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Gin Rummy is a member of the Rummy family of games. As with most games there are plenty of variations out there, so the game might not be exactly like you play it or have different points for some things. Below I'll explain the rules we use on this site. I'll start by explaining a few basic concepts, and then go over the gameplay and scoring of the game.
The objective of Gin Rummy is to collect cards into melds and have as little deadwood as possible at the end of a game. The game is scored based on how much deadwood you have at the end of each game. A game can span several rounds, it's over when one player reaches 100 points. At that point grand total for each player is calculated, with bonuses, and the player with the highest score wins the whole game.
Each player gets 10 cards. The remaining deck is put on the table between the players face down, and one card is put face up besides the deck to start the discard pile.
In each turn a player must start by drawing one card. He can either draw the top card from the deck or the top card from the discard pile. Generally you only draw the top card from the discard pile if you know that the card will help you create a meld with some of the other cards in your hand.
Note: In the first turn, the starting player must choose to either draw the face up card in the board or pass the turn. If the card is drawn, proceed normally. If the turn is passed, the other player gets to make the same choice. If they pass too, the first player takes their turn normally.
After the player has drawn a card he must discard one card by putting it face up on top of the discard pile. If the player has drawn the top card from the discard pile at the start of the turn he may not discard that card until his next turn (also, that wouldn't make any sense at all). He may however discard a card he has just drawn from the deck, or any other card he has in his hand.
The game continues like this, with players drawing and discard cards, while they try to build sets and runs in their hand. The round ends when one player knocks, by discarding a card and putting it face down on the discard pile. The player that knocked (the knocker) then shows his melds and his deadwood by putting it face up on the table. The opponent then shows his melds and deadwood. The opponent is allowed to lay off any of his deadwood cards onto the knocker's melds if he can. For example if the knocker had a meld, H1 H2 H3 and the opponent has a H4 as part of his deadwood he can add it to the knocker's meld, and then it won't count as deadwood anymore. The knocker cannot do the same, he can never lay off his deadwood. Additionally, if the knocker has Gin or Big Gin (no deadwood) then the opponent is not allowed to lay off any cards.
There are some rules for when you can knock. They vary between different versions, but this is how it's done on this site: You may only knock if you end up with 10 or fewer points of deadwood (human cards count as 10, aces as 1 and other cards their numeric values). The card you knock with (put facedown on the discard pile) is not included in that number. So, if you have just drawn and you have 3,5,9 as deadwood you would be allowed to knock with the 9, and then you'd end up with 3+5=8 points as deadwood.
Knocking with no deadwood, i.e. all 10 card in you hands forming melds is called going Gin. Going Big Gin is when you have 11 cards in melds, in which case you can say you have Big Gin and the game ends without you discarding the final card facedown.
The game also ends if neither player has knocked and there are only two cards left in the deck. In that case the hand is a tie, and neither player gets any points.
Scoring is based on deadwood and bonuses, the actual melds don't actually count for anything, they're only good to minimize your deadwood.
And that's it. I'm sure there are plenty of people who prefer other rules, but you can never please everyone and these are the rules I'm going with.
This online version of Gin Rummy was made by me. My name is Einar Egilsson and over there on the left is my current Facebook profile picture. Gin Rummy is a game I've been playing a lot lately with my son. I used to play a lot of Rummy when I was younger, but I prefer Gin Rummy now, and it's also a bit easier to create because you can't lay down melds all the time, which makes programming it simpler :) I hope you enjoy the game!
As usual I use graphics that I found at OpenClipArt, a great site with free graphics. The excellent playing card images were made by Nicu Buculei, check out his site for some more examples of his work.
This is version 1947 of Gin Rummy.