Take a look at this sample hand of gin rummy solitaire. It will give you a better idea of how you can play gin by yourself in order to perfect your defensive skills.
Deal yourself the following 11 cards: K♠, J♠, J♦, 9♥, 9♣, 5♠, 4♠, A♣, A♦, A♠, and A♥
Opponent’s Hand: 6♥, 5♥, 4♥, 3♥, 10♠, 9♠, 8♠, 7♠, 6♠, 10♦
The first thing you should look for are the cards in your hand that could gin your opponent. You are holding two of those cards – the 5♠, and the J♠. Keep in mind that once you hold five of your opponent’s needed cards you have lost the game. Therefore your major concern should be to develop melds around those two cards. The 5♠ can be used either with three 5’s, or the 3♠, and 4♠, while the J♠ can be used with either the K♠, or the Q♠, or three Jacks. The preference is with Jacks since they can develop to a four-card meld whereas the K♠, Q♠, and the J♠ never can since the 10♠, is in the opponent’s hand. In the same way, the 3♠, 4♠, and the 5♠, can be developed into a four-card meld whereas the 5’s cannot. You should also be concerned with retaining the 9♥, and the 9♠, not for the purpose of buying the third 9 but either of these 10’s could gin your opponent’s hand and you must play for the possibility of tying them up in runs. Since the only way you can win this hand is by tying up your opponent’s cards in your own runs you should consider runs that do not accomplish this purpose as useless. Your best discards are that four Aces you have in your hand.
On your first play you should discard the A♠, and then you pick up the J♥, which is a very helpful card since you know how the J♠ tied up. Then throw the A♥, and when you draw the J♣ from the deck, it will give you four-melded cards. Discard the A♦, and select the 2♦. Keep in mind that if you pick this card it is important to retain it because you are concerned with the possibility of picking and tying up the 2♥. Discard the A♣, and you will pick the 5♦. Then discard the K♠, and you draw the Q♥, which could be valuable if you pick the 10♥. Since you do not know as of yet whether you will draw the 10♥, or the 10♣ first, you cannot afford to throw the 9♣ at this point. You will then have a choice between the 5♦, 4♠, and the 2♦.
Since you are then set up in a possible gin position, you can take the chance that you will not be hit by the 2♥, and you can discard the 2♦. You then pick the 10♣, and throw the Q♥. You now have six-melded cards and are still in good gin position. You select the 8♣, and discard the 9♥, holding a seven-melded hand that affords you a two-way opportunity for gin, the 3♠, and the 5♣.
Of course you will be picking different cards throughout your game of gin rummy solitaire, but if you play it consistently you will find this particular game one of the easiest methods of learning proper defensive play.