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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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Partnership Play

In today’s games of Gin Rummy, almost 80% of all games played are played in the partnership form of either four or six players. Gin has become much more interesting since the added features of fillips, nuances, and other strategic opportunities arose during the game. It also makes it more challenging than playing head to head contests. The method of playing each hand follows the same procedure that you use when you play head to head, but there are some important differences that can come into play when you are playing in a partnership game.

First, you will always be playing your partner’s hand or hands at the same time as you are playing your own. This simply means that you will have to really know what your partner is doing and be fully aware of how good or bad his hand is, while watching yours.

Second, there is the obligation that a player has to his partner or partners in the fact that he is no longer gambling just for his own money. Also, your partners may be playing for higher stakes then you are, and you must bear some of the responsibility for any of the losses or gains that they experience during the game.

Third, the player in turn is no longer gambling exclusively on his own abilities. You are now gambling on the abilities of your partner as well. The first rule in a partnership game is to be sure that you know everyone playing in the game. This means making sure you know your partner well enough to know that they will not cheat and will play to the ability that you expect in a partner. You also have to be concerned with knowing the other players and making sure they won’t cheat as well since partnership play is the easiest to cheat at in the game of Gin Rummy.

Fourth, the prime fundamental basis of any partnership game is the counts. The scoring in partnership is the combination of plus and minus scores of each individual hand of various partners, and the difference is credited to the side that scores the most points in any given hand.

When you are playing a partnership game you have to keep all of these things in mind. Although the play of each hand is essentially the same, there is considerably more at stake in a partnership game. You don’t want to ruin any chances of your partner winning, anymore than he wants to ruin any chances you have of winning. It is best to play with the same partner time and time again once you learned the way the play. You can use what you know to your advantage and so that you will more consistently win.

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Complete Hand Example #21

Player A – 5♣, 5♥, 5♠, K♣, Q♣, 10♠, 9♣, 8♠, 6♦, 3♥, A♥
Player B – Q♠, Q♦, J♦, 8♥, 7♥, 7♦, 4♣, 4♦, 3♠, 2♦

Conditions: In this hand, count is no particular problem since both players are on score. The knock card is the 4♥.

General Comment: Even though Player A has a meld, Player B’s hand appears to be in a better winning position, since all his cards are combined in some way with the sole exception of the 3♠.

Play of the Hand:

Player A – Since he is playing without the consideration of count, his first discard is the 9♣.

Player B – Draws the J♠ from the stock. This card adds to his hand four additional melding possibilities. He throws the 3♠.

Player A – Picks the K♦, which gives him another combination. He throws his most useless card, the 6♦.

Player B – Going to the deck, he pulls the J♣. His problem at this moment is which of the various combinations he is left with should he throw. He would be foolish to break the 7♥, 8♥ since 6’s and 9’s have just been established by his opponent. Also, 3’s have been established, so he should break the 2♦, 4♦ either. Both Queens is relatively safe, and as soon as the first one goes through, the second one becomes very safe, so his play at this time is the Q♠.

Player A – Picks the 9♥ and discards it.

Player B – Takes this discard and throws the Q♦.

Player A – Draws the 6♣ from the deck, which he discards.

Player B – Going to the deck, he pulls the A♠ and throws from his hand his safest discard, the 7♦.

Player A – Picks the 10♣, which gives him another combination. However, at this point he cannot afford to discard a wild card. His Q♣ is dead safe while his two Kings are only relatively safe. Also, by throwing the Q♣, he leaves himself with two Kings to buy into his hand. If he were to throw the K♦, he would be waiting for only the J♣, and for all he knows, his opponent may be holding that card. He therefore discards the Q♣.

Player B – Buys the 3♣, which is a fairly safe card to him, based on the fact that he has already gotten by with the 3♠. The question then becomes how much safer is the 3♣ than the A♠ at a point where his opponent just threw a Queen. He is apparently not actively looking for low cards. Since the A♠ can be used only in one way, he decides to discard it.

Player A – Picks the 10♥, which gives him his second meld. HE now must decide whether to throw on of his Kings or the 8♠. He knows that his opponent is holding a heart run which, since he has the 10♥, must include the 8♥. Therefore, he certainly cannot use the 8♠ for 8’s, but only for a spade run. Since it is only a one-way card, it is just as safe as throwing from his pair of Kings, so he might just as well retain the pair for nine melded. He throws the 8♠.

Player B – Going to the deck, he picks the K♠. No Kings have yet been played and although he holds the J♠, Player B feels that the K♠ is not a safe card, especially since the Q♣ was thrown by his opponent at what is presumed to be a late stage for throwing this card. In other words, it had to come from some sort of combination. Should he now throw the K♠ or the relatively safe 3♣? Although at this point there is no set rule for play, this is when the player who is inclined to be on the defensive side will throw the 3♣. The more aggressively inclined player with throw the K♠ and stay with his chances. Neither 2’s nor 5’s have been established and for all he knows, his opponent may be holding them, in which case the 3♣ would be worthless in his hand. If he throws it and gives up these additional ways he is still left with a very good playing hand. If he throws the K♠ and his opponent needs it, he may gin him, allow him to knock and win the hand, or reduce him by 30 points. With all these considerations to mind, Player B discards the 3♣.

Player A – Picks the 2♠. He has a choice of breaking his Kings or throwing one of his other cards. His A♥ is a dead card and rather than play for the one Deuce that fits between the A♥ and 3♥, he feels that he is better off holding onto his pair of Kings. He discards the A♥.

Player B – Picks the 7♠, which he discards as being fairly safe.

Player A – Draws the 3♦. Since two 3’s have already been played, he discards the 3♥ as the safer of the two.

Player B – Picks the 9♠ and discards it.

Player A – Buys the 5♦ and now has his fourth 5. He discards his safest card, the 3♦.

Player B – Takes the 3♦ and is now faced with the following problem. Should he knock with 4 points or should he play the hand for gin? If he plays the hand, should he throw the 4♣ or the K♠? His hand appears to be a five-way gin hand: the J♥, 10♥, 6♥, 5♦, and A♦. His opponent knows that he has the heart and diamond runs and Player B must decide whether his opponent is capable of holding up the needed cards. Could he tie them up in runs? Player B has not seen 10’s played; his opponent can be holding the 10♥ in a run. Some 6’s have been played, but it is possible that his opponent can have the 4♥, 5♥, 6♥. Also, 5’s have not been played, so his opponent more than likely has his 5♦ tied up. Aces have been played, so his opponent cannot tie up the A♦. Hearts above the nine have not been played so his opponent can conceivably be holding the 10♥, J♥, Q♥. In this case he ties up the J♥ as well as the 10♥. It is not an excellent gin hand, but it is still a good one. What can he do as far as throwing a safe card is concerned? The 4♣ is as safe as a card can be without being dead. Both the 3♣ and the 6♣ are gone and he has a four tied up in a run. Therefore, the only way the 4♣ can be used would be in a dead run, providing his opponent is not holding the two other fours. The K♠ is not a safe card. Player B must decide at this point, if he throws the safer 4♣ and holds the K♠, what he will do if next time he goes to the deck and he picks another card which is not safe and now low enough to knock with. All of these evaluations must be made and made within the same time limit he would ordinarily pick and play a card that does not pose a problem. Remember, it is to a player’s disadvantage to take extra time to think though a situation. From the change in rhythm, he is providing his opponent with valuable information. In this particular hand, Player B made his decision to throw the 4♣ and continue on with his play.

