January 14, 2022

*** This hand was suggested by Ras2829
112*-110  ?
Total votes: 243
3338 votes

Joined: October 2008

Friday 3:00 AM
We awaken to another splendid Puzzle by RAS, a little something to whet our appetite over a cup of hot coffee, and perhaps wet our beak if we are wont to gamble and wager and WIN. And as consolation: At least it's not Friday the Thirteenth! (That will have to wait until May this year, if you're wondering.)

We're in a precarious place this morning, and what else is new? Pone is poised to procure VICTORY against us if Eleven Points can be traversed by a combination of Pegging plus First Hand Show, to which Pone is entitled, if we cannot peg out FIRST.

And while we are the Dealer and do enjoy the Pegging Advantage, even with the unlikely 6.5% odds of getting a Jack Cut and "His Heels" to help us, it's exceedingly unlikely that we shall ever be able to peg Nine (or even Seven) Holes, although stranger this happen in Cribbage (and in Life) all of the time!

But if we do try to peg those Nine Points necessary to rip VICTORY right out of the Jaws of Defeat, what we'll likely end up doing more often than not is stumbling ahead just a few holes, and meanwhile, allowing Pone to peg those additional holes needed in order to secure the WIN right out from under us!

Now that we have assayed the Relative Scores, and the 'Lay of the Land' (or POSITION), what say we take a look-see at what we have dealt ourselves this fine, winter morning? I see a PAIR, a few "Touching" Cards, a few "Gapped" Cards, a Jack, and betwixt and between it all, a FLUSH!

All of these possibilities usually portend hope when we are the Dealer, but at this intricate score, we are really looking for a hand that can 'put the brakes' on Pone's Pending Pegging, an endeavor that can perhaps be prescribed as potentially part pernicious and possibly equally part perspicacious, if that makes any sense.

And a FLUSH can sometimes do that! Other possible choices today that look dangerous come after Keep (2 3 3 J) and Toss (5 7), which only has the Jack as an 'out' card; we might get 'jammed up' while pegging that Deuce alongside those two Treys.

Also, Keep (3 3 5 7) and Toss (2 J) looks even more dangerous for the pegging, and who wishes to 'wrap up' a Deuce and a Jack to later "open" in our Crib? It's long past Christmas Day, and there's no need to stick ourselves with such a "White Elephant" gift in our Crib!

Keep (3 5 7 J) and Toss (2 3) looks almost like a viable idea, but with Three Key Connectors such a 3-5-7 in our Hand, we'll be like sitting ducks on a pond during a sunny day when Pone comes over that hill with his hunting hounds and twelve gauge full of semi-automatic lead, raining down its death!

And probably even worse is probably Keep (2 3 3 7) and Toss (5 J)! Remember, our goal here is NOT to maximize our Hand, or our Crib, or to even care at all about the POINTS! It's all about Defensive Pegging today!

Therefore, as complicated as this promises to get during the pegging, I'm thinking that if we wish to peg with reasonable safety, and retain a strong 'Hand plus Crib' combination, our Discarding Decision could actually be quite straightforward here, and we might simply hold onto the FLUSH via Keep (2s 3s 5s Js) and Toss (3d 7d). But WAIT!

Must we "color within the lines" so predictably today? We're only Nine Points away from VICTORY, and if we can prevent Pone from going out with First Hand Show, we shall have both our Hand and Crib coming our way.

Shouldn't we therefore more specifically be looking for our absolutely-best Defensive Pegging Hand here, regardless of how many points are in either our resultant Hand or Crib? Answer: YES! And if that is indeed the FLUSH, then sobeit; but let's at least look for something ... anything ... better.

Is Keep (3 3 7 J) and Toss (2 5) a safer Pegging Hand than the FLUSH? My oh my: It looks so ugly; this could be our candidate! Remember our goal that we set earlier: we must "put on the brakes" such that Pone cannot peg. Period. Pone tends to average Ten Points, and Two Points typically come from the PEGGING done by Pone. We need to NUKE that!

If we reduce our task to one specific thing here, this would be it: We wish to REDUCE and MINIMIZE Pone's Pegging! And the PAIR of Treys, via the principle of "Safety in Numbers" happen to be our safest two cards! That's it: We'll Toss (2 5), and try to DEFEND our way toward VICTORY! Points? We'll let those points we need take care of themselves: "Let the dead bury the dead."

