Offensive Gin Rummy Strategies

Spiele Palast
Teaser offensive Gin Rummy

When giving advice, the Gin Rummy pros differentiate between offensive and defensive Gin Rummy strategies. In this lesson, we will introduce you to some approaches to offensive play. The defensive style will be taken care of in next lesson.

So, what does offensive actually mean in Gin Rummy? This style of play aims to achieve maximum success in the form of a gin as quickly as possible without paying much attention to the opponent’s moves.

This approach brings high chances of winning and, of course, entails an equally high risk.

Draw & Sort in Offensive Gin Rummy

In the offensive Gin Rummy, you want to place all your cards in melds and discard what seems least helpful to achieve this goal in each turn.

In other words, you keep your melds and add to them.

Gin Rummy: drawing the face-up Seven of Spades
In this case, the Seven of Spades is Henry’s perfect open card to draw. First of all, Henry can add it to his existing group of Sevens.
Gin Rummy: new melds thanks to the Seven of Spades
Since the group of Sevens doesn’t require all four cards of the same rank, Henry can now remove the Seven of Diamonds from the group and use it in a sequence of Diamonds.

You should also remember that a Gin is usually easier to achieve if you also form sequences rather than just groups.

If you ever have to decide where to draw in a situation like the following, weigh up whether you need to fill up the second group or if you’d rather take a chance drawing face-down.

Gin Rummy: drawing face-up or face-down?
Henry could pick up the King of Spades to complete his group of Kings. He could also draw face-down, hoping for the Five or Eight of Hearts. Since the round hasn’t been going on for many turns yet, he will try his luck with the draw pile.

Breaking the Rules of Thumb

In the previous lesson about the Gin Rummy rules of thumb, we advised you to avoid drawing face-up cards if they don’t complete or expand a meld. Once you are a bit more advanced, you can loosen this rule a little.

In practice, this means that you can draw a face-up card that doesn’t complete a meld, but which can form the basis of two different melds with two different cards in your hand. That way, you have a better chance of completing a meld the next time you draw a card.

Gin Rummy: drawing for better chances
Henry didn’t have a great starting hand this time. To increase his chances for melds in future turns, he should organize his cards for better overview and draw the Six of Clubs.
The Five and Six of Clubs are a good start for a Seuquence. Furthermore, the Six of Clubs together with the Six of Diamonds puts a group of Sixes within reach. Discarding the Ten of Hearts or the equally useless Jack of Spades would then reduce Henry’s deadwood by four points.

This maneuver is more suitable when dealing with medium to low-value cards and when the current round has not yet proceeded too far, for example within the first 5 to 10 turns.

Discarding in Offensive Gin Rummy

As mentioned at the beginning: in an offensive game, you theoretically pay little attention to what your opponent has drawn or discarded so far.

That means you simply discard what does the least good and the most harm in your hand.

Cards that do no good are those that don’t belong to any meld and don’t form a combination that could become a meld with any other card in your hand.

Cards that even do harm don’t go with any other cards and have a high value, too. This applies in particular to the ten-pointers – Tens, Jacks, Queens, and Kings.

So, in the offensive style of playing Gin Rummy, you check your deadwood for cards with these characteristics before discarding the worst of them.

Gin Rummy: discarding the loading Jack
In this hand, neither the Eight of Hearts, the Nine of Clubs, nor the Jack of Spades are in proximity of any other card here. Since the Jack of Spades adds the most points to Henry’s deadwood, it’s the best choice for a discard at the moment.

If, despite your offensive focus, you have noticed that your opponent has already drawn two Kings, for example, and you must choose between discarding a King or an equally useless Ten, it’s, of course, a little wiser to discard the Ten first, even though this would be a defensive maneuver.

Offensive Until the End?

As you can see, even if we split strategies into offensive and defensive, it is not necessarily advisable to stubbornly pursue one of the approaches for the entire round.

Some professionals and guidebooks advise starting the round offensively and only becoming defensive if the hand doesn’t produce a Gin within the first 5 to 10 turns.

So, you are generally well-advised to play a mix and adapt flexibly to the game situation.

Why not try the offensive approach to Gin Rummy at the Gin Rummy Palace? If you want to read more before playing, you can browse through the other Gin Rummy Lessons or refresh your memory on the Gin Rummy Rules again.