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Setting Up the Typical Hands

The casual player who reads through the playing and analyses of each of the following hands is sure to gain something at each point of decision. However, in order to get the most out of the hands, there is a certain method to reading and understanding them.

At the start of each hand described, lay out both hands from a deck of cards. Before reading on, make a decision as to which card you would discard, and then compare your decision with the one described and compare your reasoning with the one that is described. Determine if your own reasoning included all of the factors that were applied in the previous articles. In this way, you will readily learn those items that have been omitted in your own analysis. This will prove particularly helpful at times of crucial decisions.

In setting up the hands, there is a consistent pattern of keeping all melded cards in sets to the left of the hand and unrelated cards starting with the highest card to the left on down to the lowest ranking card. However, it must be remembered that a good player does not follow a set pattern of holding his cards because if he does his opponent can more easily read the hand by noticing where the discards are taken from or where cards are placed when picked.

For example, if you always follow a set pattern and your opponent notes that you discarded a King from your hand, and this was the fourth card from the left, he will automatically note that you have three melded cards. If he noted that you discarded the seventh card from the left, and this is a relatively high card, he will automatically note that you have six melded cards. It is, therefore, necessary to continuously change the manner in which you hold your hand.

For clarity’s sake, the cards are arranged so that the unrelated cards are at the extreme right, and where possible, red cards are next to black cards and not matching in suits. This will prevent you from accidentally misreading a two-card sequence, such as the 5♠ and the 4♣ together. Where the preceding numerical value is of the same suit as the higher cards, such as the 5♠, and 4♠, we have put them together so that there will be no chance of overlooking a potential meld. The only exceptions that we make in these illustrations of following a sequence of melds to the left and then unrelated cards are in cases where we also hold combinations that can be used in conjunction with a meld. For example, if we have a meld of 7♠, 8♠, and 9♠, and we are also holding the 7♦, 8♦, and the 8♥ where any one of six cards would give us two melds in conjunction with the original meld, we will hold these combinations together.

In each of the hands, player B is the dealer, so play accordingly. Take this time to really study the hands and see if you would have made the same choice as both of the experts.

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