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About gin rummy

Gin Rummy, or Gin, is a popular two-player variant of the Rummy game. While the game enjoyed immense popularity in the mid 20th century, it remains to be a widely played two-player card game. Gin rummy is usually played between two players (sometimes even four players) as opposed to rummy games which can be played between 2 to 6 players. The game was created in 1909 but is also believed to have evolved from a 19th-century whiskey poker game designed to be faster than rummy.

Rummy players love learning new variations of the rummy game. The Gin rummy card game beginners can learn how to play gin rummy on MPL through the simple rules mentioned below.

Rules to Play Gin Rummy

The rules to play gin rummy game are quite similar to those of rummy with a few differences. Here are the essentials to learn how to play Gin rummy:

Important Terms of Gin Rummy

Set: A set is three to four cards that are the same rank. An example of a set is 5 ♥️ 5 ♦️ 5 ♠️.

Run: A run is three or more cards of the same suit and in consecutive rankings. An example of a run 2♦️ 3♦️ 4♦️ 5♦️.

Meld: A meld is used for sets and runs, which means you have grouped cards in a set or run.

Stock: After the cards are dealt to each player, the remaining cards are placed face-down at the centre of the table. This pile is called the stock, and the players draw cards from the stockpile.

Discard Pile: When the players draw a card from the stockpile, they must discard one card. The pile of discarded cards is called a discard pile.

Deadwood: Deadwood cards are individual cards that are not part of a set or run. If you have sets and runs, and your deadwood cards total 10 points or less, you can end the round.

Knocking: When a player ends a round by placing a card face-down on the discard pile, it is known as knocking.

Gin: When you have made melds using all the 10 cards in hand and are not left with any deadwood, it's called Gin.

Big Gin: Big Gin implies making melds out of 11 cards - 10 cards in hand and one more card drawn from one of the piles.

Lay off: When you add your deadwood cards to an opponent's melds, it's called a lay off.

The Deck

Gin rummy is played using a deck of 52 cards without the use of wild cards or jokers. The best way to play the game is using two decks so that the other player can shuffle the second deck while the other player deals cards from the first deck.

Card Ranking & Value

The order of cards in Gin rummy card game from highest to lowest is: King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace.

The value of the cards are as follows:

Face Cards (King, Queen, Jack) are worth 10 points

Ace is worth 1 point

Numbered cards (2 to 10) are worth their face value. For example, 2 is worth 2 points, 5 is worth 5 points, and 10 is worth 10 points.

The Deal

The first dealer is chosen by drawing of the lowest-value cards. The deck is shuffled, and each player draws a card randomly from the deck. The player with the lowest-value card becomes the first dealer. In the next round, the player who loses becomes the dealer.

The dealer deals ten cards face-down to each player, one at a time. The remaining cards form the stockpile, and the first card from the stockpile is turned face-up and placed beside the pile to form the discard pile. The players then look at their cards and sort them.

The Object

The objective of a Gin Rummy game is to strategically work with your hand of cards to create sets and runs while at the same time eliminating as many “deadwood” cards (cards that are not in a set or run) as possible. The players attempt to score over 100 points, before the other players, to win the game.

How to Play Gin Rummy?

The non-dealer player starts the game by drawing one card, the top card from the stockpile or by passing the turn to the next player. If the player draws a card, they must discard one card and place it face-up on the discard pile. The turn is then passed to the next player who makes the same choice. The next player can choose to draw a card from the stockpile or the discard pile.

Each player aims to build valid sets and runs with the cards in hand during the draw and discard process. The round ends if a player knocks by discarding one card and placing it face-down on the discard pile. After knocking, that player displays the melds and deadwood by placing the cards face-up on the table. The opponent also shows their melds and deadwood.

When a play declares Gin (melds all 10 cards), they win the partial game. If a player knocks, either of the players wins the game, depending on which player's unmatched cards value is lesser.


There are several rules that apply to knocking, which may vary with different versions of the game. Here are some of the important rules that one must know:

The opponent can add their deadwood to the knocker's melds, called lay off. For instance, if the knocker has a meld A♦️2♦️3♦️ and the opponent has a 4♦️, the opponent can add that deadwood card to the knocker's meld.

