The Game Winning Safe Count

Posted in Partnership Play

There is yet another safe count that you must give important consideration to when it comes to partnership play, and that is the game winning safe count.

For example, playing in a four handed game where the game score is 300, you started out with a game score of 280 in the first column. Your partner wins 26 and gin which is 51 points double, or 102, so now you have a score of 382 in the first column. You know that, should your opponent gin you, he will immediately get credit for a 50 point bonus. This would reduce your score to 332. Your score would be further reduced by the number of points you have in your hand doubled. If you have 16 points in your hand, you will lose 32 more points over the gin bonus. This would bring your total score now down to 300 and the game is automatically over. Of course, if you lose any less than 16 points you would end up with even more than 300 and again the game would be over. However, if you had 17 points or more in your hand when your opponent ginned, your total score would be brought under 300, and the game would not be over. In this case, your game winning safe count is 16 and your entire play in this situation must be geared to bringing your hand down to that number of 16 or less, and not go over. Of course, this is only true of your score in the first game. Then you will have to consider what your game winning safe count is for the second game, and then for the third and final game.

If the circumstances are such that in the third game your partner’s winning score or your partner’s score for winning his hand brings your score up to 360, for example, you know that you can only lose 50 on a gin which brings you back to 310. As long as you cannot lose more than 10 po9ints from your own hand, which is 5 points doubled, the game is automatically over. It can never be saved by your opponents. Therefore, if your hand is brought down to five points or less, you have what is known as an automatic throw-in and the hand is decked that way. Without ginning, without underknocking, without ever knocking you have won your hand and the game, merely by bringing your total point value down to the safe game count.

There are certain extremely rare circumstances when going over a safe count is warranted. One instance is when your partner has, by winning his hand, placed you in a position whereby you are almost guaranteed to go out in the game by ginning your hand; whereas by losing your hand and a box you would not put the game in any jeopardy whatsoever. All it would mean is that the other team would get the boxes that are involved in the hand instead of your own.

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