Gin Rummy has become one of the most widely played card games in the country just in the past 30 years. As many as 50 million people play Gin, whether it is professionally in tournaments or at card games at home with friends and family.
Gin Rummy actually got its start in the early 1900’s, but it wasn’t until the early 1930’s that the game became popular in kitchens with families playing long into the night. It was during the years of the Depression that people were forced to look for inexpensive means of entertainment and distraction. Playing cards at home seemed to offer these opportunities for free, which is what people were looking for at that time. They didn’t even have gas to drive their car anywhere, so more and more people chose to stay home and invite over their neighbors for a rousing game of cards.
Most people only knew how to play poker, Pinochle, or bridge so there was a need for a card game that could be easily learned by anyone, including the children. It had to be a game that could also be played with different amounts of people, as well as a game that could be played any time of the day or night. Gin Rummy seemed like an obvious choice, because as an offshoot of the old-fashioned Knock Rummy people already knew of it, and had a general knowledge of how to play it. Gin Rummy which up to this point was relatively obscure became the card game of choice almost overnight.
The fact that the game could include from two to eight people was a definite benefit, as well as the easy rules of the game, and method of scoring. The fact that you could also add variations to the game boded well for families looking to enhance the original game. Additional rules were added which placed a premium on skill rather than luck, which worked well for the men who were gathering to play the game on a more competitive level. So for all intents and purposes, this was a game that truly everyone could enjoy.
In the recent years the rules have been combined into what is known as the standard form of Gin Rummy. The game of Gin has opened up many avenues for both families and competitive card players. Not only have people enjoyed the game at home, but there were actual Gin centers in some of the major cities in the 1970’s. People traveled from far away to play in a setting that was more conducive to serious play.
At that point, people started to write books to officiate the rules because although it was considered to be a spirited game, it was not yet a sport and there were no official governing bodies that ran the game as many thought it should be run. So, a set of standard rules were written in ink that to this day have been strictly followed.