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.