Player A – Goes to the deck and draws the 6♠. He immediately discards that card.

Player B – Picks the K♥. This is the situation he was afraid of. Does his opponent need the King? Is he sitting with Kings at this point? Does he have seven melded cards, six melded cards, or only three melded cards? He could even have nine melded, in which he cannot use the King. What will be the harm to throw a King that his opponent needs? What are the chances that his opponent does not need a King? What are the possible combinations of cards that he can be holding? Aces were played, 3’s were played, and 4’s were played. So were 6’s, 7’s, 8’s and 9’s played. Player B has the Jacks, and Queens have been played. Therefore Player A could have Kings, 2’s, 10’s, or 5’s. Now what about color runs? He cannot be holding a color run from the ten up in any suit. What about from the nine down? Player A has the hearts, and spades, clubs and diamonds have been played. If he is holding fives, he will not have a color run around the 4’s, 5’s, and 6’s. Under the 5’s, what can he have? All of the 3’s have been played, so there can be no color runs under the 5’s. Therefore, it becomes pretty obviously that the only cards that are out now, assuming that he is holding the 5’s and 10’s, and that these cards are not all left in the deck, would be Deuces and Kings. Player B has one Deuce in a run, but does not have any Kings in a run. He has two in his hand. It would appear that the odds that his opponent is holding two Deuces would be considerably higher than that he is holding two Kings. To hold two Deuces he would have to have two out of three, whereas to hold two Kings he would have to have two out of two. This makes it slightly more advantageous for Player B to take the gamble and throw the King. But what does he have to gain if he does it? Player B is still in the same position he was in before, and he has one more safe card to throw after this. What does he do if he picks a Deuce from the deck? On the other hand if his opponent is holding the two Kings and Player B sits with the two Kings, his opponent can never win his hand. But if he is holding the two Deuces, it would mean that the Kings are in the deck. Thus, Player B could buy three Kings. Weighing all the considerations at this point, it definitely would appear to his advantage to hold the two Kings and break one of his three runs in a manner in which he would have dead cards to throw, while he is still continuing to improve his hand. Then, if his opponent is holding two Kings, Player B will never lose the hand. True, he would not win it, but at least he would not lose anything. If he is nothing holding two Kings, the only combinations that he can wind up with are 5’s, 10’s, and 2’s. It is true that since Player B has no five or ten in his hand, his opponent can very easily have seven or eight melded cards. In order to gin his hand, Player B must come up with the three remaining 2’s in the deck. What are his chances of doing this before Player A can come up with at least one of the two Kings, and any one of the other cards he needs to gin his hand? In the meantime, his opponent may, besides holding his own combination, have or pick from the deck cards that he needs. He, of course, would break his own hand rather than throw in to Player A. He has no idea that Player A is at this time breaking his own hand, unless Player A gives him this indication. Then he may play a little bit loosely. Player B, therefore finds it most to his advantage to break the 2♦, 3♦, 4♦, and throws the 2♦.

Once this play has been made, looking at both hands, we see that this hand will go to the wall. Neither player will break his pair of Kings nor is there any way that any of the Kings can be combined except by Player B who is holding the K♥. The Q♥ and 6♥ are still in the stock. However, the number of cards left in the deck is so few that by the time he picks either one of these cards, he will either keep his Jack for the fourth Jack or the Q♥ will be discarded as being a dead card since he knows now that his opponent is holding tens. We now have a hand that is played to the bottom or wall. This is not the kind of a hand on which there are any set rules to be followed. The question of an individual player’s judgment and in the manner in which a play is made merely express the judgments that an expert player would have used under these circumstances as the hand went along.

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Complete Hand Example #20

Player A – 9♠, 8♠, 7♠, J♣, 10♣, 9♣, J♠, 8♥, 3♥, 2♣, A♥
Player B – 4♦, 3♦, 2♦, Q♣, J♦, 10♥, 4♥, 2♥, 2♠, A♣

Conditions: This hand is being played as a four-point knock with the score 169 to nothing against the dealer. The dealer therefore has a gin safe count of five and must protect against losing 31 points at all times on a knock.

Play of the Hand:

Player A – In order to decide his first discard, eh realizes that a knocking four-point hand normally requires nine melded. His particular hand at this point offers only one opportunity for a quick nine melded the 2♣. Because of his low cards he also has the added advantage in this particular hand of being able to knock quickly with eight melded if he is fortunate enough to buy the 10♠, or if he is fortunate enough to buy two add-ons, which are readily available with the type of melds he wants. His choice of discards is limited to the 8♥ and 2♣. In this particular case, the 8♥ would be the proper discard since it is safer than the 2♣, being thrown from a pair. Both cards are salesmen and have the same relative offensive values. His opponent is more likely to pick the 2♣ for reducing purposes with this score situation. He thus discards the 8♥.

Player B – Picks the 6♦ which is a wild card but also has additional offensive values. Since his hand is basically an offensive type of hand he will not consider playing ultra safe at this early stage of the game and will release one of his three top cards. The only one of the three that has any safety value in this case is the 10♥, since the 8♥ has just been discarded.

Player A – Draws from the deck the 4♠ and has the choice of discarding this card or the J♠. Since at this stage he feels he could win enough points with a quick knock, he discards the 4♠.

Player B – Takes the 4♠ discard since it gives him a second meld. In addition, it reduces his hand to the point where he cannot lose the game on a knock. His choice of discards is now between the Q♣ and J♦. He discards the Q♣.

Player A – Takes the Q♣ discard and discards the J♠, which he no longer needs to knock with as buying the 10♠ would be enough. Generally speaking, as far as Player B is concerned, when the Q♣ is picked and the J♠ discarded, it is usually not discarded as a salesman. It merely means that it had been held in combination with another card somewhere around it, that the Queen completed the combination, and therefore the Jack is now discarded as an unneeded card.

Player B – Picks the 7♦ and discards the J♦.

Player A – Draws the 7♣ from the deck, which he discards as an unneeded and relatively safe card.

Player B – Going to the deck, he pulls the 5♠. He discards the 7♦ as being the safest card at this point and is actually causing him to give up only one defensive way, the 8♦.

Player A – Obtains the 5♣ from the deck. His choice of discards is now limited to the 5♣ or the 2♣. At this point, they have identical values as far as safety is concerned, but the pick of the 2♣ could tie up a needed card, so his proper choice is the 5♣ which he discards. The fact that he has discarded the 7♣ and the 5♣ in sequence is noted by his opponent, and points out the fact that 6’s are obviously missing and could be held by his opponent.

