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Play Gin-Rummy Online at GameColony.com or in Las Vegas Tournaments
(Also see play online gin rummy vs. face-to-face gin).


Are you a social gin-rummy player or a budding gin-rummy pro? Both face-to-face and online gin-rummy tournaments offer cash prizes to those skillful enough to win them!

Gin rummy is an excellent social card game that first got into the United States at the beginning of the 1900s. Gin-Rummy (aka Rummy or knock rummy) is now well known throughout the world but it is still especially popular in the United States.

Some credit for the game is given to Elwood Baker (who was also a Bridge tutor). E. Baker later achieved much posthumous notoriety as a victim of an unexplained murder case (could it have been an irate card partner?). The best thing that Elwood Baker invented to make gin what it is now, is to refine the scoring system, making gin-rummy much more interesting to play for money.

Since 1930s, Gin Rummy has firmly entrenched in popular American culture when it became a game of popular Broadway and Hollywood stars and was featured in several movies. According to a 1996 survey by the U.S. Playing Card Co. of Cincinnati, nearly 27 million played Gin Rummy socially -- for money or otherwise. Gin-Rummy is a fairly fast game and it is very easy to learn it and start playing it fast. Gin-Rummy is also a deceptively simple game that may give a false impression that any player can master it easily.

Although Gin-Rummy is a simple game to learn and start playing, it's quite a difficult game to master and play consistently well. Almost every gin player knows some simple game basics like getting rid of unmatched high cards and not giving an opponent two cards of the same rank or suit, etc. Knowing just the basics in rummy, however, is hardly sufficient to play the game on a competitive level.

Playing Gin Rummy
Gin Rummy is a game where you have to rely heavily on your skills of observation, deduction and memory. Managing your own hand can be somewhat routine as in any given situation you can most often calculate the best move. Your skill of observation will help you make that 'best' move. By OBSERVING what your opponent is discarding and which of your discards he/she is drawing, you can DEDUCE the structure of his hand on the assumption that he is either making the best moves or acting in accordance with a personal style of play to which you have become accustomed. You should also REMEMBER the cards that have been discarded as well as the changes in your opponent's hand as the play unfolds.

As far as your own hand is concerned, it is highly inadvisable to go all out for gin. The bonus of 25 points is usually not high enough to compensate you for the times when you should have knocked instead of waiting for gin, and finding yourself knocked against. A typical game ends about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way through the pack, so if you get a knocking hand much earlier than that - go for all you can get.

It is also better to draw the card from the closed deck rather than to draw an upcard. The more upcards you draw, the more of your hand becomes apparent to your opponent, and the more of the rest of it can be deduced. If you pick the rejected upcard you are taking a card of no use to your opponent when by drawing the next card from the closed deck you may as well be preventing him from ginning. Two rare exceptions to the rule are: (1) when you need that upcard to convert two matching cards into a meld of three, thus eliminating three pieces of deadwood (including the discard), or (2) when it enables you to knock right away. It may also be useful to expand a meld, especially if you thereby eliminate a high unmatched card. The latter should be done with caution, as it can do more harm than good. For example, you hold the hand with:
J, J, J, 5 6 7, 2, 2, 3, 3

It is not worth taking 4 as the upcard as you must then throw one of a pair and so halve the number of draws that will enable you to knock. Another reason for taking the upcard is to reduce your deadwood when you suspect an imminent knocking from your opponent. The lower the rank he discarded, the worse the danger would appear to be.

Since it is generally preferable to discard high cards instead of low ones, in order to keep your deadwood down, it also makes sense to keep high-ranking pairs and two-card sequences acquired early in the game, just in case your opponent discards a matching third in exchange for a lower-valued draw. The above strategy is good for the early part of the game only. When to give up such expectations and start reducing your deadwood is a matter of skill and experience.

Keeping track of discards is essential. Lets say that your opponent throws Q.
You assume that he is not collecting Queens, only to be surprised when he picks up your discarded Q.
Your opponent may have held the following cards:
J, 10, J
The opponent, then, threw the Queen to draw one of the proper suit for the sequence. Your opponent may be planning something else here -- perhaps at a greater risk he might have discarded from the sequence of:
Q, Q & Q

Why would the opponent run a risk to bluff the fourth out of you? Because he thereby not only re-forms his meld, but also prevents you from laying off a Queen when he goes out on the next turn, and perhaps undercutting him.

Here is another strategy. Let's say that your opponent throws a 10 and you have two 10s. If you are tempted to take it immediately in order to complete a meld, resist that urge! He might have been playing from a pair. lf so, leave it. He will be bound to throw the other 10 sooner or latter, and then you can take it and be certain that he cannot lay off against that meld of yours and be in a position to undercut. For this to work successfully, you must be relatively sure that he was playing from a pair to start with, and that he is not retaining the other 10 as part of a sequence. If all the 9s and Jacks are gone, there is no danger of the latter; and if you have held your 10s for some time, there is a fair chance that his discard was made from two. If it does go wrong, there is still the chance that either you will draw the other 10 or he will draw and discard it before too great damage is done.

