Condition of the Score

Posted in Mathematics of Gin Rummy

Before you give full consideration to the offensive or defensive play of your hand, you have one other thing to consider. It is called the condition of the score. At any given time you need to be sure that you are playing correctly considering what the score is.

For instance, if a player has already scored on two of the three games, while his opponent has not and on the third hand he wins 20 points, he will receive those 20 points on each of the three games. In the final scoring of the game, since the third game is doubled, the 20 points will be equivalent to 40. Thus, the player has gained a grand total of 80 points in the three game columns plus a box, worth 25 points, in each column. The 20 points in the third game then yields the player a grand total of 180 points. If his opponent were to win the same 20 points, it would be scored only in one game, and with the 25 point value for the box, he would only gain 45 points.

Also, since the opponent is still on a triple schneid, the 180 point total could conceivably amount to 360 points. In this particular example, the odds favoring the first player would be at least 4 to 1 and possibly as much as 8 to 1. This would obviously call for the utmost consideration to the offensive play of the hand. If the situation were reversed, and you were on the schneid you would of course play the hand ultra conservatively. You might then find it necessary during the course of the play to give up the wild shot and break up offensive possibilities because the odds were against you.

Another example of playing based on the condition of the score is when a game is approaching its end and you are well behind on the score and are therefore forced to play a catch up type of a game. For instance, if the winning gin score is 250 and your opponent already has 230 while you only have 15, you have no chance whatsoever to win this game except by playing all out any offensive possibilities you have.

Obviously you want to be ahead in any given hand, and win each hand consistently, but if you can’t, then you need to keep a constant eye on the score. The score will tell you implicitly if you need to play offensively or defensively. If the score is close between you and your opponent then you also need to consider whether you want to play to win or play to stay even. It will also give you an idea of whether or not to play offensively or defensively.

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