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Gin Rummy Rules
AND HOW TO PLAY
Gin Rummy was created with the intention of being faster
than basic Rummy. The rules are very easy to learn as it is
simply a matter of the draw and discard, without the
complications attached to displaying melds and laying off
cards between turns. Both of these things are done at the
end of a hand and Gin Rummy is often played without any kind
of laying off making for a "quick fire" game. These rules
were originally written to facilitate offline play but they
are similar to the rules for the online version of Gin Rummy which can be played right here at Rummy.com
Gin Rummy is an
immensely popular card game owing to the high
skill component of the game when compared to other casino card games such as Poker or Blackjack. You play Gin Rummy with ten cards which are to be formed into melds (runs and/or sets) as shown in the three example
fully melded gin hands on the left hand side.
Players & Deck - Gin Rummy is
primarily a two player game
although in other variations in the rules of this card game, up to four players can play. A deck of 52 cards is used, there are no wild cards and each player takes turns dealing the cards.
The Deal - Whoever is dealing the cards deals each player 10 cards. The next card from the deck is turned face up which indicates that it is the start of the discard pile. The rest of the deck is positioned face down and
is called the stock pile.
Number of players
Number of cards dealt
10 cards each
10 cards each
Object of the Game
The purpose of the game is to complete a hand consisting of most or all of the cards formed into
Sets and/or Runs. A Run (sequence) is comprised of three or more cards bearing the same suit and in consecutive order such as for example:
Example of a Valid Run
Example of an Invalid Run
Set, on the other hand, is a group of three or four cards that are identical rank and of different suits, such as for example:
Example of a Valid Set
Example of an Invalid Set
A card can be used only once – either in a
Set or in a Run. You cannot use the same card for both a Run and a
How Gin Rummy is Played
It is important to note how to play Gin Rummy by the turn of a player. The two main elements observed during a single turn are the draw and the discard:
Drawing (Compulsory) - The first player must take just one card either from the discard pile or the stock
pile and add this card to the 10 cards that comprise his hand. The discard pile is face up so the other player will know what card he took. If that player chooses to take from the stock, his opponent will not see the card (since cards on the stock pile are face down).
After he has taken one card, he must now study his cards
and decide which one is the card he needs least of all – a card that
is probably not in sequence with the rest or is the only one of its kind making it nearly impossible to form either a set or run. The next step is:
Discarding (Compulsory)- He must then take
this card out of his collection and put it on the discard
pile, face up.
Note that according to official Gin Rummy rules the players draw in a special way during the first round. The person who did not deal out the cards has the first choice. He can take the face up card from the discard pile if he wants to. If not, the other player can take it and if the other player does not want it either, the person who did not deal gets the first chance to draw the top card from the stock pile.
How and When To Knock
The Gin Rummy game ends as soon as one player has formed their cards into
melds (Sets or Runs) and lays them all down on the table or
in a designated meld area on the table for his opponent to see
followed by him or her discarding their last card to signal
victory. According to the official Gin Rummy rules a player may only Knock if they have 10 points or less of deadwood (ie unmatched or unmelded cards). For example, he can knock if his deadwood is A 34 as the total value of those cards is 8 points
ie less than 10 points.
When the player goes out in this manner, it is called
Knocking - a traditional symbolic gesture to announce
victory to an opponent. Today, it is customary to throw
the final card on the table (traditionally face down) to
signal victory. The other player must now expose his
cards, placing his melds on the table.
He is also allowed to take any of his deadwood (unmelded cards) to add to the sets or runs laid down by the knocker. For example, he might add a fourth card of the same rank to a group of three or more consecutive cards of the same suit to either end of a sequence. This is known as "laying off" - see next
How Does Laying Off Come InTO Play
Unlike many other Rummy card games, where cards can be laid off during a players' turn to extend melds which are placed on the table by yourself or other players, in Gin Rummy the players only reveal their hand at the end of the game. Therefore, it is only at the end of a game that a player can lay off cards by extending the sets or runs of the knocker and thereby reducing the deadwood count of cards left in the hand. Also note that the knocker himself is never allowed to lay off cards
in this way.
How and When To Go "Gin"
Knocking is not compulsory. Therefore, if the player manages to meld all his cards and has a zero deadwood count (ie no unmelded cards remaining), then instead of knocking he declares Gin (known as “Going Gin”) and earns a 25 point bonus in addition to the deadwood count of his opponent.
In this situation because the winner went "Gin", there is no
laying off so the other player cannot try to further reduce his deadwood count. This is
the big incentive to hold out and try to meld everything
contained in your hand.
What Happens When The Stock Pile Finishes?
The game ends if there are only two cards left on the stock
pile and the player who took the third to the last card on
the pile discards a card without knocking. In this
situation, there is no winner and another round can begin.
