Gin Card Game

  1. Card Games Gin Rummy Rules
  2. Gin Card Game How To Play
  3. Gin Card Game Knocking

The winning score for Gin can be determined by the two players involved in the game or the game can be played until one player reaches a score of 100 or more points. If you are playing an online or computer software version of Gin, the winning score will be predetermined. Aside from the winning score, the point values throughout the game of Gin are fairly standard and are described below.

Card Values

Gin rummy short info Each player receives 10 cards, the twenty-first card is revealed and placed on the table (creates an open pile), the other cards are placed face down. A typical move in the game is to pick up a card from one of the piles (face up or face down), add it to your cards, and then place one of the cards on the face up pile. Play Gin Rummy free on and meld strategy with fun. Create runs in sequence or groups and yell?Gin? Your Gaming History. Your game will start after this ad. Dec 16, 2019 Gin rummy is a classic card game that has been around for decades. This simple game is played by matching playing cards in 3 or 4 card sets and runs and by collecting points from your unmatched cards. After a player knocks, or tries to. Gin Rummy starting point Introduction. Gin Rummy card game. Gin Rummy is a skill-based card game for two players. The game is played with one standard deck of 52 cards, each player is dealt 10 cards. The goal in Gin Rummy is to be the first player to get rid of all the cards in the own hand, by melding them into sets and runs and laying them down.

In Gin the Ace is a low card, meaning that it counts as a 1, preceding the 2 and 3 of its suit, rather than acting as a high card that succeeds the Queen and King. All Aces in Gin are worth 1 point. Face cards, which refer to the Jack, Queen and King of each suit, are all worth 10 points each. The remaining cards, 2-10, are worth the value of their rank. So, the 2 is worth 2 points, and the 10 is worth 10 points.

Knocking a player

Beyond this, there are a couple of other scoring considerations for Gin. The strategy of knocking is a key part of the winning strategy in Gin. When a player knocks his opponent, both players must lay their cards on the table, revealing their sets, runs and remaining cards should they have them. The knocker's remaining cards must equal no more than 10 points, and the opponent can add to these points by creating sets or runs with their remaining cards and the knocker's remaining cards.

If the knocker's opponent is unable to do the latter, the knocker will get the difference between his opponents remaining cards and his remaining cards. For example, if the knocker's remaining cards total 5 points (perhaps an Ace of Queens and a 4 of Clubs), and the opponent's remaining cards total 11 points, the knocker will get an additional 6 points added to his score.

Another possibility is that the knocker's opponent has remaining cards that total the value of the knocker's remaining cards or is less that the value of the knocker's remaining cards. For example, the knocker's remaining cards equal 7 and the opponent's remaining cards equal 7 or the opponent's remaining cards equal 5. If this happens the knocker has been undercut, and the opponent will receive the difference, if any, between the knocker's remaining cards and his remaining cards as well as a 10 to 25 point bonus.

If the knocker has no remaining cards the game is automatically won; this is called 'going gin.' If the knocker goes gin he will receive a 20 to 25 point bonus as well as the value of the opponent's remaining cards. In addition, there is a 100 point bonus for whichever player reaches the game's winning score first. An additional 100 points can be won by the game's first player to reach the winning score if his opponent has managed to score no points at all. A final scoring possibility in Gin is the 'line bonus.' This refers to the additional 20 points a player receives per hand he has won.

This is an archive copy of a page from the former website, with thanks to Howard Fosdick for permission to republish it here.

Gin Rummy or Gin is among the best two-handed card games. It features the simplicity of rummy combined with genuine strategic depth.

Gin was invented by Elwood T. Baker and played by his family back in 1910. Then it was forgotten. Baker’s son Graham was astonished to find the game being played at New York clubs in the 1930s. Somehow the game had survived or resurfaced after two decades! Gin became a fad in the early 1940s, probably because film stars adopted it as their favorite.

First we’ll summarize the rules for standard Gin Rummy, aka Oklahoma Gin. Then we give rules to a simple variant called Sequence Gin. Next come the rules to the high-end Skarney Gin. We wrap up with Colonel, a variant of Gin Rummy in which players lay non-scoring melds to the table.

