When discarding, even on the first play, it is so important to not only consider just the discard that you are making now, but the discard you will make for the next two to three plays after that. The card that you discard will either enable you to have at least one or two more discards or it should leave you the opportunity to lay off provided your opponent knocks. It should not be allowed to tie up any other card you may have been holding with it. Essentially, the first discard you make can make or break your game.
Many players have a tendency to consider rank more than anything as we have said before. If you have a lone King with no other King, Queen, or even a Jack to go with it, then that thought process is understandable, but when you stay with discarding only the highest rank of card first, then you are never going to be a winner at the game of gin rummy.
It is important to keep in mind that low card discards also have a major advantage. If that card is picked, it rarely can lower your opponent’s unmatched total enough for them to knock, or go gin. Chances are they will still be above the knock value, enabling you to play another hand. This is extremely beneficial to you. There is a small chance that they are just picking it up in order to reduce the value in their hand, so you should follow certain rules when throwing a low card discard. You should be throwing it for the following reasons:
• All of your higher cards are in matched sets
• All of your unrelated high cards are in strong combinations
• All but one of your higher cards are matched and you need a slightly lower card to knock
• To play defensively, and throw a “safe” card
A low discard can be sometimes used to force an opponent to help reduce your card count for a quick knock. For example, the knock card is an 8♠, and you hold the following hand: J♦, J♣, J♥, 9♠, 8♠, 7♠, K♠, 4♣, 3♥, A♣, A♦
You have been dealt to be what is considered to be a “no brainer” because you know that by discarding the King, you are left with 9 points, and the knock is 8. It is possible to wait through 5 or 6 picks to see if you can get an add on card or a card smaller than a 4 that would enable you to knock. During that point however, your partner is sure to be bettering his hand and he might have knocked during that time. Since you want to knock as soon as possible your plan should be to get a card lower than a 4 from your opponent rather than taking the chances of picking one from the deck.
If you throw your King, then chances are he will throw a King, but if you consider throwing your 4♣ then you may be rewarded with your opponent throwing a 3 or 2 which would give you a low enough score to knock. It will seem to your opponent that you will not have a need for such a low card and therefore you are forcing him to throw it. So, you can obviously see how throwing a low card can work to your advantage.