Important Notes On Scoring The Game
Face cards (Jack, Queen, King) score 10 points. Aces score 1 point. All the rest of the deck score the rank as the value (ie the pip value). For example, a 6 would be worth six points, a 7 is worth
seven points, etc.
worth 1 point
worth 1 point
Q is worth 10 points
K is worth 10 points
5 is worth 5 points
7 is worth 7 points
Aces are low and the cards rank in this order:
A 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K. Note that because the ace is always low in Gin Rummy, A23 is a valid sequence but QKA is not and nor is KA2.
Knock Scoring - Each player will have to tally up the value of their unmatched or deadwood cards. If the knocker has a lower count, he scores the difference between the two counts (each of their deadwood counts).
Undercut Scoring - If the knocker does not go Gin, and his deadwood tally is equal to or higher than his opponent, this means the knocker has been "undercut”. His opponent scores the difference between the two counts and receives a bonus of 25 points.
Gin Scoring - A player who goes Gin scores a bonus 25 points, plus the opponent's deadwood count, if any. A player who goes Gin can never be undercut. Even if the other player has no deadwood, the
player who goes Gin gets the bonus and the other player gets nothing.
Game Bonus - Players keep dealing the cards
for subsequent hands until one reaches a score of
100 or other designated (pre agreed) target score.
The first one to reach a score of 100 points
receives a "game bonus" of 100 points.
Line Bonus - In addition, each player earns a 20 point bonus for every hand won. This is known as the line bonus or a box bonus. These are not counted towards the 100 points required to win a game of Gin Rummy.
Note that for the online game, it is not absolutely essential
to read the next two sections, which are designed
to explain scoring for offline play and variations
on the standard rules which may be introduced into
the game offline.
How To Use a Score Sheet
You can see from the example score sheet (below,
left) that the points from each hand are added to
the previous score so that a cumulative total is
always shown. We have a "Score Sheet Guide" (below,
right) to help you understand how to keep score, to
see how scores and bonuses are applied and to see
how scoring is recorded for each round. We have
pencilled onto the score sheet after certain scores
to help you identify what each item represents. In
the example below, you can see that A reaches 115
points bringing his total to over 100 points and
therefore A wins the game and scores a 100 point
game bonus. A won 6 hands (2 by way of undercut) and
scores a line bonus (6 x 20) of 120 points. B won 3
hands and scores a line bonus (3 x 20) of 60 points.
The score of B (131) is then deducted from the score
of A (335) bringing A's final score to 204 points.
Score Sheet Guide
A knocks with 6
B has 21 deadwood
A scores 15
A knocks with 2
B has 14 deadwood
A scores 12 and now has 27
B knocks with 5
A has 17 deadwood
B scores 12
B goes gin
A has 24 deadwood
B scores 24 plus 25 (gin) and now has 61
A knocks with 3
B has 7 deadwood
A scores 4 and now has 31
B knocks with 6
A has 4 deadwood
A scores 2 plus 25 (undercut), has 58
A goes gin
B has 5 deadwood
A scores 5 plus 25 (gin), now has 88
B knocks with 1
A has 11 deadwood
B scores 10 and now has 71
B knocks with 5
A has 3 deadwood
A scores 2, plus 25 for undercut, has115*
*This brings A's score over 100 and the game ends.
A now scores the game bonus (100
pts) and 6 line bonuses of 20 points each (120
pts) to total 335. B's
final score (131 pts) is deducted from this leaving A with a final winning score of
204 points. Jin Rummy Score Sheet
Other House Rules
If you are playing Gin Rummy on our online platform,
you do not need to read this section. The rules
provided here are variations which are provided for
the benefit of those playing offline, which can be
introduced to play at the discretion of those
organising the game. Variations to the standard Gin Rummy rules are mostly related to scoring although it is important to note that a large number of people play a version of Gin Rummy which uses rule (1) below.
(1) Note that Gin Rummy is very often played
without any laying off and therefore scoring takes place
immediately after one player knocks or gins.
(2) Some rules provide that a player has to throw
out a card to the discard pile that is different
from the card he drew earlier from the discard
pile. In other words, according to some house rules, you cannot draw and discard the same card
from the discard pile.
(3) Some provide that the undercut bonus and the gin bonus are 20 points each. Other house rules provide that the undercut is 10 points and the gin is 20 points.
(4) Some play that if the loser of the game has won no hands at all, the result is termed a "blitz" or a "schneider" and the winner's score, including the game bonus but not the line bonuses, is doubled.
We are conscious about the variations in different Rummy games and our features are therefore constantly subject to review.
If you have some feedback on Gin Rummy
rules, we would appreciate you letting
us know so that we can make the
appropriate corrections. Please contact us via