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Captain Play

Captain play is a term used to describe a gin rummy game whenever there are an odd number of players such as three, five, or seven. When there are three players, the game is played in the same manner as a singles contest. It is started by having each of the three payers cut the deck. The highest card is the captain. That means the he plays against the other two. The second highest player starts to play against the captain and continues playing for his side until such time as he loses his hand. His partner plays the following hand and continues playing hands until he loses a hand. This alternating procedure is continued until the game is over.

The scoring is the same as in individual play except that the captain is actually playing for double the amount. He pays each of his two opponents as individuals and collects from them the same way. As long as more than one game is being played, the usual procedure is that the man cutting the second highest card is the next captain, and he previous partner plays the first hand against him. In the next set, the third man becomes the captain and this procedure continues.

With five players in the game, five cards are generally taken from the deck – two red cards and three black cards, including an Ace. The two red cards are the captains. The black cards oppose them, and the man picking the black Ace sits out the first hand. He remains out so long as his partner wins their hands. When the captains win a hand the player holding the black Ace replaces the partner who lost the most points. He now, together with his playing partner, plays until they lose a hand. When that happens the inactive player replaces the man who loses the most points. If two partners lose the same amount, the cards are cut and the one cutting the lowest card is replaced. The captains always have the choice of seats and are always dealt to on the opening hand.

With seven players in the game, the selection of partner’s procedure is identical to that of a five-player game except the seven cards are used, three red and four black including a black Ace. The player picking the black Ace remains out and replaces the partner who loses the most points first. In both of these cases, the captains cover proportionately the same amount of money that is being wagered on the others die. That is, either three to two, or four to three. Frequently in captain play, as well as in regular partnership games, there are occasions when all the players are not necessarily playing for the same stakes. However the total amount played for on each side must balance. If, at the end of the game, it is found that the stakes of the teams do not balance, the established practice is that the lower amount always prevails. This simply means that if the winning side is lower, the loser loses that much less with the different divided. If the losing side is lower, the winners win that much less proportionately divided. The exception to this rule is if any one player can positively determine that his stakes were listed erroneously by the scorekeeper.

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Selection of Partners

There are many instances where an expert head to head gin rummy player would be considered a poor partner when playing partnership gin. He may be extremely capable in remembering the cards, mathematics, odds, and temperament, but they may fail to take into consideration all of the additional requirements for proper partnership play. Most expert partnership players depend on their partner for their knowledge and ability to adapt to the partnership game, rather than their actual ability to play.

The rules of gin rummy do state that there is a set method for the selection of partners. In a four-handed game, partners and opponents are selected by putting out two red and two black cards face down. The red and black cards are of equal denominations such as a black and a red Jack, and a black and a red 4. The black cards are partners, and the red cards are partners. The Jacks play the first hand opposite of each other. The people who chose the red cards have the option of seats and also start the deal.

After the first hand, it is an option of the losing team to change opponents or remain with the same opponents. The same option then applies to the losing team at the end of every hand. At the end of every game, new cards are thrown out for the partner’s selection and the same procedure is followed. If the same partnership team is again selected, you play the game the exact same way you did previously. This works well if you play at a particular club or house. There are many games where it is common and desirable to change partners at the end of each game. It gives each player an equal opportunity to play with every other person.

In a six-handed game, the partners are selected for the first game in the same manner in which the four-handed game partners were chosen, except 6 cards are used – three red, and three black.

The partners in all partnership games sit alongside each other so that they may have an opportunity at all times to look at each other’s hands. This is the major factor in determining their own method of play in their own hand. This is completely allowed, and proper, providing that when they stop to look at their partner’s hand they tell their opponent’s to “hold it”. However, it is not proper for a partner to deliberately try to show his hand to his partner, or to induce his partner to look at any of his other playing partner’s hands. It is considered rude behavior and not allowed in many instances.

In a partnership game where there are two or three decks in use, each pack of cards should have different colored backs. Most of the time when a hand has been completed the cards are spread out on the table and left lying there until the completion of all hands. In casually looking through the cards to determine how far down the cards that were needed for your hand are, or in examining your opponent’s hand, it is possible for some of the cards from the two or three decks to become intermingled. Use the caution of counting the deck before each hand to check for possible mixed cards. This will prevent out and out cheating by having one partner pass a card to his adjoining partner.

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Partnership Play

In today’s games of Gin Rummy, almost 80% of all games played are played in the partnership form of either four or six players. Gin has become much more interesting since the added features of fillips, nuances, and other strategic opportunities arose during the game. It also makes it more challenging than playing head to head contests. The method of playing each hand follows the same procedure that you use when you play head to head, but there are some important differences that can come into play when you are playing in a partnership game.

First, you will always be playing your partner’s hand or hands at the same time as you are playing your own. This simply means that you will have to really know what your partner is doing and be fully aware of how good or bad his hand is, while watching yours.

Second, there is the obligation that a player has to his partner or partners in the fact that he is no longer gambling just for his own money. Also, your partners may be playing for higher stakes then you are, and you must bear some of the responsibility for any of the losses or gains that they experience during the game.

Third, the player in turn is no longer gambling exclusively on his own abilities. You are now gambling on the abilities of your partner as well. The first rule in a partnership game is to be sure that you know everyone playing in the game. This means making sure you know your partner well enough to know that they will not cheat and will play to the ability that you expect in a partner. You also have to be concerned with knowing the other players and making sure they won’t cheat as well since partnership play is the easiest to cheat at in the game of Gin Rummy.

Fourth, the prime fundamental basis of any partnership game is the counts. The scoring in partnership is the combination of plus and minus scores of each individual hand of various partners, and the difference is credited to the side that scores the most points in any given hand.

When you are playing a partnership game you have to keep all of these things in mind. Although the play of each hand is essentially the same, there is considerably more at stake in a partnership game. You don’t want to ruin any chances of your partner winning, anymore than he wants to ruin any chances you have of winning. It is best to play with the same partner time and time again once you learned the way the play. You can use what you know to your advantage and so that you will more consistently win.