Player A – 5♣, 5♥, 5♠, K♣, Q♣, 10♠, 9♣, 8♠, 6♦, 3♥, A♥
Player B – Q♠, Q♦, J♦, 8♥, 7♥, 7♦, 4♣, 4♦, 3♠, 2♦
Conditions: In this hand, count is no particular problem since both players are on score. The knock card is the 4♥.
General Comment: Even though Player A has a meld, Player B’s hand appears to be in a better winning position, since all his cards are combined in some way with the sole exception of the 3♠.
Play of the Hand:
Player A – Since he is playing without the consideration of count, his first discard is the 9♣.
Player B – Draws the J♠ from the stock. This card adds to his hand four additional melding possibilities. He throws the 3♠.
Player A – Picks the K♦, which gives him another combination. He throws his most useless card, the 6♦.
Player B – Going to the deck, he pulls the J♣. His problem at this moment is which of the various combinations he is left with should he throw. He would be foolish to break the 7♥, 8♥ since 6’s and 9’s have just been established by his opponent. Also, 3’s have been established, so he should break the 2♦, 4♦ either. Both Queens is relatively safe, and as soon as the first one goes through, the second one becomes very safe, so his play at this time is the Q♠.
Player A – Picks the 9♥ and discards it.
Player B – Takes this discard and throws the Q♦.
Player A – Draws the 6♣ from the deck, which he discards.
Player B – Going to the deck, he pulls the A♠ and throws from his hand his safest discard, the 7♦.
Player A – Picks the 10♣, which gives him another combination. However, at this point he cannot afford to discard a wild card. His Q♣ is dead safe while his two Kings are only relatively safe. Also, by throwing the Q♣, he leaves himself with two Kings to buy into his hand. If he were to throw the K♦, he would be waiting for only the J♣, and for all he knows, his opponent may be holding that card. He therefore discards the Q♣.
Player B – Buys the 3♣, which is a fairly safe card to him, based on the fact that he has already gotten by with the 3♠. The question then becomes how much safer is the 3♣ than the A♠ at a point where his opponent just threw a Queen. He is apparently not actively looking for low cards. Since the A♠ can be used only in one way, he decides to discard it.
Player A – Picks the 10♥, which gives him his second meld. HE now must decide whether to throw on of his Kings or the 8♠. He knows that his opponent is holding a heart run which, since he has the 10♥, must include the 8♥. Therefore, he certainly cannot use the 8♠ for 8’s, but only for a spade run. Since it is only a one-way card, it is just as safe as throwing from his pair of Kings, so he might just as well retain the pair for nine melded. He throws the 8♠.
Player B – Going to the deck, he picks the K♠. No Kings have yet been played and although he holds the J♠, Player B feels that the K♠ is not a safe card, especially since the Q♣ was thrown by his opponent at what is presumed to be a late stage for throwing this card. In other words, it had to come from some sort of combination. Should he now throw the K♠ or the relatively safe 3♣? Although at this point there is no set rule for play, this is when the player who is inclined to be on the defensive side will throw the 3♣. The more aggressively inclined player with throw the K♠ and stay with his chances. Neither 2’s nor 5’s have been established and for all he knows, his opponent may be holding them, in which case the 3♣ would be worthless in his hand. If he throws it and gives up these additional ways he is still left with a very good playing hand. If he throws the K♠ and his opponent needs it, he may gin him, allow him to knock and win the hand, or reduce him by 30 points. With all these considerations to mind, Player B discards the 3♣.
Player A – Picks the 2♠. He has a choice of breaking his Kings or throwing one of his other cards. His A♥ is a dead card and rather than play for the one Deuce that fits between the A♥ and 3♥, he feels that he is better off holding onto his pair of Kings. He discards the A♥.
Player B – Picks the 7♠, which he discards as being fairly safe.
Player A – Draws the 3♦. Since two 3’s have already been played, he discards the 3♥ as the safer of the two.
Player B – Picks the 9♠ and discards it.
Player A – Buys the 5♦ and now has his fourth 5. He discards his safest card, the 3♦.
