September 21, 2022

*** This hand was suggested by MiketheExpert
49-53*  ?
Total votes: 220
3593 votes

Joined: June 2013

Wednesday 3:14 AM
Cutting practice has paid off.

Any card I lead can be "fifteened" or paired as they're all higher than a 4, I might be able to retaliate after a 5 lead though. If nothing else, it might catch the dealer unawares.
5388 votes

Joined: March 2008

Wednesday 3:19 AM
Sacrifice the 99. Nice cut. Lead the Jack. Ditch the five when possible.
4836 votes

Joined: November 2008

Wednesday 3:36 AM
Matters not whether choosing offense or defense strategy, discarding the 9-Q has the better results. Considered only 9-Q or 9-9. The 9-9, contrary to popular views, is a very high scoring discard to opponent crib (much lower to own). Deducting that 9-9 average of 6.5.19 knocks the edge off the superior hand score in holding 5-10-J-Q. Will lead the 9. If holding 5-10-J-Q, would have led the five. The 9-Q scores 0-2 points 42.224%. Got to like those numbers with dealer already at hole 53. Looks like one of those games will be trying to catch up for most of the remaining holes.
BarryB says: Thanks for the 9-9 info. I had that belief but, rarely ever worked out.
Inushtuk1 says: Hi Ras. I agreed with your discard this morning. But why the 9 lead? Hoping to catch a stray Q on the second play series perhaps?
Ras2829 says: Hi Inushtuk1: Choosing a defense strategy, teh five lead is the way to go. Should have thought this through more fully. Tha gets rid of the lone five which is a strong defensive move. If n/d can give up minimum pegs, minimize crib tally, dealer can have 6-8 points in hand score and still need fairly good hand score on next deal with first count. BTW if you graph all the possible dealer hand scores from 0-29, six points is by far the longest bar on the graph. The longest bar on the n/d bar graph is 8 points. What is likely reason for that difference?
Inushtuk1 says: Dealer not adverse to putting good cards in his own crib to the detriment of his hand.
Ras2829 says: Hi INushtuk1: Bingo! Don't think there is any other reason for the difference.
6012 votes

Joined: April 2008

Wednesday 4:02 AM
Playing crib here. Position relative to going for it. 9-9 might match up with 6 7 8. Agree with percentage play leading the nine. dec
1300 votes

Joined: August 2019

Wednesday 4:15 AM
Not desperate enough to throw points here.
3830 votes

Joined: October 2008

Wednesday 4:37 AM
It's the last full day of Summer in 2022, and 'summer you' are probably thinking, "Where did my summer go?"

Well, maybe it's time to focus on the Puzzle of the Day and instead wonder, "Where did our lead go?"

Trailing by Four Holes as Pone is not an envious position, lest anyone attempt to accuse us of one of those Seven Deadly Sins known as "invidia" or, ENVY.

Invidia rather sounds like something one might become inflicted with from drinking the tap water in the Deep South; or maybe it seems like something you would check if your computer was 'on the blink' as in, "Try reseating the invidia board, and see if that fixes the problem."

In addition to ENVY, let's reiterate the remainder of those Seven Deadly Sins, as we look at our cards as dealt to us today: Pride, Greed, Lust, Gluttony, Wrath, and Sloth. Or, Sloth of Diamonds, to be more precise!

Discarding when we are Pone requires an entirely different mindset as compared and contrasted to discarding when we are the Dealer, and that's because we're seeking to maximize our own resultant Hand, while simultaneously attempting to minimize what we send packing 'over the board' and into our Opponent's Crib.

Sometimes, the arrangement we are dealt lends itself very easily to this task, such as (6 6 7 8 Q K); but other times, as we see here today, we have a conflict. Do we maximize our own Hand while risking a Dangerous Discard (Greed, Lust, Gluttony), or do we instead choose to do real damage to our own Hand, while also conspiring to send a safer set of cards (Pride, Wrath, Sloth) into the Enemy Crib?

With regards to the first idea, today we might Keep (9 9 T J) and Toss (5 Q), or Keep (5 T J Q) and Toss (9 9). Retaining Eight or Nine Points and 'giving away' Two Points seems like a healthy bargain, but we must think beyond the 'static' value of what things are worth now, and try to instead imagine what they will transform into after we see both the Cut Card and Dealer's Discard.

With regards to the second theme, we might also decide to Keep (5 9 T J) and Toss (9 Q). It's no secret that Toss (9 Q) is one of the most Defensive Discards in the game of Cribbage, but if you didn't already know that, learning this one tiny bit of information is already worth the time you've invested in this puzzle, even if your reading stops here.

I like to think that every "Hand of the Day" puzzle that begins anywhere except the Initial Starting Score comes with a story behind it, and today let's imagine that the player on "Our Side" of the board has already dug herself into a bit of a difficult position, and our task is of course to attempt to improve things, if possible.

But if we cannot do this, our job then becomes that of not making it worse. Every puzzle can be thought of as a visit to the "clinic," where as the clinician, we do our best to prescribe the best therapy, medicine, and/or advice (our Discard Choice) in order to, if not improve the life of the patient, to at least not make it worse!