Player B – Draws the 9♦ from the deck. Since no 9’s have been played, he retains this card and throws the 5♠. It is true that spades above the 5 are missing, but since he has partially given his opponent credit for 6’s, he recognizes the 5♠ as the safer discard.

Player A – Picks the 6♣ and discards this as safer than the 2♣ since it can be used only with 6’s, whereas the 2♣ can be used in a set or a run.

Player B – Draws the 4♣ from the deck. This now gives him seven melded cards together with the additional opportunity offered by the 3♦ and 6♦. It is true that if he retains both of these cards the 5♦ would gin him, but he is primarily concerned with just winning his hand on a knock. Gin is of no particular importance. Being dead at this point, the 6♦ is therefore the proper throw, rather than the still live 9♦.

Player A – Obtains the 3♠ from the deck, which increases his opportunity for gin from one way to three ways, providing that he throws the deuce. He now has his first major decision as to how to play the game. His first question is whether his opponent is still over his gin count. The answer is most likely yes. Since his count is five and the knock is four, if he were under the count the odds are he would have knocked. His next question would be whether he could be him under the count by throwing the A♥, 2♣, or 3♠. Also, he has to ask himself if any one of those cards would allow him to knock and cause Player A to lose the hand. If the answer to this question is yes, then the proper play would be to throw off the Q♣ and retain his full possibilities for nine melded and then knock his hand. If the answer to that question is no, he then has no further choice of throwing the 3♠ with the hope that his opponent may pick it for 3’s, which would leave him with a layoff and a maximum of three points if knocked against. He also considers throwing the Ace, which is the safest of the Ace and the Deuce, or throwing the wild card, the Deuce, which would leave him with the most chances for gin. The determining factor in this case is that with the score as it now stands, he credits his opponent with having to play definitely on the safe side. There are many high cards missing from play such as Kings, the entire diamond suit between the 7 and the Jack, as well as the entire heart suit below the 8. Considering the fact that his opponent might well be holding some of these cards, he plays his most offensive value and throws the 2♣.

Player B – Takes the 2♣ discard and knocks his hand, discarding the 9♦.

Note: You will not that Player B has a major problem in deciding how to knock. He has a choice of knocking with 4 points or 1 point. If he knocks with 4 points his opponent has no opportunity to lay of on his hand. If, however, he knocks with one point his opponent as the opportunity to lay off 6 points, both the 5♦ and the A♦. He cannot lay off the 6♦ as well because it has already been discarded. The general rule in this case is to knock in the manner that affords the least possible lay off even at the expense of a couple of additional points. The exception to this rule are in cases where the play of the hand has proved it most unlikely that an opponent has these lay off cards, or is using them in runs of his own, or where it is necessary to knock as low as possible to prevent an apparent underknock.

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Complete Hand Example #19

Player A – K♥, Q♠, J♣, J♦, 10♦, 8♥, 7♥, 7♣, 6♦, 2♣, A♣
Player B – K♣, K♦, 10♠, 9♦, 9♣, 6♥, 5♣, 5♦, 2♥, A♥

Conditions: This hand is being played as the opening hand and the knock card is the J♦.

General Comments: Player A is predominantly a defensive type of player, while Player B is basically an aggressive type of player.

Play of the Hand:

Player A – While having a discard choice of either the A♣ or the K♥, he releases the A♣ as being definitely safer since it can be used only one way.

Player B – While realizing that the A♣ is an important card in playing for a ten-point knock, he would rather, at this stage of the game, have his pick from the deck. He draws the 6♣ from the deck, which adds tremendously to his offensive possibilities. He throws back the A♥ rather than the 10♠, not because he feels his opponent may use the 10♠, but when playing against a defensive payer it is a good idea to have him hold as many cards as possible to protect against his value cards.

Player A – Obtains the 3♣ from the deck and throws the 2♣ for the same reason he threw the Ace.

Player B – Draws the 5♠ from the stock, which gives him a meld. He now has the type of hand in which it appears necessary to buy nine melded in order to knock. He therefore throws the 2♥.

Player A – Going to the deck, he pulls the 5♥. He realizes that up to this point only low cards have been thrown and is hesitant about throwing any of his high cards. He will now play relatively safe since he has no other cards in his hand that are limited to one-way uses. He has not yet gotten to a point of throwing only dead cards. Therefore, in breaking from a pair, his preference is to throw the 7♣ rather than the J♣ since, following the rule of 14, it is more likely that his opponent would be holding the King and Queen rather than middle cards such as a 7. His discard is the 7♣.

Player B – The pick of his discard would give him a meld, but not an additional meld. It merely gives him an option of changing his three 5’s into a 5♣, 6♣, 7♣. The additional opportunity offered by this card is not warranted in this case against his pick from the deck. If, however, his second 6 were matched to one of his 5’s, it would be proper fro him to pick the 7♣ since this would increase the offensive value of his combination greatly. He picks the 8♣ from the deck which he now discards, since the 7♣ has already been played.

Player A – Draws the K♠ and throws the safe 7♥, since he knows that this can be followed with a reasonably safe 8♥.

Player B – Pulls the 3♠ and discards it.

Player A – Going to the deck, he selects the 4♣ and discards the completely dead 3♣.

Player B – Picks the 2♠ and discards it.

Player A – Draws the 6♠ from the deck and now discards the reasonably safe 8♥ which can only be used one way, with the 9♥ and the 10♥.

Player B – Obtains the 10♣ from the deck, which enhances tremendously the offensive value of his hand. He certainly does not want to break the two 9 and the two 10 combinations with the 9♣, 10♣ matching each other, so he must decide between breaking either his Kings or his 6’s. What is most likely to be needed by his opponent? What is most likely to bring him back the cards that he needs? His opponent has discarded middle cards after bottom cards and, as he is the kind of player who plays predominantly safe, it would appear that these cards were thrown because of some specific protection. The basic protection against 7’s and 8’s would be 6’s and 9’s. For this reason alone, it is more likely that the King would be the safer of the pairs to break. Furthermore, since his opponent has been throwing middle cards, it is more likely that he will throw cards in the same area such as 6’s and 9’s before he would start breaking new cards from the top. For these reasons he discards the K♣.

Player A – Takes this discard and breaks his safest holding which is the J♣.

Player B – Takes the J♣ discard and notes that his opponent is holding Kings. He has a choice of throwing the 10♠ or the 10♦ or throwing in the fourth King. Ordinarily it would be proper to throw the 10♠ at this point, but when playing against a strictly defensive player there is an advantage in forcing him to open his hand or to break certain combinations which could be developed into melds. Against this type of player it would be proper at this time to throw in the fourth King. This play also provides the opportunity to match the 9♦, 10♠ with another card of the same level that, together with the club run, could form a tremendous offensive combination.

Player A – Does not take the K♦ because he has no safe card to discard. He goes to the deck and picks the 4♥. This card allows him to throw the 4♣, which is as safe as the 4♥ since it can be used by his opponent only for 4’s.

Player B – Picks the 8♠, which he discards.

Player A – Buys the 4♠ from the deck and discards the card as dead.