Knowing the contents of the discard pile will help you make good decisions in your choice of what to discard. The first card not to throw out is the one you have just drawn from the closed deck and are still holding in your hand: if it really is useless, don't let him know. Hang on to it for a turn or two before getting rid of it. In general it is desirable to throw out a high unmatched card in order to reduce deadwood. The time not to do so is when you suspect that it may be of use to your opponent.

Your opponent may be deliberately forcing a card out of you by one of the bluffing strategies described above. In this case you must hold it back for a turn or two. Check this by matching your proposed discard against the current upcard. The less relation it has to it, by either rank and suit, the better. Some players would even insist that the ideal discard is different in suit from, but adjacent in rank to, the existing upcard.

It is possible to select a discard in such a way as to elicit useful information. Suppose you have to split up the following combination:
J , J, Q, Q..

In this case throw J. If it is picked up you will know he has the other Jacks (in which case you keep yours to lay off if necessary), since your own holding of the Queen shows that he cannot need it for the sequence.

As far as arranging your melds after knocking, it is preferable to attach a card to a set of four rather than a sequence if it could equally well go with either. In this way you will prevent your opponent from laying off against it, whereas with a sequence there is the danger that he may hold (and therefore lay off) an odd card that attaches to one end of it.

In summary, play your own hand with systematic precision, and remember the cards in the waste pile and work on deducing the probable structure of your opponent's hand. Above all, stay flexible. Don't select a hoped-for meld at the start of play and concentrate upon it fixedly: circumstances may require you to change plans at any time.

Playing Gin Rummy in Las Vegas and Online
In 1995, Bill Ingram, John Hainline, Jeff Mervis and a pool player from Florida split a $160,000 prize in 85-player Las Vegas International Gin Rummy Tournament of Champions held at the Maxim, leaving each of the four with a $40,000 cash prize. The top four players, then, played for a tournament trophy and Bill Ingram, the real estate broker from Texas and a great gin rummy player, had won and was declared a tournament winner.

Annual land-based Gin Rummy tournaments with big cash prizes are now held in Las Vegas Riviera Hotel. This year, it is expected that 300-400 of the world's finest gin-rummy players will compete for the title. Registration and more information is available at www.ginrummytournaments.com.

Ken Chase Ken Chase, the 2005 Gin Rummy Champion, also frequently plays Gin Rummy online at www.GameColony.com (also known as GinColony.com).

Another very frequent Gin Rummy player at GameColony.com is Glenn Abney -- a longtime legend who is widely known as Mr. Gin. "I've been involved in the biggest, most prestigious gin-rummy events for the past four decades," says Glenn Abney. Abney says that he learned to play gin-rummy from his mother, who, he claims, left a poker game to give birth to him. At one time, Glenn Abney (a towering man of enormous size and weight) was regarded as gin-rummy's most fearsome player. Abney says that he lost some of his competitive edge when he went on a controversial diet that used an unapproved supplement.  After the diet, Abney says: "My long-term memory is pretty much shot". In online gin at GameColony.com, however, Glenn Abney is still a challenge to contend with.

John Hainline Another occasional online gin player at GameColony.com is a world famous gin rummy player John Hainline, a president of Gin Rummy Association, who won more than 20 gin-rummy tournaments. John Hainline is widely considered to be one of the two or three best players on the planet.

John Hainline was one of the very few players who had a positive score against another gin-rummy legend -- Stu Ungar, the man with photographic memory who was long considered to be the greatest gin-rummy player in the world. Stu Ungar also won the World Series of Poker three times. Ungar, who is more known for his poker accomplishments, considered himself a better gin-rummy player, once stating, "Some day, I suppose it's possible for someone to be a better No Limit Hold'em player than me. I doubt it, but it could happen. But, I swear to you, I don't see how anyone could ever play gin better than me." Stu Ungar was found dead in November, 1998 in a cheap Las Vegas motel. The players and Ungar's associates believed at the time that Stu Ungar was the victim of drug abuse.

In his 2006 interview with the Inside Edge magazine, John Hainline, who loves poker, said that poker can't compare with the challenge of Gin. "Gin game depends far less on luck than poker does", says Hainline: "There are a lot of poker players who are also Gin players. They go back and forth between two games and they all agree that Gin is a better game".

Gin Rummy is a card game where skill (as opposed to chance) is a predominant factor. That's why when players compete in Gin Rummy tournaments or games for cash prizes, they do not "gamble". According to the statutes of most US states, gambling is defined as: risking something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance. See here how a US court decided in favor of Gin Rummy, ruling it to be a non-gambling game of skill. Playing gin rummy for money is, therefore, a "competitive entertainment" rather than "gambling". Skill plays a predominant role in the majority of hands in Gin Rummy and, especially over the long run, the more skilled player is bound to prevail and win more cash prizes!


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