How To Play Gin (Gin Rummy)
- Runs: Cards of the same suit in ranking order. For instance, the 5, 6, and 7 of Diamonds
- Books: Cards of all of the same rank. For instance, three Jacks.
Players must agree on an appropriate end-game score before the game starts. Gin games with two players are typically played to 100 points.
Each player gets 10 cards. All remaining cards in the deck are placed face-down to form the “stock” pile. The next card is turned and laid face-up beside the deck (the start of the “discard” pile).
Play begins with the person to the dealer’s left and continues clockwise. In the first round, the person to the dealer’s left chooses whether to draw the face-up card from the discard pile or pass. If that player passes, the dealer may choose to take it. If neither player wants the face-up card, the non-dealer must then draw from the stock.
After you pick up a card, you must select one card from your hand to discard. Choose your discard wisely, because your opponent can then pick it up! Place the discard face-up on the discard pile. This discard marks the end of your turn, and play continues clockwise.
The hand ends when one player “knocks,” indicating that they have melded all the cards in their hand, and the total value of all deadwood cards is less than 10 points. Knocking occurs at the end of a player’s turn and must be accompanied by a discard. If the player does not have any deadwood cards outside of their melds, that’s called “going Gin,” and the player will receive a 20-point bonus on their score.
Cards are ranked in the usual order, from Ace to King, with Aces as the lowest cards. Each card is assigned a certain amount of points:
Aces = 1 point each
Cards 2 through 10 = Face value (for instance, a 4 is worth 4 points)
Face Cards (J, Q, K) = 10 points each
- In a 3 or 4 player game, the difference in deadwood is calculated for each individual person. That difference is then added to each person’s score. In these games, the object is to have the least points and to be the “last man standing” – as players reach 100 points, they lose and are dropped from the game.
- Usually the person who knocked is the one with the lowest deadwood score, but sometimes they’re not. If a player who didn’t knock has the lowest deadwood score, they receive an undercut bonus of 20 points. If you knock without having any deadwood at all, that’s called “going Gin.” Going Gin also rewards the player with a 20 point bonus.
- Now that you’ve learned how to play, try a game of Gin with the rules still fresh in your mind. Download a free 3-game trial of Championship Gin All-Stars. Take advantage of our easy interactive tutorial or play a real game. (Choose from five difficulty levels through the Settings menu).
- For more information about Championship Gin All-Stars, please visit our Championship Gin All-Stars Information Page.
- For expert tips and techniques, please visit our Gin Tips page.