July 21, 2021

*** This hand was suggested by scottcrib
100*-110  ?
Total votes: 249
scottcribCribbagePro hand. I tossed 7-8. Cut was a 2h. Won the game 121-117 on my crib. Other toss options I considered were 5-5, 8-J, and 5s-Js.
1931 votes

Joined: March 2016

Wednesday 3:16 AM
Hold hand for 6 points and toss suited 5-J. Every cut increases the value of this hand to a minimum of 8 points to a maximum of 14.
3149 votes

Joined: October 2008

Wednesday 3:30 AM
Here we go, as Dealer needing Twenty-One Points, which is Five Points Less than our "Three Counts" average of Twenty-Six.

But wait! Pone only needs Eleven Points in order to WIN and Ruin Our Day! But still, that is One Point above Pone Average.

The main issue here is that we have just one way to slow down Pone, and that’s during the pegging.

Yes, the Cut Card indeed may determine who wins this game, and our Crib might (or might not) help us in the long run, but it is only during the pegging when we can actually have an influence over Pone's actual peg movements.

This would tend to suggest that we do NOT retain a hand such as Keep (5 6 7 8), which is rather bunched up. And it might also indicate that we NOT hold Keep (5 5 6 7), either, but more on this later.

We want an "out" card, with something such as Keep (5 6 7 J), but we also hate to Toss (5 8) while holding only Five Points; could we perhaps Keep (5 5 6 J) and Toss (7 8)? Or what about Toss (5 5)?

We also have the very interesting Toss (5 6), ridding ourselves of the "guts" of this otherwise very nice arrangement, while still retaining a nicely-spaced, Four-Point Hand of Keep (5 7 8 J).

The 5 Card is typically a Pegging Liability, but TWO of them as a PAIR do offer some interesting "safety in numbers" possible pegging behavior. Still, I am initially reluctant to the first idea which would have us Keep (5 5 6 J) today. Yet maybe an aggressive pegging stance via Keep (5 5 6 7) is the best way to play defense today?! (Apparently, I don't know if I'm asking or telling.)

Keep (5 5 6 7) and Toss (8 J) is a 'chameleon' of a hand, and is maybe a bit like arriving to the Pegging Party slightly inebriated; but it's not an entirely a crazy way to approach this, because if we peg aggressively enough, and maybe score a (15-2) AND a (31-2), it's a very fancy way to "defend" with "offense"!

One last but vital thing we should do is remember that it is Pone who has the BURDEN of coming up with Eleven Points today! Many of the hands that can "deliver" for Pone will probably consist of runs and/or attempts at Double Runs, and given the cards we were dealt, these will likely take the form of either "small" cards or "Ten" (or "X") cards, cards which may not be ideal for pegging against Keep (5 5 6 7).

Pone cannot likely therefore *afford* to retain the best Pegging Hand, not while sitting at Hole 110! And so it's even likely that a hand such as Keep (5 5 6 J) or Keep (5 5 6 7) could 'pass muster' and do the job for us today!

I'm inclined to retain the cards that are lower in rank here, even though Keep (5 5 6 7) would seem to be a dangerous pegging hand; it is, but perhaps it's not-so-dangerous, not when given Pone's Predicament. And to any onlookers, Toss (8 J) probably looks like we are attempting to 'spike' our Own Crib!

After the Deuce Cut, we are very happy this adds Points to our Hand (it could have been an Ace...), but, if you'll pardon my grammar, it don't add 'squat' to our Crib. But chances are, Pone had to "cough up" something "tasty" to go in there in our Crib in order to retain the best opportunity for winning the game.

Now, our only challenge is to 'peg bravely into that good night,' and make Pone EARN the victory at hand. The fact is, if Pone is 'short' after the Cut, then we can probably 'give up' a few points during the pegging: but certainly no more than a few!

