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Strategies on Playing Gin Rummy

While the rules of gin rummy are quite simple, the strategy of the game is far more complicated to understand and seasoned players prevail over the novices most of the time.

It is critically important to keep in mind which cards have been disposed, most especially by the opponent. Because the cards removed from the hand may be important to the opponent, it is crucial to avoid cards which might be useful to the opponent.

Basically, a card should not be drawn from the discard pile until it fulfills a set or run. For instance, while an ace is a commonly wanted card because of their low value count, drawing an ace with only an ace in hand (known as "speculating") reminds the opponent not to remove any more ace card. This creates a difficulty in creating a group of aces except by the luck of the draw.

Middle cards are more important than low cards or face cards strategy wise because they can be utilized in completing sets and runs. The 7 card can be combined with other cards than any other value in the pile. While the aces have a low value, they can only be combined with 2 and 3 cards to form a run, while a 7 can be utilized to form runs with a 5 and 6, 6 and 8, or 8 and 9 as well as longer ones.

Continuously removing "from the top" will soon signal the opponent to keep their pairs of high cards with an understanding that the paired set of a run will be discarded soon. While high cards have more value, a good player mixes the cards so that there will be less predictability in the cards being discarded and provide less clue as to what card they are keeping.

Players with a "knock" must do so the soonest time, and not force a lower knock or gin. But, that player should be aware of the possibility that the opponent can have a lower knock and obtain an undercut. This is true if the game is boiling down to the bottom of the deck. Halfway through the game (when nearly half of the deck in the draw pile have been drawn), making a decision on going for the knock or gin gauges on the amount of free cards (cards that have not yet been exposed to the players) that could create a gin for the player on the succeeding draw, which could be between zero (all probable gin cards are believed to be kept by the opponent or are in the discard pile) or five and higher.