Understanding Gin Rummy and The Middle Card Strategy While Playing the Game

One the popular card games played enthusiastically across the world, particularly in America is the Gin Rummy. It is a simple draw and discards game played between two players, but it is the most challenging and interesting one offering multitude challenges and recreation for the players. The objective of the game is to score the pre-determined points or more by being the first one to do so.

The Game

Since Gin is a 2-player game, a standard deck of 52 cards are used for the game. Gin Rummy does not have the concept of joker. Hence, there are no printed or wild jokers deployed in the game. Each player is dealt with 10 cards at the start of the game. The dealer is chosen for the first time on a mutual agreement among both the players. Then, with each turn the dealing keeps rotating between the two players. After dealing, the next card in the deck is placed face up. This forms the discard pile. The remaining cards are placed face down denoting the stock pile. The ranking of the cards in Gin rummy has the Ace with the least point at 1 followed by the number cards carrying points equivalent to their face value. The other face cards – King, Queen and Jack have 10 points each.

The Gameplay

The objective is to improve one’s meld by forming sets and runs while ensuring you eliminate deadwood cards. Sets are 3 or 4 cards of the same rank but different suits for the sets. For example, card 3 from all the suits forms a valid set. On the other hand, runs are 3 or 4 consecutive cards of the same suit. For example, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of the Spades form a valid run. Deadwood cards are the ones that are not part of your melds.  At the beginning, the non-dealer player gets to pick the top card of the discard pile. If he refuses the opportunity goes to the dealing player. The game proceeds with each player drawing a card and discarding one to the discard pile.

Knocking or Going Gin

While alternating their moves, players who knows how to play Gin Rummy can end the round by knocking or Going Gin. When a player melds all the cards into valid sets and run without any deadwood, the player may choose to go Gin. In this case, the round ends and the player gets a bonus point of 25. However, if the player has 10 or fewer deadwood points is known as knocking or going down. In the knocking, the knocking player discards the card as usual and displays his hand clearly showing the deadwood points. Then the defending player may lay his cards by melding them to the deadwood cards of the knocking player. If the defending players deadwood points are equal to or less than the knocking players deadwood points the defending player receives an undercut bonus of 25 points in addition to the differential in the deadwood points.

The Game Strategy

Knocking is a very important strategy of Gin Rummy which helps you win the game. Knocking would help to be useful when the game is about to conclude.

The Middle Card Strategy

Middle cards in the Indian rummy games are the most versatile of all the cards. Middle cards help in making the maximum number of combinations using them in order to meld your cards. Especially the number 7 is the most valuable card. To win at Gin Rummy, your strategy must be to retain your middle cards for a long time and do not discard it initially itself. The best strategy that works remarkable well with middle cards is in understanding your opponent’s intention by understanding from the cards that discard. Since the middle cards enjoy extension capabilities, there is every likelihood of the entire game belonging to you.  Winning at Gin Rummy using the middle card strategy is a very powerful strategy provided you master the art of deploying the right time.

Scoring in the Game

When a player goes Gin, the Gin bonus of 25 points awarded to the player is region specific. However regardless of the region, points calculation is the same throughout.

Knocking Points

If the player knocks and his deadwood score is less than the defending player, the knocking player receives the differential of the deadwood points.

Gin Bonus

In case the player goes Gin, then the player receives deadwood score of 25 points in addition to the entire deadwood points of the opponent’s hands. When a player goes Gin, the defending player cannot lay off.

Undercut Bonus

When the defending player’s deadwood points are less than or equal to the knocking player’s deadwood points, the defending player receives and undercut bonus of 25 points in addition to the differential in the deadwood points.

Game Bonus

When a player achieves the score of 100, the game ends and the player receive 100 points or any agreed number of points as the Game bonus.


Gin Rummy card game, gets your rapt attention as you slowly start understand the game better and its tricky challenges. However, the popularity of the game has never diminished in all these days which reiterate the supremacy of the game in the hearts of the people who loves to play Indian rummy game.

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