Online Rummy Guide
Enter the bonus code RR25EE7B1A when you register your account at RummyRoyal.com for $5 free!
The greatest Gin Rummy player of all time was probably Stu Ungar, who we also recognize as one of the great No Limit Texas Hold'em tournament players of all time as well. Logic, deductive reasoning and observation, not to mention the ability to read the other player, serves both the poker player and the rummy player well. Before you start playing real money gin rummy, or even if you just want to play for fun, you'll get a lot more enjoyment and profit from the game if you will take a moment to review the rummy rules and tips section below.
Finally, if you want to put what you have learned into practice, there are real money online rummy sites that are available and legal. All you need is time, a little cash and of course an internet connection to play internet gin rummy. The most popular online rummy site is Rummy Royal
The Object of Gin Rummy
The object of this card game is to put together a hand where most or all of your cards are combined into sets or runs, so that the point value of the remaining cards is very low.
A set is a group of 3 or 4 cards of the same rank, ie. 5, 5, 5 or King, King, King, King. A run is three or more cards in consecutive order that are also the same suit. For instance, 9 10 Jack, all of spades. It is important to note that the Ace is always played low, so Ace 2 3, would be a valid run, but Queen, King, Ace would not be.
Finally, a single card can only be used in one combination. For instance, the 7 of hearts could not be used to complete a set of sevens, and also a 7, 8, 9 sequence of hearts.
The Deck and Deal
A standard 52 card deck is used. The ranks from low to high are: Ace 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Jack Queen King. Each card has a value in Gin Rummy and are as follows:
Ace = 1 point
Number Cards are worth points equal to their number. (ie. 8 of hearts is worth 8 points)
Face Cards = 10 points
The dealer is chosen at random for the first deal, and will alternate between the two players afterwards. Each player is dealt 10 cards, one at a time. After dealing each player 10 cards, the twenty-first card is placed face up to start the discard pile. The rest of the deck, called the "stock," is placed face down beside it.
Playing the Hand
Each turn consists of two parts; the draw and the discard. When it is your turn, you can draw either the top card in the discard pile (the ones facing up) or the top card of the stock (cards face down). The advantage to drawing from the discard of course is you can see what you are getting. The disadvantage being that so can your opponent! If you draw from the stock of face down cards, obviously your opponent will not know what you have drawn.
Your turn is completed when you discard. You select one card from your hand to discard to the face up pile of discards. Important Note: If you take the top card from the discard pile during your draw, you must discard a different card this turn. Another words, you can't take the top discard and put the same card back this turn.
Finally, the first turn of the hand is drawn differently. The person who was not the dealer must decide whether or not to take the first discarded upcard (the 21st card!). If he declines, then the dealer can take the first upcard. If both players decline the first "up card" then the player who was not the dealer can go ahead and take the first card from the stock. Whichever player ends up taking the first card completes his hand with a discard and it is the other player's turn to draw. Play then continues in the normal fashion explained above.
Knocking to end the Hand
Once the total value of your unmatched cards, called deadwood, reaches 10 or less, you have the option of ending the hand by "knocking". The term is probably derived from players actually knocking on the table to signal they were ending the hand, much like a knock on the table in poker is a signal for a check. To knock, you discard one card after your draw, and spread your remaining cards out into as many valid combinations of sets and runs as possible. As noted above, the remaining unmatched cards are called deadwood. If you have no deadwood, then it is referred to as going Gin, and earns you extra points.
A player who has the 10 point deadwood or less requirement can knock on any turn including the very first turn. A player does not have to knock once they reach the 10 point level. They can choose to continue playing to achieve a better score.
The knocking player's opponent then spreads his own cards out into sets and runs. He can also "lay off" any of his own deadwood if they extend the sets and runs laid out by the original knocker. (Example: the original knocker has three 7's and the opponent has a 7 in his hand as well. The opponent can lay off his 7 on the knocker's set, thereby getting rid of some of his own deadwood.)
Two important points here! If the knocker goes gin (no deadwood!), the opponent is not allowed to lay off any cards. Secondly, the knocker is never allowed to lay off cards on the opponent's sets or runs.
Finally, play in a particular hand comes to an end if the stock is reduced to two cards, and the player who took the 3rd to the last card does not knock. In this case, the hand is cancelled with no score and the cards are shuffled and redealt by the same dealer, and completely replaying the hand. An alternate rule used by some allows for a slight variation. If the player who picks up the 3rd to last card does not knock and discards, his opponent can choose to pick up the discard and knock or go gin if able. If he can do neither then the hand is cancelled and redealt.
Scoring the Hand
Each player counts the total point value of their deadwood. If the knocker's score is lower, then he scores the difference between the two scores. (ie. Knocker score = 5, and opponent's deadwood = 15. The knocker scores 10).
If the deadwood points are equal or the knocker's opponent has fewer points, then the knocker has been "undercut". The knocker's opponent scores a 10 point undercut bonus, plus the difference between the two score counts.
If a player goes Gin, he scores a 20 point gin bonus, plus the opponents deadwood point value. A player who goes gin can never be undercut. Though rare, even if the opponent has no unmatched cards but decided not to declare gin himself, the player who goes gin still scores the 20 point bonus and the opponent scores zero.
Additional hands are played until one player's total score reaches 100 points or more. This player is given a 100 point bonus for reaching 100 first. If the losing player failed to score any points, then the winner receives a 200 point bonus instead. Each player then adds 20 points for each individual hand that they won during the game. This is called the box bonus or line bonus. The box bonuses are only tallied up at the end of the game. They cannot be counted as part of the 100 points the player needs to win the game.
If the game is being played for money, after all bonuses have been awarded, the player with the lower score pays the player with the higher score an amount in proportion to the difference between those scores.
Popular Gin Rummy Variations
There are quite a few scoring variations. For instance, some give a 25 point bonus for going gin as opposed to 20 points, the undercut bonus is 20 instead of 10, and the box bonuses 25 each. This big increase in the point proportion for the undercut bonus changes strategy significantly.
Another scoring variation is in the case of a losing player not scoring any points during a game. In the variation, the winner's entire score is doubled instead of just the 100 point win bonus being doubled to 200.
Yet another interesting variation is how to start the game. The dealer can deal 11 cards to the non dealer and only 10 to himself (no upcard). The non-dealer then simply discards one card to start, and the game proceeds as normal with the dealer choosing either the discard or the first stock card.