It is often a trend in movies and TV shows to have people playing games. Sometimes the game is dominoes, sometimes the game is poker, but often the game is Gin or more officially known as Gin Rummy. The ease of the game most likely has to do with its popularity. The game is comprised of collecting matching cards and making runs of the same suit. Below I will go through the official rules of Gin as well as some variations on how to play with younger or older individuals who may or may not be able to follow the original rules.
First, to start out players will need a deck of cards with the jokers removed. So they will be playing with a standard 52 set deck. Two to four players can play comfortably. For more than four players, a second deck of cards would be needed, which is one variation from the standard game.
The game starts when the dealer shuffles the cards and deals 10 cards to each player clock wise turning the top card face up in a separate pile which is the discard pile. Upon picking up the cards each player will arrange the cards according to matching suits for runs or two or three of the same value card. The object of the game is to have the highest points at the end of multiple hands or if it is single hand to receive Gin, Big Gin, or the highest set of points. This is done by playing through as many turns as it takes for one player to get Gin or knocks. Knocks will be explained later.
Playing consists of taking a card from either the discard pile, the face up pile once a player has discarded, or from the draw pile which are the remaining cards face down. Player compares the card to the cards in his hand and then must discard one. The only card that cannot be discarded is the card that was selected from the discard pile. The player may discard a card chosen from the draw pile if it he chooses. Once the card is placed face up on the discard pile it becomes the next players turn. That player may select a card from either the face-up for the facedown pile added it to their collection and then discard a card this continues through until one of the players can successfully and they’re hand. There must always be a discard unless a player receives a BIG GIN which is explained below.
Points are accrued by making melds, which are runs of four or more cards and/or sets of at least three or more matching cards, either way the cards are grouped the melds are worth points. A player could have between seven and eleven cards in their hand that are part of the winning melds. Any card in their hand that does not apply to point qualifying melds is considered deadwood. While a player could get Gin, having all of their cards at the end of a discard being point rendering, having all the cards in your hand before the discard is considered a BIG GIN, this however immediately ends the game. In most normal cases though a player who first reaches a point where they can go out will knock. This is done when a player has melds, and deadwood cards in their hand totaling a point of value of below eight. Once the player knocks the remaining players have the opportunity to play one last hand before all cards must be displayed and point totals are allotted.
Scoring is probably the most confusing part of the game, below are the standard scoring rules.
Aces are scored at 1 point, face cards at 10, and all other cards are scored at their face values. The number of points awarded may vary from house to house but no matter where it’s played the points are scored in general the following way: POINTS ARE ONLY ACCUMULATED FROM OTHER PLAYERS DEADWOOD DIFFERENCES (-) AND BONUSES(+)
After a player knocks, final plays are made by the other player, the knocking player receives a score equal to the difference between the two hands. So, if a player knocks with 7 as his remaining deadwood cards, and the defender has 10 deadwood points in his or her hand after laying off, the knocking player receives 3 points for the hand.
Having all of the 10 cards in hand be part of a scoring meld, call GIN before discarding, there is no chance to lay off when a player goes gin.
After shouting Big Gin, after their draw, the player who has it gets a bonus of 25 points plus the entire count of deadwood in the opponent’s hand however there is no chance to lay off when a player goes Big Gin.
Undercut (or underknocking)
This is when the an opposing player has a deadwood count lower than or equal to that of the knocking player (this can occur either naturally or by laying off after a knock). In this case, the defender scores an undercut bonus of 25 points plus the difference between the two hands. (this is one of those variance rules that can change for the age of the player and house rules)
The first player has acquired the agreed upon point total example 100, the game is over, and that player receives a game bonus of 50 points (or another agreed-upon number), this allows for some unique situation and surprise winners
Line Bonus or Box Bonus
Added at the end of the whole game. Each player who won during the game, gets 25 points is added to his or her score.
Prior to knocking, if all 11 cards in a player’s hand form a legal gin, the player can retain the extra card as part of his or her hand, and is awarded 51 points in addition to entire count of deadwood in his or her opponent’s hand.
Variances on plays can be made by adjusting the Color and or the matching criteria for children and elderly identifying parks versus diamond can be challenging when it comes to runs or matches they may just see colors versus seeing the numbers depending on your group age range playing with adjusted the rules accordingly.
Gin Rummy is a great game for kids going back to school and especially when I learned about matching numerical order and color combinations. Additionally, scoring combinations can being used in mathematical equations paired similar to homework problems. Always remember the most important thing about any game is to have fun! Happy playing.