The knocker cannot lay off his deadwood cards like the opponent. Moreover, if the knocker has a Big Gin or Gin, the opponent cannot lay off their cards.

A player can knock if they have less than or equal 10 points of deadwood cards. The card that a player knocks with is not included in this count of 10 points. For example, if you have 2♦️6♦️9♦️, you can knock with 9♦️ and have 2+6=8 points as the deadwood.

When you knock with no deadwood in hand, it means all 10 cards are in a meld, and it is a Gin. When you have a Big Gin (11 cards in melds), you can end the game without discarding the final card.

If neither player knocks, but there are only two cards left in the stockpile, the game will end. In this case, the hand is a tie, and no player gets any points.


The game ends when enough partial games are played, and one of the players accumulates 100 or more points. Scoring is based on bonuses and deadwood, while the actual melds don't make a difference for scoring other than minimizing your deadwood.

The score of the player who makes Gin is 20 points plus the value of the opponent's deadwood.

If a player knocks and wins the game, the score is the difference between the value of their unmatched cards and the value of the opponent's unmatched cards.

If the opponent wins, the score is 10 points plus the difference in the value of unmatched cards of both the players. If there is no difference in the value of unmatched cards, 10 points bonus remains.

The bonuses are as follows: 100 points for winning a complete game, 20 points for winning a partial game, 100 points for winning all rounds of a game without letting the opponent win any round.

The points scored under different circumstances are as follows:

Knock Points: After all layoffs, the difference between the deadwood of both players is the score of the knocker. For instance, if the knocker's deadwood is 10 and the opponent's deadwood is 20, the knocker will score 20-10=10 points.

Gin Bonus: In the case of a Gin, the player scores 25 bonus points which are added to the knock points.

Big Gin Bonus: In the case of a Big Gin, the player scores 31 bonus points which are added to the knock points.

Game Bonus: When a player reaches 100 points, they get a game bonus of 100 points added to the overall score.

Undercut: If one player knocks and the opponent has equal or less deadwood points, the opponent scores 25 points plus the difference in deadwood points. The knocker scores 0 points in this case. Undercut doesn't imply in case the knocker gets Gin.

Line/Box Bonus: The line bonus of 25 points is added to each hand won at the end of the game.

Shutout Bonus: If the winner of the game had won all the hands, the points for each hand are doubled after the line bonus is added.

Gin Rummy Variations

When you learn how to play Gin rummy, you may come across slight variations in the rules of the game. A popular Gin rummy variation is Oklahoma Gin.

Oklahoma Gin

Oklahoma gin is a close relative of the Gin rummy game. In this variation, the maximum count of unmatched cards to knock with is determined by the value of the original face-up card. For instance, if a 5 is turned face-up, you must reduce the count to 5 or lower to knock. In some games, if an ace is turned face-up, the player can knock only if they go Gin.

If the original face-up card is a spades card, the score for that deal is doubled, even for Gin and undercut bonuses.

The players need to score 150 points to win Oklahoma Gin.

In some Oklahoma games, the player who undercuts a knocker scores the undercut bonus and an extra box. The player who goes Gin score two bonus boxes. These boxes are recorded on the scorepad and give 20-25 extra points each at the end of the game.

Here are some other rule variations of gin rummy:

In some variations, the winner of each hand is the dealer of the next round. In others, the players take alternate turns to deal.

In some games, the dealer receives 10 cards, the non-dealer receives 11 cards, and no card is turned face-up. The non-dealer can only discard a card in the first turn, and the dealer plays a normal turn by drawing and discarding a card.

Some players play games where the bonus for Gin is 25 points instead of 20, and the bonus points for undercut are 20 instead of 10. In other games, the bonus points for going Gin, undercut, and box bonus for every game won are 25 points each.

In some variations, if the loser fails to score points during a game, the winner's score is doubled.

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What is the difference between Rummy and Gin Rummy?

Why is it called Gin Rummy?