Table of Contents

The Players

The Pack
The Objective
The Rank of Cards
The Deal
The Play
The Score

What is Gin Rummy? 

Gin Rummy is a two-player card game that combines elements of skill, strategy, and a bit of luck. The game is a variation of traditional rummy and is often played as a competitive card game.

In Gin Rummy, players are trying to be the first to form melds with the cards in their hand and by adding and discarding a card each turn.  A player wins the hand by either being the first to have Gin or the first to Knock while having the smallest value of deadwood.  Players accumulate points over a services of hands, and the player with the most points in the end is the winner.

The Players

Gin Rummy is a two-player card game. 

The Pack

Gin Rummy is played with 1 deck of cards.  Each deck has 52-cards, 2 through Ace of each suit.

Deck of Cards

The Objective

What is the object of Gin Rummy? Gin Rummy is a matching and melding game. Each player’s goal is to improve their hand by forming melds and eliminating deadwood.  The object of the game is to accumulate the most points. 

The Rank of Cards

Cards rank king to ace, highest to lowest. Cards are worth their numerical value, face cards worth 10 points and aces are worth 1 point.

The Deal

Players each draw a card and the player who draws the lowest card is the dealer. 

The dealer deals the cards one at a time, face down, clockwise until both players have 10 cards.  The dealer places the remaining cards in a pile, face down, creating the stock pile and turns over the top card and discards it creating a discard pile.  

In the following hands, the player who wins the previous game becomes the dealer.

The Play

The player opposite the dealer has the option to play first by taking the top card from the discard pile. If the player chooses to pass, the dealer has the choice to take the top card of the discard pile. If the dealer also chooses to pass, the other player begins the game by taking the top card from the stockpile. 

From the first draw onward, a player must pick up a card from either the stock or the discard pile at the beginning of their turn and place one card from their hand face up on the discard pile to complete their turn.  If a player takes the card from the discard pile, they cannot discard that card in the same turn.  However, a player can discard the card drawn from the stock pile in the same turn.

The goal is to get rid of “deadwood” by melding as many cards in order to call Knock or Gin. Deadwood are cards not in a meld. A meld is a grouping of three or four cards sharing the same rank or a sequence of three or more cards in the same suit.  


  • 4 hearts, 4 spades, 4 diamonds
  • 5,6,7 hearts


  • 2 hearts, 5 diamonds, 10 spade J spade

A player can Knock when their total deadwood value is 10 points of less.  A player discards a card and says “Knock.”  This ends the game.  A player is not required to Knock if they prefer to improve their hand and go for Gin.  

A player calls Gin when all 10 cards are part of melds.

A player calls Big Gin when 11 cards are part of melds, and no discard is needed.

Once a player says “Knock” or “Gin”, both players expose their hands.  The player who did not call Knock or Gin can play their deadwood on the other player’s melds.  

If a player calls Big Gin, the other player cannot play their deadwood.

If no player reaches Knock or Gin when the stock pile has two cards left, no points are awarded.

The Score

In a Knock game, players calculate the value of their deadwood.  If the player who called Knock has a lower deadwood value, that player wins and gets a score of the value of their opponent’s deadwood minus the value of their deadwood.

If the player who called Knock has an equal or higher deadwood value than their opponent, the player who called Knock loses.  The winner gets a score of the value of their deadwood minus the value of their opponent’s deadwood plus an additional 10 points for undercutting.

The player who calls Gin receives 25 points plus the value of the opponent’s deadwood.

The player who calls Big Gin receives 50 points plus the value of the opponent’s deadwood.

A game ends when a player has 100 or more points.

Once the game has finished, the players add the following bonuses: 

  • Winner adds:
    • 100 points for winning a game, 
    • 100 points if player won all the hands in a game.
  • Opponent adds:
    • 20 points for each hand won during the game.