Cooncan, by Robert Frederick Foster


For Three Players

In the following description, the form of the game in which the stock cards are all exposed is the one selected for illustration, as the other so closely resembles the game for four or five players in all its tactics except in the probabilities of getting certain cards.

With the single pack there is just as good a chance to fill out a sequence as a triplet, because having two cards of the triplet, them are only two in the pack that will fit, and having two cards of a sequence, there are only two that will fit, one at each end. For this reason, the majority of players prefer to go for the sequence, as it has the greater possibilities of extension In either direction, while the triplet ends when it becomes a four.

We shall call the three players A, B and C respectively and suppose the stock card turned up by the dealer, C, to be the heart 3, and A, the first player, to hold these cards:

Two of HeartsFour of SpadesTwo of SpadesTwo of Clubs
Seven of DiamondsSix of DiamondsFour of Diamonds

As the stock curd does not fit his band very well he draws from the pack and gets the spade 9. As this is of no use, he discards it, laying it face up beside the 3 of hearts, without laying down anything, as he has nothing to show but three deuces, end there is no hurry about that.

The second player, B, holds these cards with the spade 9 and the heart 3 to choose from in the stock:

Ace of SpadesTen of SpadesEight of SpadesAce of Clubs
King of SpadesSix of ClubsKing of Hearts

B takes up the spade 9, as it completes a sequence for him, and discards the club 6, without laying down anything. This leaves him with a chance to get three aces or three kings or a sequence of A K Q in clubs.

The dealer, C, holds these cards, with the club 6 and the heart 3 in the stock:

Jack of HeartsTen of HeartsNine of HeartsSeven of Spades
Queen of DiamondsEight of ClubsFive of Clubs

He takes the 6 of clubs, as it gives him a chance to lay down four of that suit if he can catch the 7. He has a sequence of three hearts, hut does not show them, discarding the diamond queen, which is of higher value than the spade 7. Had B laid down his spade sequence, the reader will observe that C could have got rid of the spade by fattening.

We now get back to A, whose cards are all small. As neither of the cards in the stock are of any use to him, he draws from the pack and gets the 3 of diamonds, in place of which he discards the spade 4, mentally noting that B is taking in high spades and C is taking in medium clubs.

The next player draws and gets the ace of hearts, and this brings us to a point in the game that is of great importance. If B lays down his spade sequence and three aces he must discard, which forces him to break up his hand, keeping one king, or else to discard the spade ace and keep the two sequences. As these are open at one end only, there is a better chance for the triplets than for the sequence, so be lets the club king go, but lays nothing down.

The next player, C, draws the 3 of clubs and discards the 8, carefully holding the 7 of spades, because he has observed B to pick up the 9 of that suit.

There are now five cards exposed in the stock, but A does not want any of them. He draws the ace of diamonds, and discards it again, as it is an expensive card. This he would not do, had B taken the ace of hearts from the stock, but B drew it from the pack, and no one knew what he got.

Of course B shows his four aces and the sequence in spades, winning the game, by discarding the king of hearts, This is an instance of a player’s going game before a single combination has been laid down.

Here is an example of a player with a hopeless hand getting rid of his expensive cards as quickly as possible: C deals and turns up the 9 of diamonds. A holds these cards:

King of SpadesJack of SpadesSix of SpadesTwo of Diamonds
King of HeartsQueen of HeartsJack of Clubs

A draws from the pack and gets the diamond jack, discarding the spade king without showing anything.

The second player, B, holds these cards, with the spade king and diamond 9 in the stock:

Nine of ClubsEight of ClubsSeven of ClubsFive of Clubs
Ten of DiamondsEight of DiamondsTwo of Spades

He takes the diamond 9 and discards the spade 2, but does not show anything, as he wants but one card to win the game in a splash, having an excellent chance with his two sequences.

The dealer, C, has a perfectly hopeless hand, with 57 points in it that will have to be paid for unless he can reduce its value by exchanges. The cards are:

Ace of HeartsJack of HeartsKing of DiamondsQueen of Clubs
Ten of SpadesFour of SpadesTwo of Clubs

He takes the smallest card in the stock, the deuce of spades, and discards the biggest card he holds, the ace of hearts. This exchange saves 9 points. A takes this card, filling out his heart sequence to A K Q, and discards the 6 of spades. Now he wants but one card to win the game.

If A’s discard were only the 6 of clubs instead of spades, B would be able to lay down his hand. As it is he draws from the pack and gets the 5 of spades, which is of no use to him, so he discards it again.

C picks up the spade 5 and discards the king of diamonds, reducing his probable losses still further by 5 points. A wants nothing in the stock, and draws, getting the diamond 7. As B immediately picked up the 9 of diamonds when A left it on the first round, A is careful not to put the 7 in the stock, as it is almost a certainty that it would fit B’s hand in some way, so A discards the deuce.

B draws and gets the 6 of diamonds, and as that adds nothing to his prospects, he discards it. C at once takes the spade 6 from the stock and lays out the sequence, so as to be rid of 25 more points, the 4 5 6 of spades and the club queen, discarded. This is better than taking in the deuce for three deuces, as that will keep.

A draws the ace of diamonds and discards it, as he dare not part with the 7 of that suit. B draws the 10 of hearts and discards it, and C takes the deuce of diamonds and lays out three deuces, discarding the jack of hearts. He knows that is the end, as he can never get rid of his last card except by fattening.

The jack of hearts puts A out, but C has reduced his losses from 57 points to 10 on a hand which he saw it was impossible to win with from the start. B, of course, suffers for having held up his cards too long and has to pay 54 points in consequence. Had he got the chance after C laid down six cards, he would certainly have laid down six of his, but A got in ahead of him.

The reader should observe that in this game when a player lays down six cards, it is impossible to match the other, and the only chance he can have to win the game is to exchange the seventh card in his hand for some card that may fit into what is on the table, or to get rid of it by fattening the combinations laid out by others.

In the example hand just given, for instance, C has no chance to fatten, as nothing is shown by A or B, but if he could have drawn the 8 of spades he might have discarded the 10, and then if he ever got hold of the spade 7, it would connect with the 8 in his hand. Sometimes a player will fatten a sequence and help it out in this way.

Attention might here be called to an interesting point in the difference between this game and the one with the closed stock. A knew that B probably wanted the 7 of diamonds. If A had discarded it, B, being the next player, could have taken it in either form of the game. But suppose there had been a player between A and B.

In the open stock game, if A discards the 7, it will still be open to B, no matter where he sits; but if the stock is closed, as in four or five hand, A could safely place on the stock the card he knows B wants, because the player between them also knowing what B wanted would cover it up and bury it, no matter what he took or discarded, so that B could never get it.

This is a portion of a full-text reproduction of Robert Frederick Foster's book "Cooncan (Conquián): A Game of Cards Also Called Rum", which was published in 1913, by Frederick A. Stokes Company, and is now in the public domain. The text of the book was OCR'd from a vintage copy of the book, and is provided as an educational resource for Rummy players, researchers, and students of the game. Any grammatical or typographical errors are an artifact of this process, and should not be attributed to the author.

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