Captain play is a term used to describe a gin rummy game whenever there are an odd number of players such as three, five, or seven. When there are three players, the game is played in the same manner as a singles contest. It is started by having each of the three payers cut the deck. The highest card is the captain. That means the he plays against the other two. The second highest player starts to play against the captain and continues playing for his side until such time as he loses his hand. His partner plays the following hand and continues playing hands until he loses a hand. This alternating procedure is continued until the game is over.
The scoring is the same as in individual play except that the captain is actually playing for double the amount. He pays each of his two opponents as individuals and collects from them the same way. As long as more than one game is being played, the usual procedure is that the man cutting the second highest card is the next captain, and he previous partner plays the first hand against him. In the next set, the third man becomes the captain and this procedure continues.
With five players in the game, five cards are generally taken from the deck – two red cards and three black cards, including an Ace. The two red cards are the captains. The black cards oppose them, and the man picking the black Ace sits out the first hand. He remains out so long as his partner wins their hands. When the captains win a hand the player holding the black Ace replaces the partner who lost the most points. He now, together with his playing partner, plays until they lose a hand. When that happens the inactive player replaces the man who loses the most points. If two partners lose the same amount, the cards are cut and the one cutting the lowest card is replaced. The captains always have the choice of seats and are always dealt to on the opening hand.
With seven players in the game, the selection of partner’s procedure is identical to that of a five-player game except the seven cards are used, three red and four black including a black Ace. The player picking the black Ace remains out and replaces the partner who loses the most points first. In both of these cases, the captains cover proportionately the same amount of money that is being wagered on the others die. That is, either three to two, or four to three. Frequently in captain play, as well as in regular partnership games, there are occasions when all the players are not necessarily playing for the same stakes. However the total amount played for on each side must balance. If, at the end of the game, it is found that the stakes of the teams do not balance, the established practice is that the lower amount always prevails. This simply means that if the winning side is lower, the loser loses that much less with the different divided. If the losing side is lower, the winners win that much less proportionately divided. The exception to this rule is if any one player can positively determine that his stakes were listed erroneously by the scorekeeper.