Monday, July 27, 2015

How to Play Gin

     Gin is a fun card game that involves memorizing, strategy, thought, luck, trickery, and a good poker face! As long as you have a deck of cards, someone to play with, and a surface to play on, you can start a game of gin!

Object of the Game: To be the first player to get three sets (two sets of three and one set of four).

Number of Players: 2 players

Set-Up: Shuffle and deal ten cards to each player. Be sure to take the jokers and any other extra cards out of the deck. Put the remaining cards in the center, and put the top card face-up beside the other cards, forming the discard pile.

How to Play (basics): The player who has not dealt goes first. During one's turn, they must pick up one card and put one card down in return. The card they pick up can either be from the discard pile or the "regular pile": the pile of cards that are face-down. Once they do, they must put one card down on the discard pile, so they still have only ten cards. Each player will continue to do this on their turn. The cards each player picks up will help them in their attempt to form sets. A set, as stated before, has to be made up of four or three cards and can either be the same number in multiple suits or 3/4 numbers of the same suit in order. For example, a set could be an ace of hearts, spades, and clubs or the 2, 3, 4, and 5 of diamonds. In this game, aces are 1, jacks are 11, queens are 12, and kings are 13. When a player picks up a card, giving them "gin" (three sets), they will place the card they must set down face-down, and say "Gin".

Additional Things to do in Play: Remember when I said that gin involves memorizing and trickery? I am now going to tell you why gin involves these things.

When cards are placed down in the center, it is helpful to remember which cards are put down. Why, you ask? Well, let's say that, for instance, you are trying to form a set of spades. You have a 9 and an 8 of spades. All you need is a 10 or 7 of spades and you will complete the set...AND get gin. You probably are excited, happy, sure of your win...right? No! This is because you were not watching what cards were being discarded earlier in the game, when you did not need the 10 and 7 of subject, not noticing that those two valuable cards were put down! There's no way of getting them back now, unless, of course, you must re-shuffle the deck due to a lack of cards, but by then your opponent could win! Had you watched the cards you would've known, but now, oh: it's too late, and--do you see where I'm going with this?
Paying attention to the cards played by your opponent also proves to be helpful when trying to prevent your opponent from winning (getting gin). If you watch your opponent carefully throughout the game--noticing the cards they put down, what they pick up, how well they hide their fortune--you might be able to determine what card your opponent needs to get gin, and if you, by luck, happen to pick up that card, you are going to want to hold on to it! But, if you didn't watch the games carefully, then you would've put down the card, as it had no use to you. Then your opponent, smiling, would snatch that card, and put a card face-down on the pile. "Gin," they grin, and at that moment you would be thinking, If only I watched the cards. If only...if only...then I wouldn't have put down the winning card!

But, how will you avoid your opponent from doing these things to you? It's simple: you'll TRICK them. Tricking your opponent is easy and helpful...UNLESS your opponent isn't watching the cards. Then "tricking" them is just a waste of time. Now you can see how trying to trick your opponent can be risky. But before you decide whether or not you want to trick the other player, first you should know how to trick them, so you can consider your options. Let's go back to the example I used before: you already completed two sets, one of four and one of three. You have a 9 and 8 of spades. All you need is a 10 or 7 of spades and ta-da! you win the game! And this time, both cards are out there somewhere in the pile, waiting for you. It's your turn. You pick up a card from the regular card pile. It is a...6. Of hearts. You don't need this! But you can TRICK the other player. Put down your extra card and KEEP the 6. Later you can put down that six. By picking up a card, you create suspicions inside your opponent's head, and you get them thinking, and sort of off track. Just be careful...they might be tricking you too!

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