knocking player ends his turn by discarding as usual, announces that he is knocking (generally by simply placing his discard face down), and lays his hand out with the melds clearly indicated and deadwood separated. The other (“defending”) player is then entitled to lay off any of his deadwood cards that fit into the knocking player’s melds, provided that the knocking player does not have a gin hand.

For example, the knocking player has a meld of three Kings. The defending player has a king as part of his deadwood. He can lay off that king, reducing his deadwood count by ten.


Aces are scored at 11 points, face cards at 10, and all other cards are scored at their numerical values. The number of points awarded for bonuses may vary from region to region. No matter what the bonus amounts are, points are scored in Gin for the following:

Knock Points

After a player knocks, and the lay offs are made, the knocking player 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 going gin, a player receives a bonus of 25 points plus the entire count of deadwood in his opponent’s hand. There is no chance to lay off when a player goes gin.
Undercut (or underknocking)

Occurs when the defending player has a deadwood count lower than or equal to that of the knocking player (this can occur either naturally or by laying off after a knock). In this case, the defender scores an undercut bonus of 25 points plus the difference between the two hands. (In some rule sets, the bonus is only 10 or 20 points, or is not awarded in case of a tie.)

Game Bonus

Once a player has acquired 100 points (or some other agreed-upon number) the match is over, and that player receives a game bonus of 100 points (or another agreed-upon number).
Line Bonus or Box Bonus

Added at the end of the match. For every hand a player won during the match, 25 points is added to their score.

Big Gin

Prior to knocking, if all 11 cards in a player’s hand form a legal gin, the player can retain the extra card as part of his hand, and is awarded an extra 25 points.

Shutout Bonus

If a match is completed with the winner having won every hand, the points for each hand are doubled before adding the line bonus.


Oklahoma Gin

In this version of Gin Rummy, the value of the first upcard is used to determine the maximum count at which players can knock. Face cards count as 10; aces count as 0 (no knocking allowed, players must play for gin). If the upcard is a spade, the hand will count double.

Another version in this variation (mostly in match play) and in Hollywood Gin (see below), a second deck of cards will be used to determine the knock value of a hand. The knock value card will be dealt from the bottom and turned over on top. Above rules apply but both players are dealt ten cards with the last hand winner picking first from the deck.

Hollywood Gin

This is a scoring style, not a rules change to the game of Gin. In Hollywood Gin scoring is kept for three different games at the same time. A player’s first win will be recorded in their column in Game One. A player’s second win will be recorded in their columns for both Game One and Game Two. Their third win will be recorded in their column for all three games.

Hands are played until all three games are finished.

Single match

When a single match is to be played, the players will continue to play rounds until one player has 100 points or more. This player wins the match.


In multi-match games, match scores are reset to zero with the start of each match, while game scores accumulate until a predetermined winning score is reached, perhaps 500 or higher. Each individual match ends when one player scores 100 match points. At the end of the match, players’ match scores are credited toward their game scores, as well as:

  • 25 game points for each individual round won,
  • 100 game points to the winner of the match, and
  • 100 bonus game points to the match winner if the loser won no rounds.

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