May 23, 2023

*** This hand was suggested by James500
45*-56  ?
Total votes: 230
5762 votes

Joined: March 2008

Tuesday 3:36 AM
Behind by 10 and I need a big hand and crib. And it didn't happen, sigh.
1300 votes

Joined: December 2017

Tuesday 4:05 AM
This is one of those “double marginal” positions. As the behind player, we have to discard with offense in mind, unless the cards were better than these, although the cut may let us switch to defense or at least pass on reckless pegging moves. Despite a shorthand “positional advantage”, this is a basically losing score, with opponent having a good shot at winning by counting out before us, by pegging out as dealer, or by knocking us back. As my brother often says “you just have to get good cards, and I have to get bad cards.”

Luckily we do have pretty good cards, and with a bit of luck, might just win this game after all. 89TT (7T) makes a double run, always nice, but 7T is a bad crib toss. 789T (TT) is another option, but TT is also a pretty lame crib toss, especially with the delta at work here. 9TTT (78) has poor prospects for improvement as a hand, but 78 is one of the best crib tosses, although admittedly delta works against it, too. And even though 9TTT misses on the most cuts, it’s really not much worse in this respect than 89TT or 789T.

I suppose 789T would be best for offensive or defensive pegging – it has a higher diversity of cards to pick up points, and a long run gives more room to dodge than a hand like 9TTT or 89TT. But I think the difference in pegging, in either direction, won’t make up for the difference in hand+crib count.

Checking Liam, this keep is on top by a big margin at 14.8 in pure hand+crib, versus 12.9 for 89TT (7T), and 12.5 for 789T (TT).

This would have been my choice in a real game, too, since it seems pretty straightforward - all three of the reasonablish options start with a minimum of 8 in hand+crib, but 78 is by far the strongest crib toss. A good example of a case where it’s best to break up a double run.

The cut forces me to play as offensively as I can. Holding opponent short of the next par won’t improve my standing unless I get past 59 or so, so my own scoring has become the critical factor, just as at, say, 98*-110, if you held bad cards, you would be forced to play offense, since holding opponent short of 118* wouldn’t do you any good if you ended up out of range to count out yourself. Would pair a 9 lead.

But there is an interesting pegging question here on many leads besides the immediately scorable 5, 6, 9, or T – should we drop the 9, hoping for a big pay-out in a three-on-none, or a lesser pay-out in a two-on-none, tripling or pairing our own tens? Or play a ten, saving the 9T to trap a jack (or perhaps an eight) in a two-on-one? This is an unsolved problem for me, and if anyone cares to share their thoughts, it would be much appreciated. I’ve played this sort of hand both ways, and both of them usually fail and occasionally succeed. I’m inclined to drop the 9 and save the tens, because I think the odds of ending up in a three- or two-on-none are higher than the odds of ending up in a two-on-one against one of two cards (Jack or 8), but am not sure. And I suppose if you really wanted to peg wisely, you’d want to figure out, based on pone’s lead, which scenario is more likely, and proceed accordingly, but I’m not there yet.
horus93 says: RE: the weakness of our position, orbitals, (which has to be taken with a grain of salt for sure), has dealer's win% at this score at only 31.62%.
Eolus619 says: morning horus..most of Nikodym’s book is difficult for me to follow and understand. However, his chapter on pegging is woth the price of the book to me. On page 104 he states” if you have three like cards consider playing the odd card first” he directs you to a pegging possibilities chart that supports his recommendation..just a fyi
mike320 says: With this hand, I would plan to keep a pair of 10's for the end play thinking I can probably pair them after opponent runs out. As to play the 9 or T first? That would depend on the first throw and if I think the opponent also has a 9 or will next play his last 3 cards based on that little information. If there’s any hope, I’d keep the 3 tens for the end so I don’t end up playing the 10-10-9 :(
6392 votes

Joined: April 2008

Tuesday 4:39 AM
Playing a hand extension. This is where they throw 6-8 to keep their nine points. That nine could get involved in a trap so early its goes depending on lead. dec
Eolus619 says: dec..i see you have a top ten rating for non ACC games on you have the highest win %..well done !
1424 votes

Joined: February 2009

Tuesday 5:07 AM
7-8 is the best discard to our crib in this hand makeup. If opponent leads low, like a 3 or 4, I would dump the 9. It’s relatively rare, but they may play out all their remaining cards which will allow us to peg 9 unanswered pegs with our set of 10s.

