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“What card players the world over need is a great two-handed card game .”  I have said this for many years, and now it seems Skarney Gin fills the bill.  It is truly the most fascinating and exciting two-handed card game in history.  Regular Gin Rummy, unlike Skarney Gin, is basically a gambling game.  Leave the stakes out of Gin Rummy and it falls flat on its face as a nongambling game.  Skarney Gin, however, is a great family pastime.  For the millions of married coups Skarney Gin is the ideal two-handed  game.

®  copyright © John Scarne Games, Inc.  The design and name are trade marked and its contents copyrighted and no paert of this game can be reproduced in any form without written permission Inc., 4319 Meadow Avenue, North Bergen, New Jersey 07047.

            Skarney Gin is the game that I honestly believe will soon displace regular Gin Rummy as America’s favorite two-handed card game. It outclasses regular Gin Rummy not only in fun and excitement but in strategic planning. The reasons for the above statements are: (1) Skamey Gin makes use of three melds, groups, sequences, and poker straights whereas regular Gin Rummy employs only groups and sequences. This factor alone gives Skamey Gin greater scope and flexibility, causing the player to commit more errors than he would in regular Gin Rummy. (2) The ten-card initially dealt hand in regular Gin Rummy always remains the same during play. In Skarey Gin the ten dealt cards held by a player fluctuate. They may increase to twenty or more cards, decrease to one, increase to ten or more, remain the same, or dwindle to zero when a player goes Skamey or gin. This unusual and fascinating scientific aspect of Skamey Gin makes the game much more interesting and requires greater player concentration than regular Gin Rummy. (3) Although Skamey Gin is a scientific game, poor players win occasion ally, so that everyone becomes convinced that he plays well. In no other card game do you find so many self-proclaimed local champs.

Ten Things Every Winning Skarney Gin Player Must Know

  1. Learn the rules so thoroughly you can recall them instantly and correctly.
  2. Minimize mechanical errors by picking up your dealt cards singly.
  3. Don’t break up a possible meld at the start of the hand to withhold a doubtful card from your opponent.
  4. Study your contract meld before putting it down. However, it usually pays to put down poker straights rather than groups or sequences.
  5. Risk adding to opponent’s meld rather than offer a live potential discard.
  6. Late in the hand, think twice before offering an ace (stop card) as your potential discard.
  7. It usually doesn’t pay to accept a potential discard only for its layoff value.
  8. When purposely holding back your contract meld, make sure to study the score.
  9. When putting down poker straights, it is best to meld them in sets of three's rather than sets of fours, fives, or sixes the reason is, there are more opportunities for layoffs.
  10. Don’t play hunches play the odds.

Standard Rules for Skarney Gin

  1. Two players although the game may involve three or four players, only two of these may be in play against each other simultaneously.
  2. A standard 52-card deck. It is recommended that two packs of cards with backs of different colors be used in the play poker . While the dealer is shuffling for the deal, the non-dealer is giving the other pack a preliminary shuffle, after which it is set to one side. It is shuffled again by the loser of this hand before he deals the next hand.

Point Scoring for Penalty Cards. Melded cards resting on the table at the end of a hand count zero. Only the cards left in a player’s hand at the end of a hand are scored. Even though they form melds they are counted as penalty cards against the holder. The ace is the highest-ranking penalty card, having a value of 15 points. The king, queen, and jack are valued at 10 points each. All other cards have their numerical face value, such as deuce 2 points, three 3 points, four 4 points, etc. The suits have no value.
So that the reader can see the penalty card counts at a glance, they have been placed in tabular form.





