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Complete Hand Example #11

Player A – K♣, Q♣, J♣, K♠, 10♥, 9♣, 6♦, 5♥, 3♥, 3♠, 2♦
Player B – 6♣, 5♣, 4♣, 10♠, 9♦, 8♦, 8♠, 7♠, 2♣, A♦

Conditions: Knock card is the A♣, which means it is a must-gin hand. Player A has no count in any game. Player B has no count in the first game, a safe count of eight in the second game, and a safe count of 14 in the third game.

Play of the Hand:

Player A – Discards the K♠ as his safest card.

Player B – going to the deck, he pulls the 8♥ for six melded cards and throws the 10♠, since his first consideration is to get under the two counts that are available to him.

Player A – Draws the Q♦ from the deck and discards it as his safest card.

Player B – Obtains from the deck the Q♥ and discards it.

Player A – Picks the 9♠ and discards the 10♥.

Player B – Going to the deck, he obtains the J♠ and has a choice of discarding either it, which can be only used for Jacks, or the 9♦ which can only be used for 9’s. Since he holds the 8, and the Q♦ was just discarded by his opponent, he throws the J♠ as the higher of the two cards.

Player A – Picks the J♥ from the deck and discards it.

Player B – Obtains the 10♣ from the deck and has the choice of discarding it or the 9♦. Although the 10♥ and the 10♠ have been played and no 9’s have been played, the 10♣ is at this point the more dangerous card since the K♠, Q♥, J♠, J♥, 10♥, and the 10♠ have been played but none of the club suit has appeared. In addition, the entire club suit is open below the 10 and could tie up either the needed 8♣ or the 7♣ as well. Since the 9♦ has no more value than the 10♣ did in getting under the count, the 9♦ is discarded.

Player A – He takes the discard, which establishes his hand as 9’s. In picking this card, he has committed himself to win rather than play to the wall even though he has no counts. His choice of discard at this point is limited to either the 2♦ or the 6♦. The 2♦ could tie up the needed 3♦ possibly, whereas the 6♦ could not tie up any needed card. Therefore, he throws the 6♦.

Player B – Draws the 7♥ from the deck and throws the 10♣.

Player A – Takes the discard and throws the 2♦. He has now a committed gin hand.

Player B – He must take the 2♦, not just for its offensive possibility but because it can put him under the count of the last game by breaking his 7’s. He discards the 7♠.

Player A – Picks and throws the 10♦.

Player B – Selects the A♥ and discards the 7♥. He is now under in two games. He will not in any circumstances go over the count of 8.

Player A – going to the deck, he pulls the A♣ and since none of the cards that he holds are actually any safer, he throws the A♣.

Player B – Takes the discard and throws back the 2♣, even though he has just picked the 2♦. Although this move indicates that he is holding Aces, he is also forcing his opponent to hold a 3♦, 4♦, 5♦ against his pick of the 2♦.

Player A – Picks and throws the J♦.

Player B – Pulls the 4♠ from the deck and now must throw the 2♦ as the safest card. The 4♠ still leaves him under in both games.

Player A – Draws the 8♣ from the deck. He is aware that no 8’s have shown, nor have any of the clubs under the 8. He is further aware of the fact that, from his opponent’s throws, he is obviously under the count of 8. This means that his opponent either has nine melded, or, at worse, seven melded. If he has nine melded, the 8♣ would most likely gin him. If he has seven melded the 8♣ will not do any harm since his three-card combination must be 8 points or less. If he has seven melded, what could his three-card combination be? In view of the cards that have been played, he had picked an Ace which could give him a pair of Aces. Certainly it would not be with another 2 because he has just thrown back two Deuces. It could not be with a 3 because the two Deuces that were thrown were both under the two Three’s that the player is missing. So, if his opponent had either of the missing 3’s, he would have had gin. The only other combination available would be the two missing Threes with a Deuce. However since both Deuces have been played from the two missing Threes, it is most unlikely that he would hold this combination. The percentages therefore favor the fact that he has nine melded. The 8♣ therefore cannot be thrown. What about the 5♥? This appears to be a safe card, since his opponent cannot have three 5’s if he gives him credit for the missing run. He cannot have the 6♥, 7♥, 8♥ since the 7♥ has been played and he would not be holding a combination that would keep him over the count. If he gives his opponent three 8’s and 3 Aces, his missing run would have to be clubs between the 3 and 7. His likelihood of taking the hand to the wall is very slight since he is missing an Ace and either side of the lower club run. His only opportunity to win therefore is to throw his 5♥ and hope to buy a three. It is more unlikely at this point that his opponent has both missing Threes. He therefore throws the 5♥.

Player B – Picks and throws the K♦.

Player A – Going to the deck, he buys the A♠, which he cannot throw for the reasons expressed on the last pick. He can still win his hand by breaking his 3’s, which to him are definitely safe, and play for the single 2♠. He discards the 3♥.

Player B – Picks the 9♥. Although he knows that his opponent is holding 9’s, he is forced to throw it because of the count.

Player A – Counts the remaining cards in the deck and finds that there are 12 left. He then knows that he will not be giving up an extra pick to his opponent by picking this discard. The 9♥ is a most important pick to his hand in view of the fact that he is now holding two of his opponent’s most needed cards. If he were to buy another one, either the 3♣, 4♣, or 7♣, he would then be unable to win his hand. By picking the 9♥ now and discarding the K♣, he is still in the same position to gin. However, he has the 8♣ tied up, so that if he were to pick the 3♣, 4♣, or 7♣, he could then throw the Q♣ and still retain a possibility for gin. He then discards the K♣.

Player B – Draws the 2♥ from the deck, which he throws as a dead card.

Player A – Pulls from the deck the 3♣ and discards the Q♣. Not only has he picked a possible gin card for his opponent, but he has also given himself one extra opportunity for gin with the established 3♦.

Player B – Picks the 2♠. He now has a choice of throwing either the 2 or the 4, neither of which is safe at this point or he also could attempt to take the hand to the wall. He knows from the plays just made that his opponent is sitting with seven melded. What are the missing three cards? They must obviously include one or two of his needed cards since he has seen his opponent break a possible gin combination. He knows that his opponent has the 8♣ tied up by his pick of the 9♣ and throw off from the top end of his club run. His opponent must be holding the A♠, since Aces are a definite known run. What could he be holding with it though is the question. Obviously he is holding the 3♠, so that the 2 cannot be thrown. He could be holding the A♠, 3♠, 5♠ so that the 4♠ is a gin possibility, or he could be holding one of the two missing 3’s. Most likely it would be the 3♣ since he is missing all of the higher clubs. So, what are the chances of ginning him or of going to the wall? Actually they are 50/50. If he is holding the A♠, 3♠, 5♠, his hand is dead. If the dealer breaks his three Aces, which he can do and remain under the count, he has no problem in subsequent throws because he knows that the only way his opponent can gin now is with the remaining three, if this was his holding. If the dealer picks the three he will have the opponent dead and can throw anything, regardless of count. He also knows that if he decides to play for gin, his opponent must use the 2♠, but does not necessarily have to use the 4♠. Since he has a 50/50 chance of getting by with the 4♠, the determining factor of whether to throw this card or play to the wall are the odds in his favor. If he gets away with the 4♠ and gins his hand, he wins all three games, whereas if the 4♠ turns out to gin his opponent, he only loses one game. He therefore takes advantage of the odds in his favor and throws the 4♠.

Player A – Draws from the deck and gets a 5♦. He discards it.

Player B – Picks the 5♠ and discards it. He is now reasonably sure of his opponent’s holdings.

Player A – Draws the 7♣ from the deck. He now is in a perfect position. He knows his opponent’s holding and knows that he has him completely dead, whereas he has two ways to gin going for him. Since his opponent has nine melded he cannot be holding more than one of these two cards. He discards the J♣.

Player B – Going to the deck, he buys the Q♠ and discards it.

Player A – Picks and discards the 7♦.

Player B – On his last pick he obtains the 3♦. Now knowing that he has his opponent completely dead, he discards the A♦. The hand is then over.

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Complete Hand Example #10

Player A – K♠, 10♦, 8♠, 6♠, 6♣, 5♥, 4♥, 3♠, 3♦, 2♣, A♦
Player B – 7♦, 6♦, 5♦, 4♦, 10♥, 9♣, 9♠, 7♠, 5♠, A♠

Conditions: the knock card is the K♠. Player B is in jeopardy on all three games. Because of his large loss on the previous hand, he is in the position of having to protect the games while at the same time playing catch up. Player A, of course, wants to win the game and prevent his opponent from recovering the advantage.

Play of the Hand:

Player A – Discards the K♠.

Player B – Going to the stock, he selects the J♦ and discards it since, with the fine offensive hand that he has, he cannot afford to play ultra-safe at the first pick.

Player A – Picks the A♥ from the deck and discards the 10♦.

