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History of Gin Rummy

History of Gin Rummy

Gin Rummy is a card game played for over a century across the world. The game follows the ‘draw and discard’ format of standard rummy card games. Today, it is also known as Gin, Poker Gin, Gin Poker and Knock Poker. The game was created to be a faster version of the regular rummy game.  


Origin – 17th Century Game of Conquian

The origin of the game can be traced back to a 17th century game called Conquian which was played in Central American states such as Mexico. It is believed that it is merely a modified version of Conquian with different rules and scoring methods. For this reason, Conquian is often called the prototype of the game.


End of 19th Century – Popularity of Gin Poker Paves Way

Towards the end of the 19th century, a different game known as gin poker was widely played by gamblers in the city in areas such as barber shops and saloons. The rules of gin poker are somewhat similar. The main difference between the two games was the scoring method. Gin poker is often referred to as the father of the game.


Early 20th Century – Baker and Son Introduces the game

Elwood Baker, a Knickerbocker Whist Club member, along with his son C. Graham Baker developed the format of the game as it is known today. The name of the game was coined by Graham Baker who combined Rum and Gin, two alcoholic beverages, to form the name. The game became an instant success when it was introduced.


Mid 20th Century – the game Struggles to Make an Impact

Although, it was widely played in the beginning of the century, it failed to make an impact in the subsequent years where it faded in and out of the gambling scene. The reason for its mediocre performance is not known. It was only during the 1930s that gamblers started to play the game more frequently at casinos and at home. The growing success of the game during these years was attributed to the fact that it had considerable media exposure.


Radio and films included the game in programs which drew the attention of film stars from New York and Los Angeles. As more film stars continued to play the game, it became more well-known among fans. Towards the end of the 20th century, several variations of the game such as Hollywood Gin, Oklahoma Gin, Single and multi-match games came into being.


Online Gin Rummy

Even though it struggled to keep up with the rest of the card games in terms of popularity, today, it is widely played, especially online. Its simple and fast method of play has made it extremely easy to adapt the game for the online platform. Most of the sites offer players the opportunity to play against a software program. Players can gather together at these sites and enjoy hours of game time.


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