The object of the game of Gin Rummy is quite simple when you break it down. It is to reduce your hand to a minimum number of points before your opponent is able to reduce his hand to a lesser number than yours. For reference the points are as follows: Ace is one point, 2 is two points, 3 is three points, and so on. Any card from a 10 through a King is valued at 10 points each. Essentially to win the game with the least amount of points, you want to “meld” the highest cards first so that you are left with the least amount of points in case your opponent knocks.
A meld is when you form a matched set within your hand. For example, if you have 3 Kings, then you have a meld. All cards that are contained in the melds have no point count value so if you are trying to figure out how many points you have, you simply don’t count the cards that have already been melded. A meld consists of 3 or more cards all of the same face value as described above, or 3 or more cards in a sequence or run of the same suit. This could be a 2, 3, 4, and 5 all of one suit such as hearts. The ideal reduction of a hand is to have zero points in your hand, which is called Gin. This is accomplished by making sure all 10 cards meld together, with the most common melds being two melds of 3 cards each, and one meld of 4 cards. It is conceivable that you could have two 5 card melds, or a 4 and 6 card meld. Whichever way it is done, as long as you have more than 3 cards in any meld and all 10 cards are being used in a meld then you can legally call Gin.
There are three ways to win the game:
- By getting Gin – Melding all 10 cards before your opponent
- By knocking your hand – This means that you have reduced the point count in your hand to the point where you are legally able to knock
- By underknocking or undercutting your opponent – This is when your opponent knocks his hand but you actually have less points in your hand at the time. For example, if your opponent knocks with 6 points, but you only have 5 points left in your hand then you win the hand by underknocking him.
This is the basic object of the game. There is more skill involved in playing the actual hand but this will give you an idea of what you need to win the hand and possibly the game. The game can be played to a certain number so winning a hand will only get you closer to winning the entire game, but losing a hand can set you back by many points. The more often you call Gin, the better chances are that you will reach the full point total first.