March 19, 2023

*** This hand was suggested by James500
64-70*  ?
Total votes: 256
4102 votes

Joined: October 2008

Sunday 3:02 AM
In a Mid-March, Sunday Morning Puzzle by James500, we find ourselves as Pone trailing the Dealer by Six Holes, and to make matters worse, the Dealer is already sitting atop the Third Street Par Hole 70!

It's like we are surrounded on three sides, and we need to find a way to deal with the pending crisis. On the positive side, if there even is one, is that we should at least be able to mitigate any catastrophe such as a SKUNK, but we are at a distinct disadvantage here (and so a few good cards won't hurt).

We are dealt a few ways to retain just Four Points prior to the Cut, and these are either Keep (A 4 T K) and Toss (2 8), or we could opt for a FLUSH and Keep (Ac 2c Tc Kc) and Toss (4 8). And adding a bit of irony to this we find that both of these Discard Choices are essentially equal at just under Five Points (Schell)!

We also have a way to begin with Two Points (hear me out!) and Keep (A 2 4 8), and in so doing, perhaps "spike" the Dealer's Crib with Toss (T K)! What might make this Toss (T K) idea attractive are at least two things:

First, we should observe that while the Dealer has a tremendous Positional Advantage, the Dealer does currently sit RIGHT AT the Third Street Par Hole 70. This means that if we can throw on the brakes, and not only 'poison' the Dealer's Crib, but then also peg very defensively, we could very well prevent the Dealer from staying "on pace" to go out over the course of the pending four deals.

Second, we should be aware that our other options only allow us to begin with Four Points, and this means that our "opportunity cost" to play DEFENSE today via Toss (T K) does not entail a huge price. When we are Pone, we have TWO WAYS to slow down our Opponent: via the Discard Decision, and via the Pegging. And we should probably strongly consider using this defensive opportunity when it presents itself at such a strategic moment!

Before we make this Defensive Leap, let's at least conclude our Offensive Ideas: On our side of the board, let's look at what helps boost those two very different ideas: If we Keep (A 4 T K), we can attain Eight Points or more after Sixteen Cuts (AAA, 444, 5555, TTT, KKK); and if we Keep (Ac 2c Tc Kc), we can attain Eight Points or more after just Fourteen Cuts (222, 3333, 444, 5555).

We should at least notice that Toss (4h 8h) is not only SUITED, but could form a RUN, but those are exceedingly unlikely to happen, and in no way should either of these affect our decision today, not unless all other things we exactly equal (and they are NOT).

But we do see a marked difference in the number of those Helpful Cuts, at least at the Eight Points and Higher margin, if we Keep (A 4 T K) and Toss (2 8). Therefore, if we do opt for an Offensive Stance, we should probably Toss (2 8). A FLUSH however does tend to peg a bit more adeptly, so it's kind of a wash.

Now we must make the harder decision of whether to scrap any thoughts of an Offensive Push, and resort to our earlier, Defensive Stand. As far as Offense goes, those Sixteen Cuts that give us Eight Points or more after Toss (2 8) only translates into a 35% shot at reaching Hole 72 with certainty. Flipping this on its head: If we fail to peg, there's a 65% chance that an Offensive Approach fails to get us to our target!

However, if we Toss (T K) and defend to the teeth, I think we shall have greater than a 35% success rate at preventing our Opponent from achieving their respective target, and we could STILL often remain on target ourselves. We will defend!

Let's Toss (T K) today.

After the 5 of Clubs Cut, we now have Four Points in our Hand. Let's lead the 4 Card, and peg opportunistically; just a few holes pegged will get us beyond our target!

Wordle 638 4/6 (it almost goes without saying: I believe I'm losing my edge)

3863 votes

Joined: June 2013

Sunday 3:29 AM
Not the cut I wanted to see. 2 lead.
Ras2829 says: Hi james500: Wonderful puzzle with great instructional value.
6291 votes

Joined: April 2008

Sunday 4:01 AM
Since these hands with the pegging considered are in a flat heat I will go with potential of more points in my hand. I think they need a failure in their main hand to slow down. dec
1240 votes

Joined: December 2017

Sunday 4:08 AM
We’re not far enough forward to play heavy defense with these cards, so ruling out TK. TK always burns me anyway. It came down to the A2TK flush (4-8) vs A4TK (2-8). I thought 48 was a bit more dangerous than 28 to the other person’s crib. In reality they’re tied in general, and with the negative delta of the ace 48 is actually safer today by 0.1. Regardless, it’s not enough of a difference for it to factor into the decision today. Which of these leaves the best hand?