Was great to see Sally (the comish! / SallyAnn3) again, and meet for the first time, Scott (Scottcrib), Jennifer (JJxfan), Paul (cribbagepogo), Bob (beaver67), and others at the tournaments in Winston-Salem, NC.
Eolus619 says: morning Mike..if you have the time, I would appreciate you posting your perspective on yesterdays puzzle. TY..and congrats on being high qualifier in NC
Jazzselke says: Great tournament by Mike last weekend. High qualifier with a huge 42 card (won 19 out of 22 games!), and 2nd in the playoffs. Tremendous run!
mfetchCT425 says: Hi Bruce, such an interesting puzzle yesterday. Was traveling back from NC yesterday and just caught up on the fantastic posts from yesterday. I would lean toward keeping the four smallest cards, A-4-5-8. With the 7 cut, would lead the 8. I would also check who I’m playing. If it’s a less experienced player who I know would jump on my opening lead, I might keep the 5-Q combo [4-5-9-Q], and lead my Q, looking to retaliate and win with my 5 after their 5 response. Very tough puzzle yesterday. I also liked A-4-9-Q for the wide spacing and difficult hand read. Endgames are so very cool. Thanks Dan for your kind words.
Eolus619 says: Thx Mike..appreciate your thoughts and being willing to answer my questions
cribbagepogo says: Nice, after reading so much, to meet you Mike and to echo others, a great run!!!
3954 votes

Joined: June 2013

Tuesday 5:23 AM
Is this an exception to the, "Never break a double run", guideline?

As of 13:20 UK time, only 11% of voters have chosen 8-9-T-T, so it would seem that it might be.
Eolus619 says: James500.. very worthwhile submission today. TY..however, I would expect this from a man who has been up and at it a full six hours before me!…that said if the double run is held only eight cards ..3-8s…3-9s …2-10s “turbo” charge the hand to depending on 17% of the deck to help in this way is not for me.
1373 votes

Joined: June 2020

Tuesday 5:26 AM
Nice puzzle James500! I am going to start with eight but do it keeping the triple tens and discarding 7-8 which I believe will have more crib potential than 7-10.

Ras has an informative 4 minute video from his class about discarding 7-8..suggest you invest the time
Eolus619 says: I have now read my way through yesterday’s comments twice..a really good discussion. TY to all who contributed ! Perhaps the best take away for me was the JQT reminder that any hand with a five or two cards that sum to five will always produce two points. When I first looked at Ras’s keep I thought…he doesn’t have enough to count out if he doesn’t peg out ..then the reminder..and ..realizing every cut adds points
19 votes

Joined: April 2023

Tuesday 6:08 AM
This is one of the easier hands I’ve seen in my short time here but by no means a brainless throw. I see exactly two choices, the 8-7 or the 10-10. Both throws give me 6+2=8 points. I think the better pegging chances are with the 10-10 since I’ll have a choice of 4 cards on my first response and I’ll probably never get a chance to peg a three of a kind with the 10’s. The better cut potential is the 7-8-9-10 since 4 cuts double my run and two of those also give me an extra 15.

On the other hand, keeping the 10’s leaves me needing the 8 or J for a nice 15 pt double run with the 8 also helping the crib. If I were up the 9 points rather than down I might consider the lower chance for more points but I need points to keep from falling too far behind.

I would be curious which deal of the game this is. The score leads me to believe it’s either #4 or #5. If it’s #4 this has been a high scoring battle and the opponent has an extra crib. If it’s #5, then the opponent has probably been getting consistently better hands than me. This can affect a players decisions but I try to not let the previous hands affect my play. If it’s #6 or #7 then its probably been a mostly slow game but opponent has been pulling away. I know the previous hands don’t change the odds on this hand, but it does affect players’ attitudes and decisions. I’ve jumped out to many 25-10 leads and seen the opponent concede the game in their mind. On the other hand, I try not to give up until there is no chance I could win unless the opponent suddenly started getting their mandatory 1 on their own deals. I’ve seen too many people deal, needing around 30 while the opponent is under 10, and come back for a heart-breaking victory. This is the psychology of the game that makes cribbage so much fun.

