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Gambling with Gin-Go


I’ve talked about Gin-Go to a few folks around the country as I like to hear about their experiences playing the game. Some players take the option of playing with jokers, while some play without jokers. Some don’t allow picking up cards from the discard pile to lay off onto existing spreads, and some do. We say there must be at least two “hit” cards or one above the card needed in the draw pile to make a spread.


As in most games, folks may add flavorings to the rules. When I played Monopoly as a child, my brother made landing on “Free Parking,” an automatic $500 from the bank.


I think gamers worldwide add the unofficial to the “official.” It’s the process of personalizing one’s game. That type of personalization is usually acceptable to the core group of players.


Similarly, because the game deals with card play, people often ask me, “Is there a way to gamble with Gin-Go?” Being real, there’s a way to gamble with anything.


While I don’t consider myself a gambler, I was willing to answer their question. Like anything else, it was just another puzzle, and I enjoy puzzles. I know people may design their own format. Here’s one form that I use for gambling as well as tournament Gin-Go (when playing under time restraints):


The Pot: First, a pot must be created before a game starts. Let’s keep it simple – Five dollars ($5) from each player. With two players, the pot size is $10.00; with four players (teams), the pot size is $20.00.


Chip Value: You allow each chip or peg to have a monetary value. For example, 10 cents a chip. After each hand, and after chips have been placed for captured cards, the player(s) with the least amount of chips must add the chip difference multiplied by the chip value. For example: should they have six chips less than their opponent – 6 x 10 cents or 60 cents from each opponent(s) must be added to the pot.


With each hand, the pot could grow (except when the chip count is a tie). When someone makes a winning connection and wins Gin-Go, they claim the bank.


The winnings could be quite substantial based on pot size and chip value (peg value).

In an established casino, the house controlling the game would get a percentage of the winnings. A casino could even control pot size (e.g., minimum). They would have to provide a board master to monitor chip placement with each game and be the counter for the pot.


In tournament play (for two players or teams of two in best out of three or five) where a time limit is given (e.g., 45 min.). Comparing board dominance through chip counting may be one way of handling games that are still active by the end of the time limit.



I’ve played best out of three or five, but they were never timed. We usually finished at least under three hours for three games. Should we play longer, we would take a cell phone pic of the game board and set it up the next time we met. Resuming games by resetting the board from the “last” hand is another fun feature of Gin-Go that we think you’ll like.


We’ve really just started being added to Boardgamegeek.com with an average of 9.0, and it’s only natural that we would love to get more folks to add to the rating. Hopefully, you’ll share the process and love of what we feel is a good card game.

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