The flush, as it turns out. It hits so well with low card cuts that this makes up for its weakness with tenth card cuts. Over the board I definitely would have bungled this by keeping A4TK, so thanks to James for exposing another flaw in my internal discarding heuristic. I doubt either hand is a stand-out pegger on offense generally speaking, but both should be pretty decent for defense, and with opponent in a marginal spot in the front, I’m hoping for a cut that’s good enough to play some defense in the pegging, even if I couldn’t afford to toss the big balk in the discard.

Toss TK leaves a hand that only averages 5 points, so you’ll end up dealing next hand at maybe a bit past par, or a bit short of it. But dealing in a marginal position is no good. I’d rather be pone on the last hand at 115 than 111, and this is such an imperative that I have to sacrifice a bit of defense, even with opponent threatening to win in the front.

The cut gives me a good enough hand that I can play off and lead the deuce, per Ras' advice that this card is more likely to be trapped than the ace. Of course I'm doubly inclined to defense because a five cut likely helps the opponent a lot, even if it misses the crib toss. To those who got betrayed by TK today, I feel your pain. TK is a nickle magnet, whatever the discard charts say.
horus93 says: On the other hand, when it comes to the flush vs a4tk on offense, the "5" of a4tk might bridge the 0.2 gap in hand value. But then again the a2 in a2tk is not worthless on offense either. I'll step back from considering a4tk a bungle, though, they're probably very close. I was just a bit dazzled by seeing how a2tk improved more in the count.
Inushtuk1 says: You definitely win today horus93. Also; I was not aware that Ras had said the Deuce was more likely to be trapped than the Ace. I missed that nugget somehow. Cheers.
5669 votes

Joined: March 2008

Sunday 4:26 AM
Wasnt expecting a 5. I kept the 2 because I can peg with it.
1378 votes

Joined: February 2009

Sunday 4:28 AM
I’m always a fan of throwing K-10 in my opponents crib this hold can justify that discard-every cut improves our hand to at least 4- with a great chance of also garnering 2 to 3 pegging points-with the dealer at 70 we want to keep him under 85 if possible after this hand
1372 votes

Joined: February 2009

Sunday 4:52 AM
In agreement with Rob, James, and John above. 10-K one of the top defensive tosses, and can result in a zero crib more often then the other options today. I like this hold for pegging potential and will improve on any cut.
1281 votes

Joined: June 2020

Sunday 6:18 AM
i almost went “wasa” and flushed. But the cycle math pointed me in a different way…..64-70*…90-96*…100-112. Defense is needed to keep current dealer below 111 & counting first.…need to try to extend the game one hand to then be counting first myself above 110. Looking at the future path there seems to be no better place to play defense than here as Pone with a 10-K.
1062 votes

Joined: April 2021

Sunday 7:43 AM
Very nice puzzle, as evidenced by the voter split today. I was "ALMOST" tempted into discarding the (10 K), with its GUARANTEED improvement, in fact at this score for me the decision becomes somewhat of a tossup, with the best "defensive" toss and the best pegging hand....The ONLY thing that prevented me from doing so was a very minute observation, of too many cuts only adding 2 pts to a 2-pt holding (for A 2 4 8, the (5,6,7,9, all face cards) leave you with a 4-pt hand --- while the classic keep of (A 4 10 K) already starts with 4, and although quite a few cuts don't improve this, it also has 5-card cut insurance (which we happened to see today). The 5 at least gives me and 8-pt hand, while possibly helping his crib...If dealer were 2 holes less advanced in this situation, I would have likely tossed (10 K).
MiketheExpert says: The flush is my 3rd choice, but not what I would call a bad one ---- it is an awkward hold however, with a somewhat less desirable crib toss, and an uncomfortable hand in my opinion for pegging.
MiketheExpert says: The disadvantage of (A 4 10 K) is that it is not a fantastic pegger, and I wonder if many times (A 2 4 8) might make up the remainder on the pegging, with quite a bit more opportunity to score...With the 5 cut, I'm content with my final choice though :)
1428 votes

Joined: July 2016

Sunday 7:51 AM
Way to go James. You just had to throw that flush into the mix, didn't you? JQT must be ecstatic. I for my part am perturbed. Only because I know that A-2-4-8(10-K) is the way to go with this hand. I know this because we have discussed this hand some time in the past. The better pegging, and lowest scoring discard makes it so. Plus it really is a 4 point starting hand. But the flush option has me perplexed. I'll go with the devil I know here, and play it this way; as I would never have the time to do the expected averages calculations in a live game. If I am wrong, I feel quite confident I have chosen the second best option. The defensive lead is the 4. Let's go with that. No holds barred offensive lead would be the 8, hoping to catch a stray 3.
MiketheExpert says: The score really makes you think, as you need both offense and defense here! I'm finicky about a hole or two on the board, but for me the virtual tie is this hold and that of (A 4 10 K), with the flush a little ways back :-)
Inushtuk1 says: You might be right Mike. I was thinking maybe the flush was second. Will have to wait and see. We did get burned though by that 5c cut, like horus93 said. Also, I did not know that Ras said the Deuce was more likely to be trapped than the Ace. Interesting.
280 votes

