Both players are dealt ten cards and the deck is then laid down with the top card turned upright.
Play pans out as in Traditional Rummy:
- drawing a card
- forming melds in his or her hand
- discarding a card
Note: Melds are not played on the table as soon as they are formed in Gin Rummy.
Play continues until one of the following Gin Rummy variations occur:
- a player 'Goes Gin' - the round is then over and scores are recorded.
- a player 'Knocks' - the other player may 'Lay-Off' for one turn before scores are calculated. Note that the 'Knocker' is not allowed to 'Lay-Off', just the opponent.
Gin Rummy Terminology
Going Gin: If a player melds all his cards at once with no further cards remaining. This gives him an automatic bonus and also denies his opponent the opportunity to 'Lay-Off', increasing his score further.
Knock: Players have the ability to 'Knock' but are not compelled to do so. Here they are allowed to meld only some of their hand, as long as their remaining hand (the 'Deadwood' -see below) scores less than ten. Knocking forces a conclusion to the game.
Deadwood: This is the remaining card or cards after a meld or melds have been placed on the table.
Deadwood Count: The value of the Deadwood cards.
Lay-Off: Once a player has 'Knocked', the opponent has one last opportunity to 'Lay-Off' - this is adding to melds already on the table and/or laying down new melds. The player should aim to get rid of as many cards as possible, reducing their 'Deadwood Count'.
Undercutting Bonus: Following on from a 'Knock' the opponent can 'Lay-Off' cards, giving them a chance to reduce their score. It is then possible for them to 'Undercut' the 'Knocker' by having a lower 'Deadwood Count'.
- In Gin Rummy it is the highest score that wins.
- The scoring is the same as for Traditional Rummy, with the exception of the aces, which are always scored as one, never eleven.
- Scoring is calculated as follows:
a) When a player 'Knocks':
- The 'Knocker's' 'Deadwood' is added up.
- His opponent is given the chance to 'Lay-Off' and then his 'Deadwood Count' is also calculated.
After a 'Knock', the winner is declared and scoring applied, depending on the difference between both 'Deadwood Counts'.
- If the opponent's 'Deadwood Count' is equal to or higher than the 'Knocker', then the 'Knocker' is the winner and receives points totaling the difference between both 'Deadwood Counts'.
- If the opponent's 'Deadwood Score' is lower than the 'Knocker' then opponent has 'Undercut' the 'Knocker' and the opponent wins the game. The opponent receives 25 bonus points plus the difference between both 'Deadwood Counts'.
b) When a player 'Goes Gin':
- The 'Deadwood Counts' of both players are totaled.
- The totals are added together to become the winner's score. A 25 point bonus is also added to this total.
Game, Line and other bonuses are also awarded - check the rules of each rummy hall to establish how these work.
The points system can also vary from the rules cited above, so make sure you familiarize yourself with these before playing.
Score sheets are used to keep track of both players' totals.
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