GinRummy Documentation


by David Teach

Copyright (c) 1991-2004


Requirements / Recommendations to play:

Microsoft Windows 95/98/NT/2000/ME/XP 32-bit operating system.

Optional: Windows capable sound card, mouse.

The Title Screen:

— Typing 'Alt-B' or clicking the left mouse button on the BEGIN GAME box starts the game with the player's options. Hitting ENTER will also choose whatever button is highlighted with the box cursor (which can be moved using the TAB key).

— Typing 'Alt-O' or clicking on OPTIONS will bring up the game Options Menu. See below for more information about the options.

— Click the Statistics button or hit 'Alt-S' to display the current player's cumulative game statistics.

— 'Alt-H' will give some information about the program.

— Clicking QUIT or typing 'Alt-Q' will exit the program.

Warning! You can close most windows (even during game play) using the ALT-F4 key combination that Windows uses to close programs, but this is not recommended since it might not save the state of the game layout or the player's statistics or configuration. Please close this program and all game screens using the "Quit" buttons.

The Options Menu:

— The default name is "Player" for the human. You can change this by clicking the mouse pointer within the box around the name and typing in a new name. It can be a maximum of 15 characters long.

— The default name is "Computer" for your opponent. You can change this by clicking the mouse pointer within the box around the name and typing in a new name. It can be a maximum of 15 characters long.

— Clicking on SCORE LIMIT will allow you to input the maximum score to play to before declaring a winner, ranging from 0 to 500. Entering a number greater than 500 will be truncated to the highest setting allowed.

— If this option is selected, you are allowed to knock if possible (see knock rules below). Otherwise you must GIN to win a hand. Type 'Alt-K' to toggle knocking on or off while in the options menu.

— If selected, a random player goes first. Afterwards, the winning player for each hand deals the next, and the opponent player has an option on the first discard as described in the standard rules (see below). If not selected, then the human player is always first for every game and hand, and the opponent has no option on the first upcard. 'Alt-U' toggles the selection.

— Enabling the OKLAHOMA option will play the game by Oklahoma rules (see "Rules" section below for more information). The knock value, normally 10, is instead the value of the first upcard (the first card in the discard pile). Taking the first discard will not change anything. Oklahoma also doubles the points scored when a spade is the first upcard, and this is still in effect even if knocking is disabled. The 'Alt-O' key toggles.

— When the Oklahoma option is enabled then this will let you choose whether you must Gin if an Ace is the first upcard instead of giving you a knock value of 1. Type 'Alt-G' to toggle this on or off.

— If selected, there is no upcard dealt at the start of play. Instead the first player is dealt eleven cards and must discard one as his first play. This option simplifies some of the possible confusion inherent in deciding who gets the first upcard when players are alternating the deal. See the rule variations section below for more information. 'Alt-T' will toggle this from within the options menu.

— If the computer opponent consistently pounds on you, toggle EASY GAME on. This will make the computer always pick the largest value unused card in its hand for discarding instead of following its better choosing formulas. The 'Alt-E' key selects this option from keyboard.

— If this box is checked, then some sounds will be played when dealing the cards and during a few other game events. 'Alt-S' toggles this option. You must have a Windows compatible sound card that can play WAV files.

— This is the amount of points that a player scores when he wins a hand with a GIN. Usually this is 25 points but some people use 10, 15, or 20 points.

— This is the amount of points that a player scores when he undercuts the other player's knock. Usually this is 25 points but some people use 10, 15, or 20 points.

— This option controls the "smoothness" of the moving cards on the screen. The range is from zero (the default) that is the quickest, to 99 which is very slow on all but the fastest computers but is also very smooth. You should be able to experiment and find a comfortable setting that is a good compromise between speed and visibility that feels "realistic".

— Clicking on this option will change the style of the card backs. There are six different types to choose from.Some time in the future it might be possible for letting users select custom card backs with more variety, but don't hold your breath.

— This box shows the color of the screen background for the game play screen. Clicking on this box will let you select from over 50 colors to customize it. Be careful when choosing a color since some of the game's feedback will display colors that might be hard to distinguish from similar shades. If you choose a color that exactly matches the normal color of displayed text or graphics, then these will be shown in white instead of the default colors stated elsewhere in this documentation.

— You can erase or add players with these buttons. If there is a deleted (but not shown) record when hitting the CREATE button then that deleted player will become active again. This works good as an un-erase if you make a mistake when deleting. Otherwise CREATE will add a blank record to the end of the database. Keyboard 'Alt-D' and 'Alt-C' select these options.