Oklahoma Gin (aka Gin Rummy)


This is a game with a 52-card deck for two players. Cards rank A-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-J-Q-K. The Ace is always the low card. Card values are--

10 points each10, J, Q, K
Point value equals the card rankA, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

The goal in a Hand is to be first to meld all the cards in your hand to go out (go gin). Or to meld enough cards such that the value of those left is less than or equal to the value of the turn-up card, and also less than the value of your opponent’s unmelded cards.

The goal for Game is to be the first player to 100 points across hands.

Valid melds are either--

  1. 3 or 4 cards of the same rank
  2. A sequence of 3 or more cards in the same suit

Deal each player 10 cards each. Turn one card face-up to start the discard pile. The remaining face-down cards become the draw pile.

In his turn, each player---

  1. Takes one card into his hand. This may either be the top card of the discard pile, or the top card from the draw pile.
  2. If he wants to or can, he goes out (thereby ending the hand).
  3. Discards one card face-up on top of the discard pile. Unless mutually agreed otherwise, cards in the discard pile should be squared up so that only the single topmost card is visible.

There are two ways to go out--

  1. Going gin, whereby all cards in the hand have been melded.
  2. Melding all cards in hand but with remaining non-melded cards having a total value of less than or equal to that of the original turn-up card that started the discard pile. This is called knocking.

When a player goes gin, he scores a 20 point gin bonus, plus the total value of all unmelded cards in his opponent’s hand.

Card games gin rummy rules

When a player knocks, he places his hand face-up on the table. His opponent then shows his own melds, and is allowed to meld any unmatched cards (if possible) on the melds of the player who knocked.

Total the remaining unmatched cards for each player. If the player who knocked has a total less than that of his opponent, he scores the total value of unmatched cards of his opponent. If the player who knocked has a total greater than or equal to that of his opponent, he has been under-knocked. The opponent scores a 20 point under-knocking bonus, plus the difference in value between the two hands.

When a player goes out, either by gin or by knocking, he optionally discards to conclude his hand.

Sequence Gin

In this variant of Gin Rummy invented by Howard Fosdick, players may only meld sequences (not 3 or 4 of a kind). Players score a 1 point per card bonus for each card in a long sequence of 6 or more cards. Score a 1 point per card bonus for each face card (K, Q, J) in sequences. These bonuses do not apply to whether one can knock or whether an under-knock occurs. They only apply when calculating the final hand scores.

All other rules are as per Oklahoma Gin above.

Skarney Gin

John Scarne was a magician who befriended Houdini, mobsters, and Presidents. Along the way he invented some classic card games. Scarne took standard Gin and enlivened it with more varied melds, a contract meld requirement, and direct interaction between opponents through new discard rules.

Skarney Gin adds an extra meld to Oklahoma Gin. The poker meld is a set of cards in sequence (they do not have to be in the same suit). So there are three kinds of melds in Skarney Gin--

  1. Set (3 or 4 of a kind)
  2. Sequence (3 or more cards in suit in sequence)
  3. Poker Meld (3 or more cards in sequence, regardless of suits)

Aces can be either high or low in melds. So you can play A-2-3 or Q-K-A. You can not make “round the corner” melds with Aces, such as K-A-2.

The first meld a player makes in each hand must be his contract meld. The contract meld consists of exactly three 3-card melds. The melds may be any combination of 3-of-a-kind sets, 3-card same-suit sequences, or 3-card poker melds. After a player lays down his contract meld, in subsequent turns he may lay off either one or two cards on each of his melds on the table. He can not lay off cards on his opponent’s melds. Of course, the player can also lay down any new melds he likes (each consisting of three or more cards).

Play differs from regular Gin in that there is no “discard pile.” (After dealing cards to each player, you do not turn up a card to start the discard pile.) Instead of discarding, a player holds up one card from his hand and offers it to his opponent. The opponent may say “I’ll take it,” and put it into his hand. If the opponent rejects the card, the player must put it back into his own hand.

A player can not offer to his opponent the same card he just accepted from his opponent in the prior turn. If the pro-offered discard is an Ace, and the player accepts it, that player loses his draw from the draw pile on his next turn.

Whether the second player accepts the discard (and puts it into his hand) or not, he still always starts his turn by drawing the top card from the stock pile. The single exception is if he accepted the offered discard from his opponent and that card was an Ace.

When a player has only 1 card left in his hand, he does not offer a potential discard to his opponent. Instead, he just says “last card” and keeps that card in his hand.

