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Gin Rummy Guide: Rules, Strategies & Expert Tips

Jennifer Lynn Written by Jennifer Lynn
Richard Grant Reviewed by Richard Grant

Gin Rummy

How to Play Gin Rummy

Gin Rummy is a card game for 2 to 4 players.

A standard deck of 52 playing cards is used with no jokers.

Aces are always low and in terms of points, all picture cards are worth 10 and the rest are worth the number of pips on the card – so 5 is worth 5 points, 8 is worth 8 points, etc.

Each player uses 10 cards to make combinations of 3 or more cards making up a run or cards of the same rank.

Gin Rummy Rules

Each player chooses a random card to start and the player with the highest value card becomes the dealer for the first round. From the first hand forward, the player who wins the previous round is the dealer for the following round.

10 cards are dealt face down to each player and the remaining cards are placed into the center of the play area with the top card turned upwards.

The player to the left of the dealer goes first. In the first round, each player can decide whether to pick up the upturned card and discard one of the 10 in their hand or keep the 10 cards they have.

If they choose to pick up the card and discard one, the next player has the choice of picking up the previously discarded card or keeping the 10 they have.

Once each player has had their first turn, the players then have to pick one card up and discard one card each turn. If they don’t want the face-up card, they can pick the top card from the remaining pack in the middle of the play area. They then have to discard one card to ensure they always have 10 cards in their hand.

Play continues in this way until one player wins.

Gin Rummy Rules

Above is an example of a layout for a game of Gin Rummy. Each player has 10 cards, you can only view yours and not your opponents, there are 2 piles of cards in the middle of the play area and you can take the upturned card if you wish – which your opponent will have discarded – or choose one from the face-down pile.

How to Score Points in Gin Rummy

How to Score Points in Gin RummyPlayers need to use at least 9 of their 10 cards to make runs – cards in numerical order and of the same suit – or 3 or more cards of the same rank – value. Remember, Aces only count as low, and therefore a player can have a hand of Ace, 2 and 3 but not Queen, King, and Ace.

The game ends when one player has 9 or 10 matched cards. After they discard for the final time, if they use all 10 cards they would call Gin and turn their cards over, if they use 9 of the 10 they would Knock and turn their cards over to show what cards they have. Points are then worked out.

If a player uses all 10 cards, so a run of 4, a run of 3, and a set of 3 for example, then they have no points and win the hand.

If they use 9 of the 10 cards, then they have the value of the remaining card in their hand. All picture cards are worth 10 points, other cards are worth points equal to their face value.

The losing player shows their cards and any runs or sets of 3 or more cards are put to one side. The value of the remaining cards is added together to work out their total points value.

The winner of the hand is the player with the fewest points, they win the difference in the value of their cards compared to their opponents. If the winner of the hand uses all 10 cards, they have a points value of 0.

If a player uses all 10 cards, they would call Gin, then they get a 20-point bonus from the hand as well as the difference in points. If a player uses 9 cards they would Knock and receive a 10-point bonus if the value of their remaining card is less than the value of their opponent’s remaining card/s. If it is higher than their opponent they receive the 10-point bonus as well as the difference in points.

How to Win at Gin Rummy

After each hand, the points for each player are added together. The winner of an overall game of Gin Rummy is the player who reaches 100 points in total first.

Gin Rummy Strategy

Gin Rummy StrategyAs Gin Rummy is a quick and easy game to play, there isn’t much of a strategy to follow. However, there are a few ways you can increase your chances of winning.

Keep an eye on what cards your opponent discards. This can give you an idea of what they are trying to get, for example, if they pick up a 7 of diamonds then you know they are either afters 7s or a run that includes a 7 of diamonds. If you have any cards that could assist either of these, try and keep hold of them for as long as possible.

Another advantage of knowing what has been discarded is that it gives you a better idea of what cards are left. If you see your opponent discard two Jacks, there is no point in keeping a pair of Jacks yourself in the hope of getting a set.

If you have a choice of cards to discard, keep the lower ones instead of the higher ones. The more points you have at the end of the game for cards that aren’t involved in a set or run, the better for your opponent. If you do lose a hand, it is better to do so with lower-value cards.

Knock early to try and catch your opponent with as many unmatched cards as possible. Although some players prefer waiting until they have Gin – using all 10 cards – it is worth Knocking when you have used 9 cards if there are a lot of cards left as your opponent may not have many matched cards and therefore you will be looking at more points than if you wait for a few more hands for Gin.

Gin Rummy Tips

Wherever possible, avoid taking a card from the discard pile. This gives your opponent information about the kind of hand/s you are looking to get and could lead to them withholding a card or cards that you need. Unless the card from the discard pile completes a run or set, avoid it.

We mentioned in the Strategy section about Knocking early, this goes the other way in that if you Knock late with a weak hand your opponent may well have gotten rid of the high-value ‘deadwood’ and have a low hand so even if you Knock later on there is no guarantee you will win.
If the cards you hold are later, the more you should consider trying to get Gin instead of Knocking.

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About the author

Jennifer Lynn
Head of Content
Jennifer Lynn has spent 14 years working in the online casino industry, making her a real expert in the field. She's not just skilled at writing about casinos; she also has a deep interest in online gambling games and is a passionate researcher and player. Jennifer offers her expertise on a range of casino games and the smart strategies to use. But her life isn't all about gambling and casinos. She also loves riding horses and practicing yoga, showing that she knows how to balance her professional interests with personal passions.
Last Updated: May 28, 2024



What is Gin Rummy?

Gin Rummy is a card game where players play against each other. The goal of each player is to use their 10 cards and make combinations of 3 or more cards according to their ranks and value. The player that makes the right combinations of the cards and has 100 points wins the game.


What’s the difference between Rummy and Gin Rummy?

It’s no secret that Gin Rummy and Rummy are cousins in terms of casino games. The difference between them is that in Rummy the players don’t lay down their sets and runs until they’re ready to do so.


How many players can play Gin Rummy?

When it comes to players, you can play Gin Rummy with 2 to 4 players. You can play it with friends, visit a land-based casino and find a table, or you can find an online casino that offers the game.


How many decks do you need for a game of Gin Rummy?

The best part about Gin Rummy is that you need just one deck to play the game. This is a standard deck of 52 cards. No Jokers are needed when playing Gin Rummy.


What are the Gin Rummy cards worth?

The lowest card in the game is the Ace which is worth one point. You have the number card from 2 to 10 and they have their face value. The strongest or top cards in Gin Rummy are the Kings, Queens, and Jacks.


Why is it called Gin Rummy?

The card game is named after the alcoholic drink Gin. This is an analogy of the original game of Rum, which also happens to be the name of an alcoholic drink. Although, there’s no connection between the game Rummy and Rum.


Any Gin Rummy tips?

The discard pile will give you an insight into what your opponent or opponents are looking for. You might see them going for certain cards and they might see you going for certain ones if you go for that pile. If it’s possible to avoid taking cards, do it as it keeps you safe. Keep the lower cards instead of discarding them. If you lose, you’ll lose fewer points. You have a better chance of winning with low-value cards. If you’re new to the game then you can study its rules and get to playing. You can do so with friends or random people at a table in a land-based casino or online. Online Gin Rummy table games come with a demo version that let you practice as much as you want. When you have enough experience, then you can go for the real money version. Naturally, this is a game so make sure to have some fun when playing it.

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