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Hold Your Play

One of the basic principles of partnership play is that the play of the partners is more or less simultaneous. This simply means that the team that has lost the previous hand, who is now dealing, should deal their hands simultaneously, not one before the other. Once the deal has been made and before the first play, it is generally accepted that the partners on both sides will glance at each other’s hand s to quickly determine whether or not either one of them has a winning hand. From this point on they enjoy the right to look at each other’s hand with every card.

Sometimes this is done automatically, but at other times it is done deliberately for specific purposes. Since in partnership play you are actually playing and scoring as a team, you are as concerned about the results that can originate from your partner’s hand as well as from your own. Most often, the play of your hand is to some extent guided by the development of your partner’s hand. Of course, this is all applicable to your opponent’s hand as well. The difference in the rate of play of the hands and primarily the completion of one hand prior to another could have a very radical effect on the overall result of any particular hand.

It is a fact that consciously or subconsciously the better play of a partnership will slow up his play in order to obtain a result of his partners hand so that he can make the proper decision as to the manner in which to complete his own hand. Furthermore, the developments and changes that occur in his partner’s hand during the course of play give him tremendous opportunities to change his own methods. Advantages such as these used deliberated are considered extremely bad conduct since the specific rule of the game is that at any time a player slows up his normal rate of play or stops his play in the course of his hand to either look at his partner’s hand, examine the score, or for any other reason, it is his responsibility to advise his opponents of this with the phrase “hold your play”. This in effect protects the other side from giving him an undue advantage by completing additional plays to his partner’s hand, which would make his decision that much easier.

There is no penalty for this if they do not call “hold your play”, but on the whole it is looked upon in a rather deceitful way. The basic protection that a player has against the failure of his opponent to call “hold your play” is that the player who is being delayed against should immediately turn to his partner and advise his partner to “hold your play”. In captain games, the non-player on the extra side has the same responsibilities and rights as far as calling “hold your play”.

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