Minus 15 each


Minus 10 each


Minus 10 each


Minus 10 each


Minus 10 each


Minus 9 each


Minus 8 each


Minus 7 each


Minus 6 each


Minus 5 each


Minus 4 each


Minus 3 each


Minus 2 each

Melds.  The following three types of melds are permitted in Skarney Gin.
            1.  Group Melds.  Three or four cards of the same rank such as three or four eights, three or four kings, etc.
2. Sequence melds. Three or more cards of the same suit in consecutive order. Examples: three, four, five of hearts or eight, nine, ten, and jack of spades. Aces, however, may be used in both low and high card sequences. Examples: ace, deuce, three of spades; queen, king, ace of clubs. Aces, however, cannot be used in a round-the-corner sequence such as king, ace, deuce of diamonds.
3. Poker-Straight Melds. Three or more cards of various suits in consecutive order. Examples: poker straights such as the three of clubs, four of diamonds, five of spades; or ten of diamonds, jack of hearts, queen of clubs, and king of diamonds, etc. Aces, as in sequence melds, may be used in both a low or high card run or straight. Examples: ace of hearts, deuce of diamonds, three of clubs; or queen of spades, king of hearts, ace of clubs, etc. Aces cannot be used in a round-the-corner straight such as king, ace, deuce.
Contract Melds. The first meld made by each player in each and every deal (hand) until the completion of the game must meet the exact initial contract meld requirement of three three-card melds, a total of nine cards. The three three-card melds may be comprised of any of the following: (a) three three-card group melds; (b) three three-card sequence melds; (c) three three-card poker-straight melds; (d) any three three-card meld combinations made up of groups, sequences, and poker straights. Examples: (1) one three- card group, one three-card sequence, and one three-card poker straight; (2) one three-card group and two three-card sequences; (3) one three-card group and two three-card poker straights, etc. To emphasize, no part of a contract meld can have more than three cards when first placed on the table, nor can the contract meld be comprised of more or less than three three-card melds.
Selecting Dealer and Starting Position. By ‘mutual consent either player may shuffle the deck of cards. Each player cuts a group of cards from the deck. Player cutting the low-faced card deals first. In case of a tie, players cut again. The loser of a hand deals the next hand.
If players want to cut for seat position, the player cutting low takes his choice of seat.
The Shuffle and Cut. Dealer shuffles the deck. Opponent may call for a shuffle at any time he likes prior to the cut, though the dealer retains the privilege of shuffling last. Dealer must offer the deck to opponent for cut. If opponent refuses to cut, the dealer must cut his own cards before starting the deal. When cutting, at least ten cards must be in each cut portion of the deck.
The Deal. Dealer deals the opponent ten cards and himself ten cards, the opponent being dealt the first card off the top of the deck and so on alternately, until the dealer gets the last, twentieth card. The remainder of the deck, called the stock, is placed face down on the table between both players. It is advisable to spread the stock out fan-shaped on the table to minimize the chances of inadvertently drawing and seeing any cards other than the one to which the player is entitled.
The Actual Play of the Hand. Each of the two players in turn, starting with the non- dealer, does as follows:
First, he takes (draws) the top card of the stock (the remainder of the undealt cards which are face down on the table).
Second, once a player has fulfilled his contract meld, he may, if he chooses, place on the table before him any possible melds and any possible one-or two-card layoffs on each of his previous melds. A player at each turn of play is not permitted to layoff more than two cards on each previous meld. Nor is a player permitted to layoff cards on his opponent’s melds.
Third, he removes a potential discard (remember, I said “potential discard”) from the cards he is holding, turns it face up in his hand and offers it to his opponent by extending it toward him, asking, “Do you want this six-seven card ?” The opponent may either accept or refuse the potential discard. If he accepts it, he replies, “I’ll take it.” This action ends the turn of play for the player who offered the card. If the opponent refuses the potential discard, the player who offered it must keep the card and return it to his hand, and his turn of play is ended. A player cannot offer the same potential discard he just accepted from his opponent at his subsequent turn of play. Example: A player accepts his opponent’s potential discard, which is the six of spades. He cannot offer the six of spades to his opponent until he has offered another card first.
Fourth.if a player’s potential discard is an ace, and the opponent accepts it, the opponent loses his turn to pick the top card of the stock.
Fifth and last, should a player hold one card in his hand, he is not permitted to offer it as a potential discard.  He merely says “Last card” and keeps it.
A player during his turn and at no other time may ask his opponent how many cards he holds.  The question must be answered correctly.  And, so it goes from player to player until the hand ends by a player getting rid  of all the cards in his hand by going Skarney or two cards remain in the stock.  When a player draws the fiftieth card from the stock and puts down his melds and lay-offs, if any, the hand ends then and there without the player offering a potential  discard.
To reemphasize, a player at each turn of play after having put down his contract meld may meld and lay off one or two cards on each previous meld as he wishes.  A player is not permitted to lay off cards on his opponent’s melds.
Note:   In Skarney Gin, to minimize the chances of not picking from the stock at a player’s turn of play, the following rule should be enforced.  Once a player has refused a potential discard, he must immediately pick a card from the top of the stock.  The strict observance of this rule will avoid many arguments between players as to whether a player at his turn of play has or has not taken a card from the stock.

How to Score a Hand.

  1. When a player, after having laid down his contract meld gets rid of every card in his hand, he calls “Skarney,”  ending the hand.  This is also known as gin, or going out.  The player who goes Skarney receives a 20-point  Skarney bonus plus a total point count of all the cards that his opponent holds in his hand at the end of the hand even though they form melds.  Example:   a player goes Skarney.  His opponent holds seven cards comprised of four tens, two fives, and one ace.  The player who Skarneyed scores 65 points.  The penalty value of his opponent’s seven unmelded cards, plus 20 points for going Skarney, makes a total of 85 points.  His opponent does not score.
  2. When a player goes Skarney or gin, and his opponent has failed to put down his contract meld, the 20-point skarney bonus for the hand is doubled to 40 points and is known as double Skarney, or double gin.
  3. When a player has drawn the fiftieth card (the last card, leaving two in the stock), the hand ends without that player offering a potential discard and the player holding the lower penalty point total in unmelded cards in his hand wins the hand and gets credit for the point difference between both totals.  Example:    The hand ends and player A is caught with 15 points in ummelded cards in his hand.  player B has 36 points in unmelded cards in his hand.  Player A is the winner of the hand and scores 21 points, the difference between both totals.  Should both players, tie, a no-hand is declared and the same dealer deals again.

