Gin Card Game Rules & Regulations

By Andy Osborne
A sequence, cards, the same suit, consecutive order
playing cards in whisky glass image by Warren Millar from

The game of Gin---also called Gin rummy---is a type of game that falls into the "draw-and-discard" category of card games, according to Partlett's Historic Card Games. The game itself is not difficult to learn, although there are a number of rules that are essential to understand how to play the game.

Players and Dealing

The game of Gin is played between two players, using a standard deck of 52 cards. One player starts as the dealer, and deals 10 cards to himself and the other player in turn. The non-dealer receives one extra card, since he plays first and will start the right-side-up discard pile next to the remaining deck of cards, which is turned face down.

Object of Gin

A mutually agreed-upon point goal sets the stage for a game of Gin. The game continues until this point total is reached by either of the two players. Scoring points involves a specific set of rules, though, and plenty of strategy on the player's part. Before starting Gin, each player organizes his cards into "melds," which is a set (for instance, three aces) or a sequence (cards in order and of the same suit).

Drawing and Discarding

When the game of Gin begins, the non-dealer places a card into the discard pile, and then draws another card from the deck. The drawn card, states the Public Broadcasting Service, is called the "knock" card. Any knock card that cannot be incorporated into a meld is usually discarded by the player. The knock card that has just been drawn is not allowed to be discarded during the same turn it is played.

Knocking and Ending the Game

The last regulation of Gin---before scoring the hands of the two players---is that one player must knock, or lay his sets and sequences of melds face-up on the table when he has the hand of cards that he plans to score points with. If he has any cards that are not part of sets or sequences, the player can add them to his opponents melds, if possible, adding points against his opponent's total. "Gin" is called when a player discards with no cards left outside of melds.

Scoring the Game

Scoring Gin involves counting the point value of each player's cards left outside of melds (e.g.: an 8 of any suit adds eight points, and suit cards such as a jack are counted as 10 points). The player with the lowest score after the knock has been made is the winner of the hand. The game ends when one player reaches the previously agreed-upon number of points. The player with the lowest number of points at this point wins the game.

About the Author

Andy enjoys writing non-fiction, and is currently working on a WWII memoir concerning his grandfather's decorated service as an officer in the South Pacific. He is also writing a martial arts handbook and a philosophy/self-help book with a Zen flavor. He also writes fiction, and has completed one novel and numerous short stories ranging genre from literary to commercial action thrillers. Andy practices martial arts, composes electronic music, plays guitar, enjoys woodworking, and loves kayaking, refining his chess game and learning new strategies for the ancient Chinese game of GO.