Player B – Takes the 3♦ and is now faced with the following problem. Should he knock with 4 points or should he play the hand for gin? If he plays the hand, should he throw the 4♣ or the K♠? His hand appears to be a five-way gin hand: the J♥, 10♥, 6♥, 5♦, and A♦. His opponent knows that he has the heart and diamond runs and Player B must decide whether his opponent is capable of holding up the needed cards. Could he tie them up in runs? Player B has not seen 10’s played; his opponent can be holding the 10♥ in a run. Some 6’s have been played, but it is possible that his opponent can have the 4♥, 5♥, 6♥. Also, 5’s have not been played, so his opponent more than likely has his 5♦ tied up. Aces have been played, so his opponent cannot tie up the A♦. Hearts above the nine have not been played so his opponent can conceivably be holding the 10♥, J♥, Q♥. In this case he ties up the J♥ as well as the 10♥. It is not an excellent gin hand, but it is still a good one. What can he do as far as throwing a safe card is concerned? The 4♣ is as safe as a card can be without being dead. Both the 3♣ and the 6♣ are gone and he has a four tied up in a run. Therefore, the only way the 4♣ can be used would be in a dead run, providing his opponent is not holding the two other fours. The K♠ is not a safe card. Player B must decide at this point, if he throws the safer 4♣ and holds the K♠, what he will do if next time he goes to the deck and he picks another card which is not safe and now low enough to knock with. All of these evaluations must be made and made within the same time limit he would ordinarily pick and play a card that does not pose a problem. Remember, it is to a player’s disadvantage to take extra time to think though a situation. From the change in rhythm, he is providing his opponent with valuable information. In this particular hand, Player B made his decision to throw the 4♣ and continue on with his play.
Player A – Goes to the deck and draws the 6♠. He immediately discards that card.
Player B – Picks the K♥. This is the situation he was afraid of. Does his opponent need the King? Is he sitting with Kings at this point? Does he have seven melded cards, six melded cards, or only three melded cards? He could even have nine melded, in which he cannot use the King. What will be the harm to throw a King that his opponent needs? What are the chances that his opponent does not need a King? What are the possible combinations of cards that he can be holding? Aces were played, 3’s were played, and 4’s were played. So were 6’s, 7’s, 8’s and 9’s played. Player B has the Jacks, and Queens have been played. Therefore Player A could have Kings, 2’s, 10’s, or 5’s. Now what about color runs? He cannot be holding a color run from the ten up in any suit. What about from the nine down? Player A has the hearts, and spades, clubs and diamonds have been played. If he is holding fives, he will not have a color run around the 4’s, 5’s, and 6’s. Under the 5’s, what can he have? All of the 3’s have been played, so there can be no color runs under the 5’s. Therefore, it becomes pretty obviously that the only cards that are out now, assuming that he is holding the 5’s and 10’s, and that these cards are not all left in the deck, would be Deuces and Kings. Player B has one Deuce in a run, but does not have any Kings in a run. He has two in his hand. It would appear that the odds that his opponent is holding two Deuces would be considerably higher than that he is holding two Kings. To hold two Deuces he would have to have two out of three, whereas to hold two Kings he would have to have two out of two. This makes it slightly more advantageous for Player B to take the gamble and throw the King. But what does he have to gain if he does it? Player B is still in the same position he was in before, and he has one more safe card to throw after this. What does he do if he picks a Deuce from the deck? On the other hand if his opponent is holding the two Kings and Player B sits with the two Kings, his opponent can never win his hand. But if he is holding the two Deuces, it would mean that the Kings are in the deck. Thus, Player B could buy three Kings. Weighing all the considerations at this point, it definitely would appear to his advantage to hold the two Kings and break one of his three runs in a manner in which he would have dead cards to throw, while he is still continuing to improve his hand. Then, if his opponent is holding two Kings, Player B will never lose the hand. True, he would not win it, but at least he would not lose anything. If he is nothing holding two Kings, the only combinations that he can wind up with are 5’s, 10’s, and 2’s. It is true that since Player B has no five or ten in his hand, his opponent can very easily have seven or eight melded cards. In order to gin his hand, Player B must come up with the three remaining 2’s in the deck. What are his chances of doing this before Player A can come up with at least one of the two Kings, and any one of the other cards he needs to gin his hand? In the meantime, his opponent may, besides holding his own combination, have or pick from the deck cards that he needs. He, of course, would break his own hand rather than throw in to Player A. He has no idea that Player A is at this time breaking his own hand, unless Player A gives him this indication. Then he may play a little bit loosely. Player B, therefore finds it most to his advantage to break the 2♦, 3♦, 4♦, and throws the 2♦.
Once this play has been made, looking at both hands, we see that this hand will go to the wall. Neither player will break his pair of Kings nor is there any way that any of the Kings can be combined except by Player B who is holding the K♥. The Q♥ and 6♥ are still in the stock. However, the number of cards left in the deck is so few that by the time he picks either one of these cards, he will either keep his Jack for the fourth Jack or the Q♥ will be discarded as being a dead card since he knows now that his opponent is holding tens. We now have a hand that is played to the bottom or wall. This is not the kind of a hand on which there are any set rules to be followed. The question of an individual player’s judgment and in the manner in which a play is made merely express the judgments that an expert player would have used under these circumstances as the hand went along.