By now, it should be obvious that many gin hands are played on a purely mechanical basis. There are the so called “no-brainers”, in which play ends before any cards are drawn from the stock. Then there are the occasions when hands are completed within the first three to five picks. Such hands obviously require little or no skill at all. Then there are the hands that go past the either pick, and this is where the expert certainly has the advantage. It is called the middle or late play of the hand. This is when specific knowledge and skill are required to win a hand that ordinarily would be lost. These are the hands that are often the difference between winning and losing any given gin rummy session.
The opening plays of the hand require important decisions for sure, but a hand that goes beyond the either pick requires more crucial decision making. The beginner will depend on pure luck as far as his play at this point is concerned. The good player will utilize card memory and base his decisions on the probabilities and odds of any given play. The expert player will utilize pure deductive reasoning. In every crucial problem in the middle and late play there is always a deductive answer that you need to figure out in order to win the hand and eventually the game.
It should be further emphasized that even though there is only one true correct answer reached by deductive reasoning, it is not always the answer that will lead to the winning play since we are aware that there is an element of luck in this game. However, over any given number of hands, deductive reasoning will provide by far the largest percentage of winning plays.
It is up to you though to figure out how to deduce which are the right and the wrong card to discard, and pick. The middle and late play of gin rummy is just as important as the opening plays, but it is the one that takes the most knowledge as well as experience. You need to be able to pick an opponent’s card without letting him have too much information, and you need to be able to read your opponent’s hand at the same time. Your discards are equally as important because you certainly don’t want to lose the game by discarding a card that your opponent is waiting for, but you also need to know when to throw an add-on that can be used by your opponent. Lastly you need to know how to appraise your hand at any given time. Know when to go for the win, change from offensive to defensive play, and when to admit defeat and try to protect your hand. You also have to know when and if to try to play to the wall. All of this requires expert play, and that is what you will learn.