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Gin rummy is a variation of rummy, the card game, created for two players. Since the beginning of the 20th century, it has been conquering players from all parts of the world thanks to simple rules, socialization, and a chance to play anywhere. Gin rummy only takes a deck of cards and two players and is often enjoyed by youth and elderly people. What can be a better pastime than to gather with your friends or family, chat, and feel a bit of the adrenaline rush?

If you are still not familiar with this fun game, continue reading our guide. We will tell you everything about its history, rules, and winning tips.

History of Gin Rummy and Its Popularity

While many card games have a rather blurry history, there’s no secret in how gin rummy emerged. It was invented by Elwood Baker and his son, Graham, in 1909. Researchers believe that the game evolved from whisky poker and aimed to be faster than a regular rummy variation. Bakers’ creation still remains one of the most popular card games in the United States and is also known across Europe and a few other countries.

There’s even a Gin Rummy Association that runs tournaments in Las Vegas. To participate, you need to fill in the information on their website and arrive on time. There are no association fees or previous skills required. On the association’s website players can also learn how to play gin rummy, get familiar with tournament winners, and find out lots of interesting facts about the game.

Classic Gin Rummy Rules

Even though gin rummy doesn’t require a specific skill set, you should still master its rules before sitting at a table. Read our step-by-step guide and grasp the basics of gin rummy in no time.

It is played with a deck of 52 cards but the jokers are not used. We recommend using two decks: when one player deals, another one shuffles. Thus, the game speeds up. The cards order goes from highest to lowest: King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and Ace. Cards with figures earn 10 points and others are worth their depicted values. The gin rummy’s goal is rather straightforward: you should collect more than 100 points before the opponent. To do so, you need to form a certain combination on one or several hands.

  1. Decide how many people are playing. Gin rummy is a game for two, so if there’s a third person, they can be a dealer. If there are four players, it’s better to form teams or play two games separately.
  2. Define a dealer by drawing a card. The person with a lower card value is a dealer.
  3. Every player is given 10 cards. Deal them clockwise and face down.
  4. Leave the remaining cards on the table. They are called the stock pile. Take one card from the top of the pile and place it face-up. This card is the first in the discard pile.
  5. Merge your card into combinations. A set consists of 3 or 4 cards of the same rank. For example, four 10’s. A run is 3 or 4 consecutive cards of the same suit. For example, 6,7, and 8.
  6. Decide whether to take the face-up card. If you are not the dealer, you can choose whether the discarded card is useful or not. If yes, take it. If you pass, the dealer can pick it as well.
  7. Take a new card from the stock pile. Look at your hand attentively to see whether it helps to form a new combination or extend an existing one.
  8. Drop a card you don’t need. You shouldn’t keep cards that don’t match with the rest. However, there are a few rules to remember: you need to have 10 cards in total and the card taken from the discard pile should be kept for one turn or longer.
  9. Take turns. Draw the cards with another player trying to collect a winning combination. You can decide whether to take a new card from the stock pile or the one that was discarded by the opponent. Keep the melds private.
  10. The game ends when there are two stock cards left. If you or another player takes the second or last card from the stock pile, the game is canceled and the cards have to be dealt again.
  11. If your cards form combinations, knock. When all the cards in your hand form a winning combination and there are no unmatched (deadwood) cards, it means that you are reaching the gin. To end the game, draw a card on your turn and put it face-down. You additionally get 25 points for the gin and the deadwood points of the second player.
  12. Knock earlier not to let the opponent reach the gin. If you think that another player is about to end the game, knock before them. Knocking is possible only if the total number of deadwood points is less than 10.
  13. Show the melds. Lay the cards face-up into groups and leave a bit of space between the melds for greater clarity.
  14. The deadwood cards are placed in the knocker’s meld. If the opponent wants to get rid of a deadwood card and sees that it forms a combination on the knocker’s hand, they can do it. But the cards can’t be laid onto other deadwood.
  15. Subtract the deadwood score from the opponent. Then write down the results of each of the players.
  16. Award extra points for the undercut. Undercut takes place if the non-knocker has fewer deadwood points than the knocker. The difference in points is then given to the opponent.

The game is played in rounds until one of the opponents exceeds 100 points.

Why you can’t play gin rummy games at online casinos

If you are a fan of gin rummy and prefer online gambling, you might be disappointed to know that it is almost impossible to find at Internet casinos. The reason is simple: this card game doesn’t have a house edge, so gambling sites won’t make any profits out of it. Plus, it has a long play rate and slow speed is not what online casinos prefer. To make up for it, operators have to charge a higher rake and none of the players would love that. Who needs to pay extra money if there’s a chance to play the game at home without any mediators?

However, some online casinos host gin rummy tournaments as a way to attract new players and make money. On average, the rake equals 10-15% and these sums don’t earn brands significant money. They host the promotion solely to get more players and introduce them to the best online casino games, regular bonuses, and other events. If you want to play this game on the Internet, it is better to search for free platforms and apps created by enthusiastic developers.

Gin rummy tips from our editor

If you want to win in the gin rummy card game, make sure to master a few simple but effective tips. Here are several recommendations from our experts:


Gin rummy is a very popular card game that is enjoyed not only in the US but beyond. The rules are easy to master and you don’t need any specific equipment or much money. Plus, the game can be enjoyed by two without the need to gather a large crowd. Unfortunately, you can’t play gin rummy online because it doesn’t have the house edge and is not attractive for online casinos. But from time to time they launch tournaments to attract gambling lovers.

We hope that our guide was simple and informative, and now you can invite a friend and play this game together!


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