How watching the discard pile can improve your rummy game

Although it’s a deceptively simple game on the surface, rummy is all about strategy. The different variations all call for different moves, but one constant across the board is that you should always keep an eye on the discard pile. Watching the cards that others throw away, knowing which cards to toss yourself, and which are the ones you should consider picking up, can make the difference between a poor hand and a winning game.

The only clue


In a way, the discard pile offers you the only clue you’ve got as to what’s going on in the rest of the game. Apart from your own hand, the cards being discarded are the only ones you get to see. The stock is face down, but the discard pile is face up, and you get to see each discarded card as it lands. Knowing how to read these valuable clues will help determine your basic rummy strategy.

Watch everyone


If you’re used to playing a game like blackjack at the best NJ online casinos, then it might take you a while to get accustomed to rummy. While blackjack is played against the dealer, rummy is more like poker in that all the players are in competition with each other. That means you have to watch everyone; try to guess what cards they’re holding and what their strategy is. As stated above, the discard pile is your best avenue for doing this.

Don’t chase what’s already gone


In rummy, you’ll mainly be focusing on the cards in your hand, thinking about what kind of meld you can make, what cards you need to do that, and what cards you can afford to drop. But watching the discard pile will help you improve your technique as you can keep track of whether the cards you’re hoping to pick have already been thrown away.

An example


If you’re looking at your hand and you have the four of clubs, the five of clubs and the five of hearts, you’d normally discard the last card and hope to pick up a three or six of clubs in order to make a run. But if you’re watching the discard pile and you remember that one or both of those cards have already been discarded, and are therefore unavailable, this could change your decision.

What’s their game?


Watching what cards other players discard also gives you an idea of what sort of hand they have, and what cards they’re hoping to pick up. However, be aware that they may discard a particular card as a bluff, especially early on. This sort of intrigue is precisely what makes rummy such a fascinating game!

You can’t root through the discard pile to check what’s in there, so you need a good memory for the cards you’ve seen thrown down. Depending on the rules you’re playing by, if the game goes on long enough, the discarded cards may come back into circulation, but it won’t help your present hand much to think of that.

Think about the cards that have been discarded and consider which ones you might pick up. The discard pile may be where games are won or lost.