The importance of waiting for a count during the course of a game, especially during important hands, is worth more than having additional picks in a game. In fact, a player who is not advising his partner to wait for the count, or a partner playing on at random without stopping and waiting for his partner’s count, is giving up on one of the biggest advantages that is afforded to him in partnership play.
Even in a winning situation it is just as important to wait for the count instead of just waiting for one in a losing situation. The losing count of a partner, added to the previous score of the opponent’s is the sole factor in determining the safe count for the player still playing his hand.
For example, if you are playing a four-handed game, your opponent’s have started play with a total score of 200 points. Your partner was knocked against and loses 20 points, which is doubled for 40. This now gives your opponents a grand total of 240 points in this game. Since 300 points is the winning score in a four-handed game, you know that you can only afford to lose a maximum of 58 points and still protect the game. This means that your safe count is four. That is, if you are ginned against and hold four or less points, your opponents cannot go out in the game. If you are holding five or more when ginned against, the game is automatically over. This is the most important piece of information that you can obtain in the course of play. From this point on, it should be the sole factor determining the play of your hand.
However, if your partner was knocked against and his loss is less than a gin count, you should obviously choose to play your hand for gin in order to wind up with a plus game score. If your partner’s loss is beyond retrieving, then you would undoubtedly knock as quickly as possible to save the roodles. While the examples are given for four-handed play, the same principles apply in six-handed play.
The inability of a player to take full advantage of the right to hold his play or wait for a count is as detrimental to him as his failure to pick up an opponent’s discard, which is badly needed to complete his hand. Remember, the protection of the score or count is the most important factor in partnership play, and the rights to these counts are the most basic part of this type of game.