Dealt: J♣, 10♣, 9♣, K♦, Q♠, 8♥, 8♦, 4♠, 2♣, A♥, A♠
This hand is shown to better explain the opening hand discards and to see how a beginner, good, and expert player would make their discard selection. It is the opening hand of the set and therefore it should be played to be won.
This is a very average hand in an opening deal hand. This means, that it happens often, but isn’t necessarily a great hand, nor is it a particularly bad hand.
Beginner Player – This type of player would almost always discard the K♦ because it is both the highest card, as well as the most useless card.
Good Player – This player would usually recognize that this hand could be won very quickly just by picking the black eight. The first discard should be the K♦ in this case as well.
Expert player – The expert would also discard the K♦, but he would have analyzed the hand completely differently. In this hand, when playing as an expert would not only would you analyze this play, but you would plan out the full play. Considering that the A♥, A♠, 2♣, and 4♠ are equal to an 8 point knock, they are as important to the expert as a meld itself. These four cards represent the basic core of the hand because the expert knows that all he has to do is obtain two melds and his hand will be in knocking position.
This hand is one that would be planned as far as the fourth pick, as well as the immediate possibility of picking an eight. The plan would be after discarding the K♦, to pick any heart or diamond between 6 and 10 that would match up with either of his red 8’s. This would give him a great possibility of obtaining his second meld and knocking. If he picks one of these cards, his next discard would be the Q♠ even though it would be a complete wild card. The whole hand would be played for its maximum offensive possibilities.
A few players may consider throwing the Q♠ rather than the K♦ because of its slight offensive value in bringing back the Q♣, but even if the Q♣ were thrown it would not be wise to pick it up because offensively it is not a good choice. Therefore, there would be no reason whatsoever to play the Q♦.
This all goes to show you that even though a lot of thought needs to go into playing the first discard, it is the way that you analyze the rest of your hand that can change the entire hand. That is the difference between the beginner, the good, and the expert player. You can’t just consider one play at a time because it will only lead you to trouble, unless you look at all possibilities.