Beating the Price

Posted in Mathematics of Gin Rummy

One major factor that separates the expert from the good player is the ability to “beat the price”. This means that every single play in every hand from the first card to the last card has a specific probability of success or failure. These probabilities are weighed by the expert against the odds for or against him. Then, in each case, he makes the play that is indicated to be in his favor considering the probable outcome of the play.

The expert also differs from the good player in going beyond the ordinary percentages in involved in any given play. That is, the expert measures this percentage against the advantages and disadvantages to him on every ply of the hand. In fact, this is possibly the most significant difference between the ordinary, everyday gin rummy player and the expert. It is called “money management” which is a term that is used in reference to dice, roulette, blackjack, or any other form of gambling. This type of player who takes full advantage of all the odds in his favor and economizes when the odds turn against him will come out a winner over any given period of time.

A major difference between gin and the other types of gambling games is that the percentages and odds are constantly changing. For example, you are playing a hand which is down to the last four cards in the deck. Yet you have not determined whether the hand should be played to the wall, or whether a winning or losing situation can be resolved. It is your pick. There are 14 cards that might be accessible to you, the four cards in the stock and the 10 cards your opponent is holding. The more skillful a player you are, the more you know what you opponent is holding. At this point in the game, an expert will know at least nine of his opponent’s 10 cards. This leaves him a relatively minor choice as to those cards that are left in the stock. He has merely to determine the odds as to one given card and its location. The less knowledgeable player is less aware of his opponent’s holding and thus faced with a greater number of possibilities. Obviously, the more you know of your opponent’s hand, the great the chances of you determining correctly the odds of obtaining a given card from the four cards left in the deck.

It must be remembered that your opportunity to pick a given card in any one play must include the chance of obtaining the card from your opponent’s discard. Although it is true that skill can in no way change the location of the given card in the stack, if the card is at the top and your opponent picks it, your skill can be a very determining factor in making your opponent discard that card to you.

It is your goal to “beat the price” in every single hand. Whether you can do it is left strictly up to your play and knowledge of the game, but with the above information you are in much better shape to be able to do so.

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