The last thing I think I might say about this relative position is that, if Pone has enough 'oomph' to go out and win, at least we should not go down without a good fight, pegging a few points along the way, and thus reducing the number of Spread Points by which we lose. We are all 'amped up' with 5 Cards, ready to grab that (15-2), and also insanely ready to unload a 5 Card on any Ace or Deuce Lead. Let's Do This Thing!
715 votes

Joined: February 2009

Wednesday 3:33 AM
Optimally we would like to go out here if we obviously hold the pone from 121-the 55 discard gives us a shot at a big crib,and a 6,7,or 8 cut give us a double run in our hand-the 678J should be decent in not getting trapped into unnecessary pegging
4709 votes

Joined: March 2008

Wednesday 4:42 AM
If I put in one 5, why not both?
5319 votes

Joined: April 2008

Wednesday 5:15 AM
Hand kept for defensive purposes. Crib to hopefully put us over the top or real darn close. dec
2035 votes

Joined: November 2014

Wednesday 5:24 AM
I believe this passes RAS's test for tossing the 5s. Still have potential for 12 points with a 7 or 8 cut, max hand keep was 8 points with double run and I've kept 5 (so less than the 4 point reduction). Second choice was 5-J suited. Didn't really consider 7-8
898 votes

Joined: February 2009

Wednesday 6:15 AM
Liked the magic 11 5-6 for defensive pegging and 3rd best toss to our crib. Only concern here is if pone leads a middle card, so I see the reasoning for keeping the 6-7-8-J so that we can stay away from runs during the pegging. Nice puzzle Scott.
2923 votes

Joined: June 2013

Wednesday 6:31 AM
A lovely hand for a different board position.

Plenty of helpful cuts and the 6-5 eleven. Keeping the Jack to escape with might have been prudent though.
1838 votes

Joined: March 2009

Wednesday 6:41 AM
Pegging is crucial here with our opponent at 110. In a neutral position would hold 5678 and throw 5J,but we are in a precarious spot. In fact I was in a discussion this weekend about sometimes holding a face card to protect against a middle card lead. We are in one of those instances IMO.
115 votes

Joined: April 2021

Wednesday 7:03 AM
Scoring on this hand is not the primary concern. It is to prevent your opponent from pegging points. So, although my toss of (7 8) is throwing one of the better tosses into my crib, scoring is not my main reason for doing so. I believe it is crucial you keep the pair of 5's in your hand here, as well as the highest card (the J) in order to best prevent any runs from occurring. If you keep a hand such as (5 6 7 8), you have little to no protection if he leads a mid-card here. However, your pair of 5's are MOST effective defensively, and your large card should be enough to help you escape any major damage if he leads a small card. Even if he leads a face card and you hold 2 5's do not reply back with a 5 for 15-2. Reply with the 6 to make the count sixteen. It is all about prevention on this hand.
Fender Bass
20 votes

Joined: July 2021

Wednesday 7:41 AM
Funny, I don't see a lot of people defending the double run, despite knowing that we have to get 21 points in this round plus the next. It seemed like the obvious starting point for me and then consider if any other hold would give me some critical situational advantage. I didn't see it.
Fender Bass
20 votes

Joined: July 2021

Wednesday 8:31 AM
All true but the 26 theory assumes tallying the highest point totals. If we intentionally hold suboptimal hands for some perceived strategy we make it less likely to achieve the average.
4165 votes

Joined: November 2008

Wednesday 10:35 AM
This is one of the exceptions to the Big Hand Rule (about 5-7% of hands). It took me years to recognize that extending the 3-card run by the fourth card and discarding 5-X to own crib would be preferable to discarding 5-5, second choice this date. The combined values of 5-6-7-8 will out distance the 5-5 discard to crib. With opponent 11 points from winning on this deal, will choose an optimal strategy to include the pegging. A few reasonably safe pegs would be a good thing on this deal at the same time limiting opponent to no more than 7 points. It makes no difference the strategy chosen, the longer run will have the greater combined value (net pegs, hand score, and crib score) give the edge by a full point. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. The lure of those double runs had caused me to write a paper years ago titled "Double-run Hypnosis". If you would like to read that paper, it is available on www.cribbage.org or email raswino29@outlook.com.
874 votes

