Gin Rummy

Gin Rummy 101: Everything You Need to Know About the Game


There are many variants of rummy including Indian rummy, gin rummy, Shanghai rummy, kalooki and 500 Rum. Gin rummy is one of the most popular variants in the rummy family. It was invented by Hollywood producer Elwood Baker and his son Charles Baker in 1909 in the United States. Soon after, the game spread to different corners of the world. Today it is recognized as a popular choice for two-player card games. So what could be the reason behind its popularity? Read on to find out as we dig deeper into the game.

What is Gin Rummy?

Gin rummy is a popular variant of rummy that is quick and easy to play. Usually two players participate in a game and play using a standard deck of 52 cards. Unlike Indian rummy, this variant does not use jokers. The rank of cards from lowest to highest is as follows:

K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A

The value of face cards (K, Q, J) is 10 points each and the numbered cards are worth their face values.

Objective of gin rummy

The objective of the game is similar to that of classic rummy. Players have to arrange their cards in sequences and sets and have minimum deadwood at the end of the game. Gin rummy is played for several rounds and the game gets over when a player reaches 100 points.

Important terminologies

Set: A set is a group of three or four cards of the same rank but different suits. For example: 5-5-5; K-K-K-K

Sequence: A sequence is a group of three or more sequential cards of the same suit. For example: A-2-3; 8-9-10.

Stock: A stock is a deck of cards that is placed upside down. Players need to draw one card from the stock on each turn.

Discard pile: The cards discarded on every turn form the discard pile. This pile is placed next to the stock and the cards are visible to everyone. 

Deadwood: Cards that remain ungrouped are known as deadwood.

Going Gin: Going gin indicates that a player has arranged all the cards and has no deadwood. 

Big gin: When a player has melded all the cards and the final card drawn by the player becomes a part of the meld, it is called big gin.

Knocking: Knocking involves ending a round by putting the cards down on the discard pile. 

When a player knocks, the opposing player gets to lay off any of his/her unmatched cards onto the knocking player’s matched cards if possible.

Laying off: When a player knocks, the opponent with unmatched cards can lay off his/her cards onto the knocking player’s cards.

Undercut: When the value of the knocking player’s deadwood is more than his/her opponent’s deadwood, the opponent scores points equal to the following:

Opponent’s deadwood Knocking player’s deadwood + 10 points

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Each player is dealt 10 cards, one at a time. The remaining cards are placed face down to form the stock. A card is taken from the stock and placed face up on the table to form the discard pile.

When the game begins, a player draws a card either from the stock or from the discard pile. If the drawn card does not help create a meld, the player can pass without discarding any card from his/her hand. The next player has the choice to take that card to create a meld or pass that card without discarding any card from his/her hand. 

On the second turn, the first player needs to draw a card from the stock and discard a card from his/her hand. The game proceeds in this way and the players keep drawing and discarding cards to create melds.

In gin rummy, players have to arrange 10 cards in sequences and sets. The ace is the lowest card and it can be grouped with twos and threes only. When the value of a player’s unmatched cards does not exceed 10 points, the player can choose to knock. However, it is not a necessary move. Players can continue playing to improve their hands and make a gin. On melding all the cards, a player places the last card face down and announces “gin.” Players can also choose to undercut when the opposing player folds and shows all his/her cards.

When a player goes gin successfully, he/she wins the game. On the other hand, when a player knocks, both the players have an equal opportunity to win the game. 


In gin rummy, the score is calculated on the basis of deadwood and bonuses. Just like in Indian rummy, all matched cards add up to zero points and they are only good for reducing deadwood.

Knocking points: The knocking player scores points equal to the difference between the value of his/her unmatched cards and the opponent’s unmatched cards. For example, if the knocking player has 2 points of deadwood and the opponent has 18 points of deadwood, the score of the knocking player will be 16 points (18 2 = 16).

Gin bonus: When a player goes gin, he/she gets 25 points as a bonus, in addition to the knocking points (if he/she chose to knock).

Big gin bonus: When a player makes a big gin, he/she gets 31 points as a bonus.

Game bonus: When a player reaches 100 points, he/she gets a special bonus of 100 points, which gets added to his/her overall score.

Strategies to win

  • In gin rummy, it is important to arrange your cards in sequences or sets. You can make two or three melds and keep a maximum of four unmatched cards in your hand. If you have more than four deadwood cards, you should discard them quickly.
  • Collect middle cards, especially sevens, as they can be used in more combinations than the other cards. For example, 7 can be used in the following sequences: 5-6-7, 6-7-8 and 7-8-9.
  • Everyone can see the cards in the discard pile. So do not pick a card from the discard pile unless it is the last card required to complete a sequence or a set. 
  • The ace and the king can be melded with the sequential cards like 2s and 3s, and Qs and Js. Face cards have a high value, so it is important to discard them at the earliest.
  • Note the cards discarded by your opponent. Find out why the card was discarded and try to figure out the type of cards in the opponent’s hand. This is a useful strategy to prevent your opponent from going gin.

Gin rummy is both fun and challenging at the same time. This is one of the reasons why it is the second-most popular game after Indian rummy. If you are looking to play rummy online, you should try playing on Junglee Rummy. We are the most trusted rummy site, with over 25 million users on board. Download rummy app right now and get a welcome bonus up to ₹5250. Happy gaming!

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