How to play gin

Many people have fond memories of playing cards with their parents or grandparents. A childhood should always be filled with fun family activities and what is better than a friendly card game? I’m sure your grandparents will be able to teach you how to play several popular card games. For some of you who are far away from them, we’re going to be teaching you how to play Gin Rummy.

According to Wikipedia, this game originated in the United States in 1909. It evolved from a 19th century game called Whiskey Poker, thus explaining its alternative name, Gin Poker, or simply Gin.  This game is similar to regular Rummy, so if you know the rules to that this should be an easy concept for you to practice. Don’t worry if you’ve never played Rummy – we’ve got your back! Just follow these simple steps below in our Gin Rummy game tutorial, and you’ll be able to give Grandpa a run for his money.

Gin Rummy Playing Time

15 minutes on average

  1. Each player is dealt 10 cards – this will be your own personal mini deck. The remaining cards are then placed face-down in a stock pile. Draw one card and place it facing upwards next to the pile.
  2. Turns will be taken from the left. The player whose turn it is will either take a card from the deck or toss a card from his own hand out, or he will take a card from the discarded pile and toss a card from his own hand out. The point here is to keep 10 cards in your hands during play.
  3. Players must play until they have melds of a run or a set in their hands. A run is a sequence of cards from the same suit (like a 5, 6, 7, 8 of hearts), or a set, which is a set of at least 3 cards of the same number, but different suits (5 of clubs, 5 of hearts, 5 of spades).
  4. The round ends when players have enough melds in order for the rest of the cards in their hands to total to less than 10. These cards are called ‘deadwood’. Points of these cards are determined by the value where an ace will be 1 and face-cards will be 10.
  5. If a player ends the round without any deadwood cards adding up to 10, he places the last card on the discarded pile and declares ‘Gin’. This will give him a bonus of 25.
  6. When a player declares Gin, the other players lay down their melds and score the deadwood points. The round ends, and a new round starts. The player who reaches 100 first is the winner.
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This can be called one of the basic of the game of gin rummy. If you want to know that how to play gin rummy then you must know that how to start this game.

  • The dealer is chosen by the common and easy process. Cards are dealt to each player and the one who gets the lowest card gets to deal.
  • For the next deal, the loser of the previous hand would be the dealer and the process goes on.
  • No matter how many number of players are playing, each player would be dealt 10 cards and that too in a pattern of one at a time.
  • Suppose, there are two players then the 21st card would be kept on the remaining pile by facing up. This card is used as the beginning of the discarded pile.

Object of the Game

You can never learn how to play gin rummy if you do not even know its object. You must have acknowledgement that what you need to do in the game and how can you win it. You can learn this process through these steps-

  • You must keep in mind that whatever cards are there in your hand, you must combine them in such a way that it makes sets and runs out of them. The point value of the last card remaining should be as low as possible.
  • A run or sequence is termed as the set of three or more than three cards of the same suit which must be arranged in the consecutive order. For example – 4, 5, 6 of spade.
  • A set or group is known as three or four cards of the same rank. For example 7 of spade, diamond, hearts.
  • You cannot use the same cards for more than one run or set. Only a single sequence or single set can be formed by a single card. For example – if you have 7 of spade, hearts and diamond and 8, 9 of hearts then you can use the 7 of hearts either for 7, 7, 7 or for 7, 8, 9 of hearts.
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How to Play Gin Rummy

This is the most important section to learn how to play gin rummy. Here are some steps given through which you can understand that how to play this game.

  • There are basically two things that need to be done on a single turn by each player.
  • First part is to draw. You must have to begin the game by taking out one card from either the stock pile or the discarded pile. It does sound like the simple rummy but it has some different rules too.
  • Second part is to discard. To complete one turn you would have to discard a single card from your hand and place it on the top of the discarded pile. If you took the card from the discarded pile then you cannot discard the same.


The rules of gin rummy can be understood by some terminologies. These terms are important to understand how to play gin rummy.

  • Knocking- You can end the game at any point if you think you have made enough sets or sequence from your cards. Make sure that the cards which are not used in making any set, their value must not exceed 10 points. You can end the game by discarding a card on the discarded pile facing down. This is called knocking.
  • Gin- After knocking, if you have no unmatched card in your hands other than the set or sequence then this process is called going gin. It earns a special bonus for you.


There is a certain way according to which the scoring is done. This is-

  • Just like the simple rummy, each player count the value of the unmatched cards. If the value of knocker’s card is lower then, the difference of the value of two players is his score.
  • The player who goes gin, earns extra 20 points as bonus.
  • If the knocker does not go gin and the counts are equal or knocker’s count is greater then, knocker’s opponent scores the difference between the two counts plus 10 point bonus plus the difference of the counts.
  • The game keeps on going until the score reached a target of 100 points or points set by the players.
  • After the final scores, whoever lose he gets to pay the winner an amount proportional to the difference between their scores.
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Scoring in Gin Rummy

Scoring is done by adding up the points of the deadwood cards. The values are as follows:

  • All face cards = 10 points
  • Ace = 1 point
  • Numeric cards = face value

If the knocker has a lower final count they get the difference between the two counts in points. If the scores are equal or the knocker’s is higher, their opponent gets the points difference and a ten point bonus. The game ends when one player reaches 100 points. This is a great game for teaching kids math problems or see our list of  card games for children.

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