Joined: March 2023

Sunday 9:52 AM
Need some defense in this position. I'm very comfortable with (4 8) as a defensive discard. We also get to keep 4 pts, a flush, and a couple good pegging cards from this hand. Not bad, all things considered.
46 votes

Joined: February 2023

Sunday 11:50 AM
Im gonna lose the game 🤷‍♂️
Inushtuk1 says: It's not over yet. Never give up.
5547 votes

Joined: October 2007

Sunday 3:28 PM
I think it's a straight choice between A-4-10-K (2-8), A-2-10-K (4-8) and A-2-4-8 (10-K):

A-4-10-K: 4pts - 5pts (Schell: 4.94) = -1pt

A-2-10-K: 4pts - 5pts (Schell: 4.94) = -1pt

A-2-4-8: 2pts - 4pts (Schell: 3.88) = -2pts


A-4-10-K: Improves with AAA, 444, 5555 + 14xXs = 24 cuts = 26/46 = 52.2% up to 8/10pts with AAA, 444, 5555, 101010, KKK = 16 cuts.

A-2-10-K: Improves with AAA, 222, 3333, 444, 5555, 101010, KKK = 23 cuts = 23/46 = 50.0% up to 8/10/11pts with 222, 3333, 444, 5555 = 14 cuts. Plus 9 club cuts for 1pt extra for the flush = 9/46 = 0.20pt.

A-2-4-8: Improves with AAA, 222, 3333, 444, 5555, 6666, 7777, 888, 9999 + 14xXs = 46 cuts = 46/46 = 100.0% up to 6/8pts with AAA, 222, 3333, 444, 888 = 16 cuts.


We only need 6pts to reach 3rd street positional hole but opponent is already there as Dealer. I think we should keep opponent as short of 86pts as possible so I'll play Defense.


With 3 low cards and a middle card plus a 3-card magic eleven I think A-2-4-8 will peg best.


A-4-10-K and A-2-10-K are best for starting value by 1pt but A-2-4-8 has guaranteed improvement while A-4-10-K has 16 cuts for 8/10pts, A-2-10-K has 14 cuts for 8-11pts and A-2-4-8 has 16 cuts for 6/8pts which is sufficient to reach positional hole. So I'll throw the best balker 10-K.
5268 votes

Joined: February 2008

Sunday 3:40 PM
At 64-70* playing an Offense strategy for the pegging the dynamic expected averages and Win/Loss %s are:

Offense___Hand_Pegs_Crib____Total___W4 %____W5 %

Offense______L4 %____L5 %

A-2-10-K is best for expected averages by 0.30pt. and is slightly best for Win %s. A-2-4-8 is lowest for Loss %s but even so I'll select 4-8 to discard.

After the 5C cut I'll lead the 2 and play Defense:

Lead___________Dealer's Pegging Pts.
Inushtuk1 says: There's that Deuce lead again.
5095 votes

Joined: November 2008

Sunday 6:26 PM
Needing five points to deal from 3rd Street CPZ (69-73), it pays to flush. Choosing offense when looking at the pegs, once seeing the dix cards. Downshifting to defense once knowing that have 9 points. Will lead the Ace as it represents a bit more danger than does the deuce. If leading the deuce as recommended by HalscribCLX, drop the Ace second card played.
Inushtuk1 says: Hi Ras. According to horus93 above you have said the Deuce is more likely to be trapped than the Ace. Could you please clarify?
Ras2829 says: Suppose as long as I've been kicking around, might have said things at some point that I no longer believe. Quoted from above: Will lead teh Ace as it represents a bit more danger than does the deuce". Don't doubt that the cribbot has it figured out. Since Ace is at end of deck, might be more likely that deuce would get hung up in a run in later pegging and HalscribCLX has figured that out. As a result, the deuce has a defensive advantage of .1 over the deuce.
Ras2829 says: Sorry last word in final sentence should be "Ace".
Ras2829 says: Hi Inushtuk1: Don't recall claiming deuce was the better lead if choosing defense. The smaller the card, the more likely it is to get tripled at end of pegging sequence. Do suppose that horus 93 is right even though can't recall recommending the deuce lead. It does seem that run sequences would be far more a concern than getting caught by A-A as a pair. That's even made slightly less likely as well since n/d is holding a four spot. Am still learning; so appreciate the nudge.
750 votes

Joined: May 2019

Sunday 10:06 PM
Get to throw defensively and keep a hand that every cut helps.