Our next "target" is to attempt to become the Dealer at or beyond the Third Street Par Hole 70, which is a distant Twenty-One Holes away. In a recent flurry of about a hundred games played, I looked up my 'Maximum Round Points as Pone' and, against various levels of opposition, I had achieved anywhere from Sixteen to Twenty-Four Points as my maximums.

This means that as Pone, I may have scored enough to reach our goal here today in this puzzle perhaps once or twice in a hundred attempts. Just for comparison, as Dealer I was able to soar from Twenty-Four on up to nearly Forty Points on occasion, and my guess is that these high totals come along a LOT more often when we are the Dealer than when we are Pone. This disparity is simply "built into" the game; we do not control it.

What does all or any of this tell us? While both Toss (5 Q) and Toss (9 9) are dangerous, and the former is certainly more dangerous than the latter, in either case, is such a risky maneuver likely to lead to us meeting our lofty target, or does it in fact offer our Opponent an even-better chance to 'land' a big Crib, and increase the gap by which we are trailing, and possibly make it even larger?

The time we can 'inflict' the most control over our Opponent in Cribbage is when we are Pone. This makes sense, since to a large degree, we are able to choose what we place into the Dealer's Crib. Also, we lead during the pegging, and while we are at a disadvantage (the Dealer can score with every card, while Pone can only score with three-out-of-four cards, a 25% reduction!), Pone does 'set the mood' since we begin the pegging.

Why is Cribbage, 'This Game of Ours,' so damn difficult? Look at those Seven Deadly Sins, and mentally circle any that may apply. Observing our Relative Position, and then, given the dilemma of trying to maximize our own Hand, and attempting to minimize the damage 'over the board,' it appears that we may fall further behind by the completion of this deal. In fact, the averages say that such is usually the case. But "human nature" creeps in and sees a bevy of beautiful cards, and ALL OF US, for at least a moment, think we might be able to reverse this trend! Pone can out-score the Dealer; it happens a small but significant percentage of the time. Why not try it now?!

But given our Relative Position and arrangement of cards, now is NOT the time to attempt to make this happen! Deciding to Toss (9 Q) here is the Discard Choice that naturally 'falls out' of the equation if we ACCEPT the fact that trying to 'get ahead' while we are Pone in this position, and with these cards, entails a very high risk-to-reward ratio. Retaining the Double Run is probably what the player who dug herself into this problematic situation would do to then dig herself in even further. It's what we do, if we will not accept the fact that often our best option is DAMAGE CONTROL!

Let's Toss (9 Q), and attempt to 'block those punches' that are bound to soon be coming our way. It's still relatively early in this game, and we shall have at least a few better moments to risk a heroic play: now is not the time, nor is it the place.

After the Jack Cut, the Dealer increases her Four-Point lead by another 'Two for Her Heels' (why this Cutting of the Cards has suddenly spawned a 'gender-reveal party,'? Trust me, I am as mystified as you are!) Anyway, we now have Fourteen Points, and most importantly, we didn't Toss (5 Q)!

Let's lead our 9 Card (remember, we did send one of these 'over the board' earlier), and try to minimize Dealer pegging, while taking SAFE points if possible.
Eolus619 says: JQT…if anyone reading the above ,who is NOT currently a board position player, is not now convinced to become one then there is no hope for their conversion..well done
1355 votes

Joined: October 2014

Wednesday 4:44 AM
The advantage of being in position is that it gives you the option of playing defense. I exercised that option today.
Inushtuk1 says: Hi cwed. I agree about defense here, but how are we in position. With the J cut, we are -11. Dealer is +11.
Eolus619 says: Inushtuk1 hello..thought i new how to count + /- using schell method …but not following your -11/+11 today…plz explain thx
Inushtuk1 says: Hi Bruce. After the J cut, Dealer stands at 55. Yes, Dealer is short of 70, *but*, we are short of 60. So Dealer is 11 holes past 44, and we are 21 holes short of 70. Assuming we score the average 10, that puts us at -11. That's how I understand Schell's method anyway.
Eolus619 says: hello again..thx for the explanation.I get the part i copied and placed below which is before the cut So Dealer is 11 holes past 44, and we are 21 holes short of 70. Assuming we score the average 10, that puts us at -11. i understand this ..i was not sure about your explanation of the +/- after the cut ..all good now
2707 votes

Joined: November 2014

Wednesday 5:53 AM
Based on reading the above I chose wrong again today. Oh well. Yay cut!
1012 votes

Joined: June 2020

Wednesday 6:08 AM
Needing 21 points this hand, Pone’s position is not good to be dealing first in CPZ#3..The cycle is against us….74-79*…..So the pegs tell me to play defense this hand and most likely offense next hand since this board position disadvantage needs to be corrected to be dealing first from 96+. My keep has a lot of loser cuts but that’s the way I roll today. And then the MOST important card in cribbage gets me 14 points. What a game this game of ours is!
881 votes

Joined: January 2021

Wednesday 7:11 AM
Not sending guaranteed points to the crib if possible, and the 5-9-10-J keeps 15s and a run with an extremely defensive discard.

