How To Play Gin
Gin is a 2 player game that uses a standard 52 card deck. Cards are ranked from King (high) down to Ace (low). Each player will have a ten-card hand. The object of the game is to form sets and runs, known as melds, eliminating deadwood in the hand.
Melds can be either:
– A set of 3 or 4 cards of the same rank (7 – 7 – 7) or
– A run of 3 or more sequenced cards of the same suit (2♥ – 3♥ – 4♥).
A card cannot be included in more than one meld. For example, a 6 cannot be part of a 5-6-7 run and also be part of a set of three 6s. One of those melds would not count.
Cards that are not included in melds are known as deadwood. These cards each have a point value that counts against the player. Face cards count as 10, others according to their numerical values and Aces count as 1.
The dealer of the first hand is chosen at random. After that, the winner of each hand will deal the next. Each player receives ten cards, but then an additional card is dealt to to the non-dealer. The remaining cards from the deck become the stock pile. On the first turn, the non-dealer must discard one card from his hand by placing it face-up in the discard pile (to the right of the stock pile).
After that, players alternate turns. Each player’s turn consists of:
– Drawing one card from either the stock pile or the discard pile and then
– Discarding one card onto the discard pile.
The object is to form melds and eliminate deadwood. The hand will end in one of three ways: a player may knock, go gin, or the game may end in a draw.
A player has the option to knock when they have 10 points or less of deadwood. This will end the hand. For example, a player can knock with this hand:
Jack ♦ – Jack ♠ – Jack ♥ (a set)
3 ♣ – 4 ♣ – 5 ♣ – 6 ♣ – 7 ♣ (a run)
Ace ♥ – 2 ♦ (deadwood totaling 3 points)
To knock, place the discard in the KNOCK pile (to the left of the stock pile). Your hand will automatically be sorted into the most favorable melds to create the least amount of deadwood.
The defending player has the option to “lay off” any unmatched cards that can fit into the knocking player’s melds, thus reducing his deadwood count. The knocker may not lay off cards into the defender’s hand, and the defender may not lay off if the knocker has gin. If the knocking player has a lower deadwood count than the defender, he is awarded the difference in points. For example, if a player knocks with 8 deadwood points and the defender has a deadwood count of 30, the difference of 22 points goes to the knocker. In this game, the laying off of cards is handled automatically at the end of the hand and the score (after layoffs) is displayed on the score card.
If the knocking player has an equal or higher deadwood count than the defender, he has been “undercut”. The defender is awarded a 25 point undercut bonus in addition to the difference (if any) in deadwood points.
If a player knocks with no deadwood, this is known as “going gin”. There is no option to lay off cards in the case of a gin hand. The player with gin is awarded a 25 point gin bonus plus points for all the opponent’s deadwood.
When only 2 cards remain in the stock pile, the hand is considered a draw. Once the 50th card has been picked up and a discard made without a knock, the hand is canceled. The player who dealt the drawn hand will deal again.
Matches are played up to 100 points. In a simple match, the first player to reach 100 points is declared the winner. In a traditional match, once a player reaches 100 points, bonuses are awarded as follows:
GAME BONUS – 100 points awarded to the player who first reaches 100 points.
BOX BONUS – Each player scores 25 points for each hand they won during the match.
SHUTOUT BONUS – If a match is completed with one player winning every hand, the winner receives an additional 100 point shutout bonus.
In a traditional match, the first player to reach 100 points may not necessarily win the match after the box bonuses are awarded.