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Online Gin Rummy
Offering a change from your usual casino card game, Gin Rummy is an attractive choice. A sociable game with easy rules, Gin Rummy's popularity is spreading online.
Gin rummy is a game developed at the beginning of the last century as a hybrid between standard Rummy and knock Rummy. Faster than the former and demanding more strategy than the latter it is played with a standard deck of 52 cards. The King is the highest ranking card, followed by the Queen, Jack and the other cards with face values, while the Ace is the lowest.
How to Play Gin Rummy
In the game of Gin Rummy players assume the role of the dealer in turns, as this puts them at a disadvantage over the field. Stu Ungar, who is widely regarded as the best gin rummy player of all time, frequently played all the hands from the dealer position. He did so to present his opponents with an advantage given the fact that he was so good at the game that nobody wanted to play him on cash.
Regular Game - In a regular game, the dealer moves from one player to the other and the one who assumes this role will deal 10 cards to the players. The next card is placed face up to mark the discard pile and the face down pile goes by the name of stock pile. The other players have the option of picking up the up card on the discard pile or pass and action moves on to the next player.
If one player chooses to take the top card, the next one can claim the top card from either pile, otherwise the dealer has the chance to take the upcard or pass. In case he opts out, the next player has no option but to draw from the stock pile, with this ending the restrictions for the remaining players over the next round.
Specific Turns - On each turn, players draw the card sitting on top of the discard pile or the one on the stock pile and at the same time they have to discard one card from hand. The process goes on and on until someone completes the round by going Gin or Knocking. It is also possible for a round to end when just two cards remain in the stock pile, in which case the round concludes in a draw. The winner is the one who gets to 100 points first, or whatever amount decided by the players or tournament organizers.
Winning in Gin Rummy
Those who play Gin Rummy try to accumulate as many points as possible as fast as they can, to reach the agreed number before their opponents. In most cases, the threshold consists of 100 points and the one who gets there is declared the winner. The use of advanced strategies helps outshine competitive players, but the basic tactic is to improve the hand by forming melds while eliminating Deadwoods.
A meld can consist of three or four cards that have the same ranks which go by the name of Set or three or more consecutive cards sharing the same suit and called Runs. Aces can only be used at the low end or runs and players can form legal gin with hands that feature fewer than three melds.
Deadwoods are the ones that players try to avoid as these are the cards that will not fit in any melds. The total value of these unused cards is commonly referred to as deadwood count with each card having its face value while the ace counts as one. When playing gin rummy it is not possible to use the same cards to create intersecting melds, so players need to choose a Set or a Run if they share a common card.
Knocking and Going Gin
When players knock, they place the discard face down while revealing the melds and the deadwood, but they can only do so when they have 10 or less points of deadwood. When players knock with no points of deadwood at all, it is called that they have a Gin hand or that they went Gin. Going Down is the situation when players knock with deadwood points.
When someone announces knocking, the other players can lay out their melds and lay off those deadwood cards that fit into the knocking player's melds. This is not possible when the knocking player has a gin hand and once the action is completed, the round comes to an end and players start calculating the score. The player who initiated the knock will subtract the deadwood points from the defending player's pool and the resulting number is the score of the knocking player.
The player who manages to knock without having any deadwood cards, therefore using all 10 or 11 cards is going Gin. The round ends immediately and the player is rewarded with 25 points for his achievement as well as the deadwood points in the opponent's hand. The defending players are also prevented from playing off deadwood cards and can only lay out the melds.
Variations of Gin Rummy
- Straight Gin is a Rummy game that is played until someone goes gin, as knocking is not allowed. All the other rules and scoring patterns are identical to the standard game of Gin Rummy.
- Mahjong Gin doesn’t allow knocking either, but players have the option of taking an additional card from the discard pile. These cards are revealed to the entire table and opponents can use them to complete their Sets and Runs and the cards on the table are added to the score sheet when a player has gin.
- Oklahoma Gin is a version of the game where the maximum count at which players are allowed to knock is determined by the first upcard. A spade is a pleasant sight because when such an upcard is revealed, the value of the hand is doubled.
Gin Rummy Strategies
Stu Ungar and other professional gin rummy players had the uncanny ability of memorizing the cards that have been discarded. A good memory is essential in this game and any strategy should be based on analyzing the cards that are dangerous to retain. The top priority is to avoid those actions that can help your opponent, so refrain from discarding cards of the same type as your opponent's previous discard.
As a general rule, it is recommended to draw cards from the stock pile instead of going for the ones in the discard pile. The exception to the rule is when these cards can result in a Set or a Run, but otherwise it is advisable to give as few hints as possible to your opponent.
Players should also refrain from discarding high valued deadwood cards or consecutive ones too early, as this could help their opponent make high valued melds. They should get rid of them after reaching half deck, assuming they didn’t find a match yet, to minimize the deadwood cards total value. Read more of our Gin Rummy guides to educate yourself further on this unique game.