To worry about holding enough points in such Relative Positions is like worrying about packing an adequate lunch when you're being air-dropped behind enemy lines for a pre-dawn raid on an anti-aircraft gun with nothing but a parachute and three sticks of dynamite and a fuse.

It is a bit comical that Toss (2 5) is probably our WORSE option for scoring points today, but just for kicks, I looked up the Expected Average of Keep (3 3 7 J) and it's just under Four Points, and Toss (2 5) has a Crib Value of well over Five Points, and so our AVERAGE points should chime in at a total of Nine Points, and in addition, the Dealer *always* pegs at least One Hole!

We need Nine Holes, and we'll average to score Ten Holes: the important detail is that our critical need is to inhibit Pone's Pegging, PERIOD. Those who are worried about holding 'enough points' will miss the "essence" of what this puzzle is all about. Just for additional kicks, I played out several dozens of this candidate hand, and tried to lose by not having enough points: I could not do it! As long as Pone does not peg out, relax; we'll be just fine with our two Treys, a 7 Card, and a Jack ... Trust Me!

Remember that our Opponent's main burden today is that Pone must score One Point ABOVE the average normally tallied by Pone, and this means that the Hand we face will most likely be optimized for its power in POINTS, and *not* for its PEGGING prowess!

Therefore, if we retain some garishly 'gnarly' Pegging Cards as the Dealer here, we should be able to 'throw a spanner' (another Highly Technical Cribbage Term) into the works and thwart Pone's hopes and ambitions. And nothing in all of Cribbage beats seeing a grown, experienced player Cry Out Loud when being denied what was thought to be an Easy WIN!

After the Ten of Clubs Cut, we shall peg as though our life depends upon it, because if we wish to be the first player to cross that Finish Line, it is all riding on our ability to peg defensively this morning. And we shall have to further hope that Pone does not have enough points in Hand to beat us with First Hand Show (but that is an inherent risk with *any* decision we might make on our side of the board today).
Sally3 says: Goodness! How do you type allllll of that in under 2 minutes LOL.
JQT says: I know; I know! People will tend to ask: "But John, for Goodness Sakes! Twenty-One Paragraphs?" And I'll just give a little wink and a smile, nod my head, and feel at ease: because deep down inside, I know, people simply won't pay attention unless you keep it concise!
Sally3 says: I always learn something from you, so thanks for that :)
MiketheExpert says: Very interesting John. I think as far as the idea on this hand, we are more or less in agreement, I was just a little too nervous to keep only the 2-pt hand. And as I stated in my comments below, I think if pone is 8 pegs or less away, this becomes the BEST option so that pone may score "ZERO" on the pegs, at the same time keeping a very good chance you will be able to count out after the crib. It also may require some analysis on how the pegging may play out with pone hands that MAY give him enough to count out if he is able to peg any points. I was wondering, if your hand did not have the J as the escape card, would you make the same decision to toss (2 5) and keep (3 3 7 X). At least with the J you have the 0.20 additional for nobs possibility, which could be critical at this point.
MiketheExpert says: Another interesting idea that has precisely NO votes as of 1:45 pm ET is toss (3 5) while keeping (2 3 7 J). There is a lot less risk of being held to only 2 pts on the cut, and you get rid of your dangerous 5 into the crib, along with an excellent crib throw. This is very similar to your thought process, but perhaps not quite as SAFE as holding the pair of 3's (safety in numbers). I wonder if this may be a better option than the flush at this relative score!
JQT says: In these kinds of defensive pegging situations, past experience tells me that any effort devoted toward being concerned with our own scoring detracts from what must be our primary objective in such a relative position: We must inhibit Pone's Pegging! If Pone was dealt a hand of a Dozen Points, or if Pone gets Eleven Points via the Cut, we cannot win. We must aim all of our effort at those hands which Pone might have that are 'winnable' with some amount of pegging, and then try to prevent it from occurring. This means an Eight-Point Hand will be our most challenging opposition. The PAIR of Treys are screaming out as our one main defensive pegging tool (anything we have and hold in abundance, by definition shall be scarce in Pone's hand). We HAVE them, and must HOLD them! I believe we should construct our hand and thus our solution around this kernel of hope. Again, after Toss (2 5), we still have an Expected Average 'Hand plus Crib' that is over Nine Points. And if we come up short but do succeed in holding back Pone, I'd much rather go to the Next Deal at (119-119*) than having already lost the game. My concern for points is not just relegated to secondary status today; I am close to virtually ignoring this, so I can focus ALL of my effort on the crux of our puzzle: Defensive Pegging!
96 votes

