Player A – 9♠, 8♠, 7♠, J♣, 10♣, 9♣, J♠, 8♥, 3♥, 2♣, A♥
Player B – 4♦, 3♦, 2♦, Q♣, J♦, 10♥, 4♥, 2♥, 2♠, A♣
Conditions: This hand is being played as a four-point knock with the score 169 to nothing against the dealer. The dealer therefore has a gin safe count of five and must protect against losing 31 points at all times on a knock.
Play of the Hand:
Player A – In order to decide his first discard, eh realizes that a knocking four-point hand normally requires nine melded. His particular hand at this point offers only one opportunity for a quick nine melded the 2♣. Because of his low cards he also has the added advantage in this particular hand of being able to knock quickly with eight melded if he is fortunate enough to buy the 10♠, or if he is fortunate enough to buy two add-ons, which are readily available with the type of melds he wants. His choice of discards is limited to the 8♥ and 2♣. In this particular case, the 8♥ would be the proper discard since it is safer than the 2♣, being thrown from a pair. Both cards are salesmen and have the same relative offensive values. His opponent is more likely to pick the 2♣ for reducing purposes with this score situation. He thus discards the 8♥.
Player B – Picks the 6♦ which is a wild card but also has additional offensive values. Since his hand is basically an offensive type of hand he will not consider playing ultra safe at this early stage of the game and will release one of his three top cards. The only one of the three that has any safety value in this case is the 10♥, since the 8♥ has just been discarded.
Player A – Draws from the deck the 4♠ and has the choice of discarding this card or the J♠. Since at this stage he feels he could win enough points with a quick knock, he discards the 4♠.
Player B – Takes the 4♠ discard since it gives him a second meld. In addition, it reduces his hand to the point where he cannot lose the game on a knock. His choice of discards is now between the Q♣ and J♦. He discards the Q♣.
Player A – Takes the Q♣ discard and discards the J♠, which he no longer needs to knock with as buying the 10♠ would be enough. Generally speaking, as far as Player B is concerned, when the Q♣ is picked and the J♠ discarded, it is usually not discarded as a salesman. It merely means that it had been held in combination with another card somewhere around it, that the Queen completed the combination, and therefore the Jack is now discarded as an unneeded card.
Player B – Picks the 7♦ and discards the J♦.
Player A – Draws the 7♣ from the deck, which he discards as an unneeded and relatively safe card.
Player B – Going to the deck, he pulls the 5♠. He discards the 7♦ as being the safest card at this point and is actually causing him to give up only one defensive way, the 8♦.
Player A – Obtains the 5♣ from the deck. His choice of discards is now limited to the 5♣ or the 2♣. At this point, they have identical values as far as safety is concerned, but the pick of the 2♣ could tie up a needed card, so his proper choice is the 5♣ which he discards. The fact that he has discarded the 7♣ and the 5♣ in sequence is noted by his opponent, and points out the fact that 6’s are obviously missing and could be held by his opponent.
Player B – Draws the 9♦ from the deck. Since no 9’s have been played, he retains this card and throws the 5♠. It is true that spades above the 5 are missing, but since he has partially given his opponent credit for 6’s, he recognizes the 5♠ as the safer discard.
Player A – Picks the 6♣ and discards this as safer than the 2♣ since it can be used only with 6’s, whereas the 2♣ can be used in a set or a run.
Player B – Draws the 4♣ from the deck. This now gives him seven melded cards together with the additional opportunity offered by the 3♦ and 6♦. It is true that if he retains both of these cards the 5♦ would gin him, but he is primarily concerned with just winning his hand on a knock. Gin is of no particular importance. Being dead at this point, the 6♦ is therefore the proper throw, rather than the still live 9♦.
Player A – Obtains the 3♠ from the deck, which increases his opportunity for gin from one way to three ways, providing that he throws the deuce. He now has his first major decision as to how to play the game. His first question is whether his opponent is still over his gin count. The answer is most likely yes. Since his count is five and the knock is four, if he were under the count the odds are he would have knocked. His next question would be whether he could be him under the count by throwing the A♥, 2♣, or 3♠. Also, he has to ask himself if any one of those cards would allow him to knock and cause Player A to lose the hand. If the answer to this question is yes, then the proper play would be to throw off the Q♣ and retain his full possibilities for nine melded and then knock his hand. If the answer to that question is no, he then has no further choice of throwing the 3♠ with the hope that his opponent may pick it for 3’s, which would leave him with a layoff and a maximum of three points if knocked against. He also considers throwing the Ace, which is the safest of the Ace and the Deuce, or throwing the wild card, the Deuce, which would leave him with the most chances for gin. The determining factor in this case is that with the score as it now stands, he credits his opponent with having to play definitely on the safe side. There are many high cards missing from play such as Kings, the entire diamond suit between the 7 and the Jack, as well as the entire heart suit below the 8. Considering the fact that his opponent might well be holding some of these cards, he plays his most offensive value and throws the 2♣.
Player B – Takes the 2♣ discard and knocks his hand, discarding the 9♦.
Note: You will not that Player B has a major problem in deciding how to knock. He has a choice of knocking with 4 points or 1 point. If he knocks with 4 points his opponent has no opportunity to lay of on his hand. If, however, he knocks with one point his opponent as the opportunity to lay off 6 points, both the 5♦ and the A♦. He cannot lay off the 6♦ as well because it has already been discarded. The general rule in this case is to knock in the manner that affords the least possible lay off even at the expense of a couple of additional points. The exception to this rule are in cases where the play of the hand has proved it most unlikely that an opponent has these lay off cards, or is using them in runs of his own, or where it is necessary to knock as low as possible to prevent an apparent underknock.