Gin Rummy (Rules and Instructions)

Gin Rummy is a terrific game for two that tests your skills but remains fun and easy. These Gin Rummy rules will teach you how it’s played.

Unlike, for example, Liverpool Rummy (check Liverpool Rummy rules), Gin Rummy is a game designed specifically for two players, which makes it a pretty versatile game. 

In some regards, Gin Rummy reminds me of Conquian (see Conquian rules), but it’s played with the entire deck, whereas in Conquian, you must sort some cards out first.

This Gin Rummy rules guide will cover the following:

  • What is Gin Rummy?
  • What you’ll need to play Gin Rummy
  • Gin Rummy Rules
  • How to play Gin Rummy (video tutorials)
  • FAQs
  • Other similar games to Gin Rummy (our guides)

Learn how to play Gin Rummy with the detailed instructions below. 

What is Gin Rummy?

Gin Rummy Card Game Info image

Gin Rummy is a Rummy variation for two players. Like in other rummy games, your goal is to meld cards in sets and runs. 

The main difference is that you don’t discard them consecutively on the table but collect them in your hand until all of your cards belong to a certain formation.

The game is easy to comprehend but involves a lot of counting, making it unsuitable for the youngest kids. Still, a focused teenager can probably enjoy the game equal to an adult.

Number of Players: 2 players

Ages: 12+

Difficulty: Moderate

Length of Play:  20 – 50 minutes

Category: Rummy-type card game

Similar to: Rummy, Conquian rules, Shanghai Rummy

Main Objective: Earn 100 points by melding cards before your opponents do.

Why We Love It: Gin Rummy is a perfect classic rummy alternative for two players.

What You’ll Need to Play Gin Rummy

All you need to play Gin Rummy is a classic 52-card deck. You can sort all the Jokers immediately since you will not use them in this game. 

Alternatively, you can also use two identical decks of cards, but beware that this will make the game significantly longer.

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Gin Rummy Rules and Instructions

The game of Gin Rummy requires focus, good memory, and some counting. 

At first, it may feel a bit overwhelming, but you’ll soon find it’s a relatively simple and, more importantly, logical game.

Starting the Game

First, you must determine which player will take on the role of the dealer. Traditionally, this is done by spreading the cards face-down across the table and picking randomly one each. 

Whoever gets the lowest ranking card (see card ranking below) deals the cards first. 

The dealer shuffles the deck thoroughly and deals, one at a time, ten cards to each player. The rest of the cards form a draw pile (also known as the stock in this game).

Draw one top card of the draw pile and lay it face-up next to it as a foundation for your new discard pile

Now you’re ready to start playing.

How to Play Gin Rummy

This is how the game of Gin Rummy proceeds:

  • The player who did not deal the cards takes their turn by drawing the top card of either of the piles (the stock or the discard pile) and adding it to their hand.
  • On the first turn exclusively, the dealer can take the top card of the discard pile and take their turn first if the non-dealer does not want this card.
  • In any case, the first player then discards one of their cards to the discard pile. 

The players keep taking turns one after the other until one of them eventually knocks on the table or calls, “Gin!”

In the case of Gin:

  • Gin! means that all ten cards a player has in their hands are parts of a run or set.
  • The calling player ends their turn by discarding a card face-down on the discard pile. 
  • Now both players reveal their cards.
  • The calling player receives points based on the unmelded cards in the opponent’s hand (so-called deadwood – see the value below).
  • Moreover, the calling player also gets the bonus of 20 points (the so-called gin bonus) 

Knocking on the table:

  • To be able to knock on the table, the points value of unmatched cards in the player’s hand should be ten or less.
  • In this case, the player discards one card face-down on the discard pile and then spreads their cards on the table, revealing them to the opponent. 
  • The opponent now discards their cards to the corresponding sets and runs from the knocking player’s hand (they cannot add to the unmatched cards, though).
  • The remaining cards in the opponent’s hands are compared to the unmatched cards of the knocking player (compare their value).
  • If the knocking player’s score is lower, they receive the number of points matching the difference between their and their opponent’s scores.
  • If the knocking player’s score is higher or equal, they have been undercut. Their opponent gets points equal to the difference + 10 bonus points.

The loser of the round deals the cards for the next round. Keep a record of how many times each player has won a round.

Rank and Value of Cards

In Gin Rummy, King is considered the highest card, whereas Ace is the lowest card in the game (the complete order goes as follows: K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-A).

Regarding the cards’ value, every figure card is worth 10 points, while the remaining cards are worth their face value(e.g., 3 is worth three points, etc.). Aces are worth 1 point.

Card Melds

As in basically all the rummy-type card games, the players in Gin Rummy try to get rid of their cards by melding them. There are two valid types of melds:

  • Runs: Three or more cards of the same suit in successive order (e.g., 3,4,5 of clubs)
  • Set: Three or more cards of the same rank (e.g., four Queens)

Gin Rummy Scoring 

The game continues until one of the players collects 100 or more points. 

This player also gets 100 points for winning and another 100 bonus points if the opponent does not score a single point in the game.

On top of it, each player also gets +20 points for each hand they won during the game. 

The winner is whoever has the highest total score.

How to Play Gin Rummy – Video Tutorials 

Gin Rummy Frequently Asked Questions

Can a card be a part of both sets and run simultaneously in Gin Rummy?

No. No two melds in the player’s hand can rely on a single card for their legitimate. If you have three sevens and a run of 7-8-9, you must decide where your sevens belong.

Can you count points for hands you have won towards the 100-point threshold required to end the game of Gin Rummy?

Unfortunately, the points you receive for winning hands are only bonus points. They are not counted towards the winning threshold. 

Can you play Gin Rummy for money?

Yes. In this case, the loser of the game must pay the winner the difference between their score at the end of the game.

Other Similar Games to Gin Rummy (Our Guides) 

If you enjoy playing Gin Rummy, you should certainly try some of the game’s alternatives, too. Check out our guides to a few of them below: 

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