Player B – Picks from the stock the Q♦ and now has a choice of discarding that Queen which can only be used for Queens or the 10♥, which can only be used for the heart run. He notices that the first three discards from his opponent have been a K♠, J♦, and the 10♦. He is acutely aware that Queens have not shown in their normal sequence, so his opponent could be holding them. However, if he is holding Queens he can also be holding the Q♥ with the Jack, in which case he might use the 10♥ as well. One additional factor is that if his opponent uses the 10♥ he might be tying up a needed 9. Player B decides that the Q♦ is more of an appropriate throw.

Player A – Picks the 2♥ from the deck. At this point he does not want to break his 6♠, 6♣, 8♠ combination so he must now throw one of his small cards. The A♥ will do him the least harm as well as the least good. He discards it.

Player B – Going to the deck, he buys the 4♣ and is no more concerned about throwing the 10♥. He noticed that his opponent has first thrown a King and then a 10. He definitely is not playing with Jacks or Queens. He has now followed his throw of a 10 with an Ace. He is definitely not looking for a low card to knock with and must be holding some combination around 9’s or 10’s since he did not follow the throw of his 10 with another 10 or 9. He therefore discards the A♠.

Player A – Draws the 8♦ from the deck and discards the A♦.

Player B – Pulls the 8♣ from the deck. The added offensive strength now warrants his throwing of the 10♥.

Player A – Picks the 3♣ and throws the 2♣. This relatively late throw by his opponent of the 10♥ indicates that his opponent had it in some combination, either with the 9 or 8, and the next throw could conceivably be the 8♥.

Player B – Going to the deck, he pulls the Q♣ and discards it.

Player A – Picks the J♣ and discards it.

Player B – Draws the K♦ from the deck and discards it.

Player A – Picks the J♠ and discards it.

Player B – Going to the deck, he pulls the K♣ and discards it.

Player A – buys the 9♥ from the deck and throws the 2♥.

Player B – Picks from the deck the 7♣. He now has a hand in which any one of two cards would gin him, the 6♠ or the 8♠. The 7♥ would give him nine melded as would the 9♥, 9♦, or 10♣. It is also true that the 4♥, or the 4♠ would give him nine melded but he cannot retain all of these combinations. With such a strong hand, it would be foolish to give up his maximum strength. Since the defensive values of any of the cards vary only slightly, he throws the 4♣ as being his least valuable card.

Player A – Obtains the Q♥ from the deck, but discards it.

Player B – Picks the 2♦ from the deck and throws it away.

Player A – Picks the A♣ and discards it.

Player B – Picks the Q♠ from the deck and discards it.

Player A – goes to the deck and pulls the 10♣. He realizes that he is missing the 7♣, 8♣, and 9♣ and considers that he does have the 4♥ to throw without breaking any runs. If he throws the dead 4♥ though, he has no way to tie up the live 5♥. There is a chance that his opponent may very well have three 9’s. This thought results in the decision to throw the 10♣.

Player B – Takes the discard and now has nine melded cards. He now has the choice of knocking his hand or playing for gin. First he will consider his gin possibilities. He will have to discard either the 9♠ or the 5♠ so that his potential gin cards are the 7♥, 6♠, or 8♠ depending on which of the two cards he discards, the 5♦ which is only three ways, or the J♣ which is already out of play. He further notices that although he has all middle cards, no hearts have been shown. It is most likely that his opponent has middle hearts tied up. Player B is also aware of the fact that Aces, Twos, and Fours have been thrown. No threes, so it is equally likely that the 3♦ is tied up. Therefore, he would have either the 6♠ or the 8♠ or he could be sitting with both waiting for the 7♠. Therefore, Player B has at best an extremely bad gin hand which at the same time might even be a dead hand. Upon considering a knock, he realizes that the layoffs against this hand would be limited to the 7♥ and the 3♦. His opponent could be holding all of the missing hearts from the 3 right up to the 9 and could have a meld of threes as well. However, if he had all of these hearts in melds he would be stuck with either single or double 8’s or 6’s. He would certainly appear to be holding either or both the 8♠ or 6♠. He could also be holding the 8♦, 9♦ as potential layoffs now cut off the diamond run by the three 7’s, and he could also be holding the pair of missing nines. With all these ways open, Player B has a practically guaranteed win on a knock. It far outweighs his gin potential. He therefore knocks and wins substantially.

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Complete Hand Example #9

Player A – 8♠, 8♥, 8♣, K♣, K♦, Q♦, Q♥, 7♠, 6♣, 5♣, A♥
Player B – J♥, J♦, 10♦, 9♣, 9♥, 6♠, 5♠, 3♠, 4♦, 2♠

Conditions: This is a hand being played in the middle stages of a game. Both of the players are on all three games and although the hand is being played as a double hand with a 5♦ as the knock card, neither of the players is actually vulnerable. They would both like to win a maximum on the hand and at the same time keep from losing an abnormally high number of points.

Play of the Hand:

Player A – Having an unusually fine offensive hand, he discards the A♥.

Player B – Going to the deck he pulls the 2♣ and discards his most useless card, the 4♦.

Player A – Picks the 7♦ from the deck. Now that every card in his hand is matched offensively, he must decide which way to break the hand. His best offensive combinations centers on his 5, 6, and 7. Therefore, it is most advisable that he break the Kings. His choice would be the K♦ rather than the K♣, not because it is safer but because if picked it will bring him more knowledge as to how to play his hand. If the K♦ were picked he would only be forced to hold the K♣. If, however, the K♣ were picked he would not know how it would be used. If it is used with K♣, Q♣, and J♣, and the Q♠ is not thrown right back, he would be advised to break his Queens. On the other hand, if he does not know, he will be forced to hold the K♦ with the Queen to keep it tied up and, if his opponent is holding Jacks as well, he will be involved in a losing situation. He therefore discards the K♦.

Player B – Draws the 3♥ from the stock, and discards the 2♣.

Player A – Buys the Q♠ from the deck, and discards the K♣.

Player B – Picks the 6♥ from the deck and discards the 2♠.

Player A – Draws the 8♦ from the deck and now has the option of breaking the 7’s or the 5♣, 6♣. It is true that the 4♣ has been well established for him and there is no way that his opponent can tie it up. It is equally true that either of the 7’s would call for the 7♣ and would be the safer throw. However, his opponent has not yet picked a card nor has he thrown any card higher than a four. Player B can therefore, take advantage of the excellent offensive possibilities offered in the combination of a pair of 7’s, together with the four 8’s. He therefore throws the 6♣ which has an equal defensive value to the 5.

Player B – Takes the discard and throws the 3♥. Player A – Goes to the deck and buys the 9♠. He is now in a position to knock his hand with five points and has a reasonable assurance of winning a substantial number of points, in view of the fact that his opponent has still not discarded higher than a four. At face value, he also has a five-way gin hand. Since he knows his opponent has 6’s, Player A assumes that one of the five ways is dead. From the play of the hand his opponent is most probably also holding cards between 7’s and Jacks, so it is most likely that another one or two of his needed cards are also in his opponent’s hand. Added to this is the fact that the 5♣, which he would have to throw if he played the hand, could also give his opponent an additional run. Therefore, the positive factor of an apparently good win with a knock definitely outweighs the potential gin value of the hand. Player A therefore knocks and accomplishes as much or more than he would have expected from a gin.

Note: The fact that Player A played his full offensive possibilities with his pair of 7’s, as well as the fact that he threw the 6 instead of the 5 in order to retain a knock card, allowed him to reach this position. It should be realized that if he played his 5, 6 combination he had only two cards with which to win his hand whereas by retaining his two 7’s he not only had two cards with which to gin his hand but four additional cards with which to knock. This is a factor which is given very little consideration by the average player.

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Complete Hand Example #8

Player A – 3♥, 3♣, 3♦, K♥, 10♦, 9♠, 8♣, 6♦, 4♦, 2♥, A♣
Player B – J♣, J♦, 7♠, 5♠, 4♥, 4♣, 3♠, 2♣, A♥, A♠

Conditions: This is a must-gin hand with both players on the score. The dealer is vulnerable on two games.

Play of the Hand:

Player A – His first discard is the A♣ rather than the K♥ because if the K♥ were picked, he would have no way of knowing which way it was being used and could wind up in a position of having to hold too many useless cards against this pick. The A♣ however, could only be used one way.

Player B – Takes the discard and throws the 2♣. Even though he has definitely indicated Aces, the 2♣ represents the only card in his hand which can be used only one way. He follows this play with the 4♣, a reasonably safe card, as well as a salesman for the 4♠.

Player A – Going to the deck, he pulls the K♠ and discards the 2♥.

Player B – Picks form the deck the 7♥ and now discards the 4♥ as being slightly safer than the 4♣.

Player A – Picks the Q♠ from the deck. At this point he decides that it is most advantageous to break his three since he has a dead 3♥ to throw, to be followed by a relatively dead 3♣. He would prefer to use the 3♦, 4♦ as an offensive combination rather than break into a new area. He discards the 3♥.

Player B – Draws the K♦ from the deck and discards the 4♣.

Player A – Picks the 9♦ and discards the now dead 3♣.

