What is Oklahoma Gin?
Oklahoma Gin is a skill based card game for 2 to 4 players. This game is a variation of Gin Rummy and is played with a standard deck of 52 cards. In the 2 player version of the game each player is dealt 10 cards while in the 3 to 4 player version each player is dealt 7 cards.
How do you play Oklahoma Gin?
Number of Players
The minimum number of players is 2 while the maximum is 4.
What do you need?
Oklahoma Gin is played with a standard 52 deck of cards. Pen and paper
The objective of Oklahoma Gin is to be the first player to reach the decided score point. Players will go through numerous rounds. In each round players have to meld (arrange) the cards into sets and sequences, after which you lay them down. A set is a combination of cards of the same value while a sequence is made up of 3 or more cards of the same suit (as an example hearts with hearts) arranged in a numerical order.
The player to the left of the dealer will be the first to draw a card from the stock or the discarded pile, after which players take turns. To complete a turn the player will have to discard a single card form their hand to the discarded pile. Each round proceeds in the same way with the players performing either of two actions. The player can draw from the stock or discarded pile after which they will discard the card they do not require.
There are basically three ways the game can be won, these are:
The above will be discussed in detail in the next section.
The main objective of each round is to make sure that you are holding as many complete sets and sequences as possible with the least amount of deadwood cards (These are cards which cannot be used to create sets or sequences). Each round of Oklahoma Gin will end in either of these instances:
If a player manages to create melds from all of his cards and can discard the final card into the discarded pile, then he is said to have ginned. He wins the game and there is no way to undercut this procedure.
After a player has knocked the other players get a chance to add to melds of the player who has knocked, to decrease the deadwood cards in their hand. This gives players to perform what is known as an undercut. An undercut happens when one of the players can add to the melds enough so that their deadwood cards total to less than the cards that were laid down by the first person who knocked, thereby winning the round.
- A single card cannot belong to both a set and a sequence.
- The first upturned card determines the maximum number of points with which a player may knock in a particular round.
- Many players adopt the rule that if the upturned card is an ace, a player may only win with a gin hand.
- A variation of the game is when the “Spades Double” rule may be used. In this case a card from suit of spades as the upturned card causes all points in that hand to be multiplied by two. There are differences in this as well in that some rulebooks state that the Spades Double rule causes all points and bonuses in the round to double, while other rulebooks say that only the gin and undercut bonuses are doubled.
Rounds are played until one player’s cumulative score reaches 100, 150, 200 or 250 points, whichever is decided by the players. Scoring is done by adding up the points of the deadwood cards in addition to the points achieved with a particular method of winning. The values are as follows:
- All Face cards = 10 points
- Ace = 1 point
- Numeric cards = Value of Card
The winners of a multi-round Oklahoma Gin game are the players to reach the decided final score. Gin is the method that rewards a player with the highest amount of additional points.
Players who Gin are rewarded with 25 points on top of the points they will receive from their opponent’s deadwood cards while will be doubled in this instance.
The next winning move is Knock. This move rewards the Knocker with 10 points in addition to his defeated opponents deadwood count minus his deadwood count.
Undercut rewards the winner with 20 points which will be added to the difference between the winner’s deadwood count in respect to the opponent’s deadwood count.
Draw: If only two cards remain in the draw pile after a player discards and no player has knocked, the round ends in a draw. The same player deals again for the next round.
There are no specific hands in Oklahoma Gin. Players are required to makes sets or sequences.
Cards (️) that have the same number but are in different suits for example 4♦️ 4♣️ 4♥️ 4♠️ is a set. This can either be three or four cards.
A sequence is when the cards are arranged within a particular suit. An example of this would be 3♦️ 4♦️ 5♦️ 6♦️. This can be three cards or more.
There are many ways to increase your chances to win a round in Oklahoma Gin. Always stay attentive and keep focused on the game. The following are a few tips and ideas to keep in mind:
- If a player keeps in mind that there are only 52 cards being used it is easier to remember which winning combination is possible. There are twenty cards with a value of 10, so in 38.5% of dealings Oklahoma Gin can be approached according to regular Gin Rummy strategy in such instances. An upturned card of Nine, Eight or even Seven can also be approached in a similar manner.
- Determine your strategy based on the upturned card and according to your dealt cards. A lower upturned card implies more cards you need in melds and thus the more melds you need in general. From the opening tactics of two three-card melds it switches to four-card meld plus three-card meld, then to two four-card melds and to three melds. With 7 or 6 as the upturned card, statistically you will have to play for three melds which is slightly less than half the time. With 5 or 4 as the upturned card which can happen in more than half the time, with players playing more aggressively for Gin. With 3,2 or Ace as the upturned card three melds are almost always required implying a Gin becomes one of the main ways to win at this point. Occasionally players can gin with two runs, but it would be an exception from the standard play that occurs. Ginning is a natural tactic on the low upturned cards such as 2 or 3.
- With a low upturned card, players will most likely have to gather three melds in general which will be a Gin, and on most hands it will take some time. So you do not need to worry too much about reducing your deadwood points quickly in this case. This implies that a player can get potential melds even on high-value cards in such scenarios. However the need to get three melds limits the safe discard choices. This also increases the safety of low card discarding.
- It should be noted that in regular Gin it is not recommended to discard low cards, because your opponents can potentially use them try for an early knock. However in the case of Ace, 2 or 3 as an upturned card in Oklahoma Gin, the low-card discards gain safety and can be assessed for discarding safety exactly like the high-value symmetric cards (Ace as King, Deuce as Queen etc.). Your opponents will also mostly be playing for three melds and do not need to reduce that third meld on deadwood cards because quite simply they will not have the necessary cards. In this case low cards not only safer discards, but also leave the high-card combinations intact. Remember, that in Oklahoma Gin points in your hand are not as important as they are in a Standard Gin game, especially if the upturned card becomes lower. You have more time to accumulate melds.
- Consider knocking at an early stage in the game. That way you avoid penalty points later on.
- Try to keep note of the discarded cards placed in the pile. Also think about what cards you discard, this gives vital information to the other players.
- Try to play with sequences rather than sets. To accomplish gin you will need a meld of four cards, both sequences and sets allow it, but sequences can be longer and occasionally it is possible for you to gin with two sequences only.
- When playing for gin, emphasize on the hidden cards. These are the cards that are initially dealt in your hand and drawn from the closed stock. Try not to pick from the discarded pile as much as possible, as this could give hints to your opponents about the cards you are playing with.
- If you are certain to have two or more of your opponent’s cards in your hand, try to play for a draw hand. On a very bad hand try to give your opponent false information early; this can be through your discards or with what you seem to be picking.
- With a Deuce as the upturned card keep Ace or Deuce in your hand to have a possibility to knock. Do not wait for additional cards for your melds.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Oklahoma Gin and Gin Rummy?
Oklahoma Gin is a variation of Gin Rummy with one major difference: the first card the dealer flips to the table face-up after the deal, the upturned card, is the card that will not only initiate the discard pile, but its worth will also set the number of points a player can knock with. If the above-mentioned card is a Ten, Jack, Queen or King; a player will be able to knock with 10 points or less still in his hand. The smaller the card, the fewer points the player needs to work his hand down in order to knock. In Oklahoma Gin, the Ace always acts low, so make sure you shape your sets and sequences accordingly.
How long does a typical game of Oklahoma Gin last for?
This depends on the final score decided by the players. This is usually decided as 100, 150, 200 or 250 points. However it is typically fast moving.