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Selection of Partners

There are many instances where an expert head to head gin rummy player would be considered a poor partner when playing partnership gin. He may be extremely capable in remembering the cards, mathematics, odds, and temperament, but they may fail to take into consideration all of the additional requirements for proper partnership play. Most expert partnership players depend on their partner for their knowledge and ability to adapt to the partnership game, rather than their actual ability to play.

The rules of gin rummy do state that there is a set method for the selection of partners. In a four-handed game, partners and opponents are selected by putting out two red and two black cards face down. The red and black cards are of equal denominations such as a black and a red Jack, and a black and a red 4. The black cards are partners, and the red cards are partners. The Jacks play the first hand opposite of each other. The people who chose the red cards have the option of seats and also start the deal.

After the first hand, it is an option of the losing team to change opponents or remain with the same opponents. The same option then applies to the losing team at the end of every hand. At the end of every game, new cards are thrown out for the partner’s selection and the same procedure is followed. If the same partnership team is again selected, you play the game the exact same way you did previously. This works well if you play at a particular club or house. There are many games where it is common and desirable to change partners at the end of each game. It gives each player an equal opportunity to play with every other person.

In a six-handed game, the partners are selected for the first game in the same manner in which the four-handed game partners were chosen, except 6 cards are used – three red, and three black.

The partners in all partnership games sit alongside each other so that they may have an opportunity at all times to look at each other’s hands. This is the major factor in determining their own method of play in their own hand. This is completely allowed, and proper, providing that when they stop to look at their partner’s hand they tell their opponent’s to “hold it”. However, it is not proper for a partner to deliberately try to show his hand to his partner, or to induce his partner to look at any of his other playing partner’s hands. It is considered rude behavior and not allowed in many instances.

In a partnership game where there are two or three decks in use, each pack of cards should have different colored backs. Most of the time when a hand has been completed the cards are spread out on the table and left lying there until the completion of all hands. In casually looking through the cards to determine how far down the cards that were needed for your hand are, or in examining your opponent’s hand, it is possible for some of the cards from the two or three decks to become intermingled. Use the caution of counting the deck before each hand to check for possible mixed cards. This will prevent out and out cheating by having one partner pass a card to his adjoining partner.

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