Player B – Pulls the A♦, which he discards.

Player A – Going to the deck, he buys the J♠. He no knows that his opponent is holding a club run and not Jacks. Although the J♠ is a dead card at this point, it does have large offensive values as well as possibly providing the K♣ in a layoff. He retains this card and throws the 4♥.

Player B – Picks the J♥ and discards it as not having any offensive value.

Player A – Takes the J♥ discard and inadvertently creates the impression to Player B that it is being used for a heart run. The discards available to Player A at this time are the Q♠, 10♦, 5♥, or his two 6’s. Since he knows that his opponent has a high club run, he surely has the 10♣ tied up and my have the Q♣ tied up as well. But the Q♠ could be used with Queens at the top of a club run, whereas the 10♦ could only be used with the 9♦ and the 8♦. His logical choice then is to discard the 10♦.

Player B – Considers that with his present holdings there are only two cards in the deck that could put him down which are the two missing 6’s. Knowing that he is playing against a defensive player, he is not likely at this stage to get a 6 from him. If he picks the 10♦ and breaks his 6’s he will have five possibilities of buying cards for a knock. Those possibilities are the 10♥, 9♥, 9♠, 8♣, and J♦. Even though he gives his opponent credit for holding the 9♥, 10♥, J♥ meld, Player B will still have three ways against the two doubtful ones he has now. It therefore pays him to take the 10♦ and throw the 6♣.

Player A – Takes the 6♣ discard, and knocks with 5 points and wins.

Note: Each of the plays made up to this point was the proper pay based on the viewpoint of the player involved and resulted in a win for the defense. However, this is not the usual result in this type of hand.

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Complete Hand Example #18

Player A – 10♠, 10♥, 10♣, 6♦, 5♦, 4♦, J♠, 7♣, 6♣, 5♠, A♠
Player B – K♦, J♥, 10♦, 9♣, 8♠, 7♠, 7♦, 6♥, 5♥, A♥

Conditions: Player B is on a schneid and has a safe count of eight. The knock card is 8♦.

Player A – His first discard will be based on whatever card represents his best offensive value at this time. He will not throw the obvious J♠ for two reasons. First, he has an opportunity to change his meld of three 10’s into a spade run, which will offer two opportunities to complete to a four-card run, as against the one opportunity the three 10’s afford him. Second, with the score as it stands, he is not interested in reducing his opponent’s hand by any sizable meld. Therefore, his choice is between the 5♠ and the A♠. Although the 5♠ would be thrown from a pair and is also a salesman, he does not throw it on the first card since at this stage it would be marked as an obvious salesman and could also tie up the 5♣ he is looking for. The A♠ is his best opening throw. If used in a meld it would reduce his opponent’s hand the least. It is also advantageous to get it out of his hand before he is forced to throw it later when his opponent could use it to get under count. His discard is therefore the A♠.

Player B – Player B is primarily concerned with getting under count, so he would not at this point pick up a discard that does not give him a meld. So, he goes to the stock and picks the 3♠. His prime concern with his hand, although it has two offensive combinations, is primarily to play as safely as possible without actually breaking his combinations. He therefore throws back the relatively safe A♥.

Player A – Picks the 2♣, which he discards for the same reason as his original discard.

Player B – Going to the deck, he pulls the 2♠. Although it matches the 3♠, it is relatively useless since the A♠ has been thrown, so he discards it.

Player A – Picks the K♠. Because this card affords him an additional offensive opportunity and also represents a dangerous throw now, he discards the 5♠. Being thrown on top of the 2♠, it will not have the same implication as before, which as that of a salesman.

Player B – Discards the Q♦ from the deck. Although it gives him another offensive combination, he must at this point give some consideration to the great number of points he is carrying, in the event that his opponent decides to knock. Ordinarily, in this type of sore situation, the player having the score advantage is much more inclined to play for gin, unless he reaches a knock situation fairly early and feels that his opponent is holding predominantly high cards. Even considering this, Player B’s proper throw at this time is the 3♠. It represents the safest card now since it can only be used for 3’s, and he is aware that his opponent is not looking for low cards for the purpose of knocking.

Player A – Picks the 3♦ and is now in a gin position. He must break either the K♠, J♠, or the 6♣, 7♣. His choice is obvious. The 6♣, 7♣ offers much better offensive opportunities since there are two cards that can gin him as again one with the other combination. He has already established the 5’s so he knows his opponent is not holding them, whereas his opponent could have the Q♠ in a meld. Also, the combination of the 6’s offer two additional opportunities to buy nine melded and a knock. He therefore throws the K♠.

Player B – Scene his opponent’s throws in sequence have been the A♠, 2♣, 5♠, and now K♠. Player B comes to one of two conclusions. Either his opponent has been holding predominately high cards, has just filled one of his high runs, and is therefore throwing an unneeded card from this combination or since he first started throwing from the bottom and now from the top, his hand consists primarily of the middle card holdings which he is playing for full value. Only a little more time will show him which the case is. In the meantime, he draws the 4♠ from the deck and throws the K♦.

Player A – Obtains the 9♦ from the deck. His best choice between throwing the J♠ and the 9♦ is obviously the J♠ because it can be used by his opponent in fewer ways. This throw of the J♠ also indicates to his opponent that either he does not have the Q♠ in his hand or that he has melded three Queens. It further indicates that he does not hold Jacks.

Player B – Draws the 4♥ from the stock and has his first meld. Rather than throw the J♥ which could be an answer to a sales request, since he does not have the heart suit protected in any way, he throws the relatively safe 4♠.

Player A – Going to the deck, he buys the 6♠ and is now faced with his first crucial decision. He needs 34 points to go out on a schneid. What are his chances of picking up these 34 points on a knock as against his chances of ginning the hand before his opponent can get under nine points? In order to pick up 34 points on a knock and knock with his minimum of seven, his opponent would have to hold 41 points after any layoff. Each player has already made five picks from the deck and the law of probability is that his opponent should be holding at least one three-card meld at this point. The layoff possibilities in this hand are limited to just three cards, the 10♦, 2♦, and the 6♥. If he gives credit to his opponent for holding one of these three cards in addition to three melded cards, his opponent will have six additional cards that will have to total 41 or more. This represents an average of seven points per card, which in this particular case is very likely since his opponent has up to the point discarded nothing but low cards, with the exception of one King that was thrown only in answer to a King. He would be justified, from this reasoning, in deciding to knock. If he did, his opponent would meld the 4♥, 5♥, 6♥, layoff the 10♦ and would count 51 points in his hand, which would allow the knock at a score 44 and win a schneid. However, the player would also realize that he is holding a five-way gin hand. Ten cards have already been discarded which included none of his five ways. He is holding 11 cards himself at this point so he is aware that between his 11 and the 10 cards already discarded there are still 32 cards in play, which makes the actual odds 1 to 6 that he would pick gin on his next pick. These odds would increase in his favor with each subsequent pick. He is also aware of the fact that both 2’s and 5’s have been established, which adds slightly to his possibility of getting these cards. He would be equally justified in continuing to play this hand for gin. He decides to discard the 9♦ to provide a five-way gin hand.