Player B – Buys the 8♠ from the deck and now also breaks his three Aces. This is a rather important play for him. It gives him three safe discards, a chance to develop all of the other matched cards in his hand and prevents him from having to open up with live cards to his opponent. He is playing safely but offensively, breaking his most important run since it only has one way to be filled as a four-card run. Also, his opponent knows of the run and will then not throw an Ace. His breaking of the run also gives his opponent the impression that he is in trouble and then he is already starting to defend the hand. This may cause his opponent to open up to him. He discards the A♣.

Player A – Picks the 8♦ and discards the 9♠.

Player B – Takes the discard and throws the A♥.

Player A – Going to the deck, he buys the 5♦, which puts him in a perfect gin position. He throws the 8♣.

Player B – Buys the 8♥ from the deck and discards the A♠.

Player A – Picks the 9♣ which indicates that his earlier 9♠ discard was picked for a spade run. So, he discards the 9♣.

Player B – Draws the 6♠ from the deck and discards the 3♠.

Player A – Picks from the deck the 7♣ and throws it as a reasonably safe card.

Player B – Going to the deck, he pulls the Q♥ and now throws back the 9♠. He does not need a five-card run. Also, the move gives his opponent the further impression that he is once again breaking his hand to defend. Although his opponent could consider that he merely changed a high spade run to 10’s or Jacks, he will have to bear this in mind in his future throws.

Player A – Picks from the deck the 10♣, knows that the hand was not changed by the 10’s, and discards the card as his best offensive play even though it may give his opponent a 10♣, J♣, and Q♣. This play might even bring back the J♠.

Player B – Obtains the J♠ from the deck and now has a major decision. Should he throw the K♦ at this stage and leave himself the gin opportunity that the 7♥, 8♥ provides, or should he break the 7♥, 8♥ and play to develop either Kings or Queens? He realizes that, with his holding, his opponent could very well be holding the 9♥, 10♥, and J♥ or any two of these cards. He does not actually have two safe throws; he only has one, the 7♥. If the score were reversed, and he had his opponent vulnerable, he would have to throw the K♦ and play for a winning opportunity. As the score stands though, and being vulnerable himself, he has to throw his 7♥ and try to develop his hand in another area.

Player A – Draws the K♣ from the deck for gin. This was the only card open to him with which he could gin his hand. If his opponent had picked it, the hand undoubtedly would have gone to the wall. This hand indicates that even though properly played, there is no guarantee that a hand can always be taken to the wall.

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Complete Hand Example #7

Player A – K♠, K♦, K♣, 10♦, 10♣, 10♥, Q♥, 9♥, 7♥, 5♥, 2♥
Player B – 7♣, 6♣, 5♣, J♦, 9♣. 8♠, 7♦, 6♥, 3♦, A♦

Conditions: The knock is the 6♣. Both players are on all games so they are automatically playing double. The scores are in the general area of 70 to 100 points in each game so that neither player is really vulnerable, nor are they concerned with counts. Each player is concerned primarily with winning his hand with as many points as possible,

Play of the Hand:

Player A – With six melded cards, he obviously will play with the hope of buying the 6♥ or 8♥ and knocking on the first or second card, expecting to reap a tremendous count. In playing along these lines he will discard the Q♥ which is completely useless to him. There is no other card in his hand that is actually safer without giving up one of his major chances to go down immediately.

Player B – Picks from the deck the J♠. The safest and most useless card in his hand at this point is the 7♦, since he has a seven tied up in a run. He discards this card.

Player A – Playing for a quick knock, he takes the 7♦ because it doubles his chances of buying nine melded, giving him four ways instead of two. The pick indicates to his opponent that he either has sevens or a diamond run around the seven. The discard of the 2♥ at this time, even if it helps his opponent, would reduce him so little that it is insignificant. He therefore discards the 2♥.

Player B – Obtains the Q♦ from the stock. This Queen of course gives him two extra ways to buy a second meld, since he does not know that his opponent is holding Kings and Tens. He has no use for the 9♣, 8♠, or 6♥ but the 6♥ is definitely the safer of any of these cards since does have a six tied up. He discards it.

Player A – Picks up the discard and not being able to knock at his point, he discards the 7♦.

Player B – Going to the deck, he picks the 5♦. This card gives him one extra opportunity for a meld with the 3♦. It is a safer card than any other in his hand, with the exception of the Q♦, but knowing that his opponent has been seemingly collecting middle cards, by his pick of the seven, he discards the Q♦, which is a dead card.

Player A – Picks from the deck the 9♠ and discards the 9♥, which is the safer of the two nines since it can only be used for nines, whereas the 9♠ can be used for either nines or spades.

Player B – Draws the 4♠ from the deck and discards the 9♣.

Player A – Going to the deck, he pulls the 3♥. He now for the first time is able to knock. Based on the play and the type of hand, he must decide whether he will gain more points by knocking now and getting an almost sure win, or by playing for gin or an underknock. He does have the opportunity of throwing the relatively safe 9♠, since nines have already been played and the nine could only be used for spades. He will retain a knock card so that, if he does draw a wild card on his next pick and decides to knock, he has no problem. He therefore discards the 9♠.

Player B – Picks the 8♣ from the deck. With the eight in his hand now in a sequence and the 9♠ already thrown, his best discard is the 8♠.

Player A – Pulls the A♥ from the deck. Discarding the 3♥ could not reduce his opponent a great deal if he took it since it could only be for threes. Thus, he throws the 3♥, retaining the A♥ for a guaranteed underknock.

Player B – Going to the deck, he buys the 6♦. Since the 7♦ is gone, his opponent has picked the 6♥, and he has the 6♣ in a run, he knows that his opponent either has a heart run or is speculating. It is rather unlikely that his opponent would have taken one speculative card, the 7♦, and immediately take another speculative card to throw the first one back. Therefore, knowing that the 6♥ is for a heart run, he discards the dead 6♦.

Player A – Picks the K♥ from the deck and gins his hand. He wins 33 points, plus gin with all the extra bonus boxes.

Note: If Player B had decided to break his pair of Jacks and discard an individual Jack at the time he could have thrown it, rather than the relatively safer 7♦ and 6♥, the hand might still be playing and his losses would be somewhat less. However, we cannot go by the results of each hand. By playing all hands in the proper manner, we will certainly achieve the best results in the long run. This hand was properly played. Unfortunately for Player B, by playing it properly he suffered a loss in this instance.

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Complete Hand Example #6

Player A – K♣, K♥, J♥, J♦, 9♦, 7♦, 7♥, 5♦, 3♠, A♠, A♥
Player B – K♦, Q♥, 10♠, 10♥, 9♠, 8♣, 5♥, 4♥, 4♦, 3♦

Conditions: The knock is the 2♠ and the score stands as follows – Player A has a total of 176 points in the first game, 153 points in the second game and 140 points in the third game. Since the winning score in this situation is 250 points, before any play is made Player B has a most serious problem in counts. Since gin is automatically 50 points which would bring Player A’s score up to 127, Player B must be under a count of 12 in order to stay in the first game, under 24 for the second game, and under 30 for the third game. He will therefore play with the primary intention of getting under a count of 12, or perhaps 24, but at the very least 30, as quickly as possible. His secondary concern is to win the hand. As you can see the odds are as high as eight to one for Player A and eight to one against Player B. Therefore Player A will play this hand to score the most points possible and in the quickest manner possible and will play very aggressively for the sole purpose of winning the hand. Player B, on the other hand, must now adopt a more conservative approach. However, instead of playing in a manner that we may consider extremely safe, he will have to match the safety with the chances necessary in order to develop his hand and bring him under these counts as quickly as possible.

Play of the Hand:

Player A – He is in the fortunate position, having all 11 cards in his hand matched. He is playing for one of two things, either a very quick knock, or to hold his opponent over the count in as many of the three games as possible. With this in mind, he will play his hand in the most aggressive manner possible. Since all the cards in his hand are matched, he must break a combination. Knowing that his opponent must play to get under a count and will undoubtedly throw his largest card first, Player A will therefore break his pair of Aces rather than his Kings. He also realizes that if he throws a picture that his opponent needs, it may reduce his opponent’s hand by 30 points, whereas throwing an ace which his opponent may use for a run will reduce his hand by very little. Also, if his opponent is the type of player who will pick an ace now, looking forward to getting low, he would be giving up melding possibilities and lose his pick from the deck. Therefore, the first card he throws is the A♥.

Player B – At this point, he is looking for his first meld and also looking forward to a second meld. Picking the Ace and throwing a picture from his hand at this time would reduce his count by only nine points. It is certainly not worth losing his pick from the deck, as well as being in a position to throw a card from his hand which may well meld his opponent. He goes to the deck and his pick is the 4♣, which gives him a meld. He cannot afford to throw a card that would appear to be safe as the 10♠ because he would be giving up too many chances to meld his own hand. The next safest card is the K♦, the most useless card in his hand. So, he discards this one.

Player A – Takes the K♦ and discards the A♠.

