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There is a number of fun family games you can play for hours on end. But none of them can beat gin rummy. It’s a 100+ year old game that was very popular in the 1950s. And while in terms of movie appearances, games like poker have overtaken Gin Rummy, it is still overwhelmingly a more popular choice among families.
We’ll come back to similarities between poker and gin rummy a lot in this article.
But for now, let’s answer a simple question. What is gin rummy?
Introduction to Gin Rummy Rules
It all starts with Rummy, a way to play a card game rather than a specific game. In simple terms ‘rummy’ referred to a process of drawing and discarding cards in order to make the best combination.
Sounds like poker could be a form of Rummy game.
But not quite.
Rummy combinations do have a lot in common with poker. For example, same rank like Q-Q-Q or a sequence of suited cards (known in poker as a straight flush) like J-Q-K-A all diamonds. Also, in poker an Ace can play as a high (Q-K-A) or a low card (A-2-3), but in Gin Rummy an Ace is always a low card.
However, the main difference between poker and Rummy is in how you defeat your opponent. For example, in a variation of Gin Rummy your aim is to get rid of all your cards by combining them into 3 or larger card combinations (also called melds).
So, in a 10-card game you would have to form two 3-card and one four-card meld.
Now, there are a ton of variations of Gin (Oklahoma Gin, Hollywood Gin). Each game counts points differently.
But, specifically in Gin Rummy, you get points for each card left in your opponent’s hand after you discard all your cards.
Hopefully, this explains the aim of the game. Now, let’s take it step by step.
Step by Step Gin Rummy Rules
Based on commonly agreed upon Gin Rummy rules, it’s a two-player game. You play in rounds until one player collects 100 points. Occasionally, you may see four players play Gin Rummy.
Dealing the cards
Each player receives 10 cards (face down). The remaining cards are put in a pile with the top card facing up. This is the discard pile.
Ending a round
Players go from left to right, draw or discard their cards to make the best melds. As you do, you can knock or end the round. Which means that everyone’s melds and deadwood cards are counted.
It’s worth playing short rounds in the early game. This way your opponents may still hold lots of high value cards (face value cards are counted as 10) which they will be forced to count as deadwood.
As the round ends, write down the number of points the winner got, and the penalty points for any leftover or deadwood cards.
The most amazing thing about Gin Rummy is its depth. You took what, 3 minutes to learn the rules? It wasn’t so bad. You probably would even say it was easy.
But now, to master this game, you have years in front of you.
There are books, articles and even video courses that aim to each their readers and students how to properly play the game. Even though in Gin Rummy you don’t use tricks to win like in many other rummy variations, you’ll have to use perception and deduction to win.
For instance, you have to take note of what cards are being discarded in every round. This will help you decide whether you should go for a set of sixes or use one six in a sequence and leave the other as deadwood.
Rummy 500 Rules
Seems like fun, huh?
But what if you have more than 2 players? With tons of different variations, Rummy 500 (or Persian Rummy) stands out as a very popular Rummy game that’s also suitable for up to 8 players.
The rules are very similar to Gin Rummy, but here you are looking to be the first to collect 500 points.
Here’s what’s unique to Rummy 500.
It’s played with 2 jokers that can be used as Wild Cards.
You play rounds in the same way as Gin Rummy but here each player receives 13 cards.
What are Rummy 500 rules apart from what we mentioned? Other players can still undercut you and you end rounds with knocks.
Also, keep in mind that Gin is worth 25 points, plus all what your opponents have as deadwood. And so you go until one of you has 500 points.