Rules of Gin Rummy

Gin Rummy is one of the all-time favourites and together with Holdem poker has made an easy and lucrative transition to the hundreds of online casinos littering cyberspace today. Although simple to understand it is a deceptively tricky game to master and this in itself is possibly one of the reasons it continues to attract new converts every day.

The Gin Objective

It is a game contested by only two players using a standard 52-card deck where Aces are considered both high and low. The objective of Gin is to outscore the opponent by forming melds, or groupings of cards, and discarding any deadwood or cards that cannot form or be added to a meld, thereby having little or no value to the player.

Gin Rummy is similar to Canasta, a card game that belongs to the same family as Gin, in that there are only two different melding options available to the player:

  • Sets of 3-4 cards sharing the same rank
  • Sets of 3 or more cards sharing the same suit

Card values are as follows – Aces score as 1, picture cards as 10 and all other cards by their numerical face value.

The Gin Deal

The dealer is determined by cutting the deck and the low card deals and from then on the deal alternates between the two combatants. Each player is dealt 10 cards face down which they then arrange in hand, the 21st card is turned over, face up, to form the discard pile and the remainder of the pack is placed in the centre of the table as the stock pile.

Play Begins

Play begins with each player, in turn, drawing a single card from either the discard pile or the stock pile. The player may then exercise the option to ‘knock’ under certain circumstances and will then discard a single card onto the discard pile.

Play will continue until one of the player’s knock or there are only 2 cards remaining in the stock pile which will result in a draw.

The Knock

  • A player is not allowed to knock unless he or she has ten or less points of deadwood in hand – this knock option is known as ‘going down’
  • A player must knock if he or she has 0 points of deadwood in hand – known as ‘going gin’ or having a ‘gin hand’

To knock, the player discards, announces his intention to knock and lays out his hand with the melds and deadwood clearly separated. At this stage the defending player has the option to ‘lay off’ any of his deadwood onto the knocker’s melds, thereby drastically reducing points in hand but remember, if the first person is fortunate enough to have a ‘Gin hand’, no’ lay off’ is allowed.