Player B – The same situation prevails. He goes to the deck and obtains the 9♥. He discards the Q♥ for the same reasons as stated on his last discard.

Player A – Playing for every possibility as well as to keep his opponent over the count as much as possible, he notices that his opponent is not looking for low cards. He has passed up two aces already. He must therefore be looking for melds. Player A finds this to his advantage to pick the Q♥ discard for the extra combinations it gives him in his hand. The move also forces his opponent to now hold higher cards, since he does not know how the K and Q that have been picked are being used. He discards another low card, the 3♠.

Player B – Going to the deck, he buys the J♠. He realizes that if he discards the relatively safe 3♦ he will be holding 32 points in his hand. This of course puts him over the three games. If he throws the 10♥ he will be down to 25 points which at least puts him under one game. However, from the cards his opponent has already picked, he would be throwing a card which it appears that his opponent can use. Even though his opponent has picked two cards from him which in no way relates to the 8♣, it is too live of a card to throw at this time, especially in view of the fact that he could be schneided on two games. Therefore, the 9♥ is his logical discard.

Player A – Draws a Q♦ from the deck. He can throw the 9♦ which is a pretty safe card and leave himself with a seven, seven, five combination. He would be giving up an additional way to meld his hand, however with the 8♦. By not throwing the K♣ he can keep his opponent guessing as to what he is holding. This could be an important factor in keeping his opponent over the count. However, in this case Player A prefers to play the hand for the purpose of melding out, so he throws the K♣.

Player B – Picks the 5♠ from the stock. If he throws the relatively safe 5♥, he would still be over the second game, so this is out of the question. His choice must be made between the 8♣ and the 10♥. Either of these two throws would put him under count in two games. The 10♥ could be an add-on or it could be making a stiff good. The 8♣ could even be a brand new meld. On the basis of his opponent having thrown the K♣ on the last card, Player B knows that a Q♥ discard could mean three Queens or the K♥, Q♥, and J♥ run. At this stage, while he is still over the count and on a schneid, he cannot throw a card in unless it is advantageous to him to do so. His play therefore calls for him to throw the 8♣.

Player B – Draws the 2♣ from the deck and discards it.

Player A – Picks from the deck the 6♥. This card is not a safe card for him to discard. Moreover, it adds most substantially to the opportunities, he has for buying his third run since it is a match to the 4♥ and 5♥, which also can be used together with a combination of 5’s which he already has. If he keeps this additional combination and discards the 3♦, considering that he is holding the 4♥, 5♥, and 6♥ together with two other fours, the 5♥ and the 10♥, he is still at 23 points and under the second game. He also has considerably increased his chances of picking his third run. He can do this without being forced to throw the 10♥ in to his opponent. On the other hand, if he discards the 10♥ at this time, he is giving himself one more opportunity for the third run by picking the 2♦. The 5♦ will give him the second run of fives and fours. However, in Player B’s opinion, it is not a worthwhile play at this point to throw in a card which may gin his opponent, in view of the fact that he can throw a safe card and still stay under the count for the same two games. He therefore prefers to throw the 3♦.

Player A – Picks a 6♦ which now means he is nine melded and he discards the 9♦.

Player B – Goes to the deck and picks the 5♣. He now also has nine melded. No matter what card he throws he is under the count for all three games. He cannot knock, since the knock is two and he has a choice between throwing the 6♥ and the 10♥. He discards the 6♥.

Player A – Draws the A♦ from the deck. He now has a decision to make. He can knock and would reasonably expect to win in view of the fact that his opponent being on a schneid would most likely knock as soon as he were able to, and he has not yet knocked. Even though this knock may be a pretty definite win, it obviously would not win enough points to go out. He therefore must consider whether his opponent is at this time holding enough points for him to go out if he should gin the hand. From the play up to this point it would appear to him that he is. Furthermore, he has a choice of cards to throw. With Aces already having been played, the A♦ certainly appears to be safe. On the other hand, the 7♥ cannot be used for a heart run. Since he already has the 7♦ tied up in a run, his opponent would have to be holding the black sevens. Knowing that his opponent will knock at his first opportunity, Player A must take advantage of his opportunity to underknock him. If Player B were to knock, there is no conceivable way that the 7♥ could be layed off on his hand and Player A would lose the hand. Whereas, if he held the Ace and Player A knocked, he would win an underknock. Therefore, as long as he has decided at this point to continue playing the hand for gin, he has no choice other than to throw the 7♥ and remain with one point.

Player B – Picks the 10♣ from the deck. He again has the choice of discarding the 10♣ which is not a dead safe card or the 10♥. He does have a relatively safe throw in the 9♠ considering that nines have already been played. He also has what would definitely appear to be from the previous play a safer throw with the J♠ since his opponent has indicated he is holding the K♦, Q♦, 10♦ as well as the Q♥ and the K♥, Q♥, and J♥ which may be tying up both of the Jacks. Too, if his opponent were holding combination with a stiff; that is, such as the K♦, Q♦, and J♦ in his hand, together with two other Queens and another Jack, a pick of the J♠ could prove to be very costly. Since he is definitely afraid at this time of discarding either the 10♥ or the 10♣, the proper play at this point would be the 9♠. This leaves him with three fours, three fives, and three tens. At the same time, of course, he is still under count for all three games.

Player A – goes to the deck and pulls the 6♠ which he throws.

Player B – Picks the 7♠ from the deck, which is a dead card, and discards it.

Player A – Obtains the 8♦ from the deck, and gins his hand. As it turned out, if Player B had picked an Ace or Deuce on any of his last three picks he would undoubtedly have knocked his hand. This would appear to have been his best chance of getting on score and winning the hand at this point; even tough his opponent had made two picks because there was no assurance that these were both runs. Nor was there any assurance that his opponent had picked a third run. He had very little choice. Unfortunately, though he had several ways to gin his hand, they are still in the deck. At least he has gotten under the count and has another chance to get on score before losing any of these three games.

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Complete Hand Example #5

Player A – K♠, J♠, 10♣, 9♥, 8♥, 7♣, 6♠, 6♦, 4♦, 2♣, A♠
Player B – Q♦, Q♠, Q♥, 9♣, 7♠, 5♦, 5♣, 4♣, 3♥, 2♠

Conditions: Opening deal of a game and the knock card is 8♠.

Play of the Hand:

Player A – His hand does have some offensive value. It has a matched K♠, J♠, which is a one-way combination, an 8♥, 9♥ which is a two-way combination and a 6♠, 6♦, and 4♦, which is a three-way combination. If lucky, the hand could be knocked in as little as three picks. Since there are three cards in his hand adding up to seven points, these three cards by themselves represent an additional offensive value against the eight-point knock. With such a hand it would not be wise on the first discard to break any of these combinations. The choice of play should be strictly between the 7♣ and the 10♣. Both these cards also represent some value as salesman, since he is looking for the 7♥ and the 10♥. The 7♣ is the more dangerous card to throw because if picked the 10♣ could only tie up his needed 10♥, whereas the 7♣ could tie up the 7♥ or the 6♣, both of which are needed. Player A has no way of knowing at this stage of the game which of these combinations to break. Therefore, he discards the 10♣.

Player B – His hand is primarily an offensive type of hand, since he is holding one meld and one four-way combination. He will pay this hand for its full offensive value. He picks from the deck and 8♦ and discards his highest unrelated card, the 9♣ which has some relative safety value since the 10♣ was just played.

Player A – Picks the 7♦, which considerably adds to his offensive value. Because he is retaining the A♠, 2♣, and 4♦ for knocking values, he must break from one of his offensive holdings. The most useless card to him for this purpose is the K♠ since it represents only a one-way value. It is also the safest card in his hand. He discards the K♠.

Player B – Draws from the deck the 7♥ which gives him an additional offensive value. He discards his highest unrelated card, the 8♦. Although this is a wild card, it is too early in the game for him to sacrifice any of his offensive value in this kind of hand.

Player A – Takes the 8♦, and he is once again faced with a choice of cards to discard. The J♠ is a completely useless card to him at this point, but so are the 7♣ and the 6♠. The relative defensive value of either of these two cards far exceeds that of the J♠, so his proper choice is the 7♣.

Player B – The card is taken. This gives him his second meld as well as another valuable piece of information. When his opponent picked the 8♦, Player B did not know whether it was for the 8’s or a diamond run. He now knows that his opponent certainly did not have the 8♣ in his hand because having the 7♣ he definitely would have picked the 9♣ when it was thrown the pick before. Also, the 7♣ being thrown back after his opponent had just picked an 8 means in his mind that it was a safe card thrown from a pair. Otherwise, his opponent would have thrown another picture following his throw of a King. He now knows that the 8♦ was picked as a diamond run. Therefore, he does not want to release the 5♦ until he knows how far this run extends. Player B has six melded and must decide whether to play for 4 low cards, totaling ten, or three low cards plus an add-on, or whether he is better off retaining a four-way melding combination. If you could the opportunities available, you’ll see that if he retains his combination he has exactly four ways. If he breaks his combination to play for the knock, he has an opportunity of buying any one of four Aces. With is 2, 3, 4, this would give him ten points. He has the additional opportunity of buying a Queen. He has no opportunity to buy the fourth 7 since he realizes this is tied up his opponent’s diamond run. So, in this case, he has five ways to buy a knock as against four ways to buy his third meld. Another factor to consider is that if he plays for his four-way melding combination he must throw an extremely live 2 or 3 after his opponent has already picked one meld from him, whereas if he plays for the eight-point knock he will throw a reasonably dead 5♣. The additional factor is that he presumably has a layoff with the 5♣. So, even if his opponent knocked before he improved his and any further, Player A may actually be sitting with a chance to underknock. The proper play would them be the 5♣ because of the percentages involved.

