Gin Rummy Rules
1. Purpose of the game
The main purpose of Gin Rummy is to win more final points than your opponent. The game is usually played to 100 points and is made up of a number of hands. In a hand, the goal is to form matched sets of cards by drawing and discarding cards. You should reduce the total card value of unmatched cards in your hand before your opponent can, and usually you should go out (knock) first in the hand. In order to make knock successfully, the total card value of unmatched cards in your hand must be equal to or less than the maximum knock score, which depends on the Gin Rummy variation you are playing.
Gin Rummy Java Applet allows you to play Simple, Standard and Oklahoma Gin variations of Gin Rummy:
Simple Gin is the version of Gin Rummy where you can make knock if you will only have gin. Because the winning player always has gin, there is no undercutting in this variation of Gin Rummy.
Standard Gin is the traditional version of Gin Rummy. The maximum knock score in a hand of Standard Gin is 10. It means that you can make knock whenever your total card value of unmatched cards (after knocking) will be 10 or less. Unless the player who knocks has gin, it is possible undercutting.
Oklahoma Gin is similar to Standard Gin except:
- The minimum points required to knock is defined by the card dealt to the discard pile at the beginning of the round. When an ace is the first upcard, some people play that you must have gin to knock. Others allow knocking with one unmatched ace (one unmatched point).
- If the first card dealt to the discard pile is a Spade, then the points won at the end of the round will automatically be doubled. The number of extra bonus boxes earned will also be doubled.
2. Order of play
The loser from the previous hand always goes first. The first player must take the upcard or must pass. If the first player passes, then the opponent may take the upcard or pass. If both players pass, the original first player must take the top card from the stock. Once one of the players has taken a card, normal play proceeds with a discard as explained below.
When it is a player's turn, the player can take the upcard or an unknown card from the top of the stock. To complete the turn the player must discard a card. If the player originally selected the upcard, then the discarded card must be different. Play then proceeds to the other player.
When it is time to discard, a player can knock to end the hand. In order for the knock to be legal, the total card value of the player's unmatched cards (without the intended discard) must be equal to or less than the maximum knock score.
As soon as one of the players knocks, each player's hand is scored. The player with the lowest total card value of unmatched cards wins the hand.
3. Game scoring
The first step in scoring is to determine the total card value count of all unmatched cards for the player that knocked. If the player that knocked has gin, this player receives the gin bonus (usually 25 points) for gin plus the total card value count of unmatched cards in the hand of the opponent. If the player who knocked does not have gin, then the opponent can lay off unmatched cards on the matched sets in the hand of the player that knocked. If a player lays down all their cards on an opponent's non-gin knock, the undercut is termed a gin off. Next the total card value count of remaining unmatched cards is determined for the opponent. If the opponent's total unmatched card value count is less than the count for the player who knocked, the opponent wins the undercut bonus (usually 25 points) for undercutting plus the difference between the unmatched card value count for the player that knocked and the opponent's own count. If there is no undercut, then the player who knocks simply wins the unmatched card value count for the opponent minus his own count.
Simple and Standard Gin Rummy games are usually played to 100 points. The first player who reaches or exceeds this number ends the game and receives the winning bonus (usually 100 points). Both players receive the addition the box bonus (usually 25 points) for each hand won by each player.
The target score for winning Oklahoma Gin is generally set at 150 rather than 100. If the original face up card is a spade, the final score for that deal (including any undercut or gin bonus) is doubled. A player who undercuts the knocker scores an extra box in addition to the undercut bonus. Also a player who goes gin scores two extra boxes. These extra boxes do not count towards winning the game, but at the end of the game they translate usually into 25 points each, along with the normal boxes for hands won. If the upcard was a spade, you get two extra boxes for an undercut and four extra boxes for going gin.