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History and Rules of Gin Rummy

Elwood Baker, a member of the Knickerbocker Whist Club of NYC, is credited as having invented the game of gin rummy in 1910. Indeed, he helped in making gin a fascinating game by trimming down the process of scoring and making it convenient to play for cash.

Gin rummy found its way into American popular culture in the 1930s, as it was a favorite game of Broadway and Hollywood actors and actresses and was highlighted as a pastime in many movies. Gin rummy involves two players using the regular deck of 52 cards. Players keep on drawing and discarding their cards unless a player "knocks" or "goes gin."

The game is concluded when the agreed-upon amount of points has been reached and scored. Points are scored by assembling as many melds as possible out of the ten cards before your opponent can do likewise.

Ten cards are alternately dealt to each player. The non-dealer receives one extra card. The rest of the deck is placed facing down in the middle of the table. The non-dealer chooses a card from his hand and puts it facing up beside the deck, constituting the discard pile. The knock card is chosen from another pile of cards. When their turn to draw a card comes, they can do so either from the deck or from the discard deck to make melds, followed by one card being discarded. Play goes on until a player is able to knock or gets a gin.

A player can knock, when after having selected a card, the total amount of cards not included in the melds is not greater than the amount of the knock card. The card which is intended for discard is not scored. The knocking player puts his cards facing up on the table assembled into meld and unpaired cards. The opponent likewise puts his card on a face up position and tries to discharge all his unpaired cards against the melds of the knocking player. The hand is terminated and counting commences.

A player who is able to knock may choose not to do so. Rather he may opt to keep on playing and go for a gin or get a low score. After knocking, the accumulated point value of unpaired cards of individual players is counted. When the total of the knocker is lesser, he gains the difference between the counts. Otherwise, when the opponent has an equal count or lesser, then the knocker is undercut, and the opponent gets the difference between the counts. A bonus is earned when a player gets a gin that is when no unmatched cards are obtained after knocking.

When the set number of points is reached, the game is over.