Player B – This discard indicates to Player B that his opponent is not holding 9’s and also most likely is not holding the 8♦. However, it may very well be a salesman for another 9 or 10. He picks from the deck the 5♣. Since he has already decided that the 9♦ throw could possibly be a salesman for another 9♣, he would be most concerned with clubs and hearts, as these are the colors where he is missing all the cards that could be used with a 9. If the 9♣ were dangerous to a 7♦ and 8♦ run, it could also be dangerous to a 6♣, 7♣, and 8♣ sequence. He does realize that it was unlikely that the 5♣ could be used to a 3♣, 4♣ sequence because the deuce has already been played. But, he would be most hesitant in throwing the 5♣ and would look for a safer throw at this point. Considering that after the number of plays that have been made his offensive possibilities have not improved very much, he now for the first time gives consideration to actually taking this hand to the wall. The only sure safe card in his hand is the 5♥ and he discards it.

Player A – Picks the 9♥ from the deck, which he throws.

Player B – Draws the 7♥ from the deck. The 9♥ discard does make the J♥ in his hand somewhat safer, but still no the kind of card that he could discard at this point. Although the 7♥ that he drew gives him a meld he cannot take advantage of it. The 7♥ represents a safe card in his hand, and also makes the 7♠ a dead card. Because he is playing safe, he throws the 7♥.

Player A – Picks the A♦ and discards it.

Player B – Going to the deck, he buys the 8♣, which of course makes the 9♣ a lot safer. However, it is still not a dead card since he is missing the 10♣, J♣, and K♣. The pick of the 8♣ also alerts him to the fact that he is definitely missing the 6♣, and 7♣. He therefore throws the only safe card in his hand, the 7♠.

Player A – Pulls from the deck the K♣ and releases it. This indicates to Player B that he is not holding the 10♣, J♣, Q♣, but does not eliminate the fact that he could be holding the 10♣, and J♣.

Player B – Draws the 3♣ from the deck, which he discards as a dead card.

Player A – Picks and discards the Q♠. Remember, he is still playing his hand for its maximum offensive possibilities, and is completely disregarding the question of defense. He has become aware, however, that his opponent is apparently breaking runs and is playing dead safe, very likely to the point of refusing a run if it is thrown to him.

Player B – Goes to the deck and pulls the 9♠. He discards the safe Q♦.

Player A – Draws the Q♣ from the deck and discards it. This discard tells Player B that the 9♣ is safe. This is in addition to the fact that he also has a safe 9♠.

Player B – Obtains the 8♦ from the deck, which gives him a meld that he does not need to break at present since he does have two dead cards to throw. His choice between the 9♠ and the 9♣ is the 9♣, since if he wants an extra pick, the player could possibly back in to the 10♣ or the J♣, whereas there is no way he can back in to the spade suit, since the J♠ has already been played.

Player A – Draws the 2♥, which he throws. This now makes the 4♥ another safe card in Player B’s hand.

Player B – Picks the Q♥. Although this card is safe as well as making the J♥ dead, his choice is to throw the 9♠ because the Q♥, J♥ by itself gives him an offensive combination. At the same time, he is now at the point where he must give consideration to his opponent’s holdings. He analyzes the possible holdings of his opponent by eliminating the melds which his own holdings and the discards prove cannot be held. He allows for the possibilities that can be held by his opponent who is not fully aware of what he himself is holding. From this analysis, he will obtain a picture of what he is playing against. He realizes that his opponent could be holding a four-card low diamond run and three 10’s. He could also be holding the 6♣ and 7♣. Since his opponent has been throwing wild cards he is definitely playing his maximum possibilities and will hold some card in combination with the 6♣ and 7♣. There would not be another 7 since two 7’s have already been played. It could therefore only be the 6♠. It is also conceivable that he could be holding the same hand with the 4♣ instead of the 7♣. Player B also knows that if this were the case he has his opponent’s hand completely dead except for the 2♦. The only alternative that he sees in his opponent’s hand is that his opponent has the 2♦, 3♦, 4♦, 5♦ with the 7♣, 6♣, and 6♠ or the 6♣, 4♣, in which case the 6♦ would gin him. So, he is full aware that if he should buy either the 2♦ or 6♦ from the deck, he will have his opponent dead. Player B, of course, cannot gin hi sand and plays only with the thought of taking the hand to the wall. He therefore discards the 9♠.

Player A – Buys the 4♣ from the deck and discards it. It is true that if he discarded the dead 7♣ instead, he would be reducing his chances by one but would at the same time be inviting to some extent the throw of the 5♣ which would gin him. Knowing definitely that his opponent is playing to the wall, and that he will not throw anything other than 100% safe cards, he discards this type of play and plays for his maximum opportunity from the deck.

Player B – The throw of the 4♣ discloses to him that his opponent definitely has the 7♣ in combination with the 6♣. He goes to the deck and picks the 2♦. If his judgment has been correct, he now should have his opponent’s hand dead and he discards the Q♥.

Player A – Obtains the J♦ from the deck, which he discards as a safe card.

Player B – Draws the K♥ from the stock and discards it.

Player A – Picks the A♣. He notices that there are only three cards remaining in the stock so he has no further picks and will not gin his hand, but he does have the opportunity to knock. He knows that he cannot win enough points on a knock to go out in the game, but whatever he does win will bring him that much closer to the game score, plus the value of the box in totaling the score. In no way could this advantage be matched against the disadvantage of an underknock, however. So he will not knock unless he has a guaranteed win. At this point, there are only 13 cards that his is not 100% aware of, 10 of which are in his opponent’s hand. So his first consideration is whether there are any combinations of these 13 cards available to his opponent that could possibly allow him to underknock. Player A knows for a fact that he is missing the 8♣ and the 5♣ for gin which could not be layed off on his hand. He also knows that he is missing the 7♦, which could not be layed off either. Even assuming that these three cards all remained in the deck, what else could his opponent be holding? Without actually reconstructing every single card played, he can reconstruct the available melds and knows that the only missing melds at this point are the 4’s and the 8’s. In addition to the three available layoffs, which are the 10♦, 6♥, 2♦, he still must have three additional unmelded cards in his hand. He therefore has a guaranteed knock with one point and accordingly knocks. His opponent puts down his three 8’s, lays off the 10♦ and 2♦ and is left with the J♥, 7♦, 5♣, and 4♥. He therefore loses 26 points on the knock.

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Complete Hand Example #17

Player A – J♥, 10♦, 9♦, 5♦, 5♠, 4♥, 3♥, 3♦, 2♣, 2♠, A♠
Player B – 10♠, 8♣, 8♦, 7♠, 6♥, 4♦, 3♠, 3♣, A♥, A♦

Conditions: The knock card is the J♦. The hand is of no particular significance at this time since everybody is on score and nobody is high enough to make a hand dangerous as far as going out and ending a given game is concerned. However, because they are playing automatic doubles with both players on score, the score itself will represent a healthy advancement for whoever wins.

