Gin Rummy is one of the most popular card games in the world, it is very easy to learn yet incredibly difficult to master. It was the first game my parents taught me to play and I’ve now started playing it again with a vengeance as it’s taking of online in a big way. The extremely clever scoring system lends itself well to gambling however like Poker it’s a game in which you really have to know what you are doing if you want to end the session with a smile on your face. One of the things that makes it most addictive is that you can think you are doing fantastically one minute and then with the next deal you come crashing down, I love it!
Gin Rummy was reportedly invented by Elwood T Baker, a whist teacher from Brooklyn in 1909. According to legend the name was suggested by his son. Baker was also a Bridge tutor and later gained some posthumous fame for being the victim in an unexplained murder case. It has been said that the game was invented in the then prestigious Knickerbocker Whist Club in New York. The Game of Rummy had been about for a while, Mr Bakers contribution was to prohibit either player from laying out any melds until they are able to go out with the total value of deadwood (unmelded cards) being ten or less. The refining of Rummy’s scoring system achieved by baker has helped make the game much more interesting to play for money.
The un-refined game of rummy has had its roots traced back to the mid 19th century Mexican game of Conquian which was a far simpler win or lose game played for a fixed stake. It was not until the 1930’s that Gin Rummy really started to become popular this being attributed in part to the Depression, when increasingly people had less money to spend on going out and so stayed indoors playing games. Contact Bridge was a lot harder to learn than Rummy and Poker did not fit in with family life so well.
What has been noted as another key factor in the meteoric rise of Gin Rummy was its popularity with the new wave of media stars that was developing of Broadway and Hollywood, and the consequent publicity that game attracted itself. Dale Armstrong reported in his book ‘How to Win at Gin and Poker’ that on one occasion, in a desperate effort at rescue, the Burbank Lakeside Country Club’s House Committee was forced to persuade comedian Oliver Hardy to stay out of the card room, where the Gin sharks had been eating him alive for months, to the tune of four figures a week.
So popular was Gin Rummy with the stars that a new variety was born called Hollywood Gin whereby you could play three games simultaneously or even an endless series of them. It has been said that one of the reasons it was so popular with the stars was that it was very fast to play but could, if necessary be left off at a moment’s notice and easily picked up again as soon as the players were free thus lending itself to those working on set having to stand around for long periods waiting for the shoot.
Gin is still a very popular game for young and old alike, in fact its popularity seems to be increasing largely due to the way it plays so well online. It has always been my favorite card game if you’ve not tried it perhaps now’s the time.
Gin Rummy is a two player game with ten cards dealt to each player. The remaining cards are placed face down by the mat as the stock. The top card is turned face up on the mat to begin the discard pile. Each player alternately starts their turn by taking either the top card of the stock or the visible card from the discard pile.
The basic goal is to get all of the cards in one’s hand in either sequences or series, or a combination of the two. A series is a group of three or four of a kind. A sequence is when three or four cards have two characteristics: they must all be the same suit and the cards must be all in a row (for example: four, five and six of hearts). Until the cardholder has all of their cards spoken for in any of these ways, players continue to draw and discard from the unturned deck. When a player has all of their cards spoken for they lay their hand down in a “gin rummy” and points are awarded for being able to lay down all of the cards at one time (and by the other persons hand). The other way to end the play of the game is to go down early, also known as “knock.” This means that instead of having at least one of the groups be a set of four, the player would have three sets of three and go down for a certain amount of points. If a player is successful at this they win, but they do not earn as many points for the win.
During the play of the game each player has to do several things to have a better chance of winning. First of all, the player has to decide which types of sequences or series they should go after in his or her own hand. Second, the player has to watch the discard pile and remember what cards have been played; the rule is once the card is covered by another card then it cannot be played again (it is not an option to be able to pick up the card later on). Next, and probably the most important, the player has to judge from the first two steps what the chances are of getting the card(s) needed.