Player A – A♣, A♥, A♠, K♥, 10♣, 10♥, 9♥. 8♣, 4♦, 2♠, 2♥
Player B – K♠, Q♥, 9♠, 7♥, 7♦, 5♣, 4♥, 4♠, 3♣, A♦
Conditions: The knock card is the 8♣. The first two games have ended and since both players are on score, the last game is being played as a double hand. Player A has 211 on score, while Player B has 230. Neither has a gin count. Player A must protect against losing ten points on a knock, while Player B must protect against losing 20 points on a knock.
Play of the Hand:
Player A – Seeing the possibility of a quick win with his hand, he discards the K♥.
Player B – Picks from the deck the 2♣. He sees no possibility of a quick win with his hand and will play it extremely safe. He therefore discards the K♠.
Player A – Going to deck, he buys the 7♠. Since the game is in jeopardy, he discards the 2♥. It is his safest discard, and also sacrifices the least offensive possibilities.
Player B – Buys the 10♦ from the deck, and is forced at this point to discard his dead 2♣.
Player A – Picks the 10♠ for his second meld. He is not in a position to knock without making at least three more dangerous discards. He therefore cannot retain the 2♠ and discards it.
Player B – Picks the 8♠ from the deck and now has no dead card or any reasonably safe card to throw. From his opponent’s discard of deuces, Player B is aware that his opponent is not looking for a low card in order to knock. He thus discards his 3♣ which represents his best safety factor card. Furthermore, it does not represent the loss of any offensive possibilities since the 4♣ would also give him a meld of 4’s.
Player A – Draws the 4♣ from the deck and is now in a position to knock, that is, if he is fortunate enough to pick another 4. If the odds were all in his favor and he was playing a wide open offensive game, he would now discard the 7♠, since both he 9♥ and the 8♣ offer additional offensive opportunities together with his three 10’s. Since his game is in jeopardy though on a knock, he must play his safest and most usable card, the 9♥.
Player B – Picks the 5♥ and releases it as the safest card in his hand.
Player A – Picks the J♣ from the deck and is forced to discard it.
Player B – Going to the stock, he pulls the 2♦ and throws the 5♣.
Player A – Picks from the deck the 9♣. He has a choice of releasing the 7♠ and playing for a maximum offensive value or playing for safety. He could throw the 9♣ or playing the 8♣, 9♣, 10♣, discard the other two 10’s. Although the 9♥ has been played, it does not make either of the two 10’s safe, so he discards the 9♣.
Player B – Pulls the J♥, which he discards as a completely dead card.
Player A – Obtains from the deck the 6♥ and, still playing to win his hand, he decides to retain his one offensive possibility, the two 4’s. Since he must also protect against losing 10 points on a knock, he cannot afford to hold any high cards that he is not sure of as being layoffs. He decides to throw the 8♣.
Player B – Draws the 3♥ from the deck and discards it as a dead card. It has no offensive value to him, since both the 2♥ and the 5♥ have already been discarded.
Player A – Picks the 9♦ from the deck and becomes aware of the fact that although 9’s have been played, he is actually holding a meld of 10’s but is missing the 10♦. He presumes that his opponent is holding up this card because of the fact that no diamonds have appeared. Also, his opponent may be holding a diamond meld, and is therefore justified in feeling most reluctant about releasing this card. The 6♥ has a safety value of three, which is identical to the safety value of the 9♦. This is a case where the 9♦ would be the proper throw not because it is the higher card, but because the 10♦ which could be tied up is less important than the 4♥ which could be tied up by the 6♥. The 9♦ is then discarded.
Player B – Picks the 3♠, which he discards as his safest throw.
Player A – Obtains from the deck the 6♦. He has substantially increased the offensive value of his hand but does not have an actual card to throw. Not only is the 7♠ a completely wild card, I could also very likely tied up the needed 6♠. Up to this point Player A has had no indication of his opponent’s holdings, except for the fact that he has been throwing low or safe cards. He has no way of knowing whether his opponent has already developed a hand of his own. He has not seen any Queens, or 7’s, or any of the higher spades. He certainly does not want to set up his opponent. He has a choice of either throwing the very safe 4♣, which at this point has a safe value of one. He could also break his three Aces which are all dead cards. Breaking his three Aces would leave him in no position to win his had, whereas throwing the 4♣ would still leave him three cards, any of which could put him down on the next pick. If his opponent is defending, he could very well win enough points to go out. He therefore discards the 4♣.
