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Opening Hand Example – Hand #4

Dealt: K♥, Q♣, Q♦, 10♥, 7♣, 6♣, 6♥, 5♠, 4♠, 2♣, A♦
Knock: 8♦

This hand is shown to better explain the opening hand discards and to see how a beginner, good, and expert player would make their discard selection. It is the opening hand of the set and therefore it should be played to be won.

Beginner Player – The beginner would most likely throw the K♥ since it appears to him to be the highest and most useless card in the hand.

Good Player – This player will realize that although there are no melds in the hand, there are three good combinations which could result in melds and a possible early win. Thus playing the hand for its offensive possibilities, he would generally decide to discard the K♥.

Expert Player – After analyzing his cards, and bases his decision on the law of possibilities, he will look at this hand offensively rather than defensively. Since he is playing for an 8 point knock, he will first decide whether the hand should be played for three separate melds or for two melds of either 6 or 7 cards with an unmatched selection of small cards. Since the hand already includes an A♦, 2♣, and 4♠ and it is easier to obtain two melds rather than three, he would decide to play for two melds. Which two then is the question he would ask himself.

The best choice in this situation would be to go with the Queens, as well as the 6♥, 6♣, and 7♣ to make the melds. He would not consider the 4♠ and 5♠ because the same 6♠ that would give him a run will also give him a meld with his two sixes. In addition, the 3♠ that would also give him a run is a low card which would be equally as valuable as one of the four low cards he will need in order to knock the hand. Another factor is that the 5♠ represents a fairly safe salesman to throw for the possibility of bringing back the 5♣ that would result in a meld as well. That means he would have narrowed the choice down to the K♥, 10♥, and the 5♠.

The K♥ has no offensive value since he is not asking for a King in return. It also has negative possibilities because if he did throw it, his opponent would not know whether it was representing the Kings or a heart run which means that if the opponent had either the J♥ or Q♥ he would not throw either one. Considering the expert would need a Q♥ it would not be the wisest choice. The 10♥ would bring the same negative consequences.

Therefore the card that would be the best would be the 5♠. It essentially represents nothing but can lead his opponent to throw another 6 which the expert player needs. Again, this shows the well thought out process of the first play. This is what is going to win a game.

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