End of Game.  A game terminates at the end of any hand in which a total of 200 or more points is scored by either player.
            How to score a Game. 

  1. Winner of the game scores the difference between both totals.
  1. Winner of the game gets a game bonus   of 200 points for winning.
  2. A extra 25 points known as a box bonus is added to each players score for each hand won.
  3. Should a player score 200 points or more before his opponent scores any points at all, winner gets a 200-point shutout bonus plus all other credits.  Following is a sample scoring of a Skarney gin game, using my new game scoring method.  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 make it known to each player at all times how far ahead or behind he is.


























Game scores



Box bonuses



Game scores



Total scores



Minus loser’s score



Your net winnings

408 points


First hand:   You go Skarney.  Your opponent is caught with 24 points in unmelded cards (penalty cards).  You score 24 points plus a 20-point Skarney bonus a total of 44 points.
Second hand:  Your opponent goes Skarney.  You are caught with 44 penalty points.  Opponent scores 44 points plus a 20-point  Skarney bonus.  A total of 64 points.  At the end of the second hand your opponent leads by 64 to 44.
Third hand:   Two cards are left in the stock.  No one goes skarney .  You hold 9 penalty points, your opponent 45.  You score the difference, 36 points.  At the end of the third hand, you lead 80 to 64.
Fourth hand:  You go Skarney.  Your opponent is caught with 20 points in unmelded cards (penalty points).  You score 20 plus a 20-point Skarney bonus for a total fourth –hand score of 40 points.  The cumulative game score at the end of the fourth hand is 120 to 64 in your favor.
Fifth Hand: You go Skarney. Your opponent holds 7 penalty points. You score 7 plus a 20-point Skarney bonus for a fifth-hand total of 27 points. The score at the end of the fifth hand is 147 to 64 in your favor.
Sixth Hand: Your opponent goes Skarney. You are caught with 50 penalty points. Your opponent scores 50 plus a 20-point Skarney bonus, or 70 points in all. At the end of the sixth hand the score reads 147 to 134 with you in the lead.
Seventh Hand: You go double Skarney. Your opponent holds 80 points in unmelded cards (penalty points). You score 80 plus a 40-point double-Skarney bonus for a total seventh-hand score of 120 points. The 120 points puts you well over the 200 mark with a total of 267 and gives you game. You have five boxes, a total of 125 points at 25 points each. your opponent has two boxes worth 50 points; these are added to the scores. You add a game bonus of 200 points for winning the game. Your grand total is 592. Your opponent’s is 184. So your point winnings for the game are the difference in scores, or 408 points net. At one-tenth of a cent a point, you collect 41 cents from your opponent.

Additional Rules for Skarney Gin

If a player accidentally, inadvertently, or purposely violates a rule of the game he must pay a prescribed penalty. The right to penalize an offense or irregularity is forfeited if the offended player (a) waives the penalty, or (b) calls attention to an opponent’s irregularity after he has drawn a card from the stock.
            Misdeals.  A misdeal is declared, and the dealer of the hand immediately starts a new deal, whenever any of the following  improprieties are discovered (there are no penalties for the dealer or the responsible player):

  1. If a card is turned over any time during the deal.
  2. If either player or both players have been dealt an incorrect number of cards.
  3. If a player deals out of turn and the error is discovered before a play has been completed.
  4. If a player look at an opponent.
  5. If a card is a found  face up during the deal.
  6. If, however, a card is found face up in  the stock, it must be properly turned, the stock shuffled and cut, and play continues.

Irregularities in the Draw.  Here are problems that may arise when drawing:

  1. If a player inadvertently picks off the stock two cards instead of one or inadvertently sees the face of the card below the one he has just taken, or his opponent has reason to believe that he has seen it, then his opponent at his turn of play, may, if he likes, look at the face of the top card of the stock and take it or shuffle the stock and cut before drawing from the stock.
  2. If a player draws from the stock before his opponent has offered a potential discard, he loses his turn to accept the potential discard, he loses his turn to accept the potential discard.  Further more, he cannot meld or lay off until his next turn of play and the penalty to the offender is 25 points.

Imperfect Deck During the Play.  The following are the additional poker rules when a faulty deck is discovered:
1. There must be new deal by the same dealers:

    1. If it is discovered that the deck has one or more duplicate cards.
    2. If a foreign card (not from either deck) is found in the deck during the deal or in the stock at any time before a player goes Skarney.
    3. If it is discovered while the hand is still in play that the standard 52 cards.

