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Gin Rummy Rules

by | Last updated: Sep 20, 2023 | Interesting Facts

Gin Rummy is a matching-type card game, part of the big Rummy family. The game is vastly spread in the USA, Canada, the UK, and other English-speaking countries.

Playing Gin Rummy card game is easy and fun, especially if you already know the rules of the classic Rummy game. The objective is to win more points by creating a valid combination of cards.

The game is sometimes referred to simply as Gin. Other popular related games where players draw and discard cards are Knock Rummy, Rummy 500, and Canasta.

We will explain in detail the Gin Rummy rules for 2 players.

1. Cards

A standard 52-card deck is used. The ranking is from Ace (lowest) to King (highest) and applies to all 4 suits.

The values are:

  • King, Queen, Jack – 10 points
  • Ace – one point
  • Other cards – the displayed value.

2. Game goal

Players must use the cards to create two types of combinations – sets and sequences. A Set consists of 3 or 4 cards of the same kind. For example – 10 of Spades + 10 of Hearts + 10 of Diamonds is a valid set. A sequence is 3 or more cards of the same suit in consecutive order.

Note that a card can be used only in one combination. You can not use the same card to form a set and a sequence.

Your goal is to form as many combinations as possible with the cards in your hand. Cards that are not a part of a combination are called deadwood. These cards have an important role when calculating the score.

3. How to play Gin Rummy

Each player gets 10 cards to begin the round. One card is flipped face-up to create the discard pile, and the other cards are placed next to it and form the Stock.

Players take turns. First, you must draw a card from the Stock or the discard pile and add it to your hand. Then you must discard another card. If you take a card from the Stock, you can discard the same card right away.

It is not allowed to meld until the sum of your deadwood cards is 10 or less. When you meet this rule, you can finish the round by knocking. To knock means to show your cards and thus close the current round.

When you knock, your opponent can lay off any of their unmatched cards and extend some existing combinations.

4. Gin and Big Gin

Gin means a meld with no deadwood cards. All 10 cards in your hand are part of combinations, so none of them is unmatched.

Big Gin is a meld with 11 cards. Sometimes when you have Gin, you may decide to draw another card. If that card fits in your combinations, you can declare Big Gin.

5. Scoring

The Gin Rummy scoring is determined by the sum of the deadwood cards. Let’s say the player who knocks has unmatched cards with a combined value of 6. If the other player’s deadwood cards value is 10, the knocking player scores 4 points.

Gin rewards 25 additional points, and Big Gin is 31 points.

There is a chance that the declaring player has more deadwood points than the other one. This situation is called an undercut. The defending player will receive the points plus an additional bonus (10 or 25 points, depending on the game variation).

The game continues until a player reaches a certain number of points, usually 100.

6. Difference between Rummy and Gin Rummy

The rules of Gin Rummy are very similar to the classic Rummy card game. The big difference is how the melding process works. When playing Rummy, you can meld cards at any time. However, Gin Rummy has a specific condition, so you can not meld your combinations until you are ready to finish the round.

Gin Rummy is one of the most played card games for 2 players. If you love games where you have to match cards, Gin Rummy is a must-try.