How to play Gin

Gin is a popular card game for two players that involves, discarding, melding and knocking. To begin playing Gin the dealer will deal 10 cards to you and 10 cards to himself. The remaining cards will be placed into two piles. The first pile will be face up and contain one card. This will be the discard pile. The second pile will be face down and include the remaining cards. This is the draw pile.


In Gin, you are constantly reviewing your hand of 10 cards for possible melds. Melds refer to card combinations that yield you more points than individual cards. There are two main card combinations in Gin melding: sets and runs.

Sets: A set is also called a group. It refers to three or four of the same cards from different suits. For example, if you have a six of Clubs, six of Spades and six of Hearts, you have a set or group of six. This can also be referred to as three of a kind.

Runs: A run is also called a sequence. It refers to three or more chronologically ordered cards from the same suit. For example, if you have the Ace of Hearts, two of Hearts, three of Hearts and four of Hearts, you have a Heart run or Heart sequence.

Note the low value of the Ace in Gin. It would not be accurate to create a run with a Queen, King and Ace. As well, keep in mind that when creating sets and runs, you cannot use one card four double duty. In other words, you cannot use the six of Clubs to create a run with your seven and eight of Clubs and to create a set with your six of Hearts and six of Diamonds.


Another aspect of Gin is the concept of knocking. Knocking essentially refers to you challenging your opponent to end the game due to your hand. To be able to knock, your hand must meet a few requirements:

It must be your turn, and you must have discarded a card You must have created viable sets and runs with your cards The remaining cards in your hand (those not part of sets or runs) must have a total value no greater than 10

If you have no remaining cards after creating sets and runs with your cards, it is referred to as "going gin." You will get bonus points, and your knocking cannot be challenged by your opponent.

Otherwise, your opponent can use any remaining cards from his or her hand (i.e. those cards not part of sets or runs) to try to create sets or runs with your remaining cards, thereby increasing your remainder card point value to try to beat your hand.

Playing Gin

The actual play in Gin is comprised of drawing and discarding. You will draw a card, evaluate whether or not you can use it to create a set or run with the existing cards in your hand and then either keep that card and discard another one into the discard pile or discard the card you have just drawn.

Winning a game of Gin

You can win Gin in two ways: You can knock your opponent once you are confident with the sets and runs you have created and have remainder cards whose point values total no more than 10 or you can "go gin." You can also win by reaching the maximum score (which can be 100 or whatever you and your opponent have agreed upon prior to the game's start) first.