Gin Rummy Variations

This page is part of the Invented Games section of the Card Games web site. It is a collection of variations of the traditional card game Gin Rummy.

Gin Shot

Contributed by Andrzej Lewicki

Normal Gin rules apply with one important exception and addition. Players can knock with a so-called shot. OK, let's look at the piece of paper where we record our scores. Players could have earned points for a current game ranging for 01 up to 99 (game is to 100 points). Let's also say that a player X earned so far 38 points. He can knock not only having 10 points or less or having a gin but also having two cards, one of them 3 on the second one 8 as deadwood. This "shot", where your remaining cards spell out your score, is treated scored in exactly the same way as a Gin - your opponent cannot lay off on your cards. For example, player Y has earned 55 points so far. In the next hand (s)he is entitled to knock having two fives as his/her deadwood. Scores with a zero, like 40, 07 or 80 call for only one card with the face value other than zero - in these examples 4, 7 or 8 respectively. The player's current score determines the shot and this shot is different for each player (unless they have the same score, of course).

This addition to the rules gives more chances to go out and trick the opponent.

Note: Gin Shot can be played well beyond 99 points. The first digit will always signify "hundreds" and two other digits will show the shot position. Example: a score is 135 which should be read 1-35 , one stands for 1 hundred and 35 for cards 3 and 5 as a current shot. In the same way 256 stands for 2-56, two hundred and 5,6 as a shot. Same for 109, 279, 311 and so on. I hope this will help those who like to play beyond 100 or 200 points.

Gin Pro

Contributed by Andrzej Lewicki

All the normal Gin rules apply, but a Cribbage board is used for scoring. Each game is to 121 points and we play to 7 won games.

Many cribbage boards have rows of 7 holes for scoring won games so let's use them. How to score points? If player X wins a game he scores depending on how many points the opponent had when the game finished, as follows:

  • 0 -30 points scored by opponent gives 4 games for the winner.
  • 31-60 gives 3 games for the winner
  • 61-90 gives 2 games for the winner
  • 91-120 only one game for the winner

The idea is quite similar to skunking in cribbage or gammon and backgammon in this board game.

Gin Race

Contributed by Andrzej Lewicki

All normal Gin rules apply, but one of the players plays for 121 points while the other plays for 7 won deals. These scores are recorded separately for each of them on cribbage board: one player's pegs move on the tracks to the 121 point goal, and the other player's pegs record only won games (using 7 holes as in Gin Pro).

Important: for the player recording won deals, gin and undercut count as two won deals.

Gin Twofold

Contributed by Andrzej Lewicki

This game is similar to Gin Race but this time in order to win the game, the winner has to make 121 points and win 7 deals during the whole round. Just making only 121 points is not enough, the player has to win 7 deals to succeed. This version put on holds some unexpected, fast wins. There will be situations that a player collects 121 or more points and still has to win several deals or (which is also possible) a player may win 7 deals but collect less than 121 points. The chance for skill is increased in this variation.

Gin Dice

Contributed by Andrzej Lewicki

A normal 6-sided die is used to to record the stake. The die is put on the table with number 1 face up, visible as a start. Each player has the right, before looking at his/her cards for a new deal, to offer some increase in the number of won deals that will be awarded to the winner. Example: the cards have been dealt but are still face down on the table; player X can take the die, change the visible face to 2 (or whatever number he chooses- 3, 4, 5 or 6) and offer this increase to the other player.

If the other player accepts this offer, he/she takes the dice, puts it on his/her side and game continues. He or she is now the owner of the die and can offer a further increase later on during the deal.

If he/she refuses, the deal is over and the player who offered the deal collects as many won games as was the number on the dice before refusal.

Round can be played to any number of deals from 3 to 21. Those who have played backgammon with doubling cube should have no problems with understanding.

This game can be combined easily with Gin Pro described above to make it really a gambling game.

Gin Rush

Contributed by Andrzej Lewicki

All the normal rules of Gin Rummy apply with one addition: there is a premium for knocking early in the game (rather than waiting and going for Gin). If the knocker wins, he/she scores a bonus of as many points as there are cards remaining in the face down stock. If the knocker is undercut, the undercutter does not get this premium.

Gin Rainbow

Contributed by Andrzej Lewicki

All Gin Rummy rules apply with the addition of the Rainbow sequence of four cards, each in a different suit, alternating in colour - either Black-Red-Black-Red or Red-Black-Red-Black. For example spade5-diamond6-club7-heart8 or heart10-clubJ-diamondQ-spadeK. Of course, this variant can be combined with any other gin variants.

Solitary Gin

Contributed by Susan Plank

This is a Gin Rummy game for one player. Shuffle and deal yourself a hand of 10 cards. You have up to 15 subsequent draw and discard turns to try to get a gin, which means filling your hand with combinations of 3 or more cards, which must be either of groups of the same denomination, or cards in sequence and of the same suit. In this variant Aces can be used as a high or a low card but not both: A-2-3 and Q-K-A of a suit are both valid sequences but K-A-2 is not.

When drawing a card from the deck you may either discard it or keep it and discard another. You keep 10 cards in your hand at all times. Discarded cards are out of play once they have been discarded, but you can go back and count them if you have lost track of how many turns have been taken. 

The aim is to score as few points as possible over five deals. A gin (all 10 cards in valid groups and sequences) is worth -20 (negative 20) points, and if you dont get a gin, any cards in your hand that are not involved in groups or sequences of 3 card or more cards add to your score; any 2-9 cards add 5 points, 10-K add 10 points, and getting stuck with a loose Ace in your hand adds 15 points. 

If you are almost out of turns, you may do better to exchange high scoring cards for cheaper ones rather than trying to collect groups and sequences. 

Having recorded your score, you shuffle all the cards and deal again. You try to score below a preset goal over five deals.  Susan Plank writes that the goal "30 or Under" wins for her about half the time.  A perfect game is -100 points (five gins).

Tedesco Gin

Contributed by Rick Pierro , who has been playing it since the 1980's.

Normal Gin Rummy rules apply except that Aces can be counted as high or low, and can be used in the interior of a sequence. So for example diamondK-diamondA-diamond2 is a valid 3-card sequence.

When knocking, Aces count 1 point as in standard Gin Rummy, but if the knocker's opponent is caught with unmatched Aces in hand, these count 15 points each. If a player takes the top card of the discard pile, they are not allowed to knock on that same turn unless the card taken from the pile is used in a meld (set or run). So for example if your opponent discards an Ace that you cannot use in a meld, and you take it and discard a picture in its place, purely to reduce your count, you have to wait until your next turn before you can knock, risking that your opponent will knock before you and catch you with the unmatched Ace.

In order to knock your count of unmatched cards must be less than or equal to the value of the up-card: for example if the dealer turns up a 6 you need a count of 6 or less. If the up-card is an Ace you can only knock with a count of zero (gin).

If the up-card is a spade, all scores are doubled.

Rick Pierro has written a PDF booklet on the rules, tactics and history of this variant.

Last updated: 22nd March 2022