Joined: October 2021

Friday 3:03 AM
I went with keeping some points, getting rid of the 5 and J to crib, and leading a 3.
wasa says: Don't lead the 3! We're dealer :-)
Sally3 says: oh duh lol
3111 votes

Joined: June 2013

Friday 3:39 AM
Hide the 5 in the crib where it can't be trapped.
With two of the four threes dealt to me, it's less likely my opponent could pair one during the pegging, so I'll keep both.
3S lead, but need to get rid of the two ASAP so that my cards are widely spaced. (If only I'd thought of 3-3-7-J (2-5) like John, I wouldn't have that problem).
wasa says: Not sure of the penalty if you lead the 3S. We're dealing!
james500 says: Oops. I knew that when I started my answer, but seem to have forgotten by the end. Thanks for setting me straight.
107 votes

Joined: January 2021

Friday 4:18 AM
I’m apparently way off today. Trying to keep ND from pegging while keeping enough points to win.
2225 votes

Joined: November 2014

Friday 4:29 AM
Keeping the J as my escape card. Ditching the 5 in my crib. Play off!
852 votes

Joined: February 2009

Friday 4:49 AM
Interesting position puzzle Ras-we are going to score our needed 9 points here with whatever we keep,except possibly the 337j-so what’s the best hold to keep the pone from scoring 11? At first glance it appears that 3-5-7-J would provide pretty good cover but we could easily be forced into giving up 2 points with pone matching our 5 on the second series of pegging,which could enable him to go out-the 2337 should provide us a safe go on the first round and cover on the 2nd-provided pone has a hand such as 4 pictures or 3 pictures and a 5-we can’t cover every hand but that is probably the most likely to keep to score 11 points
5514 votes

Joined: April 2008

Friday 5:34 AM
Every cut will give us two more points plus as long as pone doesn't go out one more. So, it's the defensive keep here we do not need to peg stay out of traps. dec
4894 votes

Joined: March 2008

Friday 5:45 AM
From 11 out the opponent has about a 33 percent chance to win regardless of how smart I am. I will bank on him not having enough. Play off unless a 3 is led.
1042 votes

Joined: February 2009

Friday 6:27 AM
Storing the 5 in the crib with the J to keep both cards out of the pegging. This hold is helped by all cuts so guaranteed at least 6. And with 2 in crib and guaranteed 1 peg, we will have enough to go out if we can hold pone from going out. I like this arrangement as it protects against all “X” card hands and the 5-X-X-X card hands. Pone will get zero pegs with those common hands with this hold.
Sally3 says: CONGRATS on 3/4 in GC, Mike!
1128 votes

Joined: August 2018

Friday 6:28 AM
I flushed, but this is well above my paygrade. Obviously, we need to go out and also peg defensively. My second choice was throwing the J5, which on further review would have been a better choice. I also didn't sufficiently consider the 75 toss.

I suppose the 5 can only get me in trouble in pegging. Sigh. I should be smarter than this.
Sally3 says: I feel that way many times on here, but I keep coming back for more lol
811 votes

Joined: August 2019

Friday 6:38 AM
I went this way because:
1) I have enough to go out.
2) I can disguise my hand.
3) I have a spread out selection.
Fender Bass
210 votes

Joined: July 2021

Friday 6:55 AM
prolly should have kept the flush but went with my first impulse
302 votes

Joined: April 2021

Friday 7:29 AM
Very interesting, and actually very challenging puzzle today submitted by RAS. My number one priority is to prevent pone from pegging points if possible, as he is just outside his average of points scored today after 1st count. There are quite a few situations in which my holding won't matter, as pone will be able to come up with the "goods" so to speak around 38-40% of the time, and there is a not a darn thing we'll be able to do about it. But it is those hands for which we CAN contain him that we should be worried about, and the majority of the time our 9 pts will take care of themselves.

So I'm not worried about my hand score at all, and I think the only way we could possibly fail is by keeping (3 3 7 J), although this is probably the best overall DEFENSIVE or SAFE hand to keep to prevent pone pegs, and the odds of scoring our 9 are still very high, as I believe (2 5) averages a crib of around 5 pts.

I might be wrong, but I'm just not willing to go this far and keep only a 2-pt hand that can stay at 2 pts on so many cuts, have my guaranteed 1 pegging pt, and then rely on the crib to bring me home. (I may do so if pone were at hole 113 or higher to start, as then it is absolutely critical I prevent pone from pegging ANY if possible).

