MAD Gin Instructions

History of the Game

Elwood Thomas Baker was a reporter and cartoonist for a Brooklyn newspaper. Elwood and his son, Charles Graham Baker, a writer and producer of movies in Hollywood, invented the game of Gin Rummy in 1909 at the illustrious Knickerbocker Whist Club in NYC.  It is rumored to be a play on words of some of their favorite liquors consumed while playing cards, and a not so subtle jab at the Anti-Saloon League who were gaining ground for the prohibition act in 1920.  Can you picture the advertising campaign by Don Draper and the Sterling Cooper team? 

Players and Objectives

  • 2 players
  • Objective - be the first to gin or reach the point total  
  • Aces can be high or low
  • No jokers

Winning the Game

This game can be played as a single or multiple round game.  If playing a single round game, the winner is the first player to “gin.”  If playing multiple rounds, the winner is the first player to reach the agreed upon number of points. 100 points is standard.  

Dealing and Game Play

To start, each player draws a card from the deck, and the player with the highest card is the first dealer. The dealer shuffles the deck then starting with their opponent deals 10 cards alternately to each player.  The dealer places the remaining cards facedown in a stack, flips the top card faceup and places it next to the stack to create the discard pile.  

The objective is to win gin by creating 3 melds consisting of runs (sequential cards in a single suit as 8♥, 9♥, 10♥) or sets (3 or 4 of a kind such as Q♥, Q♠, Q♦)  With 10 cards in a hand, there will be 2 melds of 3 cards and 1 meld of 4 cards.

The non-dealer plays first by taking the top facedown card from the stack or the top faceup card from the discard pile.  The player will discard an unwanted card from their hand faceup on the discard pile, signifying the end of their turn. Then the other player does the same. When a player has a winning hand, they discard their last card facedown on the discard pile and call out GIN! The winner then lays their melds out on the table.


If playing multiple rounds, the winning player’s score is the total value of the cards in their opponent’s hand, plus a 20 point bonus. Play can stop either after a single round, when the agreed upon number is reached, or you can keep a years-long running score like we do.  


Face cards = 10 points

Aces = 1 point

All other cards = face value


Get shaken, get stirred and play some MAD GIN