The Strategy & Scoring System of Gin Rummy

One of the major reasons Gin Rummy has remained as popular as ever, particularly with the hardened gambler, is the refined scoring system that rewards successful Gin players with several bonuses.

Scoring at Gin

Apart from the knock points, there are a range of bonuses paid out to the player under specific circumstances and these are:

  • Gin Bonus – A player is rewarded for ‘Going Gin’ with an extra 25 points plus the count of all the deadwood in the opponent’s hand according to the card values stipulated in the rules
  • Undercut Bonus – If a defending player has a deadwood count lower or equal to that of a knocking player, the defending player will be awarded an undercut bonus of 25 points plus the difference between the two hands
  • Game Bonus – A game is deemed over once one of the contestants reaches a pre-determined number of points, generally in the region of 100 points. This player is then entitled to the game bonus of an additional 100 points!
  • Line Bonus – For every hand won a line bonus of 25 points is added to each player’s total right at the end of the match or Gin contest.
  • Big Gin – Once a player has drawn a card, and before knocking, and if all eleven cards in hand can form a legal Gin, the player may retain the card as part of the Gin hand and will be given an additional 6 points for the Big Gin.
  • Shut Out Bonus – If one player wins every single hand then the points for each hand are doubled before the Line Bonus is added to the total
  • Knock Points – the knocking player is awarded a score that is equal to the difference between the two hands

Gin Rummy Strategy

The basic strategy for Gin is to get rid of the deadwood as quickly as possible and the most obvious way is to create sets and sequences of cards by melding or grouping them together. Always remember to dump deadwood cards with the highest value first and to knock as soon as possible.

Accomplished Gin players will collect the strategically more valuable middle cards rather than high cards, simply because they can be used in a combination of melds. However, it could also be a good idea to hang onto the high cards right at the beginning of the game as the player can then take full advantage of his opponent discarding the high cards and forming high sets and in doing so drastically reducing the deadwood count in hand.