Bally’s Hotel in Las Vegas was the place to be if you considered yourself either an avid gin rummy player or fan. The Gin Rummy Association presented The Holiday Classic Tournament from Nov. 11 through the 14 for gin rummy partners and singles and one Oakdale man walked away with top honors. Greg Anderson came home with the world title in hand.
Gin Rummy is a card game where most or all of the cards in your hand can be combined into sets and runs to score points. The game has been around for years, and according to the ginrummy.com/history website, Gin Rummy is the most popular Rummy game played in the United States.
The recent four-day event in Las Vegas saw card players competing for the World Champion Gin Rummy title. The tournament started on a Sunday with a doubles tournament, which included five matches. Players had to win four out of five matches, or all five to qualify for the next round. The singles tournaments were held on Monday and Tuesday and included eight matches. Players continue onto the next round as long as they win 10 games. If you lose seven games, then the player is disqualified from the competition. The finals were held on Wednesday. Players from all over the world attended the tournaments with players from Brazil, Argentina, Europe, China, Canada and Mexico.
Oakdale native Greg Anderson gained 1,470 points after competing in several games and made it all the way to number one on the leader board at the end of the event, earning the title World Champion Gin Rummy player.
Anderson was also Player of the Year in 2011. He plays singles and doubles in the tournament.
Anderson was born and raised in Oakdale. He attended Oakdale High School and graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton. Currently, Anderson is the assistant Junior Varsity football coach for Oakdale High and owns his own livestock business called Greg Anderson Livestock. He learned how to play cards when he was a youngster and has enjoyed it ever since. A Gin Rummy pro took him ‘under his wing’ and showed him the ropes, said Anderson. They partnered together for a few games when he was just 12 years old.
“After winning one of the games, he gave me 100 dollars and told me that was my cut,” said Anderson. “I have been playing ever since.”
The first formal tournament that he attended as a pro was in 2000.
The winner of the tournament receives a ring, free entry into a tournament the following year, a cash prize and bragging rights.
The Gin Rummy Association will be hosting another tournament called the ‘Winter Classic’ at Bally’s Hotel in Las Vegas from Feb. 17 through 20.
“You don’t get rich doing this, it’s a passion,” remarked Anderson. “The biggest reward was being a champion, being the best game player that I could be.”