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How to Appraise Your Hand – Part II

We have looked at the basics of appraising your hand in order to recognize what type of player you need to be, and whether or not you will have a winning or losing hand, but there is so much more to it. This is where your average play can become expert play.

Here is your following hand with a knock card of 6:

10 ♦, 10 ♣, 10 ♥, 8 ♠, 7 ♠, 6 ♠, K ♣, 5 ♦, 3 ♠, 2 ♥

This is another example of a winning knock hand in which you have two melds to start but the other mismatched cards do no total within the knock count. In this case, it is just a question of picking low cards or add-ons to knock.

The vast majority of gin players will discard their highest cards first, so that will tell you that you will not be picking up low cards right in the beginning, unless you pick them up from the stock. It will give you an idea that you may have to go more than the ideal of 5 or 6 picks before you can knock. When the knock card is in the 5 to 7 range, you have an above average chance of ending up with a four-card meld rather quickly.

As a rule, when the knock is low or when playing for gin if all or most of the cards are matched, not necessarily in melds, is a winning type of hand. The determinate of a losing hand is also primarily based on the knock card. A hand containing one three-card meld and seven mismatched cards would appear to be a losing hand if the knock were high, but it would be a fair or average hand if the knock were low.

During your appraisal of your hand you also have to look at how quickly a hand can change. A winning hand with only one pick needed for a knock can quickly be changed into a losing hand within just one or two plays. The same can be said for a losing hand. You have to be able to look at your hand and see it differently throughout the play. You can’t just say that it’s a winning hand, and leave it at that. That is why makes an expert player so much more advanced than an average player. They have to know when to reevaluate the hand for what it is now, not at the beginning of the play.

If you have a poor hand at the start of the play, it is important that you do not give your opponent the opportunity to pick up cards that you discard. You need to put him in the position of giving you that opportunity, so that you can develop your hand. Maintain a defensive play until your hand has resolved itself into a pattern that will enable you to win. Hence, you are reappraising your hand and therefore your style of play.

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