When playing for gin, you need to remember that basically a hand does not become what is generally considered a gin hand until there are either nine melded cards, or seven melded cards with matching cards. With a nine melded hand, the hand has a minimum of two gin possibilities and a maximum of nine. The minimum of two and the maximum of nine are considered to be freak hands, and rarely happen, so usually it is somewhere in the middle. Generally a poor hand with nine melded has only three or four ways to go gin, while a good one may have six or seven possibilities.
Example of a three-way gin: 2♣, 2♥, 2♠, 5♦, 5♥, Q♠, Q♦, Q♣, 8♥
There are only 3 cards that can gin this hand – 2♦, 5♠, Q♥
Example of a four-way gin: 6♠, 6♥, 6♣, 7♦, 7♥, 7♠, 10♠, J♠, Q♠, A♣
There are four cards that will gin this hand – 6♦, 7♣, 9♠, K♠
Example of a five-way gin: 7♦, 7♣, 7♥, 4♠, 3♠, 2♠, J♥, 10♥, 9♥, A♣
This hand consists of one matched set, and two open-end runs so the cards that would gin this hand are 7♠, Q♥, 8♥, 5♠, A♠
When you reach six-way gins they usually consist of three open-end sequences that could possible consist of a nine-melded hand if it has a hanger.
A seven-way gin hand usually consists of two four-card sequence melds with a hanger on just one end. Seven-melded hands have no gin value as far as your already melded cards are concerned. The value of such hands is determined solely by the three unmelded cards, and by some extent to which they are combined. The combinations may be as low as two-ways, as when only two of the cards are of the same numerical value or part of a run, and third card is not combined in any way.
While there are other gin combinations such as an eight-melded holding with a hanger at either end, plus various freak gin combinations, these extreme hands are few and far between. A tip known by pros when playing a hand for gin, if the circumstances require the breaking of your hand, it is usually best to completely break and throw away a three-card run rather than throw a card off your four-card meld, but you won’t run into that very often either.
It must be understood at this point that the number of gin opportunities previously given are based on the total number of cards that would be available for gin. The number of gin opportunities for your specific hand however should be based on the maximum number of cards available for gin, less those cards already discarded, cards that you know your opponent is holding in runs, and those cards you are reasonable sure are being held by your opponent. This means that it is conceivable that what may look like a five or six-way hand may only be no more than a one-way hand. It is possible that a three or four-way hand may have no actual way of making gin as well. Remember this when you think you go gin.