Player B – Takes the 4♣ and discards the 2♦.
Player A – Draws from the deck the 5♦ and now has a choice of either knocking or playing for gin. He has four ways of ginning a hand. He realizes that the A♦ cannot be tied up by his opponent. The 3♦ also cannot be tied up. The 10♦ could be but it is most likely not to be since his opponent passed the 9♦. The 7♦ could very well be tied up but he isn’t quite sure about that one yet. Therefore, he has two ways definitely available and possible three. He also has a reasonably safe discard in the 6♥ and a reasonably safe chance of laying off the 7♠ in the event of a knock. These probabilities appear to favor his playing for gin. On the other hand he considers the opportunities afforded him at this time by a knock. He has to win 20 points from his opponent in order to go out in the game. This means that his opponent must be holding 27 points in his hand after melds and layoffs. Player A has discounted any thoughts of an underknock by his opponent because if he were in that position he probably would have knocked himself or played for a knock rather than throw the 2♦ on his last play. He knows that his opponent is holding three 4’s and gives him credit for two possible layoffs, the 10♦ and either the 3♦ or the 7♦, which leaves him five cards unaccounted for. These five cards consist of three or four cards in a meld. He is missing all four Queens. He is also missing three 7’s. He is missing the K♦, Q♦, and J♦. If his opponent held any one of these runs, which is likely at this point, he definitely could not go out on a knock. It is possible that he could be underknocked, if his opponent were holding three layoffs instead of two. He is aware of the fact that there is a possibility of his opponent holding a combination such as Queen, Queen, Jack or King, or King, Queen, Queen. There is even the possibility of his opponent holding the 8♠, 9♠. However, since he has neither a guaranteed win nor a reasonable expectancy of going out, throwing the 6♥ allows him a knock card in his hand in the event that he should decide to subsequently knock. He throws the 6♥ and plays on.
Player B – Pulls from the deck the 5♠, which he cannot throw since he is missing the 6♠ and 7♠. He realizes at this point, that he has no chance to win the hand. He does not have one dead cad in his hand with the exception of his three 4’s. His only choice is to take the hand to the wall. He throws the 4♣.
Player A – He notices that his opponent has broken his run of 4’s. This would appear to indicate that his opponent is playing defensively and is breaking his hand in an attempt to go to the wall. It would also appear that since he knows his opponent holds at least two 4’s, that he has a guaranteed knock. However, there is one additional possibility. Suppose his opponent is playing to win and he changed his three 4’s to the 4♠, 5♠, 6♠. It is also possible that his opponent is holding that spade run together with the three 7’s and three Queens or the K♦, Q♦, J♦. In this case, he is not yet warranted in knocking. He picks the K♣ from the deck and discards it.
Player B – Picks the 6♠ and releases the 4♥.
Player A – Pulls the Q♦ from the deck. This is his most critical moment. His opponent could be holding nine melded, as previously described, in which case either the 7♦ or 7♠ would gin him. If he gives his opponent credit for the switch to the 4♠, 5♠, 6♠ there is no four-card run that his opponent could be holding. So, he definitely knows that he does not have nine melded. If he were holding six melded, either of these two cards could gin his opponent as the 7♠ could hit him for the 6♠, 8♠, 9♠ or the Q♦ could hit him for 10♦, J♦, K♦. Regardless of the situation, he knows that his opponent could not gin so long as he retains these two cards. He also knows that he cannot gin as long as he retains them. Therefore, his choice at this point is limited to either playing to the wall or knocking. He further knows that if he breaks his three Aces and his opponent knocks he has a guaranteed underknock. There is now no way that his opponent could knock without allowing the layoff of the Q♦ and the 7♠. Since by continuing the pay of the hand he cannot lose and can only win if his opponent should decide to knock, he breaks his three Aces. From this point on, there is no further play for either player and the hand goes to the wall.
Note: Of course, it is now evident that if the player had knocked at his first opportunity, he would have won enough points to go out in the game. However, for the reasons expressed at that time, it would not have been the correct decision.