Player A – Obtains the 9♠ from the stock. He has the choice now of throwing back the 9♠ which is a reasonably safe card or he could throw the useless Jack, hoping to buy the last nine on the turn. His other alternative is to throw the 6♠, which is a useless card to him, and leave himself with one additional opportunity to buy the 10♠. Since his opponent has just thrown a 5♣, he obviously does not need a card of the value of a 6♠ to knock with. Furthermore, he is already marked with 7’s and is presumably not holding a 4♠ or 5♠, as he would not likely throw a 5♣ from this combination. So the slight offensive value of the 9♠ and J♠ warrants the discard of the 6♠.

Player B – Going to the deck, he pulls the 10♦ and has a decision to make. His opponent has picked an 8♦ for a diamond run. He does not know whether his opponent is holding 6, 7, 8 or 7, 8, 9 or 6, 7, 8, 9 sequences. If he tries to hold both the 5♦ and the 10♦ against these possibilities, he will be destroying his chance to knock his hand. Since he is playing to win, he will not consider this. He must throw one of the two cards. Since his opponent has just thrown the open 6♠, he infers that it must have been held with some matching card, most likely the 6♦. Player B therefore discards the 10♦.

Player A – Picks the 10♥ and now has a choice of discarding the J♠, 9♠, or 8♥. If he throws either the J♠ or 9♠ he is left with a two-way combination in one case and three possibilities in the other. The safest card though in his hand at this point is the 8♥. He knows that his opponent is not holding 8’s since he threw the 8♦. He knows that he cannot use it for a heart run since he is holding the other three 7’s. The discard of the 8♥ will still leave him a two-way combination, 9♦ and 10♠, while discarding a 100% dead card. Therefore, he throws the 8♥.

Player B – Draws the K♣ from the stock and discards it.

Player A – goes to the deck and picks the 9♦. He has six melded cards and eleven points if he should discard his useless Jack. He now has another decision to make. Should he throw the Jack at this point, which is a very wild card or should he throw one of his 4’s and play for an Ace? At this stage of the game, when 8’s, 9’s, 10’s, and Kings have been played but no Jacks or Queens, there is a 50/50 chance that an opponent is holding these Jacks and Queens. In a case such as this, where the opponent has picked a run and followed it with a 5, it is likely that he is combined around a 5. Thus, the throwing of a 4 could be more harmful than the Jack at this time. He therefore discards the J♠.

Player B – Discards the 3♣ and is still unable to knock. Should he throw the 5♦ in to his opponent, knowing that he needs the card, and retain the 3, 3, 4 combination even though the 5 is out of play? Perhaps he should throw the 4♣, which he knows his opponent can only use for 4’s, and remain with 8 points against the knock. He also has a choice of throwing the 3♣. The odds favor the 3 for the following reasons. If he throws the 5♦ and his opponent knocks, he most likely will have no layoff. If he throws the 4♣ to his opponent and his opponent uses it for 4’s when knocking, there would also be no layoff. The only way he could win is if his opponent knocked with 8 points. However, if he threw the 3, and his opponent took it for a meld and knocked, there would be an additional layoff of either the 4♣ or 3♥. The hand would be reduced to either five or six points. Therefore he discards the 3♣.

Player A – Picks the 5♥ and has a choice of throwing it as a dead card or throwing the 4♠. He certainly will not be throwing the 2♣ because if his opponent’s other three cards total eight he will be able to knock with the two. He would be foolish to throw the 4♦, since he knows his opponent is holding the 5♦. He could also be holding the 3♦, or he might pick up the 4♦ to use as an additional layoff against the knock, as well as an additional meld possibility. Player A must throw back the 5♥.

Player B – Draws the 3♠ from the stock. He throws the 3♥, since the 3♠ gives him an additional melding possibility.

Player A – Picks the A♦ from the deck, and knocks his hand with two points. Knocking so late in the game can be very dangerous. If his opponent had picked the 4♠, he would have been able to have a gin-off, since he could have layed off the 5♦.

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Complete Hand Example #4

Player A – K♦, Q♦, 10♦, 10♠, 9♣, 8♣, 7♦, 7♠, 4♦, 3♦, A♦
Player B – Q♣, J♣, 10♣, 9♦, 8♠, 8♥, 7♣, 6♣, 3♣, A♥

Conditions: Opening deal of a game and the knock card is 8♦.

General Comments: Both hands are definitely of the offensive type. Although Player A has no melds, every card in the hand is matched to at least one other. Player B has one meld and two other combinations of matching cards.

Play of the Hand:

Player A – He must discard, but realizes that any other card thrown will result in the loss of at least one offensive opportunity. Since one must be sacrificed, he should give up the one that affords the least chance and, at the same time, has some defensive value. The pair of 10’s and pair of 7’s are double offensive values to the 8♣, and 9♣. The same 7♣ or 10♣ that would give us a club sequence would also give us a meld of 7’s and 10’s. Since the cards could not be used in both melds, and he is certainly not looking to buy a four-card meld with a middle card pick on the first play, the proper card to discard is the 10♦. First, it reduces the offensive value of the hand the least. Secondly, it is an extremely safe card at this point, being thrown from a pair of 10’s as well as the Q♦, and the 7♦. Thirdly, it is definitely a salesman for the 10♣.

Player B – The discard is not picked since at this stage of the game his hand is well enough developed so that he does not have to pick any stiffs to create an offensive hand. His pick from the deck is a 5♥. Since he is playing his hand primarily for its offensive value at this point, he will not break either of his two matched combinations, even though one to some extent duplicates the other. His safest card now is his highest unrelated cared, the 9♦, which he discards.

Player A – Picks from the deck the 4♥, which gives him another offensive combination. He discards the 10♠ which although it may not be safe as far as the color is concerned, it is relatively safe in view of the fact that the 10♦ has already been played.

Player B – Draws from the deck the 2♣, which gives him an additional melding possibility. It also gives him the three small cards which he will need to knock with anything less than nine melded. He has a choice of discards at this time; the 5♥, which is a useless card, the 6♣ or 7♣, or one of his two 8’s. The 8♠ would be his proper throw since he is breaking from a pair as well as throwing it after the 10♠ which has just been played. Further, it is a salesman for the 8♣. The additional offensive value he would have in retaining both the pair of 8’s, and the 6♣ and 7♣ by throwing the wild 5♥ is not warranted at this point.

Player A – Although the 8♠ offers an additional offensive opportunity, Player A does not want to lose the opportunity of picking a meld from the deck nor does he have an actual safe card to discard. He therefore picks from the deck the A♠. Although this card has no offensive value at this time, it represents an opportunity for a meld later. He now has several choices as to his proper discard. If he is successful in buying his club run, he will probably not want to retain his pair of 7’s as well, or vice versa. However, both of these opportunities afford one more chance than the K♦, and Q♦. Both of these cards are 50% safe. His opponent could use them only one way. However, Player A is aware of the fact that even though only four cards have been discarded up to this point, no card higher than a 10 has been played. He is then justified in feeling that he would be better off throwing a card below the 10. If he threw the 8♣, which at this point is the safest card in the hand, and his opponent took it, he would then be unable to release the 9♣. Also, he would be forced to break his pair of 7’s because he would know that the 7♣ was already tied up in his opponent’s hand. So, his proper discard at this point would be the 7♠.

Player B – Obtains the A♣ from the deck. That now gives him a second meld and he discards the reasonably safe 8♥.

Player A – Draws the K♠ from the deck. This card now gives him a three card combination on top whereas he had only one before. He discards the 7♦.

Player B – Picks the K♣ and now has to make his first major decision. He has seven melded cards and is playing against an eight-point knock. He has an opportunity to play for a third run by retaining the 6♣ and 7♣ and discarding either the 5♥ or the A♥. Playing with the club combination would afford him only two cards in the entire deck that would allow him to go down or gin his hand. If he broke the combination and discarded the 7♣ he could retain the 5♥, A♣, and 6♣. He would then have an opportunity of picking either the 9♣ or 4♣ as add-ons which would enable him to knock. In addition, he also has the opportunity of picking either of the two missing aces, or three missing 2’s, which would enable him to knock immediately. This choice of seven knock possibilities against two makes his decision obvious and he discards the 7♣.