Tempted to lead the 5 since I have responses with the 10/J, but may do the 9 as it feels more defensive today.
790 votes

Joined: April 2021

Wednesday 9:59 AM
We are in a frustrating board position, as we are trailing by 4 pts as pone, while dealer is in a quite advantageous position (+9 from par 2nd street CPZ). We are either looking to make hay given the opportunity, or else try to "bog our opponent down", and depending on the 6 cards dealt, both choices could come to successful fruition. With this particular arrangement, we are in a bit of a quandary, as nothing seems to fully satisfy either option. The "double-run" is there for eye candy, and I believe with only a little thought, this choice can be eliminated right off the bat. (5 Q) will likely serve to make our situation worse, as hitting on our double-run will probably still leave us short of hole 70. (9 9) is not quite as dangerous, and leaves us with a starting 9 pts and some pegging potential, however when comparing with the great defensive (9 Q) toss, this eliminates our better starting holding by greater than the 2 pts. I often preach patience when trailing as pone in these tricky mid-game situations, and I believe it certainly applies here. With our J cut, we have 14, but unfortunately have advanced dealer another 2 holes. Let's try to slow dealer's movement as much as possible, and lead the defensive 9 (seeing as we have already thrown one into the crib). We may still have given up a small crib, and although we are unlikely to claim the advantage once this deal is over, we will still likely be in a similar mid-game situation, trying to extend our life in this game until we get the opportunity to pounce with relative safety and regain control!
539 votes

Joined: April 2021

Wednesday 10:15 AM
Much less risk with this discard.
5290 votes

Joined: October 2007

Wednesday 12:26 PM
I'm not inclined to keep 9pts and throw 9-9, much less keeping 8pts and throwing 5-Q. I prefer to hold 7pts and throw 9C-Q:

5-10-J-Q: 9pts - 6¼pts (Schell: 6.39) = +2¾pts

9-9-10-J: 8pts - 7½pts (Schell: 7.34) = +½pt

5-9D-10-J: 7pts - 4pts (Schell: 4.11) = +3pts


5-10-J-Q: Improves with 555, 99 + 13xXs = 18 cuts = 18/46 = 39.1% up to 12/16/17pts with 555 + 13xXs = 16 cuts. Plus 11 heart cuts for 1pt extra for his nob = 11/46 = 0.24pt.

9-9-10-J: Improves with 555, 6666, 8888, 99, 101010, JJJ, QQQ = 22 cuts = 22/46 = 47.8% up to 12/15/16pts with 555, 6666, 99, 101010, JJJ = 15 cuts. Plus 11 heart cuts for 1pt extra for his nob = 11/46 = 0.24pt.

5-9D-10-J: Improves with AAAA, 555, 6666, 8888, 99 + 13xXs = 30 cuts = 30/46 = 65.2% up to 10/12/13/14pts with 555, 99, 101010, JJJ, QQQ = 14 cuts. Plus 11 heart cuts for 1pt extra for his nob = 11/46 = 0.24pt.


We need 21pts to reach 3rd street positional hole while Dealer has a good chance of reaching it as Pone next deal needing only 17pts. So I'll play Offense.


I think 5-10-J-Q will peg best and 5-9D-10-J next best.


5-9D-10-J is best for starting value by ¼pt over 5-10-J-Q but it also has the most cuts for improvement and although 5-10-J-Q and 9-9-10-J have more cuts for a good/very good hand, 5-9D-10-J still has 14 cuts for 10-14pts. So although playing Offense I'll throw the good balking 9C-Q.
5003 votes

Joined: February 2008

Wednesday 12:28 PM
At 49-53* playing an Offense strategy for the pegging the dynamic expected averages and Win/Loss %s are:

Offense___Hand__Pegs__Crib___Total___W5 %____W6 %

Offense______L5 %____L6 %

5-9D-10-J is best for expected averages by 0.36pt. and although 9-9-10-J is considerably best for Win %s 5-9D-10-J is very much lowest for Loss %s because of the safe 9D-Q so I'll select it to discard.

After the J cut I'll lead the 5 and play Offense:

Lead____________Our Pegging Pts.
wasa says: I read this as 5-T-J-Q is best for win on deal 5 at 23.5% So, if you want to maximize your chance to win the game, you should toss the 9-9.
MiketheExpert says: Hi wasa. I wouldn't read this as maximizing your chance to win the game, although the WIN% is highest on hand 5, it is only pertaining to that point in time, saying that if you want the highest chance to win within 5 hands, then hold it this way. You'll notice that the loss% for Hand 5 is also much higher (45.6 this way vs. 37.9), and the odds significantly worsen if it goes beyond this, but the W6% chances are still better with HAL's selection than with (5-10-J-Q)
wasa says: Hi Mike. Yep - lies, damn lies, and statistics! I agree 100% with what you said.
56 votes

Joined: April 2022

Wednesday 6:38 PM
my choice