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Opening Hand Example – Hand #5

Dealt: K♠, Q♣, 10♦, 9♣, 8♠, 7♥, 6♣, 5♦, 4♠, 3♦, 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.

This is the kind of hand that at first glance appears to be a losing hand. If it is to be won though, this hand is going to take an inordinate amount of time to develop the melds. You need to give a thought to all the possibilities, and there are many to consider.

Beginner Player – As usual, the beginner will throw the highest, most useless card in their hand. In this case, it is the K♠.

Good Player – This type of player will note that the only combination in his hand that offers any offensive possibility is the 3♦, and 5♦. While it is a one-way combination, the good player does have the option of throwing the 4♠, which may in turn bring back the 4♦. He will at the very least have developed one meld, but then is faced with the problem of what to throw next. In a hand with as many points as he is holding, and all the rest of the cards are unmatched, the early development of one single run consisting of 3♦, 4♦, and 5♦ will not be of much value. Remember that in this type of hand you should be playing for time.

Expert Player – Since the expert already knows that time is essential, he must play this hand to allow himself to develop it into a winning hand. At the same time, he must not allow his opponent to develop his hand through picking up his discards. The only cards in the hand that offer any defensive value are the K♠, and the A♥. Since both cards are similarly protected on one end from a sequence run, the major determining factor between them at this point must be that the King could reduce his opponent’s count by 30 points while the Ace can reduce his opponent’s count by only 3 points. This possibility of count reduction to his opponent would therefore be the major factor in determining that the discard should indeed be the A♥.

From that point on, the ensuring discards would be based primarily on the safest cards until such time as the general pattern of the hand has changed enough so that the winning possibilities now outweigh the losing possibilities. If this does not occur during the course of the hand, the hand should be played on a strictly defensive basis, and hopefully played to the wall.

In the case of an unmatched hand such as this, the beginning and good player are most likely to lose the hand. The expert is the only one who stands to win anything, even if it is played to the wall.

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