I was playing a game of gin rummy when I knocked for a non-zero amount. As I laid out my cards, I noticed that I could have rearranged to cards and gone gin.

Now this isn't a question about whether or not changing my declaration of knock to gin was in the spirit of fairness, just whether or not it is allowed by the rules.

We consulted the wikipedia page on gin rummy, read the section on knocking, and found:

Once a player knocks or declares gin the round is over and scores are tallied, players cannot draw.

The purpose of this sentence could be interpreted as:

  • Saying that when either knocking or declaring gin, the had is over and a declaration cannot be changed
  • OR simply that the sentence is trying to point out that a draw is no longer possible at this point
  • OR both (the two are not, necessarily, mutually exclusive)

The knocking section does not seem to state clearly whether or not a knock hand can be changed to gin if the knocking player realizes their mistake.

And to add spice to this question, the interpretation of the rules is especially important, because the defending player, had I only knocked, would have been able to undercut me. So it wasn't just a question of whether I was going to receive X or Y points, it was a question of whether I would win the hand or be undercut.

Not looking for opinions, as we could create our own house rule out of this scenario going forward. Looking for any kind of official reference on the matter if one exists.


3 Answers 3


It is important to note that knocking and going gin are not mutually exclusive. From Pagat:

Knocking with no unmatched cards at all is called going gin [...]

And Wikipedia:

Knocking with 0 points of deadwood is known as going Gin or having a Gin hand [...]

If you announced a zero count, then you have gone gin.

If you announced a non-zero count, then you are stuck with the count that you announced and cannot take it back. Your opponent may proceed to lay off cards.

If you did not announce a count, but you have arranged your cards into matched and unmatched groups, then your count is the total of the unmatched cards, and it is too late to change your mind. If you are still in the process of arranging your cards, then your count is not finalized yet, and you can still change your mind.

  • Hm, that's interesting, but I think the issue was that I believed I had deadwood when I put my cards down (by separating what I believed to be the deadwood) and then tried to rearrange them later. Are you saying that the rearranging makes no difference?
    – jefflunt
    Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 0:12
  • 1
    @jefflunt I misread the question (I didn't realize that you specifically said that you had already arranged your cards). I edited the answer to clarify. Basically, the rules say to arrange your cards. They don't say that you can rearrange them once you are done, so you can't. But if you are still arranging, then of course you may continue to do so. Hopefully I captured that clearly in the answer.
    – Rainbolt
    Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 3:24

The sequence of play should be:

  1. You knock
  2. You announce your count (or gin)
    • You can do this silently by laying down your cards organized with the extras clearly off to the side in an unmatched group.
  3. Your opponent lays out there hand, laying off on your cards if you didn't gin.

The important questions are then -

  • Did you announce a count?
  • Did your opponent begin laying down their hand?

If you'd announced a count, you're stuck with it.

If you hadn't, and your opponent laid down their hand, they've jumped the gun a bit and you should be allowed to reorganize and formally announce your count.

The rules on RummyTalk don't address this directly, but the above is how I've played in tournaments (admittedly just local (<100 people) tournaments. Obviously you'd want to bring in the official to get the ruling directly.

  • @Rainbolt - Thanks, but no thanks on the edit, nobody I ever played with would announce a count of 0. One announces "GIN!" The happy dance is optional, the triumphant tone is not. The querant clearly stated that he did not initially announce gin, so requiring the count to be above 0 is clearly superfluous.
    – Pat Ludwig
    Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 23:22
  • I understand if you think that it is superfluous. However, your answer actually misleads readers to believe that if you announce a zero count, then your opponent can begin laying off. That's wrong, and I'm sure not what you meant to imply.
    – Rainbolt
    Commented Aug 22, 2015 at 4:35
  • @Rainbolt - we'll have to disagree, if the querant had announced a count of 0, he would have had gin which would lead directly to a logical inconsistency in his question. Feel free to write your own answer (again) if you wish.
    – Pat Ludwig
    Commented Aug 22, 2015 at 4:43

Hoyle says "the cards read themselves"

  • 5
    Welcome to B&CG.SE, and thanks for your answer! It looks like you have a great answer here complete with an authoritative source, but I think you could significantly improve it by making it clear what "Hoyle" refers to (perhaps by adding a link) and by saying a bit about what this quote means in practice. Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 22:34

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