An appendage of the Rummy family, Gin Rummy became a fad in America in the 1940s. Since then, the game has continued to be played for its agility as well as ease of playing. Along with strong analytical skills, players need to adopt clever strategies to finish the game with a winning hand. Here are some strategies to help you play Gin Rummy like a pro:
Avoid Drawing Cards from the Discard Deck Unless It Completes a Run
There are many disadvantages of drawing cards from the discard deck. By picking an open card, you are allowing your opponent to learn about your possible sets or runs. This move can alert your opponent and they might prevent you from forming a set or sequence if they have the other cards you need.
Try to Dump High-Value Cards at the Earliest
To increase the chances of an early knock, hold on to low-value cards and gradually discard the deadwood face cards. This step is essential because even if you have melded all your other cards, a single deadwood face card can make it a weak knock. A good hand is usually lower in value, and for that matter, it should contain no or smaller number of deadwood cards. This will keep your deadwood score low, which will increase your chances of winning.
Pay Close Attention to Discarded Cards
Try to anticipate your opponent’s strategy by the cards discarded by them. After the first few rounds, you will get that cards close to your opponent’s discards are safer to discard. It also makes you aware of the cards that are left in the deck. Say, if two kings have already been discarded, your pair of kings is actually a waste and will never become a meld. Hence, it would be better for you to get rid of the pair.
Watch Your Opponent’s Draws from the Discard Pile
If your opponent fails to understand the above rule, you should take full advantage of it. A watchful eye on your opponent’s picks from the discard section can give you a fair idea about their possible sets or runs. Avoid dumping cards from a similar suit or near in sequence to that.
Try to Hold on to High Cards Only until the Game Reaches Half-Deck
The risk of holding unmatched high cards increases as the game progresses. One should drop all the deadwood face cards by the time the game reaches half-deck.
Knock Early Whenever Possible
Sometimes by knocking early even with some deadwood points, you can have a strong score. There are cases when your opponent wants to undercut you, but your early knock can trap your opponent with a high deadwood score that you can beat easily.
Don’t Make Weak Knocks Late in the Game
Either you should knock early, or continue with a strong hand. If you are continuing the game with a weak knock, you are increasing your chances of losing. A late knock even with 10 points can be a threat for you as your opponent must have gotten rid of all or most of the deadwood cards already.
Apart from all the rules and strategies, it is very important for every player to focus on the cards they have in the hand instead of worrying about the opponent’s cards too much. A player should start taking notes of all the possible melds as soon as a Gin Rummy game begins. Prepare a mental list of possible melds you can form with your existing cards. Also, keep a count of the possibility of your desired cards being in the closed deck.
On the ending note, it is alright to trust one’s instinct to play the best hand.