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Gin Rummy

Gin Rummy is the most popular two-handed pinochle arid game of all time. Except for Poker, more money changes hands at Gin Rummy than at any other game. It is one of the finest two-handed games, and is also an excellent game for three, four, or six players. I believe its popularity is due to three main reasons: (a) it is easy to learn and simple to play; (b) every other payer believes he’s a champ at the game; and (c) the game is fast with plenty of action.

Gin Poker, the father of Gin Rummy, first made its appearance in saloons and gambling joints throughout the country back in 1899. Most present day bridge writers and game authors erroneously credit a New York bridge expert in 1909 with the invention of Gin Rummy. It doesn’t make sense, because we compare the 1899 rules of Gin Poker with those of early Gin Rummy, we find them the same with the exception of the name of the game and several expressions used. The rules for Gin Poker are as follows: A standard pack of 52 cards is used. The game is for two players. Game is 100 points. Each player is dealt ten cards, one to each alternately. The twenty-first card is turned face up. Each player can pick off the top card of the discard pile or take a card off the top of the stock, then discard a card. ,The object of the game is to get sequences of three or more in a suit, or three or four of a kind. As soon as deadwood (unmatched cards) total ten or less the player can call for a showdown, and has to announce the amount of his deadwood and show his hand, laying the combinations aside. If an opponent has less deadwood than the caller (the present game’s “knocker”), he and not the caller gets paid. Not only that, he gets a 10-point penalty from the caller.
Since Gin Rummy surged to the front early in 1939, many changes have taken place in the game. I’ve seen hundreds of games of Gin Rummy played in the United States and abroad, and except when played in the same local area, rarely have I seen the game played under the same rules. Gin Rummy, like all other card games, has had to live through an  awkward age, pending the establishment of a I standard practice and standard laws universally acceptable.
In my opinion there’s only one practical way to evolve a set of rules for Gin Rummy and that’s the hard way by playing hundreds and hundreds of games, identifying the bugs as they come up rewriting laws to eliminate them, and ascertaining from the best Gin Rummy players throughout the country why they use a specific rule or scoring method. These things and others I have accomplished over the past thirty years. The end result of these efforts is the following modern method of playing Gin Rummy. I’ve taken the legislator’s privilege of giving a name to this improved game. I call it Standard Gin Rummy .

Requirements for Play

  1. Gin Rummy is strictly a two-handed game.
  1. Only two persons may play against each other at a time.

(b) Although the game may involve three, four, or more players, only two of these may be in play against each other simultaneously.

  1. A standard pack of 52 playing cards is used: from ace to king in the four suits. The ace is the lowest-ranking card, having a value of 1; the king, queen, and jack are valued at 10 points each. All other cards have their numerical face value. The suits have no value. Usually at hand are two decks of different back designs or colors so that a change of decks may be made upon completion of each hand.
  2. Pencil and pad to keep score.

Object of the Game. The object of the online poker game is to form matched sets, called lays, or melds, the deduction of which from the hand will bring the value of the remaining unmatched cards to a total (called a count) as indicated by the numerical value of the first upcard, or to meld, or lay down, all the ten cards in matched sets, which is called Gin.
A matched set may be either a sequence of three or more cards in the same suit-for example; the five, six, and seven of hearts, or three or four cards of the same rank, for example, the ace of diamonds, ace of clubs, and ace of spades and ace of hearts. The ace may only be used in a low sequence, for example: ace, two, and three of spades, etc. Incidentally, it is possible to meld the entire hand (ten cards) in a single sequence.
Selecting Dealer and Starting Position. By mutual consent either player may shuffle the deck.

  1. Each player cuts a group of cards from the deck. Player cutting the low card deals. In case of a tie, players cut again.
  1. If players want to cut for seat position,the player cutting high card takes his choice of seat.
  2. The loser of a hand deals the next hand. The Shuffle and Cut. The dealer shuffles the deck. His opponent may call for a shuffle at any time he likes prior to the cut, though the dealer retains the privilege of shuffling last. Then dealer must offer the deck to opponent for cut. If opponent refuses to cut, dealer must cut his own cards before starting the deal. When cutting, at least five cards must be in each cut portion of the deck.

The Deal

  1. The dealer deals his opponent ten cards and himself ten cards, one at a time, alternately, the opponent being dealt the first card off the top of the deck and so on down until the dealer gets the last, twentieth card.
  2. The twenty-first card is dealt on the table face up-the upcard; the remainder of the deck is placed face down beside the upcard to form the stock. The upcard determines the maximum number of points in unmatched cards with which a player may knock. For example, if the dealer turns up a six-spot, the player who proposes to knock must have in his hand 6 points or less in unmatched cards. It is suggested that when playing this poker game, you note on the score sheet, at the moment it is turned, the numerical value of the twenty-first card, the upcard. If the twenty-first dealt card is an ace, a player is not permitted to knock. He has no choice but to play for gin. This eliminates arguments. If the twenty-first card is a spade, the points won in that hand are doubled. Note: This double-spade rule may be waived if mutually agreed upon at the start of the game.
  3. The remainder of the deck, called the stock, is placed on the table and is spread slightly to the right by the dealer. This is done to minimize the possibility of accidentally picking up or seeing the two top cards of the stock when drawing a card.

