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Learn All about Gin Rummy Rules

Gin rummy is a popular card game designed for two persons, and created at the beginning of the twentieth century by Elwood T. Baker. Gin rummy supposedly evolved from whiskey poker, which was created in the eighteenth century, and was intended to be faster than standard rummy.

Gin rummy rules are not difficult to follow. The game is played with the standard deck of fifty-two cards, and the values of cards are as follows: face cards (jack, queen, and king) are worth ten points, aces are worth one points, and the spot cards are worth their index value. Scoring more points than your opponent is the objective in gin rummy, and the basic strategy is to form melds and eliminate deadwood, with the distinct purpose of improving your hand.

There are two types of melds, runs and sets. The runs refer to several cards in sequence, typically more than three, and all of the same suit. The sets are formed of three or four cards of the same rank. It is not allowed to intersect melds, meaning that if a set and a run share a common card, only one of them will be counted as a meld, and the rest of the cards in the other meld are deadwood. All the cards that are not in any meld are referred to as deadwood. The sum of points of deadwood cards is called deadwood count, and is calculated according to the values presented above.

As far as dealing is concerned, the first dealer is chosen randomly, although standard gin rummy rules say that players have top cut the deck, and let the low card deal. The turn to deal alternates from round to round. Each player is dealt a ten-card hand, one at a time. After twenty cards have been dealt to both players, the next card, the twenty-first, known as the upcard, is turned face-up and starts the discard pile, which is placed in a central location. What is left of the deck (thirty-one cards) forms the stock and is placed face down beside the upcard. The game starts with each player arranging his or her hand. The non-dealing player can take the upcard and play first. If he/she chooses not to, then this option passes to the other player, the dealer. If he/she does not need the upcard either, the non-dealing player starts the game by taking a card from the stock.

The basic strategy in gin rummy is reducing deadwood count, and doing so by discarding high cards that are not in a meld, melding cards to create runs and sets, and knock quickly, before your opponent does. The standard gin rummy rules state that a player is not allowed to knock when he or she has more than ten points of deadwood. On the other hand, the player is has to knock if he or she has no deadwood points left. Knocking refers to laying the hand out with melds clearly separated from the deadwood. The opponent, also referred to as defending player, can reduce his or her deadwood count by laying off the deadwood cards that fit into the other player's runs or sets.

Gin rummy rules are not complicated, and although it may seem that it all comes down to card luck, and experienced player, who is aware of all rules and strategies will definitely outperform a beginner.

Articles written by backgammon players about the game
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