If I'm not choosing to keep this, then the next best adequate defensive keep I can see is the flush (2 3 5 J). My chances of getting caught and giving up a high pegging score are just too great with the likes of (2 3 3 7) or (2 3 3 J), as I'll likely have to play my only escape card very early, (the 2 3 3 7) being worse as I can hardly even consider the 7 an escape card.

So the flush it is, and I'll do my best to dodge and parry any card which pone leads and prevent score during the course of pegging.

If goal is to prevent pegging at all costs, this is how I would begin on all pone leads with (2 3 5 J) flush. (You may disagree, but this is the best way I can see, so feel free to comment or suggest something else if you disagree.)

A lead - respond with 2 (remember you have already seen 2 treys in your hand, and playing your escape card the J here could leave you in a real bind. Keep the most spread out cards (3 5 J) for later in the pegging.

2 lead - respond with the 5 and hold on to your escape card.

3 lead (the worst one) - I would probably have to take a chance by pairing and hope he does not have the "case" 3 to win right now.

4 lead - similar to the A, play "OFF" with the deuce, as you know the location of 2 treys, and hold on your escape card for later in the pegging.

5 or 6 lead - play the deuce holding onto (3 5 J)

7 lead - respond with the trey.

8 lead - play your escape card (J) as count should be high enough and gap from deuce to 5 remaining to prevent the HUGE peg.

Any lead from 9 through K - play off with the deuce making the count 11 or 12, and try to navigate the rest of pegging with your spread (3 5 J).

As you can see, the large majority of opening leads would require laying the 2 upon next response (A, 4, 5, 6, 9 through K).

Very interested to see the final results and answer suggested by RAS and co. on this day!
MiketheExpert says: I might have to think about the merits of keeping 2 pts via (2 3 7 J), in this case getting rid of my more dangerous 5 card, while tossing (3 5). NoW I almost certainly don't have to worry at all about scoring 9 combined pts, and could well be enough safer than the flush to warrant this keep instead (see my reply to JQT). This has received no votes thus far.
784 votes

Joined: July 2016

Friday 8:38 AM
I'm in zeke76's boat. This is above my paygrade. The flush is hard to read. But the 5 and the J are the most likely cards to be trapped. All this advice is self-contradictory in these end game scenarios. What's a poor Inuit supposed to do but throw his hands in the air and pray.
324 votes

Joined: July 2020

Friday 8:39 AM
I was tempted to keep the flush; went with this instead.
2919 votes

Joined: February 2011

Friday 9:11 AM
Every card working for me and the most trapped card in cribbage tucked away in my crib.
Sally3 says: Hey B! Hope you see you commenting some more, please :)
4801 votes

Joined: October 2007

Friday 5:13 PM
I think its between the flush, 2-3-3-J (5-7) and perhaps 3-5-7-J (2-3S):

2-3S-5-J: 8pts + 3½pts (Schell: 3.58) = 11½pts

2-3-3-J: 6pts + 6pts (Schell: 6.01) = 12pts

3-5-7-J: 4pts + 6¾pts (Schell: 7.00) = 10¾pts


2-3S-5-J: Improves with AAAA, 222, 33, 4444, 555, 777, 8888 + 15xXs = 38 cuts = 38/46 = 82.6% up to 11/12/14pts with AAAA, 222, 33, 4444, 555 + 15xXs = 31 cuts. Plus 9 spades for 1pt extra for his nob and 1pt for the flush = 2x9=18/46 = 0.39pt.

2-3-3-J: Improves with AAAA, 222, 33, 4444, 555, 777, 9999 + 15xXs = 38 cuts = 38/46 = 82.6% up to 10/12pts with AAAA, 222, 33, 4444 + 15xXs = 28 cuts. Plus 9 spades for 1pt extra for his nob = 9/46 = 0.20pt.

3-5-7-J: Improves with 222, 33, 4444, 555, 6666, 777, 8888 + 15xXs = 38 cuts = 38/46 = 82.6% up to 7/8/10pts with 33, 4444, 555, 6666, 777 = 16 cuts. Plus 9 spades for 1pt extra for his nob = 9/46 = 0.20pt.


We only need 9pts to go out but Pone only needs 11pts so I'll play ultra-defence.


