Gin Rummy is a fun, exciting, fast game that’s great to play with friends for a relaxing night, but it’s even more fun when you start winning. The rules in this game are simple; the tactics, however, are more complex. There are several things you can do to increase your odds:

One of the fun things about playing gin rummy is the wide range of variations you can play.

Kalooki: Jamaican Gin Rummy

Kalooki is a contract-based version of gin rummy, in which players are contracted to what they are going to collect in the next round. Here are the variations from the standard game

Oklahoma Gin

Oklahoma Gin is much closer to standard gin rummy than Kalooki. It uses the standard deck, and is limited to two players. You can learn how to play oklahoma gin and get some oklahoma gin rummy strategy tips.

Gin Rummy Rules

Know the basic rules. A no-brainer, but here they are:

in Rummy, you’re working toward same-kind sets or straight runs in the same suit. The deck is the standard 52 cards (in some cases, jokers are added as wild cards). Players receive six cards in a hand. You build “melds” (that’s the same-kind sets and suit-matched straight runs) of three or more cards, which get laid down. One card is drawn each round, and one discarded; the draw can be from the deck or from the top of the discard pile. The winner of the hand is the first person to get rid of all his cards, and the losers count up the values of their cards (number value, plus ten points for each face card) and award you the “deadwood” points. Play is to a set point value. In the basic game, aces count as ones, you have four players, and point play is to 500. There are several variations.

Pay Attention! More than in any other card game, you need to be aware of what cards have been played. Because you’re playing with a single deck of cards, the likelihood of any discarded card coming up again is pretty low; if you’re counting on the Queen of Hearts and she’s down low on that pile, you’re probably not going to see her and you need to change your strategy.

Pay attention, too, to the cards your opponent tosses. These cards are of no importance to him, and you can figure out what they do want through process of elimination if you observe carefully and have a good memory.

Discard high cards if you’re getting close to the end game. Most games end halfway through the deck, so when you’re at that point in play, dump high cards to eliminate the deadwood count.

Only draw from the discard pile if you’re sure you’re going to be using the card soon in a spread. Use immediately if possible. One old pro at the game never, ever drew from the discard deck unless he was going to use it immediately. Why is this a rule? Because when you draw from the deck, your opponent has no idea what card is in your hand, while one from the discard pile gives him a clue as to what your other cards are, as well as the card you just drew – he now knows what may be important to you! Don’t fall into this trap.

Work toward three-of-a-kind (or four), not straights. The odds are approximately the same, but you’re less likely to be working against another player trying to get an overlapping straight. The worst sequence to work with: a gutshot, where you have the 7 and 9 and are trying to get the 8. This halves your odds.

Sit in a seat that allows you to play before the smartest person at your table, if possible. This will allow you to work at countering his plays before he even makes them. Watch the other players too, especially if you’re using a joker-loaded deck; even professionals have trouble hiding a smile when they draw a good card.

Practice online. Gin rummy is starting to overtake the top online games poker and backgammon today, and you’ll find opponents of all levels to play with.

By Joe Pahl
Free Online Rummy: Rummy Games is a group of skill-based card games. These card games are best played with two to four players. Rummy Rules, Oklahoma Gin Rules, Kalooki 51