Player A – The 7♣ is of course picked up. Since it was picked up Player B knows that it represents the 7♣, 8♣, and 9♣ sequence. He knows that the 6♣ will be layed off in the event of a knock, so he is now playing against the knock with only six points actually in his hand. Player A has a choice of discards. Should he break his picture combination, the 4, 4, 3 combination or the Aces? His opponent has picked no cards against him so he has no definite picture of his hand. The 4, 4, 3 combination offers four ways to meld, while the King, King, Queen combination offers only three. There are no actual safe cards that can be thrown from the King, King, and Queen combination and since his decision is to break this combination, his choice is between the Q♦ and K♠. Although the Queen would leave him two offensive choices instead of one, the likelihood is much greater that his opponent could use the card. He therefore elects to discard the K♠.

Player B – Picks the 10♥, which he discards.

Player A – Picks the 7♥ which represents a reasonably safe card and he prefers to discard it rather than give up his King, Queen opportunity.

Player B – Going to the deck, he buys the 2♦, knocks his hand with 8 points, and wins 25. The key to this game was the throw of the 7♣ by Player B.

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Complete Hand Example #3

Player A – K♣, K♦, J♣, J♦, 10♦, 10♠, 8♣, 4♦, 3♦, 2♠, A♣
Player B – K♥, 8♠, 8♥, 7♠, 7♣, 6♣, 5♦, 4♣, 4♠, 3♠

Conditions: The knock card is the A♦, which means that this is a must gin hand. Player B is on a schneid with the score against him 210 to nothing. He therefore has a count of 14 to protect both the game and the schneid.

General Comment: Player A, who has his opponent on the schneid, will take advantage of every offensive possibility, not only to gin his own hand but to keep his opponent over the count. This requires additional skills such as forcing his opponent to break his hand when the occasion warrants picking unneeded cards. Player B on the schneid must play his hand primarily to get under the count and secondly to win it. There are times when he will violate this order of importance. For instance, if he has an exceptionally fine gin hand with five or six open ways, it would not be advisable to break this hand to get under a count since he has no guarantee of winning the next hand and getting off the schneid. If his best opportunity of getting off the schneid is represented by the hand he is playing he must take full advantage of it, despite the odds against him.

Play of the Hand:

Player A – He has a hand in which only three cards are not matched, the A♣, 2♠, and the 8♣. His choice in throwing one of these three cards should most definitely be the A♣ since it is the card that can be used by his opponent in the least number of ways, and if used in a meld it reduces his opponent’s hand by the least number of points. Also, most importantly, when a player is trying to get under the count quickly, he will not look for low cards for this purpose until he has first reduced the hand by obtaining melds. Later in the game the throwing of an ace would be dangerous in regards to putting a schneided player under a count, so it is usually advisable to get it out of hand as quickly as possible. Since the 2♠ represents almost the same relative value as far as a reducer, it could be looked at in the same light. In this particular case, since Player A is looking for a 2♦ himself, the additional value that he has in throwing the 2♠ as a salesman requires this card as his first throw.

Player B – Takes the 2♠ discard. Of course Player A does not know whether it was actually picked for a meld and if so what meld, or whether it was picked as a reducer. Having obtained the meld on his first pick and having a tremendous potential gin hand, Player B decides against playing a strictly defensive game. He throws the K♥ which is completely useless to him and also has some safety factors.

Player A – Takes the discard and releases the A♣, which is the most useless card in his hand. He is doing this to test whether his opponent is just picking low cards to get under a count. When his opponent does not pick it, he is now satisfied that the first pick was for an actual meld.

Player B – Obtains from the deck the 10♥. Based on the score conditions and the fact that he is a long way from being under count, Player B cannot afford to open up now, even this early in the game. Also, his opponent has already picked his first discard and he cannon in a gin hand, afford to give his opponent a four-card run. Since his opponent picked the K♥, he could be holding the K♥, Q♥, and J♥. Player B then cannot throw the 10♥. He must play for at least a second meld before he can think of reducing his hand under 14. Therefore, he should throw that card which has a relatively safe factor but does not hurt his chances of obtaining a second or third meld. In this case, his discard is a 4♣.

Player A – Takes the 4♣ discard and throws the 8♣. This gives him two additional offensive opportunities. Also, he knows that his opponent is aware of the score situation and that after having his first card picked he would next be inclined to follow it with a fairly safe discard. The pick of the 4♣ might therefore unnerve his opponent, force him to hold something around the 4♣, another 4, or the 3 or 5, and possibly necessitate the breaking of one of his offensive opportunities.

Player B – Takes the 8♣ discard, which gives him a second run and a tremendous offensive opportunity for nine melded. This would automatically put him under the count. If at this time, he discarded from his combinations of 7’s or 8’s, he would leave himself practically no opportunity to quickly acquire his third meld. His choice of discards would then be limited to the 5♦ or the 10♥, both extremely wild cards. However, the 10♥ is wilder since the 4♠ has already been picked. The 5♦ if discarded and taken could tie up the needed 5♣, and 5♠. It also could represent a meld to the color combination that could have been connected with the 4♣, if the 4♣ were a stiff. Because this type of hand must be played for its full value, however, the 5♦ is thrown.

Player A – The 5♦ is taken and the 4♣ thrown back. Player B knows that since the 4♣ was a stiff, and returned when the 5♦ was picked, the 4♣ must have been matched up with either the 4♦ or 5♣. So the 5♦ has not resulted in a meld of 5’s or diamonds. He also has to consider the diamond run possibility since a sequence of this kind offers two ways of being turned into a four-card run as against one way for the 5’s.

Player B – Picks the J♠ from the deck. He knows that his opponent already has two runs. Since he is a long way from being under the count, Player B can no longer afford to take any chances. He has no choice at this point but to throw the 7♠ from his hand. It is the nearest thing to a dead card without actually being dead. It still leaves him three cards that could give him nine melded and put him under count. Although he is giving up a great deal of opportunity, he cannot afford to throw a wild J♦ or 10♥.

Player A – Draws the 3♣ from the deck and discards it.

Player B – Goes to the stock and pulls the 5♥. Not knowing whether his opponent actually has the diamond run or 5’s he cannot afford to discard the 5♥. He must now hold this card as well. The only card left for him to discard is the relatively safe 8♠, which also reduces his opportunity to be nine melded to just one way.

Player A – Picks and releases the 2♥. If Player B does not take the card, it will indicate to Player A that his opponent holds a low spade run.

Player B – Obtains from the deck the 6♥. He can now afford to throw the 8♥ since the 5, 6 combination gives him two opportunities to be nine melded against one.

Player A – Going to the deck, he buys the 9♠ and has the choice of retaining this offensive set up and throwing the J♣ or keeping his original set up and throwing back the 9♠. Since the 8♠ has already been discarded, and the 9♠ has little offensive value to him, he discards it.

Player B – Picks the 10♣ which offers the same opportunity to him with the 10♥ as did the 5♥ and 6♥. The only really safe card in his hand at this point is the 6♥, so he throws this card.

Player A – Draws from the deck the 8♦. He is now actually set for gin, although it is a one way gin hand. In order to hold this card, however, he will have to break one of his other pairs. This is not too much of a concern because buying the third card to a pair of Jacks or 10’s is not the most advantageous gin holding. A second determinate is the fact that since he picked the 5♦ from his opponent, his opponent may be holding the 6♦, 7♦ against him and he certainly does not want to meld him with a card that can tie up his own hand. Three 9’s have been established, so he retains the 8♦. His choice of discards is now between the 10♠ and the J♣. The 10♠ appears to be somewhat safer since the 9♠ has just been played but the 10♠ could conceivably fit with the K♠, Q♠, and J♠ that his opponent may well be holding since his opponent had already given him a King. The pick of the J♣ by his opponent could not in any way hurt his own offensive possibilities by tying up any cards, so he throws this card.

Player B – Although the J♣ is an important offensive card to him, he cannot afford to pick a stiff in this situation. He goes to the deck and picks the 9♣. He is now in a most unique and crucial situation. As shown, he now has eight melded cards but the throw of any of his discards will still leave him with 15 points and his count is 14. He has several choices. He could throw the J♠ and hope that it does not gin his opponent, and then hope to buy any card under a 10, but you need to remember that his opponent has already picked two runs, either of which could be a four-card run and he could be sitting with 4 Kings as well as the Q♠. As long as he is over the count it makes no difference whether Player B loses with 15 and gin or 40 and gin. However, he still can’t afford to throw this card. His opponent could also be sitting with nine melded cards including the K♥, Q♥, and J♥ since he picked up the K♥, so he cannot afford to throw the 10♥. His opponent could have three 5’s as part of his nine melded cards since he does not know what the 5♦ was for, so he cannot throw the 5♥. He can throw the 9♣ back and play to buy a 10 or possibly to take his opponent to the wall. He could also throw the 6♣, the only dead safe card in his hand and try for a win. The 6♣ is discarded.

Player A – Draws a 9♥ from the deck which he discards.

