Wait For the Count

Posted in Partnership Play

Along the same lines of “hold your play”, the phrase “wait for the count” is equally as important. In partnership games where only the combined scores are the effective scores, obviously we are concerned only with the net result of the team play. When in the normal rate of play one of the two partners knocks or gins his hand, his partner is entitled to the result of his partner’s actions before making his next play. The partner who resolves his hand with an action such as gin or a knock must turn to his partner and say “wait for the count.”

It is extremely important to wait for the count after it is being said. For example, suppose that each partner in a four-handed game picks from the deck at the same time. One picks gin, while his teammate picks his third meld. The partner who picks his third meld might ordinarily decide to knock at this point. However, now that he is aware that his partner has picked gin he may decide, based on the score, to also play for gin because the win of the game is already protected by his partner’s gin. He could also decide to knock his hand since the number of points that his partner has won may be enough to either put them out of the game or put them close enough to end the game by a knock for a few points. If playing for gin, he may also have to decide which card to discard from his hand. Normally, all these factors would require specific decisions on his part based primarily on his own hand. However, having obtained the exact count that his partner has won, his decisions are resolved for him.

For a more specific example, let’s say that in a hand with a knock card of eight, one partner has won only five points and gin, and the total number of points gained does not put their team in the range of ending the game with another gin. If the player who had picked the nine melded cards has been left with a pair of sevens, his discard of one of the sevens would not leave him under his partner’s winning count. His decision has been resolved to the extent that he must knock in order to protect his partner’s win.

However, let us suppose that in the just mentioned game, rather than a pair of sevens, he holds a seven and a three. His decision has again been resolved to that extent that he must discard the seven to protect his team’s win. On the other hand, if his partner had won only one or two points and gin and his teammate has no way of getting under the count or knock, and the winning of this particular set of hands is important, such as getting off of a schneid or keeping his opponent on schneid, his decision is also resolved to the extent that he must break his hand and play to the wall. As you can clearly see, the scenarios would have been much different if he didn’t wait for the count of his opponent.

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