Gin Rummy Strategies       Help

An essential skill for a good gin rummy player is good memory -- you must be able to memorize all the possible melds in a hand. You also must be able to calculate the chances for your two-of-a-kind sequences. Always think about your own resources and strategy first, then about your opponent's. By looking at opponent's discards, etc. try to figure what is in your opponent's hand. This way you won't give any good cards away and you also won't be holding cards for an impossible or unlikely meld.

The sevens are the most valuable card in the deck when it is time for forming melds. The seven can be used to extend melds more than any other card.

From the early stages of the game it is better to discard a card ranking one or two away and in a different suit to the one previously discarded by your opponent. For example, if your opponent's first discard is the 7 of diamonds, then 6 or 8 of clubs, spades or hearts is probably your safest bet.

If your hand does not contain any of the former cards, discard a card of rank equal to the one that your opponent has previously discarded (i.e. the 7 of spades). Statistically there are only four possible chances that an equal-rank card can be used against you.

Remember, you are more likely to win a gin rummy game if you:
More Notes on Strategy

In gin rummy you observe what cards your opponent is discarding and which of your discarded cards he is drawing. All discarded cards have to be also memorized. Based on the above and own hand cards, an inference is made as to the structure of opponent’s hand on the assumption that opponent is trying to make melds as best as he can.

It is unadvisable to go all out for gin hand. The bonus of 25 is not sufficient to compensate for the times when you should have knocked.

Typical game ends at half-deck to 2/3rds of deck, so knockers should not hesitate to knock earlier than half-deck point.

It is generally better to draw a deck card than an upcard because less of your hand will be known to your opponent. Also, if you take upcard -–you are taking cards of no use to your opponent, but drawing from deck you may be preventing him from going for a gin hand.

The best game exception to the above rule is when you need the upcard to convert 2 matching cards into a meld of 3 or more thus eliminating 3 pieces of deadwood including the upcard. It is especially good if it enables you to knock immediately.

When you suspect an imminent knocking from your opponent (far into the deck > 2/3) it may be worth taking a low upcard and throw any high-value deadwood.

It is good to retain high-ranking pairs and 2-card sequences acquired early in the game in the hope that opponent will discard a matching 3-d. Thus, 3 high-ranking pieces can be potentially eliminated. Conversely, it is a good idea to delay discarding high-ranking non-paired unmatched deadwood until later in the game to prevent the opponent from creating high-ranking melds.

In arranging your melds after knocking, try to attach a card to a set of 4 rather than a sequence if it could equally well go with either. This way, you prevent your opponent from laying off his deadwood to your sequence.

Before reaching half-deck, you can retain the high-value potential unmelded combinations (such as Ten plus Queen of Hearts waiting/hoping for in-the-middle Jack of Hearts). However, after reaching half-deck with unfulfilled hopes, it is advisable to discard these cards. Still you have to be careful discarding high value cards after half-deck point. You do not want to give your opponent higher chances to form melds and knock in the game.