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Official Gin Rummy Rules and Strategy

The official rules for Gin Rummy. Gin Rummy is a classic two-player card game that involves forming sets and runs of cards in your hand. Here's how to play.


  • Be the first player to either:Discard all your unmatched cards (deadwood).

  • Go "Gin" by discarding your entire hand after melding (combining) all your cards.


1. Shuffle the deck and deal ten cards face down to each player. These are your hands.

2. Place the remaining deck face down in the center of the table. This is the stock pile.

3. Flip the top card of the deck face up to start the discard pile.


The game is played in turns, and each turn consists of two parts:

  • Draw Phase: You can choose to draw one card from either the stock pile (face down deck) or the discard pile (face up pile).

  • Discard Phase: After drawing a card (or choosing not to draw), you must discard one card face up to the discard pile.


Your goal is to combine your cards into sets (three or four cards of the same rank) or runs (three or more consecutive cards of the same suit). These combinations are called melds. You can arrange your melds face up in front of you, but they are not scored until the end of the hand.

Playing a Round:

  1. On your turn, decide whether to draw a card from the stock pile or the discard pile.

  2. If you draw from the discard pile, you must immediately add that card to a meld you already have exposed or create a new meld with it (if possible). You cannot keep a card drawn from the discard pile unmatched in your hand.

  3. After drawing and potentially melding, discard one card face up to the discard pile.


Before discarding on your turn, you can choose to "knock" if you believe the total value of your unmatched cards (deadwood) is 10 points or less. Here's how knocking works:

  • Deadwood Values:

    • Aces: 1 point

    • Face cards (Jacks, Queens, Kings): 10 points

    • Number cards: Their face value (e.g., 7 = 7 points)

  • Opponent Draws: If you knock successfully, your opponent gets one last chance to improve their hand by drawing a card from either the stock pile or the discard pile and discarding one card.

  • Scoring the Round: After your opponent discards, both players reveal their unmatched cards. The player who knocked wins the round by the difference between their deadwood value and their opponent's deadwood value.


If you can discard your entire hand after melding all your cards, you achieve "Gin" and automatically win the round. In this case, your opponent doesn't get a chance to draw or discard. You score 25 points for achieving Gin plus the total value of your opponent's unmatched cards.

Winning the Game

  • The first player to reach a predetermined score (usually 100 points) wins the game! Points are accumulated by winning rounds through knocking or achieving Gin.


  • If the draw pile is empty before a player goes Gin or knocks, the discard pile is shuffled (excluding the top card) to form a new draw pile. A new discard pile is started with the top card left out during shuffling.

  • Some variations allow discarding the top card of your draw pile if you cannot play a card from your hand and neither can the next player in line

Enjoy playing Gin Rummy!

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