— Changes the displayed player. 'Alt-P' and 'Alt-N' also select these options.

— This option will bring you back to the Title screen and selects the current player shown as the active player. You can hit 'Alt-M' to select this with the keyboard. This button also sets the default player to be the current player whose options are shown. 'Alt-M' selects this also.

Player Statistics Screen:

— Clicking within the "Main Menu" box will bring you back to the Title screen. You can hit 'Alt-M' to select this with the keyboard. Unlike the similar OPTIONS MENU button, this does NOT select the current player name as the active player.

— Changes the displayed player. 'Alt-P' and 'Alt-N' also select these options.

The Statistics and Configuration files -

— At the start of the game, the program checks for a config file called GINRUMMY.CFG and a stats file called GINRUMMY.DAT in the current directory. If either one is not there, it is created. These files save the current player number, the window layout, all the player options, the cumulative totals for average score per hand against the computer, the total number of games won and lost, the total number of hands played, and several other things. If your configuration or statistics files are corrupted, or if you just want to clear the list and start over, erase (or rename) the GINRUMMY.DAT file and the GINRUMMY.CFG file.

— You can have up to 255 different entries currently running in this statistics file. Duplicate names ARE allowed but not recommended.

Warning! Statistics are saved after every game is played. If you quit a hand before the end of the game, there is no winner for that game, no matter what the score is.

Game Play -

— To start play, a player must draw a card from either the Deck or the Discard pile. To do this, click the mouse pointer on the deck or on the discard pile on the playing screen. In keyboard mode, type 'D' for DECK, or 'P' for DISCARD PILE to choose.

— You then must choose a card to discard. Click the mouse pointer on the card in your hand that you want to discard (the card you want to replace with your drawn card). To do this with the keyboard, use the numbers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 under your hand as a guide. Choose the number under the card you want to discard, or you can discard the drawn card by clicking on it or on the discard pile, or typing 'D' on the keyboard. If the discarded card was originally taken from the discard pile, discarding it acts like an undo and it is still your turn. You cannot UNDO a draw from the deck or a discard from your hand since this could be used to cheat by a tempted player. After you make a valid discard, the computer will draw and discard.

— Play continues until one of you gins, knocks, or draws the second to the last card in the deck. If, after you discard, the total points remaining in your hand are equal to or less than the knock value, you will be asked if you want to knock. Click on YES, or on the knock card to end the hand by knocking. Click on NO, or on the discard pile to continue the hand without yet knocking. If you select the 'Play to Gin' box, you will not be asked to knock again for the rest of the hand, but the computer still can knock. If you have disabled knocking in the options, or are playing the Oklahoma option along with "Gin on Ace" and an ace was the first upcard, then this question will not appear.

— After one of you wins a hand, scores are accumulated until reaching the limit set in the options menu, whereupon one of you wins the game. You can then play again from zero, or quit to the main menu.

— You can type 'Alt-Q' or click on the QUIT button at the bottom right of the screen to return, upon confirmation, to the title screen.

The Color Bars -

— To help you see how your cards are arranged, the computer will draw colored bars above your matched cards. The computer sorts the cards in your hand into the arrangement that gives you the lowest deadwood score (or it tries to). Above all cards in your hand that are matched into sets of 3 or 4 of a kind, a BLUE bar will be drawn. Above the cards matched into a run will be drawn a PURPLE bar (I believe the color is actually called "magenta").

— Also, if a player Knocks, and the other player can lay off some deadwood on the knocking player, a RED bar will be drawn over (or under, depending on who's hand it is) all the laid off cards. See the rules below for what cards qualify to be laid off. By request, a red bar is also briefly shown above the computer's draw if it just took your discard from the discard pile.

— When you ask the computer to give you a hint on drawing a card or when choosing a discard, a YELLOW bar will be placed over the card that it recommends for you to select. Hints are not available when a Yes/No question box pops up. You will need to decide for yourself whether or not to take the first upcard if the "Cut For Deal" option is on.

Notes on the Computer player

— The computer does NOT "cheat" when playing. It does not look at the deck before choosing to draw, it does not look at your hand, or do any other thing that a human player cannot do. The computer chooses its discard by a set of fixed formulas that do not have any room for human "intuition" or for many of the different possible arrangements of the hand that might make a good human player choose a different card than the computer.

— The computer DOES remember all cards that have been placed in (or taken out of) the discard pile. This is fair since a human can do the same thing.

