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posting meld when under 20 - marya - 10-13-2015

I have a player telling me "The team that doesn't get the bid doesn't have to post meld if they don't have more than 20. The only exception is aces, they have to be declared."

I am confused! I don't believe I see this mentioned anywhere at Pagat's site.

Can anyone clear this up? If you have info about this, I will probably have a follow-up question or two, so please subscribe to the thread.



RE: posting meld when under 20 - mickmackusa - 10-13-2015

Great topic, this hasn't been asked before!

I don't think I have ever seen an online pinochle site offer the feature of withholding meld for any reason.
I have never heard of a specific rule requiring the tabling of meldable Aces. 

In offline games, I have seen meld cards withheld by the defending team because:
1. They verbally total their team meld points after Trump is announced, and find they don't have 20. ("No Board")
2a. Their team score is so close to 500 (or the whatever score wins the game) that they believe they will score the remaining points in the Play round. ("Coasting")
2b. The team only lays down enough meld to cross the finishline.  For instance, Defense needs 22 meld points to win (plus 20 to save), Defender1 has Aces Around, Defender2 has a Roundhouse, Defender2 tells Defender1 to withhold meld and tables the Roundhouse. 

Let's discuss the pro's and con's...
Case 1 & 2: Defense gains an advantage by not revealing cards to the Offense. (-Offense, +Defense)
Case 1: Defense could accidentally overlook/miscount meld and needlessly miss out on points. (+Offense, -Defense)

This feature reinforces the pinochle-specific skill of meld counting as an individual player by punishing folly and ignorance.  I have played with less experienced players (family & friends) that table all of their meld, and then after the meld round is concluded they realize they were holding more meld.  Other less experienced players can only identify the meld units, but don't know their point values. Of course, after all of meld cards are on the table, the partner and/or the scorekeeper can assist in accurately summing up team meld points.

My point is that this feature, while having benefits and drawbacks for both teams, incentivizes learning how to calculate meld -- a skill that is dulled by the automated melding of online games.  For this reason, I am for the feature of optional melding, but I have a feeling that others will label it as a type of cheating.

There are many times in a pinochle game that you simply have to act a certain way to avoid a renege, this results in robotic/"no choice" behavior.  Freedom of choice is what makes a card game fun and challenging...  or else we'd all be happy sitting around playing "I De-Clare War".

RE: posting meld when under 20 - rdwrites - 10-14-2015

I have similar but much simpler experience as mick.
If a team doesn't have 20 meld (they determine by telling each otehr how much they have - I got 4 whadya have? etc.) they do not lay meld down. (We're not on.)

However any player with Aces Around must declare them. So the one may have 4 and the other Aces Around, and she lays the Aces Around down. No meld points are temporarily added to the score to save with 20 counters for a team that has a player declaring Aces Around. It's not for meld, it's for required information to opponents.

As for not declaring all your meld, that's your business. No one knows and no one is complaining (except maybe partner if you screw up Smile. It's less points for you and your team. If you can still win more power to you. Of course you must declare and show at least 20 meld to be on board. (meld points temporarily added to score until determined if saved).

I implement this exactly as described in my rating game.

RE: posting meld when under 20 - marya - 10-14-2015

Both posts are interesting. The gist seems to be: you can lay down partial or even no meld, and there's nothing forbidding you from withholding meld (applies for either team). If you withhold meld and therefore it doesn't get counted and your team does not make 20 meld, then you just shot yourself in the foot, but otherwise there may be strategic advantages to withholding meld.

I'm not sure what to make of this. I haven't read about this anywhere. I know some online Pinochle players, and no one mentioned that there was a problem with being "forced" to show meld up until this recent comment. Maybe no one really cares, or it's just expected for online games.

Can either of you give me a feel for how often it happens in offline games that meld is not laid down, but kept hidden for some strategic purpose?

RE: posting meld when under 20 - rdwrites - 10-14-2015

The nature of it would be that we would never know. Smile
I have never heard of not showing some meld for a strategic reason, especially since Aces Around are required to be declared even if the team doesn't have 20 meld. I can't possibly imagine what someone would think they were hiding that would give them an advantage.

Now as to someone deliberately not telling their partner about some of their meld and they don't make the board with 20, if the partner ever found about it they wouldn't be partners for long. I am talking about in real life with people that know each other of course.

The actual situation is that people miss meld accidentally and the nature of meld is that it would be rare to see a pattern out of the player's plays that someone notices oh, you had Kings Around. With your Aces Around and my Pinochle we could have got on board, etc. Just would be very rare. Not seen and not known about. Just a missed opportunity.

That's why for rating players in my program it is critical that it be like real life - players count their meld and they declare it and while program doesn't let them go over if they miss it it's not added to the score. That could be the difference between winning and losing.

I do display the actual meld (but not if less than 20) regardless what they might have missed so they can see they missed it Smile but only what they declared is added to score.

I've seen in comments here that maybe most games declare the corerect meld for you, but that would take a large chunk of real life out of the game. Missing meld is easy. Winning is hard. Smile

RE: posting meld when under 20 - marya - 10-14-2015

(10-14-2015, 06:27 PM)rdwrites Wrote:  I have never heard of not showing some meld for a strategic reason, especially since Aces Around are required to be declared even if the team doesn't have 20 meld. I can't possibly imagine what someone would think they were hiding that would give them an advantage.