Player B – Going to the deck, he takes a 7♦. Now he really is in trouble. The 5♦ may have represented a 4♦, 5♦, 6♦. He is also missing the 8♦, 9♦, 10♦ as well and certainly cannot afford to throw the 7♦. He is now faced with the problem of either being able to take the hand to the wall if he can buy any other cards to tie up his opponent’s hand or develop mew melds for himself that will enable him to get under count. Therefore, he throws the 7♣ from his run.

Player A – Obtains from the deck the 6♦, which of course gives him a perfect gin set up. Therefore, he discards the 8♦.

Player B – The discard of the 8♦ does not help as far as his holding of the 7♦ is concerned. He might have picked the 8♦ with the hope of eventually buying the 9♦, even to the extent of breaking his 3♠, and 4♠, if by doing so he could get under the count with the K♦. Since it does not appear to be the case, he goes to the deck and picks the Q♣. Up until this point he is aware of the fact that the J♣ has been played but no Queens have been shown. For this reason, he cannot afford to throw the Q♣. Since he no longer has any safe cards in his hand except those that are in melds, he has no choice but to break a meld, but which one should he break? The 8♣ is a dead card as well as the 9♣. The 10♣ is not though because his opponent could be holding two 10’s. The 4♠ is a dead card, as is the 2♠. The 3♠ is not because no 3’s have yet been played. Since each run has two dead cards, the choice is equal. Player B does have an advantage in breaking the 8♣, 9♣, 10♣ in that after discarding the 8♣ and 9♣ he still has another 10 in his hand, which could result in a meld, whereas if he throws the 2♠ and 4♠ the three is completely useless to him. So, he discards the 9♣.

Player A – Obtains the J♥ from the deck. Even though he realizes he is missing all the hearts around the Jack, he is aware that his opponent is breaking his hand. Therefore although he would normally release the J♥ without hesitating, he now sees an opportunity to make an exceptionally fine expert play. He knows that the J♣ has already been played. He also knows that his opponent is aware of this so it is unlikely that his opponent would throw a missing J♠ simply because all of the spades are missing. If he could show his opponent that he is not interested in the J♠, it would be the obvious card for his opponent to throw back if he were holding it. Player A therefore takes one less offensive chance in his hand and throws the 10♠. Even though this card may be used by his opponent, he knows it will not be too much help since he is already breaking his hand.

Player B – Takes the discard, realizing that his opponent is not holding the 10♠, Q♠ combination. He could, of course, be holding the Q♠ together with four Kings and he could actually have a holding such as 3♦, 4♦, 5♦, and the 6♦ with 4 Kings and 2 Queens. That makes the J♠ definitely unsafe. He does have the 8♣ however, which is dead, so he discards the same.

Player A – Picks from the deck the 4♥, which is discarded.

Player B – Draws the Q♦. Now, he is back in the identical position he was in when he broke his 8♣, 9♣, 10♣. The J♠ does appear to be reasonable safe. However, it is not dead and he will not throw it at this point. If his oppo9nent is holding two Queens, Player B could afford to throw in either the 5♥ or the 7♦. He must once again break his hand. He knows now that the 10♠ is safe and that when this goes through the 10♣ is also dead safe. He knows that should his opponent pick the 10♠ he will have him dead. He now discards the 10♠.

Player A – Picks the 5♠ from the deck and throws it.

Player B – Although this is an add-on, it in no way benefits his hand offensively and has no value whatsoever in comparison with a pick from the deck. So he will not even consider picking it. He draws the 2♣ and releases the 5♥.

Player A – Draws from the stock the A♥ which he automatically releases.

Player B – Picks the Q♥. He now knows that his opponent is not holding a pair of Queens so he stops and reevaluates the possible holdings that his opponent could be sitting with. Does he have nine melded, or seven melded? He knows that he is missing the low diamond run all the way from the Ace to the 6 which represents a possible six melded cards. He is also missing all four Kings, so it is conceivable that his opponent could gin with the A♦, 2♦, 3♦, 4♦, 5♦, and 6♦, as well as the four Kings. He is further aware that he is missing the Q♠, so that his opponent could be holding a five-card diamond run or four-card diamond run with four Kings and the Q♠, in which case the J♠ would gin him. There is also the possibility that he is holding the 2♦, 3♦, 4♦, 5♦, 6♦, and four Kings. In this case the 7♦ would gin him. Since the 10♦ and J♦ are missing, his opponent could be holding them. If so, what is he holding them with? Is there any other card in the stock that could be matched up with the sequence, or only the one unplayed Jack? Now that he is playing his hand dead and to the wall, he must take all of this into consideration. At this point he still has one possibility of still getting under the count and that is by buying the 10♦ from the deck if his opponent is not holding the 10♦, J♦ combination. To take advantage of this one possibility, he throws the dead 2♣.

Player A – Going to the deck, he pulls the 7♥ and discards it.

Player B – He picks the K♠ from the deck. This card changes things considerably. It eliminates the possibility of his opponent holding four Kings. Therefore, the only four-card run available is in the low diamond suit. The Q♠ now becomes a useless card to his opponent and the gin potential of his opponent’s hand is limited to the J♦, and 10♦. Even though one Jack is gone, the J♠ is still a danger and it cannot yet be thrown. However, by throwing the now dead 10♣ Player B still retains the possibility of getting under the count again by buying the Q♠.

Player A – Draws from the stock the A♦ and discards it.

Player B – He knows that his opponent does not have a six-card low diamond run and if holding three Kings, a five-card low diamond run certainly does not benefit him. He picks the 5♣ which is completely dead and discards it. At this time both players examine the unused portion of the deck and note that there are only six cards left. Player A is aware that he has not as yet seen in lay any of the three cards he needs for gin. He knows that only one of them, the Q♦, could be tied up in a run. He also knows that if his opponent is holding the other two, the hand will go to the wall. However, if his opponent is holding only one of the two and is not sure of what he is protecting against, he may also be holding other cards as well, and is still over the count. Player B now realizes that the only possibility for his opponent is the 10♦, J♦, and J♥ combinations. He is holding the Q♦ and the J♠ and realizes that one of his opponent’s cards is still in the stock. Since he has two picks out of six cards left, at this point, the odds favor Player B being able to take this hand to the wall by 2 to 1. When there were eight cards left in the deck and the situation was identical, the odds were somewhat less since Player A had three picks out of eight, and when there were 10 cards left, it was even less since he had four picks out of the ten.

Player A – Draws from the stock the 6♠ and discards it.

Player B – Picks the 9♦ and knows that his opponent is now dead. He has successfully defended the hand to the wall. The last four cards left in the deck are the Q♠, 2♦, A♠, and the 3♥, none of which could have effected a gin.

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Complete Example Hand #2

Player A – 4♣, 3♣, 2♣, J♦, 10♦, 9♣, 8♥, 8♠, 6♣, 4♥, 3♥
Player B – K♣, K♥, K♠, 9♠, 7♠, 7♥, 5♠, 5♦, 2♦, A♦

Conditions – First hand of the game and knock is the 10♠ which means the hand is played for double value.

General Comment – From the appearance of these two hands, Player A could knock and win his hand within two plays while Player B would have to go at least three plays. He would have to pick one of his runs as well as a small card. In two plays Player A could also pick two runs which, with his one already melded run, enable him to go down after two picks. Therefore, on the surface, Player A has the best of the deal.

Play of the Hand:

Player A – Discards the 9♣ as his highest unrelated card.

Player B – Picks from the deck the Q♠. He now has the problem of discarding. Because of the fact that his opponent’s first throw was the 9♣, Player B then has to find out why. Was it the highest unrelated card in his opponent’s hand? If so, chances are that he has some combination higher than a nine. It certainly isn’t the kings since you as Player B already have the kings. It could be the queens, jacks, or 10’s or any combination of them. The 9♣ may also be a salesman. Player A may be looking for the 9♦, 9♥, or the 9♠. He may need it for a lower combination such as 7 and 8. He may also need it for the 10 and Jack. If he needs it for the ten and Jack, he would also need the queen in the same suit. He may also need the queen for the pair of queens. If Player B were to throw the Q♠, and his opponent takes it, he will have increased his own problem, since he has only minor control over the card. He would not know if his opponent picked it for queens or for the 10♠, J♠, Q♠ run. If it is for the 10♠, J♠, Q♠ run he does have some control over the fact that he has both ends of such a run protected. If it is for queens, then he would not know whether on the next throw he could throw the 9♠ if he were fortunate enough to pick the seven. So the card poses some problems. Now you have to look at the advantages and disadvantages of the discard at this point being the 9♠ rather than the Q♠. Since the 9♣ has been thrown by his opponent, Player B knows that he is not saving nines and therefore, it cannot be used that way. If his opponent is holding the 10♠, J♠, and the 9♠ is taken, he would have a layoff with the Q♠. Of course, his opponent could be holding the 8♠ – 10♠, but in this case he still has a layoff with the 7♠. He also knows that his opponent most likely will not discard the 8♠ for some time, so the combination of 7♠ -9♠ is relatively valueless to him. Since he has definite control by throwing the 9♠ rather than the Q♠, he decides to make that his discard.