General Comment: On the deal, neither hand appears to be a gin hand, but each looks like one which can be knocked rather quickly. Both hands will require only six melded cards since they already contain four cards low enough to be knocked within the 10 point limit.

Play of the Hand:

Player A – Throws the J♥, his highest and most useless card.

Player B – Picks the Q♦ from the deck, which he discards.

Player A – Draws the 5♥ and has a major decision. He has one meld. He has to play for a second in order to knock the hand. Should he break the 10♦, 9♦ combination or one of the smaller ones? There are two ways of thinking here. If he breaks the 10♦, 9♦, he is left with a maximum number of combinations in order to buy a second meld and is reducing his hand considerably point wise. Against this is the chance that his opponent would be more likely to discard a Jack or an 8, which would give him his second meld, before he would throw cards in the area of 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s. Since if he discards the 10♦ and it is picked it could only be for 10’s, he throws that card.

Player B – Going to the deck, he pulls the K♠, which he discards.

Player A – Picks the 6♣ and throws the 9♦.

Player B – Draws the K♣ and releases it.

Player A – Picks the K♦ and discards it.

Player B – Pulls the 4♠, which he holds, and discards the relatively safe 10♠.

Player A – Picks the 6♠ from the deck and has the choice of discarding a safer card or the card which will give him the most chances. The 6♠ adds considerably to the knocking value of his hand since it increases his chances two ways more than the 6♣. Since he has played all out up to this point and his opponent has not taken a single card, he continues in the same manner and throws the 6♣.

Player B – Going to the deck, he buys the A♣, which gives him his first run. The only relatively safe card at this point is the 6♥, because the 6♣ was just thrown. He is also does not have any hearts, so he discards the 6♥.

Player A – While he considers for a moment the taking of the 6♥, he determines that the card does not improve his hand as far as playing for a knock is concerned. In fact, it would be detrimental, since in picking this card, he would have to discard something that would reduce his opportunities of getting a second run, as well as losing a pick from the deck. If he had intentions of playing his hand for gin, rather than knocking, he obviously would take the 6♥. Since he is still looking to knock the hand, he therefore passes it and goes to the deck. The pick is a Q♠ which he promptly discards.

Player B – Draws the 9♠ from the deck, which he discards.

Player A – Picks the 8♠ from the stock. Now that they have progressed to almost halfway through the deck, Player A has to give consideration to the relative safety of the cards he is going to throw, and what is still available as far as melds or combinations in his opponent’s hand. He has seen Kings, Queens, Jacks, Tens, Nines, and Sixes played. In regard to color, he has not seen any hearts below the J♥. A high run could be held against him. In regards to numbers, he has not seen any 7’s or 8’s. These are the cards he must be concerned with in deciding whether or not to hold the 8♠, 6♠ combination. He does not know if his opponent is saving 7’s or not, thus the 7♠ could be out of reach. To hold this combination he would have to discard a much more important combination. He could, of course, hold up the 8♠, if he were an extremely safe player, and throw the 6♠. This is a safe way of playing the hand, but it removes the two possible meld opportunities. Considering that his opponent most probably is saving 7’s at this point, including the 7♠, he would only be eliminating one card. If he also considered that no 4’s have been played, and his opponent could be holding a combination of 4’s, or a meld of 4’s, he may not really be eliminating anything. He therefore decides to throw the 6♠.

Player B – Going to the deck, he pulls the 2♥. This card is far from being safe. Although almost useless to him, he must evaluate his opportunity of winning the hand against throwing cards to his opportunity of winning the hand against throwing cards to his opponent which would cause an immediate loss. He has to pick at least twice before he could possibly win the hand. Even if he picks an eight on his next pick, he would not be in a position to knock until he picks another card that would be low enough to knock or give him an additional run. It is most unlikely on this basis that he could win the hand by throwing an extremely wild card at this point. If he breaks his pair of eights, he has practically nothing left to win the hand with. Throwing the wild 7♠ looks much too dangerous since they have been missing from his opponent’s play. Also, if he breaks the 3’s or 4’s, which are a little safer, he is again destroying the value of his hand. His only hope at this time is that his opponent is in somewhat the same position, and not with six melded and waiting for a small card to knock with. Player B’s only opportunity to get out of the hand as he sees it is to break his three Aces. He chooses the A♣ because it is safer than the A♦ and because the latter can be used as the A♦, 2♦, 3♦ run. The A♥ is held, at least for one more pick, because of its possible uses with the 2♥.

Player A – Picks and releases the Q♣.

Player B – Draws the 9♣, which gives him two melding possibilities. He throws the A♥.

Player A – Going to the deck, he pulls the 7♣. His troubles begin to multiply with this card. He cannot throw the 7♣ or the 8♠ because these are the two denominations that have been missing from play. He now has to revise his method of playing since he has not been able to pick his second run in time to win his hand the way he had anticipated, on a knock. His throw at this time is the dead safe A♠.

Player B – Picks from the deck the K♥ and discards it.

Player A – Draws the 6♦ from the deck, and since it is a safe discard, he does indeed discard it.

Player B – Pulls the J♦ and releases it.

Player A – Picks and throws the J♠.

Player B – Draws the 9♥ and recalls that this color has been missing from the play of the hand. The 7♥, 8♥, and 10♥ are missing, although the 6♥ was played earlier. While the 9♥ cannot be thrown, the 9♣ is a dead safe card. However, by discarding it, Player B would be giving up his hand in its eternity. He could also throw the A♦, which could help his opponent to the extent of the A♦, 2♦, and 3♦ run. But, missing the 7♥, 8♥, 10♥, as well as the 7’s and with only 10 cards left in the deck, he definitely sees this as a wall hand. So, he throws the 9♣.

Player A – Picks the 7♥ from the deck. After looking over the situation, he also realizes that he has no choice but to play a wall hand. The only two dead cards he holds are the 5♥ and the 5♦. Since the 5♦ can be thrown without breaking a run, it is discarded.

Player B – Going to the deck, he pulls the 8♥. If he had picked this card three or four picks earlier, he might have been able to play his hand to win. Now he has the dead 9♥ to throw.

Player A – Picks the Q♥, which he throws.

Player B – Pulls the 7♦ from the stock. Now it becomes obvious to him that his opponent is probably matched up with him, with the other pair of 7’s, a pair of 4’s a pair of 3’s, and possibly three 2’s. He also knows that he is missing the 3♥, 4♥, and 5♥. If his opponent has these six melded, could he possible have four low cards that would enable him to knock? The answer is no. If he has the missing 8 and a pair of 7’s, he can obviously never get to a knock. So Player B has nothing to worry about, his opponent cannot win. But is there any way that he can? The answer, in his opinion is no. So, he decides to let the hand go to the wall and discards the 8♥.

Player A – Discards the 2♦, which gives him three 2’s. He discards the now safe 8♠.

Player B – Discards the 10♣ and discards it.

Player A – Picks the 4♣, which is one of the cards he has been looking out for in his opponent’s hand, and discards the dead 5♥.