2.  If, however, a card of the other deck, when two decks are being used, is found  in the stock, it shall be eliminated and play continues.

  1. If it is discovered after a player goes Skarney or the hand is over that the deck has fewer or more cards, it has no bearing on that or previous   hands

Irregularities in the Potential Discard.  Here are rules covering discards:

  1. If a player offers a potential discard without drawing, he must draw the top card of the stock if attention is called to the irregularity before his opponent has drawn.  If the opponent draws before attention is called, the offending player must take the next top card of the stock and the play refers back to the opponent, and the offender on his next turn to play may not meld or lay off until his subsequent turn to play.
  2. If during the play a player should refuse a potential discard either by word or action, he cannot then decide to take it.  His refusal to accept it is his final decision on that card.
  3. If a player at his turn has accepted his opponent’s potential discard either by word or action, the decision stands.  He cannot refuse the potential discard under any condition.
  4. A potential discard once offered cannot be returned to the player’s hand and another potential discard substituted the play stands.

Illegal Contract Melds.  If it is discovered during a player’s turn to play that he has placed on the table as a contract meld an insufficient or illegal meld, the following can be done:

  1. He may correct the irregularity by putting  down sufficient melds from his hand, in which case he may rearrange the cards put down in error providing he makes use of all melded cards.  the offender is penalized 25 points.
  2. He may return to his hand one or more cards put down in error and rearrange all his melds from melded cards and cards in poker hand, in which case he is penalized 25 points.
  3. If a player errs by placing on the table an illegal or insufficient contract meld and he cannot remedy the situation, he is permitted to return the cards to his hand and he is penalized 25 points.
  4. If a player errs by placing on the table more than nine cards (3 three-card melds) as his contract meld, he may correct the irregularity by returning the extra to his hand.  There is no penalty for the infraction providing no cards from the hand are used to help achieve the contract meld.

Irregularities in Melding and Laying Off. 
The following details rule melding and laying off irregularities:

  1. After a player’s contract meld has been fulfilled, and he puts down an additional meld or melds, he cannot pick them up and replace them in his hand.  Nor is he permitted to rearrange them in any other kind of meld.  cards once melded and laid down on the table remain as legal melds.  The same ruling holds true for a one-to two-card layoff.
  2. If a player lays down an illegal meld or layoff and attention is brought to it, he is permitted to correct the irregularity and replace the card or cards in his hand.  the penalty for this infraction of the rules is 25 points.
  3. If after an illegal meld or layoff, the opponent draws a card from the stock before attention is called to the error, the illegal meld or lay off stands as a legal play.
  4. If a player melds or lays off cards before drawing a card from the stock, and attention is called to the error, the player must draw a card from the stock and return the illegal melds and layoffs to his hand, and he cannot meld or lay off until his next turn of play.

Stop-Card Irregularity.  If a player’s potential discard is an ace, commonly known as a stop card, and if the opponent accepts the ace, he loses his turn to pick the top card of the stock.  If the opponent refuses the ace, the playr who offered it must keep it.  If, however, the opponent accepts the stop card and draws from the stock inadvertently, he must show the card erroneously drawn to his opponent and replace it on the stock.  The opponent may, if he chooses, take the card as his draw or shuffle the stock and cut before drawing.  There is no penalty for this infraction.
A Last-Card Irregularity.  When a player holds only one card in his hand, he cannot offer it as a potential discard.  When holding only one card, a player must announce “Last card,” in a voice that his opponent can hear.  If, however, a player inadvertently does offer his last card, there is no penalty, but the player may be reprimanded.  If the player repeats the infraction, he is penalized 25 points for each new offense.
Score Correction.  If a scoring error is made, the following rules prevail:

  • When a score is agreed upon and written down, it may not later be set aside.  Proven mistakes in addition or subtraction on the score sheet may be corrected at any time prior to the start of a new game.  If the error can be corrected.
  • Once the winner of the  hand has verified his point count for the hand and entered it on the score sheet and a new hand has started, players cannot call for rectification of some previous mistake they all have made.  A player is not required to inform his opponent that he has committed an error or failed to lay off a card or failed to meld to his best advantage, nor is he required to notify the opposition, that he is calling an incorrect count to his disadvantage.
  • A player who at the completion of hand in inadvertently mixes his or his opponent’s penalty cards with the rest of the cards before they are counted may not dispute that opponent’s claim to their point value.



Pinochle many Variations

Pinochle many Variations
Two-Handed Pinochle
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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
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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
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The All-Fours Group

All-Fours Group
Shasta Sam
Auction Pitch Joker

Banking Card Games

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CHEMIN DE PER must play
Baccarat Banque
Faro or farobank
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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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