Player A – Goes to the deck and buys the K♦. The K♦ is a basically useless card to him at this point in the game. He is certainly not interested in picking a four-card run. It is also at this point relatively safe since he has some control over it. He knows that if his opponent picks it, it could only be for the Kings. He throws the K♦.

Player B – He has his first major decision to make in this hand. Should he pick the K♦ for a four-card meld or not? What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing this? The advantage in this case in picking the K♦, and throwing the Q♠ is tremendous. In so doing, he is not giving up any possibilities of buying his second run. He would also put himself in the position of being able to knock immediately on picking his second run, and he has five possible cards that will allow him on his next pick to knock. By figuring the number of cards that are presently in play, he can deduce the number of cards in the stock and figure the odds on his picking a knock in the very next pick or in the next two or three picks. The fact that his opponent may use a live card at this point is secondary, since he is anxious to knock as fast as he can and win this hand. The Q♠, although it is a live card, can only be used for queens. So Player B would, at least, have the knowledge of what the card is used for and would not be getting himself in trouble. So his obvious play at this time, because of the great odds in his favor is to pick the K♦ for a four-card meld and throw the Q♠. There are many cases where it is not to your advantage to pick a fourth card on a run but you’ll see that in following hands.

Player A – Draws the Q♥. He knows that his opponent is holding Kings. Most likely the K♥ is tied up with the Kings, therefore the K♥, J♥ can be eliminated. He knows from the Q♠ just thrown that his opponent is not saving Queens. Therefore, the only combination he should be concerned with now is the 10♥, J♥. However, even though his opponent has picked one card, Player A is in no position to play this hand defensively and start protecting. He has no choice but to throw the Q♥ which, although a useless card to him, it is also the safest card he has to throw.

Player B – Going to the deck, he pulls the 6♥. Now he has to evaluate the advantages of keeping the 6♥ in his hand against any other card in his hand, regarding the opportunity to knock quickly. The 6♥ only adds one way to the combination. There is another card which he can throw from his hand which will not give up any more than one way while at the same time be a little safer and that is the 5♦. It does not make sense to throw the 7♠ because if he does he is giving up three possibilities to improve his hand, the two other sevens, and the 6♠, while gaining only the 8♥. The 5♦ however only has two possibilities, the 5♣, and the 5♥. He still has the 5♥ as a possibility when he keeps the 6♥ so he is only giving up the 5♣. So, it is no more advantageous to hold the 5♦ than to hold the 6♥. It is safer to hold the 6♥ because while it can be used in a color run, the chances of its being used for a pair of fives are one to two as compared to the 6♥ being used in combination with a pair of sixes. In other words, there are three 6’s available to his opponent and he may be holding any two of them whereby the 6♥ would give him a run. There are only two 5’s available though and his opponent would have to be holding both of them in order to use the 5♦ for three 5’s. Therefore, Player B discards the 5♦.

Player A – Pulls from the deck the 8♦. Since he is still playing most aggressively in order to knock his hand as quickly as possible and Queens and 9’s have been established, he would be most foolish at this point to break his 10♦, J♦. In addition, neither the J♦ nor the 10♦ can be considered safe from his viewpoint since neither Jacks nor Tens have been played, nor has there been any indication that his opponent is not holding them. The mathematically safest cards at this point would be one of his two 4’s but throwing one of these would be giving up too much from his hand in the way of buying his second meld. He must, therefore, continue to play aggressively and throw the most useless card in his hand, which is the 6♣.

Player B – Obtains from the deck the 4♠. If he were to throw the 7♠ at this point, he would be giving up two ways to improve his hand, which are the other two 7’s. He would not be giving up the 6♠ because that would still give him a run. By retaining the 4♠, he would add to his hand the possibility of the 3♠ for a run, so that by throwing the 7♠ instead of the 4♠, he would also be giving up one additional way out of his hand. Also he would be throwing a card that is twice as safe as the 4♠. Of course he could always throw the 6♥, a safer card than either of the two. In fact, he knows from his opponent’s throw that his opponent cannot use it for 6’s. His opponent may have thrown the 6♣ as a salesman looking for the 6♥ because he may be holding the 4♥, and 5♥. In that case though, he knows he has a definite layoff. He can throwback the fourth King at this point and keep all possible ways in his hand. If he does this though, he is eliminating the possibility of his being able to knock with one pick. So it is not to his advantage. By throwing the 6♥ he is giving up two ways and adding one way with the 4♠. So, he is actually giving up one way just as he would be if he were throwing the 7♠. A 6♥ discard however would be a bit safer than the 7♠ because if his opponent should pick the 7♠, he would not know what his opponent picked it for. Taking this all into consideration, he decides to throw the 6♥.

Player A – Goes to the deck and picks the 3♠. The 3♠ is a very valuable card to him. It provides him with another combination or set of combinations because it gives him an opportunity to fill the three 3’s as well as to buy the A♠ or 4♠. In addition, it now gives him a combination of four cards adding up to ten points or less, which means that he also is now in a position to knock in one additional pick. Player A would thus like to keep the combination that his opponent is most likely to throw to, and retain the opportunity of picking the card to complete the combination from the deck. Obviously, it would be the top diamond run, since those cards have been established and the 4’s have not been. Now for the first time, he gives some thought to the safety of the plays that he is going to make. He does not want to give up this advantage by throwing his opponent cards that will enable him to knock before he can achieve the one pick he is looking for. In view of that, the card that is most unimportant to him at this time and the safest card in his hand is the 4♥. He knows that it cannot be used for a heart run and the only way it can be used is for his opponent to be holding both the 4♠, and the 4♦. He throws the 4♥.

Player B – Draws from the deck the J♠ which is a complete wild card at this point. It is considered wild in the sense that no jacks have been played. He does know that it cannot be used for a spade run since the Q♠, and the 9♠ have been played. Therefore the only way it can be used is if his opponent is holding Jacks. Now he must consider whether his opponent is the kind of player who at this stage in the game would be holding combinations of cards as high as jacks while throwing fours, or whether he is a safer player. It is an evaluation that he will have to make, and quickly. Secondly, if he holds this card, what card would he throw? There is no card he can throw without giving up a major portion of his chances to immediately win his own hand. In view of all the factors, plus the fact that this is the first game of the set, he discards the J♠.

Player A – He has a unique problem, because he doesn’t know if he should pick the Jack or go to the deck? What are the advantages and disadvantages? The most obvious and only major disadvantage is the fact that in doing so he loses a pick and loses his opportunity at the point to pick the Q♦ or 9♦ and immediately knock. He has a very relatively safe card to throw in the 4♣. He knows that his opponent cannot use it for 4’s, and he knows that the 6♣ is gone. He has the 2♣, so the 4♣ could only be used with the single combination of the 3♣, 5♣. Now what are the advantages? First, by picking the J♠ and discarding the 4♣, he has doubled his chances of knocking his hand in one pick. Up until now he had only two cards in the deck that would enable him to go down on the next pick, now he would have four. The pick would also put an added burden on his opponent who would now have to protect against the J♠. This means if he is the kind of player who only breaks from pairs, he has another Jack in his hand and Player A has him in trouble. Now that he can no longer safely throw the Jack, he will be forced to hurt his own hand by retaining the Jack. Player A must consider the fact that if his opponent did break a pair of Jacks and now picks a second Jack from the deck, he will know that Player A had picked a stiff on speculation. Knowing this gives him a tremendous advantage. He will then never break his pair and will simply wait for the Jack to be discarded. Of course, most players do not normally hold just two flat Jacks, but they do work the Jacks into color combinations. However, the advantages of picking the J♠ and throwing the 4♣ so far outweigh the disadvantages, that Player A takes that action.

Player B – Goes to the deck and draws the A♥. What good does this card do him? No good actually, because he still has to pick another run in order to be able to knock his hand. He could throw the A♥ away since it is of no use to hand, but a safer throw would be the A♦. At least he knows what his opponent can use it for, in addition to picking it as a low card to knock with. Since his opponent has just picked a discarded J♠, which is obviously for Jacks, Player B realizes that by this point in the game his opponent could be about ready to knock. Therefore, if he can avoid it, he will not throw any aces. If he throws the 7♠, 5♠, or 4♠ he would be giving up too many of the opportunities in his hand. His best bet is to throw one of the Kings. If he is fortunate enough to pick a seven he can still knock on the next pick. If he picks the 6♠, he can also knock on the next round. He is not really concerned with picking an Ace or the 3♦. The only card he can pick for a run that would not enable him to knock on the very next pick would be the 3♠. The odds are relatively slight against his picking this one card before any of the others. Therefore, the safest card to throw at this point would be one of the Kings, as long as the Queen or Jack of the color has already been played. He therefore discards the K♥.

Player A – Pulls from the deck the 6♦. This is a 100% safe card, so he discards it.

Player B – Goes to the deck and buys the 7♦. He discards the 5♠ and knocks with eight points. He wins only two points on the hand, but goes on the score in the first game.