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# When You Are Dealt Cards That Are Combined

This is something that happens more often then you may think. It is when you are dealt a hand in which every card in the hand is combined in some way with another card. What do you do with this type of hand?

You should start by realizing that this hand cannot be opened up with any defensive pattern, and therefore defense should not even be considered. That means that it should be played only in an offensive manner. You need to take advantage of those combinations which offer the greatest possibilities. At the same time, the discards at the start of play should not consist of breaking combinations that could be used in conjunction with any other combination in the hand. However, if you are looking for a middle card to fill the hand, you should not hold two combinations of the middle card zone. If your opponent is induced to throw into one of them for your pick, he will certainly not throw a second card in the same middle zone. Therefore, your prospective melds should be spread over the entire range of the hand from the highest to lowest cards.

Even though you should be playing offensively, there is one specific area of defensive play that must be considered. Although you should discard the most useless card in your hand, one thing you do not want to do is throw a card that, if your opponent should pick it up, will tie up many of the possible melds in your hand. For example, you hold the following hand:

K♠, Q♠, Q♣, J♣, 10♦, 10♥, 9♠, 8♠, 8♥, 6♦, 5♦

In looking at this hand, from a purely offensive standpoint, the best card to throw from the hand would be the 10♦. Even though it is matched with the 10♥ which could give you a meld if you picked up either of the remaining 10’s, if you do happen to pick up either of the black 10’s, you will have a meld in one of the other sequences. If you did use either of the black 10’s for the three 10’s meld, it would effectively destroy two of the meld possibilities in your hand.

On the other hand, if you throw the 10♦ it could tie up the 8♦ that you may get from your opponent, which would prevent you from matching up the two 8’s that you have in your hand. It may also prevent your opponent from throwing the Q♦ which would prevent you from getting a meld of Queens.

In this particular case, the defensive value of retaining the 10♦ outweighs the offensive gain you may get. Therefore, you should not discard the 10♦. With the cards being on the higher side you can figure that if you throw out a high card your opponent will have a tendency to throw lower, so that also eliminates the 5♦ or 6♦. That leaves the K♠ and Q♠ as your best choice. The King is the best choice because it still leaves you with two Queens to make a meld, and the King itself cannot be used in any sequence since you are holding the matching Queen. As you can see, it isn’t always easy to make choices when dealt this kind of hand, but with a little practice and knowledge you can eliminate cards that will eventually lead you to your obvious discard.