OK, then I misunderstood. I thought the idea was to not lay down meld in order to hide info from the opponents!

The rest of your comment makes it clear to me: you must recognize the meld in your hand and lay it down as you would in an offline game. If you don't lay it down by mistake, you are not breaking a rule, but you are definitely shooting your team in its collective feet.

RE: posting meld when under 20 - rdwrites - 10-14-2015

yep, that's it.

RE: posting meld when under 20 - mickmackusa - 10-14-2015

rdwrites, I wonder how your program handles the melding process.
How do the players nominate the meld in their hand to go to the table?
Do they click on a button that says "Aces Around" or do they click each Ace?
What if they click all the buttons in the elevator (4xAces,3xAces,2xAces,1xAces) or all twenty of their cards to go to the table?  Do they reveal their entire hand?
Does your program intervene/filter and only show the eligible meld cards?
Do the players have to input the meld score as well as nominate the cards?
Is there a penalty for tabling extra/invalid cards? e.g. a Ten of non-trump

I don't mean to say your idea is bad.  On the contrary, it's a great step for online Pinochle.
I am only concerned with how you validate the user's meld and how you reward/punish accuracy/inaccuracy.

RE: posting meld when under 20 - rdwrites - 10-14-2015

well, good questions, our previous discussion of how to show meld cards was helpful and I commented I will possibly add some of that later.

There is only one live player in Rating, the rest bots, so that sometimes makes a difference with some of these issues versus for example what marya has to handle, but for declaring meld there is only a number input. There is no specifying what the meld components are, if I did I would have to list them without numeric values and have them both checked off and still the meld amount entry. Actually, displaying meld types would be a type of cheat and not real life as would be used as a checklist.
So would checking off cards and somehow indicating which are part of what meld group without providing a meld checklist helpful to provide some more real life experience to the game? I don't think so. To count the meld you have to recognuze Kings Around and add the meld for it as you would at a table. I can't see the phsical act of clicking on four Kings really all that compelling.

So, a meld amount is entered. If greater than your actual meld, the program displays an error and allows re-entry. It's sort of like sitting at a table. if you lay meld cards down and say a higher number than it is, opposing team will correct you. Smile For that matter, meld is often counted by the scorekeeper when you lay it down, certainly double checked. There's no renege involved in declaring meld that I ever saw.

Now technically a player could start at some high number and reduce the meld amount each entry until it was accepted as a cheat mechanism without really being able to identify the meld very well and correctly. I have an error count on any kind of error and if there are repeated errors I basically suspend the game and provide a login page. My assumption being a persistent communications error but handles repeated errors whatever the reason.

When melding is completed, I display meld for each player. That is done with text such as Aces Around /n Double Pinochle /n etc without showing ieach meld component value but showing a meld total. I don't know, if a player can't see why it's totalling up different than they expected they can look up the meld values. Smile Experienced players I would think wouldn't want to see every hand what Kings Around etc are worth I would think. But of course I will provide a link that will show meld values anytime, while they're counting, when it's displayed, whatever.

That's how it works (and has always worked for the DOS game back in the day). I did find the discussion on preferred meld display pattern we had with marya to be interesting and as a lower priority it would definitely be more realistic to display the cards as well. When I get to that point I'll take a look at how you guys are doing it.

thanks for the interesting questions, mick. You can call me rd if you want.

RE: posting meld when under 20 - mickmackusa - 10-15-2015


I think incorporating meld counting as a skill is good step for online games.
I spent some time considering how I might (hypothetically) try to design this purposeful feature and the ramifications.

First, being able to count the meld points is only truly important DURING the Auction.  Being right/wrong about that count has direct impact on how you bid in most occasions.  So the reward/penalty for point accuracy is accounted for.

Second, whether online or offline, player MUST be able to identify specific meld units to be tabled for points.  I think it makes better sense to ask players to select the meld units that they have, because if they say "12" meld points but actually have "16" then your program is left to assume that they missed, say "Jacks Around", but it could have been "Single Pinochle", "Two Common Marriages", or "One Royal Marriage".  This also gives players the freedom to select only the meld units that they wish to expose to the other players; ergo the freedom/power to expose or deny information about their hand.  If they simply don't see the meld units, as said before, it's their bullet and their foot.

Handling the erroneous meld unit "guessing":
If I was the boss, I would allow players to select from a list of possible meld units.  This could be as compact as the Scorechart grid at my Meld Calculator.  Just let users click on the relevant cell which highlights the cell (click it again to toggle it off again).  Then when they have selected all of the meld units they wish to table, they click some kind of "Submit Meld" button.  If they have incorrectly highlighted a cell which they don't actually have cards for, then they get an uninformative warning and a second chance.  If they get it wrong twice, then they get 0 meld points -- WHAMMIE!  On the other hand, if they missed the opportunity to highlight a cell which they do have cards for, then bullet-foot.

This would effectively stop people from hightlighting every cell in a sloppy/lazy fashion, and give people the opportunity to withhold meld if they choose.

Furthermore, to make online more like offline, there perhaps could be a designated comment-ish input to verbalize to your partner how points you have.  In offline games, Partner1 says "I have 12", Partner2 says "I have 6", then both agree to withhold all meld units.

Designing is much simpler than the actual developing, I am just shouting out ideas here.

What do you think?