Using the Safety Factor Point Count System to Your Advantage

Posted in Mathematics of Gin Rummy

This safety factor point count system that was previously described can be used to your advantage not only for proper defense, but also to enable you to determine your opponent’s holdings.

For example, if you know that your opponent is predominately a defensive player, then you can be sure that he will never throw a card, even in the early stages of the game that has a safety factor of five or six. In the middle stages of the game he will never throw a card that has a safety factor of three or four, and in the late stages of the game will never throw a card that does not have the safety factors of one or zero. The middle-of-the-road or aggressive player will disregard the safety factors of his discards in the early stages of the game. In the middle stages, he will generally throw cards of even a five or six safety ranking in order to play his most offensive opportunities. The aggressive player will even take calculated risks in the late stages of the game, by throwing cards with a safety factor of two or three.

Your knowledge as to exact holdings or presumed holdings of your opponent’s hand can seriously affect the safety factor of any given card. For instance, a card that you may be holding as a lay off on a known run must be considered also in that manner. A card with a safety factor as low as one, if it also completes an opponent’s meld is a bad throw. In other words, a card with a safety rank of one which may be used by an opponent to complete a combination or change a run from a dead one to a live meld should have a substantially higher numerical value or rank.

It may appear when first looking at it, that this numerical value system would require a computer with every card. Fortunately this is far from the truth. In fact, you would never actually calculate and adjust the safety value of every card in your hand with every play because all those cards which you have melded or are holding for purely offensive purposes automatically exempt themselves from such a calculation. Only when you are required to make a decision as to which of two or three cards to throw would you need to calculate their relative safety value. You will do this by, at the time and that time only, using your actual recollection of all the cards that have already appeared plus your knowledge of your opponent’s holdings.

This numerical system was devised to provide a simple way of determining the correct and safest discard, as well as to show you what kind of advantage you have compared to someone who does not know this system. This same system can be used in offensive play when you decide, at a strategic point in the game, to take full advantage of your hand’s offensive possibilities.

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