Gin Rummy is a very popular card game. The game first appeared in the early 1900s but it did not become part of American culture until the 1930s. The popularity of Gin Rummy is likely due to the fact that it's very simple to learn and it's also a fast-paced game.
The game is played with a standard deck of 52 cards. The point values of the cards are pretty straightforward. The Ace through to the 9 are worth 1 to 9 points respectively while the 10, Jack, Queen and King are all worth 10 points each. The premise of the game is to make as many melds or sets as you can with the 10 cards you are dealt before your opponent does the same.
There are only two types of melds or sets--sequences and groups. A group is three or more cards of the same rank such as 4, 4, 4. A sequence is three or more cards of the same suit in consecutive order such as 6, 7, 8 or 10, J, Q, K. Each card in your hand can only be used as part of one meld or set.
The rules for Gin Rummy are as follows:
- To begin, a dealer is chosen randomly. The players alternate turns dealing for the remainder of the game. The dealer shuffles the deck of cards and deals 10 cards each to her opponent and herself.
The remaining cards are placed on the table, making it the stockpile. The top card from the stockpile is turned face up and placed next to it to start the discard pile.
For the first turn of the hand, the player that did not deal has the option of taking the card in the discard pile. If that player does not want it, the dealer then has the option of taking it. If neither player takes it, the non-dealer can then take a card from the stock pile.
The player that took a card in the first turn of the hand completes her turn by discarding one of the cards in her hand and placing it on the discard pile. The players continue, alternating turns, while either taking the top card of the discard pile or the top card of the stock pile and discarding one card.
The play can end in one of three ways:
- A player, during her turn, can knock if she can make a sufficient amount of sets with her cards. When a players knocks, she must discard one of her cards in the usual way and then she must place her cards face up on the table arranged into the sets she has and the remaining unused cards she has. A knock can only be done when the total point value of the unmatched cards is 10 points or less. The opponent of the player must also place her cards face up and arrange them into sets wherever possible. The opponent can also add any of her unmatched cards to the knocker's sets if possible. This is called laying off. The knocker is not allowed to lay off any of her unmatched cards on her opponent's sets.
- A player can also end play on her turn by going gin. Going gin is almost the same as knocking but with a couple of differences. First, the player that goes gin must arrange all of her 10 cards into sets. Secondly, the opponent is not allowed to lay off any cards when a player goes gin.
- If the stockpile is reduced to 2 cards and the player that took the third last card and discarded without knocking or going gin, the play will also end. In this situation, the hand is canceled, no points are awarded and the same dealer deals the next hand.
When play ends in a hand after a player knocks or goes gin, the points are then scored. If a player knocks, each player counts the total value of her unmatched cards. If the knocker's total is lower, the knocker scores the difference of the two totals. If the knocker's total is higher or the totals are equal, the opponent scores the difference of the two totals along with a 10-point bonus. If a player goes gin, she scores a bonus of 20 points plus the total value of the opponent's unmatched cards. The opponent scores nothing when a player goes gin.
The game continues in this fashion until one player's score accumulates to the total points agreed upon at the start of the game.