The card game known as Oklahoma Gin is exactly the same game as standard Gin Rummy with only a few basic variations. It is a two-person game that requires a standard deck of 52 playing cards. The suit rank for a game of Oklahoma Gin is aces low and kings high.
To begin the game, the dealer hands out ten cards to both players. The remainder of the deck is placed in the middle of the table and a single card is turned face up alongside it. This card determines the maximum count of unmatched (un-melded) cards that a player can have when they want to “knock”. The values of these cards are:
Face cards = 10
Numeric cards = face value
After the dealing is done, the players must organize their cards. The object of the game is to build a hand of cards in which all can be combined into “melds”. There are two kinds of melds in Oklahoma Gin: runs and sets.
Runs are sequences of three or more cards all in the same suit and in order. For example, the black hearts in numbers eight through queen. A set is a group of three or four cards in the same rank. For instance, the five of hearts, diamonds and spades.
To play Oklahoma Gin, the player must do two things during each turn. They must draw either from the deck or the discard pile. Then they must select a card for the discard pile.
The goal of the game is to be holding as many complete sets and runs as possible, but to have no more “deadwood” than the first upturned card dictates. When a player has determined that their hand is the best possible they can end the play. This is done by discarding one final card into the discard pile, but this is turned face down. The player then lays down their entire hand and arranges it into the various runs and sets. This is called “knocking”.
The arrangement of the knocker’s cards reveals what is known as the “deadwood” in the hand, which are the cards that do not belong to any melds. If the hand has absolutely no deadwood, it is referred to as “going gin” and will provide the player with 20 bonus points. In a game of Oklahoma Gin, if the overturned card at the beginning of the game was an ace, no player can knock unless they are “going gin”.
The opponent must also lay out their cards into sets and runs, and if the knocker did not go gin, their opponent is allowed to lay off their deadwood anywhere they might fit into the knocker’s melds. This keeps them from receiving penalty points. If, however, the other player did go gin, the layoff is not allowed.
Scoring is done by adding up the points of the deadwood cards. The values are as follows:
All face cards = 10 points
Ace = 1 point
Numeric cards = face value
If the knocker has a lower final count they get the difference between the two counts in points. If the scores are equal or the knocker’s is higher, their opponent gets the points difference and a ten point bonus. The game ends when one player reaches 150 points.