Joined: January 2018

Wednesday 12:27 PM
Nice puzzle. Several good options, but every one depends on luck to pay off, most on a good cut, but for me I'm gambling that pone sluffs off some X cards to facilitate his pegging. We do get to count first next hand, so we are all hoping pone gets much less than average. I see Ras' has some scant evidence he graciously shared; I will file for future. I'm also happy to see my choice was at least his second choice.
405 votes

Joined: March 2020

Wednesday 12:49 PM
I went with the long run, and a 5 face in my crib to go big if she didn't hit 121.
629 votes

Joined: August 2019

Wednesday 2:10 PM
I'm glad to have contributed two good puzzles in a row. Keep 'em coming Scott (pep talk to self).
4620 votes

Joined: October 2007

Wednesday 4:04 PM
I'll compare 5C-6-7-8 (5S-J), 6-7-8-J (5-5), 5-5-6-J (7-8) and 5-5-6-7 (8-J):

5C-6-7-8: 6pts + 7pts (Schell: 7.00) = 13pts

6-7-8-J: 5pts + 8¾pts (Schell: 8.79) = 13¾pts

5-5-6-J: 6pts + 6½pts (Schell: 6.53) = 12½pts

5-5-6-7: 8pts + 3½pts (Schell: 3.52) = 11½pts


5C-6-7-8: Improves with AAAA, 2222, 3333, 4444, 55, 666, 777, 888, 9999 + 15xXs = 46 cuts = 46/46 = 100.0% up to 9/10/12/14pts with 2222, 4444, 55, 666, 777, 888, 9999 = 23 cuts.

6-7-8-J: Improves with AAAA, 2222, 55, 666, 777, 888, 9999, JJJ = 26 cuts = 26/46 = 56.5% up to 8/10/12pts with 55, 666, 777, 888, 9999 = 15 cuts. Plus 11 spades for 1pt extra for his nob = 11/46 = 0.24pt.

5-5-6-J: Improves with 4444, 55, 666, 777, 9999 + 15xXs = 31 cuts = 31/46 = 67.4% up to 10/12/14/16pts with 4444, 55, 777 + 15xXs = 24 cuts. Plus 11 spades for 1pt extra for his nob = 11/46 = 0.24pt.

5-5-6-7: Improves with 2222, 3333, 4444, 55, 666, 777, 888, 9999 + 15xXs = 42 cuts = 42/46 = 91.3% up to 12/14/16/17pts with 3333, 4444, 55, 666, 777, 888 + 15xXs = 34 cuts.


Pone only needs 11pts to go out so I'll play major Defense.


5-6-7-8 will normally peg best but playing Defense I think 5-5-6-J and 6-7-8-J will peg best.


6-7-8-J is best for starting value by ¾pt over 5C-6-7-8 while 5C-6-7-8 has guaranteed improvement and 23 cuts for 9-14pts. 5-5-6-7 has 42 cuts for improvement and 34 cuts for 12-17pts but it would be difficult to peg Defensively with this hand. Even so I'll throw the 8-J and hope for a good cut.
4357 votes

Joined: February 2008

Wednesday 4:30 PM
At 100*-110 playing a Defense strategy for the pegging the dynamic expected averages and Win/Loss %s are:

Defense___Hand__Pegs___Crib_Total____W1 %____W2 %

Defense_______L1 %____L2 %

5C-6-7-8 is best for expected averages by 0.42pt. and although 5-5-6-J is very slightly best for Win %s and 5-5-6-7 is slightly lowest for Loss %s I'll select 5S-J to discard.

After the 2 cut I'll play a Safe strategy to the lead