Which Hand to Play?

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Wait I have to Find a Hand!

How often are you at the table with your group and as you are starting the Charleston someone says ” wait I have not found a hand yet!”  This phrase or some combination is also used almost too frequently and you are sitting there waiting to make a pass and someone is holding things up trying to find that one hand that matches everything on your rack right from the start. It is very rare to begin with everything you need on your rack right from the deal but it can happen. But if it doesn’t then you need to try to read the tiles quickly and make quicker decisions so the game moves.

As I mentioned already, in the early stages of the Charleston one hand typically does not jump out at you and it certainly does not say here play me. The best strategy as you rack your tiles is to place them in families — the bams together, the cracks and the dots with the winds in another area on your rack. Or if you start to do that and you notice you have a lot of the same number start by grouping them. Or certainly match your pairs.  If you do not have pairs or a lot of matching tiles, group according to the other large family characteristics — 13579 or 2468 or 369. Or maybe you want to try consecutive numbers because you have numbers in the same suit.

Try not to pick one hand but look at a trait, a pattern, or a family group that you see. If you can narrow down your choices, it should make things easier for you. Whatever you do try to avoid holding up the game and the passing while you search for one hand to match all your tiles. The other players at your table will appreciate that you are keeping the game moving.

Have fun and challenge yourself!



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  1. Sue  September 16, 2014

    Oh my gosh, Faye! You are so right on, on this blog. Playing quicker is always so much better. Thanks for this great blog.

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