Player B – Draws the 5♣, which, of course, he must hold. He throws the 8♣ and the hand goes to the wall.

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Complete Hand Example #16

Player A – A♣, A♥, A♠, K♥, 10♣, 10♥, 9♥. 8♣, 4♦, 2♠, 2♥
Player B – K♠, Q♥, 9♠, 7♥, 7♦, 5♣, 4♥, 4♠, 3♣, A♦

Conditions: The knock card is the 8♣. The first two games have ended and since both players are on score, the last game is being played as a double hand. Player A has 211 on score, while Player B has 230. Neither has a gin count. Player A must protect against losing ten points on a knock, while Player B must protect against losing 20 points on a knock.

Play of the Hand:

Player A – Seeing the possibility of a quick win with his hand, he discards the K♥.

Player B – Picks from the deck the 2♣. He sees no possibility of a quick win with his hand and will play it extremely safe. He therefore discards the K♠.

Player A – Going to deck, he buys the 7♠. Since the game is in jeopardy, he discards the 2♥. It is his safest discard, and also sacrifices the least offensive possibilities.

Player B – Buys the 10♦ from the deck, and is forced at this point to discard his dead 2♣.

Player A – Picks the 10♠ for his second meld. He is not in a position to knock without making at least three more dangerous discards. He therefore cannot retain the 2♠ and discards it.

Player B – Picks the 8♠ from the deck and now has no dead card or any reasonably safe card to throw. From his opponent’s discard of deuces, Player B is aware that his opponent is not looking for a low card in order to knock. He thus discards his 3♣ which represents his best safety factor card. Furthermore, it does not represent the loss of any offensive possibilities since the 4♣ would also give him a meld of 4’s.

Player A – Draws the 4♣ from the deck and is now in a position to knock, that is, if he is fortunate enough to pick another 4. If the odds were all in his favor and he was playing a wide open offensive game, he would now discard the 7♠, since both he 9♥ and the 8♣ offer additional offensive opportunities together with his three 10’s. Since his game is in jeopardy though on a knock, he must play his safest and most usable card, the 9♥.

Player B – Picks the 5♥ and releases it as the safest card in his hand.

Player A – Picks the J♣ from the deck and is forced to discard it.

Player B – Going to the stock, he pulls the 2♦ and throws the 5♣.

Player A – Picks from the deck the 9♣. He has a choice of releasing the 7♠ and playing for a maximum offensive value or playing for safety. He could throw the 9♣ or playing the 8♣, 9♣, 10♣, discard the other two 10’s. Although the 9♥ has been played, it does not make either of the two 10’s safe, so he discards the 9♣.

Player B – Pulls the J♥, which he discards as a completely dead card.

Player A – Obtains from the deck the 6♥ and, still playing to win his hand, he decides to retain his one offensive possibility, the two 4’s. Since he must also protect against losing 10 points on a knock, he cannot afford to hold any high cards that he is not sure of as being layoffs. He decides to throw the 8♣.

Player B – Draws the 3♥ from the deck and discards it as a dead card. It has no offensive value to him, since both the 2♥ and the 5♥ have already been discarded.

Player A – Picks the 9♦ from the deck and becomes aware of the fact that although 9’s have been played, he is actually holding a meld of 10’s but is missing the 10♦. He presumes that his opponent is holding up this card because of the fact that no diamonds have appeared. Also, his opponent may be holding a diamond meld, and is therefore justified in feeling most reluctant about releasing this card. The 6♥ has a safety value of three, which is identical to the safety value of the 9♦. This is a case where the 9♦ would be the proper throw not because it is the higher card, but because the 10♦ which could be tied up is less important than the 4♥ which could be tied up by the 6♥. The 9♦ is then discarded.

Player B – Picks the 3♠, which he discards as his safest throw.

Player A – Obtains from the deck the 6♦. He has substantially increased the offensive value of his hand but does not have an actual card to throw. Not only is the 7♠ a completely wild card, I could also very likely tied up the needed 6♠. Up to this point Player A has had no indication of his opponent’s holdings, except for the fact that he has been throwing low or safe cards. He has no way of knowing whether his opponent has already developed a hand of his own. He has not seen any Queens, or 7’s, or any of the higher spades. He certainly does not want to set up his opponent. He has a choice of either throwing the very safe 4♣, which at this point has a safe value of one. He could also break his three Aces which are all dead cards. Breaking his three Aces would leave him in no position to win his had, whereas throwing the 4♣ would still leave him three cards, any of which could put him down on the next pick. If his opponent is defending, he could very well win enough points to go out. He therefore discards the 4♣.

Player B – Takes the 4♣ and discards the 2♦.

Player A – Draws from the deck the 5♦ and now has a choice of either knocking or playing for gin. He has four ways of ginning a hand. He realizes that the A♦ cannot be tied up by his opponent. The 3♦ also cannot be tied up. The 10♦ could be but it is most likely not to be since his opponent passed the 9♦. The 7♦ could very well be tied up but he isn’t quite sure about that one yet. Therefore, he has two ways definitely available and possible three. He also has a reasonably safe discard in the 6♥ and a reasonably safe chance of laying off the 7♠ in the event of a knock. These probabilities appear to favor his playing for gin. On the other hand he considers the opportunities afforded him at this time by a knock. He has to win 20 points from his opponent in order to go out in the game. This means that his opponent must be holding 27 points in his hand after melds and layoffs. Player A has discounted any thoughts of an underknock by his opponent because if he were in that position he probably would have knocked himself or played for a knock rather than throw the 2♦ on his last play. He knows that his opponent is holding three 4’s and gives him credit for two possible layoffs, the 10♦ and either the 3♦ or the 7♦, which leaves him five cards unaccounted for. These five cards consist of three or four cards in a meld. He is missing all four Queens. He is also missing three 7’s. He is missing the K♦, Q♦, and J♦. If his opponent held any one of these runs, which is likely at this point, he definitely could not go out on a knock. It is possible that he could be underknocked, if his opponent were holding three layoffs instead of two. He is aware of the fact that there is a possibility of his opponent holding a combination such as Queen, Queen, Jack or King, or King, Queen, Queen. There is even the possibility of his opponent holding the 8♠, 9♠. However, since he has neither a guaranteed win nor a reasonable expectancy of going out, throwing the 6♥ allows him a knock card in his hand in the event that he should decide to subsequently knock. He throws the 6♥ and plays on.

Player B – Pulls from the deck the 5♠, which he cannot throw since he is missing the 6♠ and 7♠. He realizes at this point, that he has no chance to win the hand. He does not have one dead cad in his hand with the exception of his three 4’s. His only choice is to take the hand to the wall. He throws the 4♣.

Player A – He notices that his opponent has broken his run of 4’s. This would appear to indicate that his opponent is playing defensively and is breaking his hand in an attempt to go to the wall. It would also appear that since he knows his opponent holds at least two 4’s, that he has a guaranteed knock. However, there is one additional possibility. Suppose his opponent is playing to win and he changed his three 4’s to the 4♠, 5♠, 6♠. It is also possible that his opponent is holding that spade run together with the three 7’s and three Queens or the K♦, Q♦, J♦. In this case, he is not yet warranted in knocking. He picks the K♣ from the deck and discards it.