Scoring differs from regular Gin in that Aces are worth 15 points (instead of 1 point). A player who goes gin receives the total value of all cards in his opponent’s hand (regardless of whether they are meldable or not). The player who goes out does not receive any points for cards his opponent has already melded to the table.

Going gin also scores a gin bonus of 20 points. This doubles to 40 points if the opponent has not yet put his required contract meld to the table.

Since Skarney Gin does not have a discard pile, you must go out by melding all cards in your hand without a discard.

Card Games Gin Rummy Rules

There is no knocking in Skarney Gin. The hand ends by a gin. If players draw all the way through the deck (with the exception of the last two cards, which are never drawn), the hand ends without the last player offering a potential discard. The player holding the lower total value for unmelded cards in his hand scores the difference in the unmelded point totals.

A Game is 200 points or more across hands.


As you’ve probably guessed, this game is way different from standard Gin!

The number of cards in a player’s hand varies during a hand. There is no knocking, only gin (or else the hand ends when the draw pile is exhausted). And there is the presence of a third meld, the poker straight in which cards are in sequence but not in suit.

Poker straights are often easier to extend than sets or sequences in one suit.

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You’ll have to think very carefully about when to lay down your contract meld. Too early and you could end up stuck with a single card in hand and little flexibility. Too late, and your opponent may gin and catch you with all cards in hand. Remember that all cards in hand count against you if your opponent gins (whether matched or not). And, only cards in hand count in the scoring (cards melded to the table are not part of the score).

Enhanced Rules

We’ve simplified by leaving out Scarne’s system for scoring Games for the purposes of settling.

More Information

See John Scarne’s Encyclopedia of Card Games, one of the classic card game compendiums. The book has a chapter on Skarney Gin and its rummy relative, Skarney.

Also Try

If you like Skarney Gin, you might also try Scarne’s partnership scoring rummy, Skarney.


Colonel is a variation of standard Gin Rummy in which the two players lay melds on the table. This adds interest to the game as the melds progressively yield more information as the game evolves. This is a fast, fun, simple card game for two.

As in standard Gin Rummy, this the two players use one 52-card deck. Cards rank from Ace (high) to 2 (low). The Ace is always played as high card in sequences (A-K-Q-J..), never as the low card (A-2-3..).

The goal is to win the hand by being first to go out of cards. Like Gin Rummy, the only scoring is done at the end of the hand.

The allowable melds are:

  1. Sets of 3 or 4 cards of the same rank
  2. Sequences of 3 or more cards in the same suit

Dealer starts the hand by dealing each player 10 cards face-down, one at a time. He turns one card face-up to start the Discard Pile, and the remaining cards remain face-down and become the drawing Stock.

In his turn each player:

  1. Either draws the top card from the Stock or takes the face up card from the top of the Discard Pile
  2. Optionally melds as many sets and sequences as he or she can.
    The player may also optionally add one or more cards to any set or sequence already on the table, regardless of who originally placed that meld on the table. Thus one can play cards on the opponent’s melds.
  3. Discards one card to the top of the Discard Pile. This should cover up all previous cards in the pile.

The first player to play all cards from his hand wins the hand. You can either go out on a discard or solely through melding.


The player who rummies (goes out) scores 10 points for each Ace, King, Queen and Jack remaining in his opponent’s hand. All other cards score their pip value.

If the game ends by the exhaustion of the Stock, players each total the points in their hands. The player with the lower total wins the hand. He scores points by subtracting his remaining point total from his opponent’s.

Optional Rule

At any time a player may challenge his opponent. The opponent may either accept or reject the Challenge. If he accepts the Challenge, both players total the points in their hands, and the player with the lower point total wins the hand. He scores the total points in his opponent’s hand -- without deducting his own remaining point total.

If the player rejects the Challenge, play of the hand continues as per usual.


Gin Card Game How To Play

Tension in this game centers on when to play your melds to the table. Doing so early reduces your chance of being stuck with lots of cards in hand, should your opponent rummy. However, this also exposes your sets and sequences so that your opponent can play his cards on them to reduce his hand.

Gin Card Game Knocking

A player who is having trouble melding might stock up his hand with low point total cards, then challenge his opponent. The large hand with a deceptively low point total will often succeed in a Challenge.

More Information

Colonel is described in George F. Hervey’s compendium of card games, published in the UK several times by Hamlyn since 1973. I know of no other published source for this game.