While appraising your hand is important at any given moment in the game, it is especially important as you get down to the end of the hand. There are three general considerations to appraising your hand, especially during the middle and late stages of play. They are:
1. The actual condition of your own hand
2. The condition of the score and the relative value to you when playing your hand for its maximum offensive or defensive possibilities
3. The knowledge that you have been able to obtain as to exactly the condition of your opponent’s hand and what cards he holds.
Both the condition of your own hand and the condition of the score will be factors that are readily visible to you. Therefore, your important determination becomes the condition of your opponent’s hand. The factors that you must take into consideration are primarily:
1. The discards that have already been made
2. The melds that are available to your opponent from these melds
3. The discards that your opponent has picked compared to the number of cards that have already been discarded
4. The add-ons
By getting all the information you can out of your hand and your opponents hand you can then decide if you need to play offensively or defensively at this stage of the hand. It may or may not be different then how you have played at this point in the game. You may have been playing defensively because you feel that you had a losing hand. However, since more cards have been picked that may have changed and now as you look at your hand, you may think you can win it. This is the time to go all out, but before you do that, decide how close your opponent is from knocking. If it is a relatively low card and you are fairly certain that your opponent can not knock then play to the hilt. However, if you are fairly certain that your opponent can go out at any time, then continue on defensively just to reduce your hand as quickly as possible.
Make sure you appraise your hand in every turn. It could change very quickly, and you wouldn’t want to make the wrong move and see your opponent call gin just because of a simple mistake.