Rules of Gin-Rummy

Translated from French by Christel S.

This game is the most interesting of all Rummy games. The objective of the game is to form a combination of cards using the cards you have in your hand.



The greatest players of rummy all agree this is the most interesting Rummy game. Gin-Rummy consist of two players with a 52 deck of cards and a sheet to mark during play. At its climax the game becomes quite fast and thrilling. It’s not uncommon for a game of Gin to finish only after 6 rounds. 

Nevertheless, Gin-Rummy is played with typically two to four players.

The origin of Gin-Rummy is closely linked to the United States, and gained popularity in the years 1941 to 1946, during WWII. The game obtained its named from Elwood T Baker, a teacher from Brooklyn, New York. Baker’s son suggested the name Gin-Rummy due to his father’s love of Gin and Rum in 1909. The game was adopted between 1927 and 1930 and reached its peak in 1941. So much so that the game was adopted in movies and in the world of radio.

The main advantage of Gin-Rummy is the overall simplicity of gameplay, however for beginners it can be complex at first. Beginners can learn the game quite quickly, however mastering the game requires several years of play.


Goal of the game

Players must form a set of card combinations with all the cards in their hand. There is no limit of the number of combinations in a player’s hand.


Recognized combinations

In Gin-Rummy, as well as in normal Rummy, the winning combinations are divided into two categories: - groups (or sets) consisting of three or four cards whose components all have the same value. For example: 4 of Spades, 4 of Hearts, 4 of Clubs, or Jack of Hearts, Jack of Clovers, Jack of Diamonds, Jack of Spades.

- Sequences (or suites) composed of three or more cards and whose components align successive values. For example: 10 of Heart, Jack of Hearts, Queen of Hearts, King of Hearts, Ace of Hearts. The order of the cards is as follows: Ace, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Jack, Queen, King and Ace. 

In addition, a card cannot contribute to making multiple combinations at once.


Gin-Rummy with two players

The distribution

Each player receives 10 cards before the game begins. Once the deal is complete, the next card is set aside, face up, to form the start of the discard pile. It is only after putting the heel that the dealer collects all undistributed cards (without the first returns).

Course of the game.

It is the non-dealer who starts the game. For this, he can either pick up the first card at the base of rejected cards (returns), or pass his turn. In the latter case, the dealer will proceed in the same way. But, if both have not made up their minds and let each other go, the non-dealer must take the first card on the top of the heel. Then, each turn, the player has the choice between picking up the card rejected by his opponent or take one on the heel. After composing (or not) his cards with the news, the player must discard another that could be the one he picked up earlier. This discarded card, face up, rejoins the pile of discarded cards. However, if a player opts for the return, then he is not allowed to reject the return in the same round.

Shot on the table

To mark the end of a game, a player hits a blow on the table. He will then have to throw a last card, face down, on the pile of discarded, cut down all the combinations he has in hand to form, as far as possible, sequences or groups. For the stroke to be valid, the value of the useless cards must be less than or equal to 10 points. This set of cards that did not find any partners in groups or sequences, is called jumble. And any hand free of junk is equivalent to a Rummy. Thus, it is not mandatory to include all his cards in combinations; it is sufficient that the value of the non-combined cards is less than or equal to 10 points.

On the other hand, when the stub contains only two cards, and one of the two players who used the stub last discards without knocking, the game stops. In this case, the game is considered to be void and the same dealer resumes his service with the deal.

After a player has hit the table to signify an imminent end, his opponent is required to take down his game. However, if the first player, is the player who hit the table, and did not have Rummy, the opponent has the right to get rid of his jumble by combining it with the already established combinations of the other player. On the other hand, the reciprocal is not allowed. In other words, the player could never discard his useless cards by integrating them in the combinations of his opponent.

Count of points

The points count remains the same for the two, three, or four player game, namely: - the figures (Jack, Queen, and King) count for 10 points; - Ace is worth 1 point; - cards bearing numbers are worth their numeral value (Three = 3 points, Ten = 10 points, etc ...). At the end of the game, each player evaluates his cards that are not combined (or disassembled), those he has not managed to place in a combination.

If the total obtained by the player who hit, exceeds that of his opponent, he wins the difference between the two numbers.  20 additional points are added and the value of all the disordered cards of the opponent, if the winner did have Rummy. On the other hand, if the count found for the one who hit the table is below that of his opponent, or even equal, then it is the opponent who benefits from the difference between the two accounts. Instead 10 points is added also known as an undercut.

Game over

To win a game of Gin-Rummy (two players), one of the players must be able to score 100 points or more. On the other hand, during the game, each player scores 20 additional points for each of the hands he has won. In addition, the winner of a game still has 100 points that will be doubled, or 200 points, if the other player could not achieve any points. At the end of the points count, the player who has a lower total than the other, credits the account of the latter with the difference between their respective marks. This will be doubled in case the loser does not win any hand.


Gin-Rummy with three or four players

In the case of three players the dealer does not participate in the game. He just distributes the cards to the players. Whoever loses at the end of the round becomes the next dealer as the former dealer enters the game. With four players, the game is played in two teams of two players.

Course of the game

For the four-player version, players are divided into two teams, comprising two players each. A member of each team plays against a member of the opposing team. After each round, the opponents change, i.e. if a player from a team A has measured himself with a player from team B, in the next round, the same player from team A will face the another player from Team B. The other player from Team A will do the same by changing opponents as well.

Count of points

During the game, if both team members win the same game, then they score a total score. However, if the victory is only for one member of the team, we add up all the points accumulated by each team. In a variant called Jersey Gin, the winner enjoys the difference in points between his hand and those in the hands of his opponents.

Game over

It is the team with the highest total that benefits from the difference. Finally, to win a game, one of the teams must achieve a minimum of 125 points.