Optional Deal. An extra deck of cards must be made available for this optional deal. Any participant shuffles the deck. Any other participant cuts and places the face-down deck halfway into its card case. Then, the dealer deals out the two gin hands, but instead of facing the twenty-first card dealt in the center of the table to form the upcard (first card of discard pile), he deals it face down to the nondealer, giving him eleven cards in all. His first play will be a discard.
Next the top card of the pack inside the card case is turned face up for all to see. This card replaces the dealt upcard (in the original deal) and determines the maximum number of points or less in unmatched cards with which each contestant may knock. After the first hand is finished, the faced card of this extra deck is placed on the bottom of the deck and the second card from the top is turned face up to denote the maximum number of points or less in unmatched cards with which a player may knock for his second dealt hand. And so it goes, hand after hand, until the end of the game, when this extra deck is reshuffled and placed halfway into the card case, and the above procedure is repeated.
This optional deal is highly recommended when playing multiple partnerships in which the knock number for all contestants is determined by the same faced card in the card case.
The Play

  1. The nondealer begins the play either by taking the upcard into his hand or by declining it.
  2. If he declines it, the dealer in his turn has the option of taking it or declining it.
  3. If the dealer declines the upcard, the nondealer must take the top card of the stock.
  4. After taking the first card (either the upcard or the top card of the stock), that player must discard one card from his hand onto the discard pile. Play continues with each player in turn having the option of either picking his opponent’s discard (upcard) or drawing the top card from the stock. After a player has picked the upcard or the top card of the stock and has discarded, his turn of play is completed, and he must wait for the completion of his opponent’s play before he can make his next play. The rules in play apply alike to dealer and nondealer, and the play continues thus alternately until a decision or no-game has been attained.
  5. If a player has game i.e. if he can meld all ten of his cards he turns his discard face down on the table, and announces “Gin!” Then he places all his melds, separate from each other, face up on the table. The opponent then must face all his melds separately on the table, placing his unmatched cards face up to one side. He then counts the total of his unmatched cards.
  6. If a player wants to knock, he turns his e discard face down on the table and announces “Knock!” or “Down!” He places his melds face up on the table separate from each other, and places his unmatched cards face up to one side. Then he adds the numerical values of the unmatched cards, and announces the count.

When a Player May Knock. When a play poker player holds enough melds to bring the total count of his unmatched cards down to the point value or less as shown by the first upcard, he may either knock or, as he elects, continue, playing. Should he decide to knock, he must a first put his discard face down on the discard  pile and announce his knock as described above, meld his combinations, and set aside his unmatched cards. After he has announced his count, his opponent must then expose his hand, and is permitted to discard in any of the following ways:

  1. He may place on the table, separate from each other, any melds he holds.
  2. He may layoff any cards which can be added to the knocker’s melds.
  3. He now places on the knocker’s unmatched cards an equal value of his own unmatched cards.
  4. The knocker now gets credit for the value of unmatched cards still in the possession of his opponent.

This is called a box, or line. It is the score t of that hand.

The Underknock. Should the opponent I have a total of unmatched cards less than the knocker’s total or count after melding and laying off cards, the opponent wins the box, and is credited, moreover, with the difference in points between the knocker’s hand and his own hand, plus a bonus of 25 points for scoring an underknock. If the knocker and opponent are tied in unmatched cards, the opponent wins the hand and scores a bonus I of 25 points.
To Go Gin. If a player lays down his ten cards in melds, he has gone Gin. In this event his opponent may put down only his own melds, and is not allowed to layoff cards on the other player’s melds. The player who went Gin gets credit for all his opponent’s unmatched cards plus a 25-point bonus.
No-Game. Should the hand be played down to the fiftieth card, leaving two cards face down in the stock, the player whose turn it is to draw may pick up the last discard and  knock or go Gin, but he cannot pick up either of the last two down cards.  Should he fail to knock or go Gin with the upturned card, the deal is considered at an end, and a no-game is declared.  Neither player receives any credits.
If the deck is found to have less or more than 52 cards, the game in play automatically becomes void, regardless of what the scores may be, the moment the discovery is made (though all previous completed games and hands stand and are valid).
End of Game.  The game ends when one of the players scores 150 points or more

  1. poker winner of the game scores the difference between the two totals.
  2. An extra 25 points is added to each player’s score for each box won.
  3. Winner of the game gets a game bonus of 150 points for winning.

In the following sample Standard Gin game, john Scarne’s new game-scoring method is employed.  The hand score for each player is written down at the left, then a dash followed by the cumulative game score to the right.  This makes it known to each player at all times how far ahead or behind he is.





