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Knowing Your Opponent

Every gin rummy player, including yourself, has a certain type of pattern, and a favorite type of play that he generally follows. For the person who is trying to move from being a beginner player to being a good player they must first quickly determine what type and style of player you are up against. This alone will give you a distinct advantage in playing that game. The questions you want to ask are:

• Is your opponent primarily an aggressive or defensive player?
• What is their general play pattern?
• Do they knock or play to gin more often?

Over the years, the average gin player will become predominantly either an aggressive or defensive player. This may be out of habit, or by desire, but most people take on a certain role. Over any given session, they will invariably follow one of these two playing patterns with occasional exceptions based on individual hands, but for the most part a player’s pattern of play is mostly fixed and very readable. That leaves it up to you to read them, and if you can then you already know pretty much what they will do and you can brace yourself against it, and use it to your advantage so you can win the game. Here are you most extreme definitions of both the aggressive player and the defensive player, so you have an idea of who you can be up against:

Defensive Player – This is the person who is giving the least amount of consideration to the development of their hand and throwing only the cards that they feel the opponent is less likely to use. They will leave the development to their own hand completely to chance, while playing mostly to make sure your hand can not be made.

Offensive Player – This player is completely opposite of the defensive player in the way that they give every consideration to improving their own hand by forming melds as quickly as possible with no thought whatsoever to what they are discarding. In other words, they have no regard to how or whether they may be benefiting their opponent with the cards they discard.

These are of course the extreme definitions but there are certainly people out there that play similar to this. The important part of this game is that you are neither the extremely aggressive player, nor the extremely defensive player. You should be a variation of both, but more importantly than that, is that by the end of the first game you should have a definite idea of which type of person your opponent is. Again, they could be variations of both, but in the end, you should know what their style or type of play is in order to be able to play the most effectively against them.

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