I think all three hands should peg well but playing Defence I think 3-5-7-J may well peg best.
4801 votes

Joined: October 2007

Friday 5:16 PM

All three hands are likely to get us out so the most important factor will be how well we can play Defence in the pegging. The flush will be hard to read, 2-3-3-J has the benefit of the pair and 3-5-7-J has a good spread of cards. I think I'm inclined to go for the 3-5-7-J so I'll throw the suited 2-3.
4531 votes

Joined: February 2008

Friday 5:23 PM
At 112*-110 playing an Optimal strategy for the pegging the Win/Loss %s are:

Optimal________Win %_____Loss %

3-3-7-J is best for chances of Winning so I'll select 2-5 to discard.

After the 10 cut I'll play Defense to the lead.
wasa says: So, needing 9 points HAL suggests a keep and toss that only assures me 5 points total (2 hand, 2 crib, 1 peg). Sorry - I don't believe this has the highest probability of winning if I have to continue on to another deal.
MiketheExpert says: My main "beef" with the percentages is not with the win% and loss% as such, because it stands to reason that if you minimize the pone's pegging and thus decrease his chances of pegging out, your win% would be affected this way. And even with the 2 pt hand and (2 5) toss to the crib, your EXPECTED score should be well above 9 pts. However, if you notice that the win% + loss% adds up to 100% in all cases, and there is clearly a possibility that this would carry on to another deal (although small) by breaking up the hand in this way. So it couldn't be an accurate calculation if it was just taken over the course of 1 deal, as the %'s should not add up to 100%. Perhaps it is calculating the future win/loss% of all possible situations, including the possibiliy of reaching the next hand, but I'm just not sure...Hats off to JQT, as I believe the only regular (and maybe even the only VOTER) to have made this selection!
Ras2829 says: HI MiketheExpert: You are so right. Delynn Colvert shows the chance to limit dealer to 8 points is 1/13. Just going with "feel" it seems that about 10 of 100 situaitons, dealer would not get out. As dealer of this hand, I don't want to try to win on the next deal; so not willing to play two points.
JQT says: Once we hold a given arrangement of cards, we no longer need to lean on those figures that might make us worry about reaching the Finish Line, because with a PAIR of Treys in our Hand, and a 5 Card in our Crib, now it is exceedingly difficult to find a Cut Card that, along with two cards from Pone, could conspire to prevent us from getting those Nine Points needed to WIN. As I mentioned earlier, I actually went through dozens of iterations, pretending I was Pone, stashing Two Cards out of Six Cards into a hypothetical Crib, and then proceeded flipping over many various random Cut Cards, and TRIED TO LOSE as the Dealer, and after several dozens and dozens of MORE attempts, I was finally able to 'come up short' by a point or two! And if we do lose after another deal, I view this as a better outcome than losing during THIS deal! We know that the average Dealer moves about Sixteen Holes, and yet even after the weak hand of Keep (3 3 7 J) that the Toss (2 5) Dealer Discard tends to give us an combined average, after Pegging plus Hand plus Crib, of anywhere from Ten to Twelve Points. I have often contended that worrying too much about points as the final Dealer of a game is frequently responsible for taking our focus away from what is more vitally important, and that is limiting Pone's Pegging. The PAIR of Trey's is so helpful in performing this task that it's worth our effort to look for a way to retain these two cards in our hand. If still in doubt, take a deck and deal out this hand of ours, and then also deal our five or six Pone Hands, and make discards for each, then flip over any of the remaining cards as the hypothetical Cut Card. Now, add up the Hand plus Crib and see if, when we add the One Point we shall always peg, if this doesn't yield those Nine Points. I was only able to 'come up short' a few times in fifty tries! But, if we are concerned about those points, both Keep (3 3 5 7) and the FLUSH are also very good choices today.
4343 votes

Joined: November 2008

Friday 8:32 PM
Thanks for the fine level of participation and thought-filled contributions. RAS had queried this hand so knew what HalscribCLX suggested. Sorry cannot bring myself to hold two points, needing nine to win. So, my choice is to hold fairly wide spaced cards with no cards of sequence. Think have enough spread to play off on any lead. N/D does need 11 points to win and average for n/d with pegs is 9-10. So with peg avoidance, am counting on the high-scoring 2-3 to crib to put me over the finish line and leave n/d on tthe board.
4343 votes

Joined: November 2008

Friday 8:34 PM
Now you get the picture?
Ras2829 says: Sorry after two attempts, still no picture. Held 3-5-7-J and discarded 2-3 of spades.