Player B – Picks the 6♠ and releases the 4♥.

Player A – Pulls the Q♦ from the deck. This is his most critical moment. His opponent could be holding nine melded, as previously described, in which case either the 7♦ or 7♠ would gin him. If he gives his opponent credit for the switch to the 4♠, 5♠, 6♠ there is no four-card run that his opponent could be holding. So, he definitely knows that he does not have nine melded. If he were holding six melded, either of these two cards could gin his opponent as the 7♠ could hit him for the 6♠, 8♠, 9♠ or the Q♦ could hit him for 10♦, J♦, K♦. Regardless of the situation, he knows that his opponent could not gin so long as he retains these two cards. He also knows that he cannot gin as long as he retains them. Therefore, his choice at this point is limited to either playing to the wall or knocking. He further knows that if he breaks his three Aces and his opponent knocks he has a guaranteed underknock. There is now no way that his opponent could knock without allowing the layoff of the Q♦ and the 7♠. Since by continuing the pay of the hand he cannot lose and can only win if his opponent should decide to knock, he breaks his three Aces. From this point on, there is no further play for either player and the hand goes to the wall.

Note: Of course, it is now evident that if the player had knocked at his first opportunity, he would have won enough points to go out in the game. However, for the reasons expressed at that time, it would not have been the correct decision.

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Complete Hand Example #15

Player A – K♣, K♥, Q♠, J♠, 9♥, 8♦, 7♣, 7♥, 2♠, 2♦, A♣
Player B – Q♥, Q♣, J♦, 10♠, 9♦, 9♣, 5♦, 5♠, 2♥, A♠

Conditions: This is the third hand of a game. Player A has already scored in the first two games and if he wins this hand the score will be entered in all three games. The knock card is the 2♥.

General Comment: Player A is aware of the fact that the odds are at least 4 to 1 in his favor and perhaps 8 to 1 in the event of a schneid. The dealer is also aware of the odds. Although both are expert players who normally play a middle of the road game, Player A will play more aggressively and Player B will play more defensively than normal. The advantages to each are increased because of the double value of the hand created by the 2♥ knock.

Play of the Hand:

Player A – Discards the 8♦ as the most useless card in his hand, but it is also a salesman. In addition, if his opponent takes it, he will have an indication of what not to play for.

Player B – Going to the deck, he pulls the Q♦ for a meld and limits his choice of discards to the J♦, 9♦, or 8♣. He certainly cannot afford in this hand to open up, even in the beginning, with a totally wild card. Both the J♦ and 9♦ have a better safety value than the 8♣, so he throws the J♦ as the higher of the two.

Player A – Picks from the deck the K♠, which gives him a meld in either of two ways, either three Kings or K♠, Q♠, and J♠. He is not as yet ready to retain the A♣ as a knock card, so he discards it rather than break any of his possibilities.

Player B – Draws the 10♣ from the stock, and throws the A♠ as his safest card.

Player A – Picks the 3♥ from the deck and discards it.

Player B – Picks the 10♥ and discards the 9♦ because of its safety factor. While the 2♥ has the same safety factor, it was retained both for its knock value and as a lower card.

Player A – Pulls from the deck the 7♠, giving him his second meld. He discards the 9♥.

Player B – Going to the deck, he draws the 4♦. It leaves him with an excellent offensive combination for a two-point knock. To take full advantage of his hand, he is forced to discard the 8♣, which he still has doubt about since the first throw of his opponent was the 8♦.

Player A – Picks the 7♦. He now has a decision to make. Should he play with seven melded and play for gin? If so, which of his combinations should he break? Or should he play for nine melded and the knock? If he decides to play for gin, he is limited in whichever combination he breaks to just two cards which could gin him; that is, unless he buys a match to one of his combinations. If he discards to play for the knock, he would throw one of his four 7’s and be left with an opportunity to buy any one of four cards for his nine melded, two of which would allow to knock on the same pick. Since there is almost no possibility of his winning any game with a gin, he takes advantage of the better odds offered in knock opportunities and discards the 7♣.

Player B – Picks and discards the 9♠.

Player A – Picks and discards the 9♣.

Player B – Going to the deck, he pulls the 6♦ and knocks with two points. He wins the hand. Player A, counting his losses, makes sure to meld his three Kings and lay off the Q♠ rather than meld as a spade run. This cuts his loss from 22 points to 12 points.

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Complete Hand Example #14

Player A – 10♥, 10♣, 10♦, 8♣, 7♣, 6♣, K♥, Q♣, 9♦, 8♠, A♠
Player B – 4♠, 3♠, 2♠, Q♦, Q♥, 9♥, 7♦, 6♥, 5♥, 3♦

Conditions: This hand is being played as the second hand of a set. Player A, having won the first hand, is on score in the first game. The knock card is the 3♦.

Play of the Hand:

Player A – He realizes that in order to achieve a three-point knock he will have to play the hand for nine melded. Since it is an extremely strong offensive hand, he takes into full consideration the offensive value of the Q♣ and the 9♦, and the three 10’s. Since a pick of either the J♣ or 8♦ will then give him a perfect setup for nine melded, his first discard is therefore limited to the K♥, 8♠, or A♠. The A♠ has a relative value to him in this situation as a knock card, so the thought of discarding it is immediately eliminated. The K♥ cannot tie up any card that would be beneficial to him, whereas the 8♠ could tie up the 10’s. He therefore discards the K♥.

Player B – He picks the K♦ from the deck, which although dead safe, offers him one additional offensive chance. He retains it, and discards the 3♦ as being the safest, most unusable card in his hand. He is not concerned with a knocking card until he has at least his second meld.

Player A – Going to the deck, he pulls the J♦. This card now actually has him set up nine melded, which he can achieve by picking either the 10♠ or the J♣. He therefore discards the 8♠ which leaves him in a knocking position if he picks nine melded.

Player B – Obtains the 6♦ from the deck, which adds greatly to his offensive possibilities and gives him a choice of discarding either the 9♥ or the K♦. He has noted that his opponent’s first discard, was the K♥ and the second was the 8♠. He is justifiably concerned about discarding any wild cards between these ranks. Therefore, giving up his one offensive chance with the K♦, he discards it.

Player A – Draws the 9♠ from the deck, which again adds to the offensive properties of his hand. The retention of this card and the discard of the Q♣ gives him one additional offensive opportunity. In calculating the defensive value of both cards, we find that the Q♣ represents a value of four, and the 9♠ represents a value of two. At this stage though of the game, the extra melding value of the 9♠ outranks the defensive value of the Q♣ and the Q♣ is discarded.

Player B – Takes the Q♣ discard. At this stage of the game he has chosen to retain the full strength of his 5♥-6♥ or 6♦-7♦ combinations. He then throws the 9♥.

Player A – Takes the 9♥ discard and knocks his hand successfully.