First hand



Second hand



Third hand



Fourth hand



Fifth hand



Sixth hand



Seven  hand



Eighth hand



Game scores



Box bonuses



Game bonus



Total score

-100 minus losers ’s (he) score



362 Your net winnings


First hand: You knock with 8.  He has 19.  You score 11.
Second hand: He goes Gin.  You have 20.  He scores 20 +25 points Gin bonus, 45 in all.  He scores 45.
Third hand:   He knocks with 3.  You have 8.  He scores 5, giving him a total of 50.
Fourth hand:   You knock with 9.  He has 49.  You score 40 and your new total is 51.
Fifth hand:   He knocks with 3.  You also have 3.  You score 25, the underknock bonus.  Now your score is 76.
Sixth hand: You knock with 7.  He has 26.  You score 19 and your new total is 122.
Seventh hand:   You go Gin.  He has 2, you score 2 + 25 points Gin bonus, adding 27 to your score.  You new total is 122.
Eight hand: You knock with 5.  He has 45, adding 40 to your score.  This puts you over the 150-points game mark with a total of 162 points and gives you game.  You won six boxes, 150 points at 25 points each.  He won two boxes worth 50 points to him.  Then you add 150 points for winning the game.  Your total score is 462, his is 100.  So your winnings for the game are the difference in score, or 362 points net.  At 1 cent a point you collect $3.62 for your win.

(Top) A gin is worth 25 points.  It shows all cards in runs of at least three of the same denomination or in numerical sequence by suit.  (Bottom) A player “knocks ” – here with three odd points: an ace and deuce.

Shutout, Skunked, Schneidered, blitzed

  1. If a player scores 150 points or more before his opponent scores any points at all, the winner gets the 150 –point game bonus plus a 150- point shutout bonus –plus all other credits.
  1. Variations in Scoring.  A very popular variation is to double everything for a shutout point total, box bonuses, and game bonus.  It’s popular because it’s   exciting, especially thrilling to get that big score when you Schneider your opponent.  But of course it does throw the game off balance.  A whole evening’s   play may be decided  by one lucky shutout game.  If you don’t mind that sort of thing, go ahead and use this hopped-up scoring system.

Optional Standard Gin Rummy Game Ending Variants.   For the player who prefers a longer game, the author recommends 200 or 250 points as a completed game.  In that case the Gin, underknock, and box bonuses remain at 25 points each.  But the game bonus and shutout bonus are each 200 points for a 200-point game and are each 250 points for a 250-point game.  Some Gin clubs now play 200 point  games.

            Unit Scoring.  This is a streamlined method of scoring.  At the completion of a game and before the final tally, the right-hand digit of each entry on the score sheet is canceled off.  Thus, you have won a rummy games with the following credits:
20 points difference in scores
60 points   for boxes
100 points for game
It adds up to 182 points, but in unit scoring you give yourself:
2 points for difference in scores
6 points for boxes
10 points for game
It adds up to 18 points.  Some players like this method because it’s fast and easy.



Pinochle many Variations

Pinochle many Variations
Two-Handed Pinochle
Two-Handed Doubling Redoubling
Auction pinochle
Strategy at Auction
CAD found
Partnership Auction
Auction pinochle without wido Individual play
Partnership Aeroplane Pinochle
Radio Partnership Pinochle

Other Members of the Bezique Family

The Bezique Family
Rubicon bezique
Two-handed sixty-six
Two-handed piquet
Boo-Ray or BOURÉ

The Big Euchre Family

The big euchre family
Strategy of euchre
Auction euchre
Table of scoring points
Spoil five
Double hasenpfeffer
Three-card loo

The Heart Group

Heart Group
Spot Hearts
Black Widow Hearts

The All-Fours Group

All-Fours Group
Shasta Sam
Auction Pitch Joker

Banking Card Games

Banking Card Games
Black Jack, casino Style
Black Jack Strategy
CHEMIN DE PER must play
Baccarat Banque
Faro or farobank
Banker and broker
Red Dogs

Card craps

The Stops Games

Stops Game

Skarney® and How It Is Played

Skarney® and How It Is Played
Alternate Skarney
Skarney Singles
Skarney Gin Doubles

Cheating at Card Games

Cheating at Card Games
Professional Card Cheats
Nullifying the Cut
The Peek
How to Shuffle Cards

Dice and their Many Games

Dice and their Many Games
The Casino Game: Bank Craps
English Hazard
Double Cameroon
Partnership Straight scarney Dice
Scarney Duplicate Jackpots
Scarney Chemin de Fer
Applying All Card Games Poker

Games Requiring Special Equipment

Hasami Shogi
Follow The Arrow

Lottery and Guessing Games

Lottery guessing game
Tossing Game
Race Horse Keno
The match Game

Glossary of Game Terms


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