Each player will receive ten cards. Then one card that has not been dealt will be turned face up, and the rest of the cards are stacked together – face down – within easy reach of the players. The card facing up is the beginning of the discard pile, while the cards facing down are called the “stock.” Taking turns, the gin rummy players will now have the opportunity to either choose the top card from the discard pile or from the stock pile. At the same time, the player whose turn it is will also put a card into the discard pile. It is important to note that in gin rummy the cards that are in the discard pile will not reenter the game play!
The goal of the game gin rummy is to find a winning combination that will permit you to beat out your competition. There are two kinds of winning combinations that are recognized: first, the set of at least but no more than four cards that have the same face value, such as three or four cards showing the number six or showing the knight; secondly, the successful collection of three or more cards of the same suit that run in sequence, such as the five, six, seven, eight, nine of clubs. A secondary goal is to decrease the point count of the cards that are not in the sequence. Keeping in mind that an ace counts as one, the number cards count according to their corresponding numbers, and the jack, queen, and king each count ten points. Thus, when the players are discarding cards, they are not only discarding those cards which do not fit into the sequences they have chosen to amass, but they are also looking to disposing of high-point cards which would increase their end count.
Of card games, this one is quite possibly the most misunderstood because it appears easy, but in reality requires quite a bit of strategy. In addition to the foregoing, there is another aspect that makes this game so much fun: there are a couple of other ways to avoid having a high end count. For example, when a player decides that she or he has a good hand, and has a sequence going, and if she or he decides that she has only a low point count, she or he may decide to “knock” which simply means that the winning player will lay down the cards, clearly indicating the sequence or sequences as well as the cards that do not fit in. However, the other player now has the option of also laying down her or his cards, and in addition to the foregoing she or he can also lay off left over cards by adding them on to the sequences that the first player has laid down. In effect, this means that the second player can reduce her or his point count to zero! The only time this last procedure cannot take place is if the first player went gin, meaning that she or he ended up with zero points in the first place by having all cards included in a sequence.