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.