Hints -

— You can ask the computer for a hint about your play. When using the keyboard, hit 'H' to show the hint suggestion, or you can click the right mouse button. It will put a yellow bar next to the suggested card to select.

— Remember that the "Hint" function uses about the same formulas for choosing a player's selection that the computer uses for its moves. This means if you depend too heavily on the hints, you will end up winning only about half of your games. Of course, the hint function does not look at the computer's hand to help make any decisions, but it does remember all of the cards that were shown in the discard pile. This is why a hint will sometimes tell you to discard one card of an un-matched pair if it knows that all cards that can complete the match are buried in the discard pile or have been taken from it by the computer earlier in the hand.

Rules of the Game

- Taken from "Official Rules of Card Games", 62nd edition, U.S Playing Card Company, 1968

Rank of cards:
— (High) K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A.

Value of cards:
— Face cards 10, Ace 1, other cards their pip value.

The Deal:
— Each player is dealt 10 cards, the next card is turned face up, forming the discard pile. The rest of the deck is placed beside it, face down.

Object of play:
— To form MATCHED SETS, consisting of three or four of a kind, or sequences of three or more cards of the same consecutive rank in the same suit.

The Play:
— The human player and the computer take turns by drawing a card from either the deck or the top of the discard pile (known as the stock), then choosing a card from their hand to discard. If the "Cut to Deal" option is turned on then it is random who goes first, otherwise the human player always goes first.

— Also when the "Cut to Deal" option is turned on there is an additional step at the start of a hand. On the first play, if the current player does not wish to take the upcard he must so announce and the opponent may have the first turn by drawing the upcard; if the opponent does not wish the upcard, the current player draws the top card of the stock and play proceeds. This does not happen if the "Eleven/Ten" option is turned on because in that variation there is no upcard, just eleven cards in the first player's hand, one of which must be discarded for his first turn.

Players then alternate until:

— 1) A player has GIN.
— 2) A player KNOCKS.
— 3) Only 2 cards are left in the deck.

A Draw:
— If only two cards remain in the deck at the start of a turn, a player may choose a card from the discard pile and continue his turn; but if either player draws from the deck, the hand is a draw. No points are scored for a draw hand, but it counts as a game played. The cards are then re-shuffled and dealt again for a new hand.

— If, after discarding, all of the remaining cards in the player's hand are formed into matched sets, the player has GIN. This scores 25 points, plus the value of his opponent's unmatched cards (the deadwood).

— A player can KNOCK if, after discarding, the total of his unmatched cards is 10 points or less. He does not have to knock when able to do so. After knocking, the hand is over, and both players count the points of their unmatched (deadwood) cards. The other player (non-knocking) does not count the points of any deadwood card he can play on the knocking player's MATCHED SETS. This is called LAYING OFF. The knocking player CANNOT lay off any of his deadwood cards, and the player laying off CANNOT alter his or his opponent's matched sets in order to lay off more cards, or combine his and the other player's deadwood cards to form matched sets. If, after laying off, the knocking player has FEWER points than his opponent, he scores the difference in points. If the non-knocking player has LESS or SAME points than his opponent, he has UNDERCUT him and scores 25 points, plus the point difference in unmatched cards.

(If you can't remember all this, don't worry; the computer does all the laying-off, counting, and rule enforcement for you.)

— If the Oklahoma option is on, play is the same except that the value of the first card on the discard pile (the upcard), determines the knock value, whether it is taken or not. That means, if the first upcard is a 5, then the players can only knock if they have 5 points or less in deadwood cards. If an ACE is the first upcard, a player must GIN to win the hand. If the first upcard is a SPADE, all points scored in that hand are DOUBLED. The knock value is shown in red above the discard pile if this happens.

— If this option is active then there is no upcard dealt at the start of play. Instead the first player is dealt eleven cards and must discard one as his first play. This is not the same as just having to take the first upcard because it is dealt face down instead so the opponent cannot see it. If this option is used along with the Oklahoma option then the knock value is determined by the first discarded card.

— Play continues until a player's accumulated score is greater or equal to the agreed scoring limit. You can then quit the game or play a new game from zero. The score limit is usually 100 unless the Oklahoma option is on, then it is usually 150 points.

About GinRummy

This Freeware program is written in Microsoft Visual Basic Version 6.0 for Windows 32-bit systems.

The QCards32.DLL free card library is by Stephen Murphy, copyright 1996 by Pigeon Lake Software, Inc.

Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions, comments, improvements, or bugs.



When writing to me please tell me where you obtained GinRummy, and be sure to include the version number of the game that you currently have.

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