OBJECTIVE OF GIN SOLITAIRE: Go Gin or knock before drawing the Joker from the draw pile


NUMBER OF CARDS: 52 card deck, one Joker

RANK OF CARDS: (low) Ace – King (high)

TYPE OF GAME: Solitaire



Gin Solitaire captures all of the fun of Gin Rummy and repackages it in a single player game.  Instead of facing off against an opponent, you are competing against Lady Luck herself.  Work quickly to build your hand into melds before drawing the Joker.  Push your luck too far, and the Joker earns points instead of you. 


Gin Solitaire uses a standard 52 card French deck.  You will also need one Joker.  As you play, you will be drawing cards from the draw pile, and discarding from your hand.  Your goal is to build your cards into melds and end the round before you draw the Joker.

Before inserting the Joker into the deck, shuffle the cards and deal eleven to yourself.  This will be your starting hand of cards.  Now, add the Joker to the remaining deck and shuffle again.  Place the deck down on the table as your draw pile. 


Begin the game by choosing one card from your hand and discarding it face down to begin your discard pile.  This is a card that you do not want to keep.  During this game, you are trying to build your cards into melds.  There are two types of melds: runs and sets.

A run is three or more cards of the same suit in sequential order.  For example, a 5-6-7 all in the spades suit makes a run.  In this game, Aces are low, so A-2-3 is a legal run, but Q-K-A is not.

A set is three or four cards of the same rank.  For example, a J-J-J-J is a set.

Once you have discarded your first card, draw one card from the top of the draw pile.  Analyze your hand, keep the cards you wish, and choose one to discard face down.  You are not allowed to go back and look at the discard pile. 

Continue doing this until you are ready to end the round.  This can be done when you have ten or fewer points in deadwood cards.  Deadwood cards are not part of a meld.

You can also try to Go Gin, meaning all ten of your cards are part of a meld.  On your turn, you might draw a card that allows you to build all eleven cards into melds.  This is called a Big Gin.  If you are able to do this, you do not have to discard.

If you draw the Joker, the round ends immediately. 


In the event that you draw the Joker, count up the point value of your deadwood cards.  Assign those points to the Joker on the scoresheet. 

If you end the round with ten or few points, begin drawing and counting the top cards from the draw pile until you come to the Joker.  Take that number, subtract your deadwood points, and the difference is your score for the round. 

If there are fewer cards than deadwood points, you have been set by the Joker.  Give the Joker 25 points plus the difference in deadwood and draw card points.  For example, if you had 9 deadwood points, and drew two cards before getting to the Joker, you would give the Joker 32 (25+7) points. 

If you are able to Go Gin before the Joker appears, you earn 25 points plus the number of top cards you count after going Gin.

If you are able to Go Big Gin before the Joker appears, you earn 31 points plus the number of top cards you count after ending the round.


Continue playing rounds.  If you score 100 points or more before the Joker, you win.

For the best chances of winning, you should also employ some Solitaire strategy!

Do you love playing this game? You should check out our list of the best solo card games for other similar games you can play alone.

Mark Ball
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