I’m going to throw the 10-10 since it gives me the most opportunities for success. The 7-8 in the crib does give me more potential there but part of this is reduced by player bias. For example, I would rather throw a 5-5 to the other crib than a 7-7. Most players are more likely to throw a 10 counter than something that would help a 7-8 in my crib, so the 10-10 seems to be the better crib cards.


Now that I’ve seen the cut, it was absolutely meaningless to me, which was probably going to be the case no matter what was cut. I’m in shock that 63% chose to throw the 7-8 to their own crib.
fentesk says: I recall you noting before you rely more on experience and instincts over detailed statistical probabilities for the hands. Today may be an example where the numbers diverge from expectations. Ignoring the pegging for a moment, the hand and crib will each score more on average with the 7-8 discard than the 10-10 (the hands are admittedly quite similar, but 7-8 has a sizable advantage over the good but not great 10-10). I can't speak as well as others to the pegging delta, but the hand/crib scores puts the 7-8 as over 2 points better on average which I don't see the pegging making up for.
mike320 says: I went with my cribbage instincts to pick the T-T to throw then ran the numbers when I realized the minority I was in when I posted. The T-T and 8-7 are equal in their real potential in the crib. There’s about the same chance someone will stumble upon helping one as there is the other after the cut. Not necessarily mathematically but in practice so I’ll ignore opponents throw. Throwing T-T, there are 22 cards (5555, 6666, 777, 888, 999, T, JJJJ) that will give you an average of about 13.3 guaranteed points including the crib. Throwing the 8-7, the same 22 cards will give you an average of 14.9 guaranteed points including the crib. So, my cribbage instincts failed me on this occasion and the T-T is the better throw.
horus93 says: I think it’s really hard to reason crib tosses out a priori, because the actual distributions of what pone is likely to throw are hard to grasp accurately just by thinking them out. To decide questions like this, empirical data is key, and I’d say this is one of the few areas of cribbage that is really “solved” - our own ras did a lot of work in this area, recording the results of many thousands of hands over the course of a decade. I assure you, 78 is much better than Tt to own crib, and 55 much more dangerous to oppo’s crib than 77. I do think there’s room to reason out discards - if playing a strong opponent, and I know the score will incline him to balk, am slightly more likely to put a five in the crib since so many balls include one or two tenth cards, but this is rarely a deciding factor for me. Check out some of the tips articles on the acc website, there’s some great stuff in there
horus93 says: Balls for balk… lol
4143 votes

Joined: October 2008

Tuesday 6:14 AM
We are the Dealer just beyond the Second Street Par Hole 44, and while we trail Pone by Eleven Points, we are currently 'on target' to reach the end of this game in an even number of deals, if we include this one.

The Hand gets help from only one place, the Cut Card, while our Crib gets assisted from three cards, the Cut Card, along with those two cards given to us by Pone.

This tends to make Keep (9 T T T) and Toss (7 8) the most attractive option available to us today by quite a large margin.

Let's Toss (7 8).

After the Ace Cut, we still have Six Points in our Hand, with prospects for a good Crib.

I'd like to follow most leads today with our 9 Card, because if Pone then brings the Count up above Twenty-One, there is a chance that Pone will "play out" all remaining cards, allowing us to peg Nine Holes unopposed on our PAIRS Royal of three Ten "T" Cards to conclude the pegging.
JQT says: Don't "Poison your Crib" with two Ten Cards of any rank, especially when you're holding a third member of that same card rank! This is a very dire Relative Position, and we cannot expect Pone to be sending us 5 Cards, willy nilly, in such a game! After Toss (T T), other than those 5 Cards, only one Ten "T" Card (at 2.2% odds) remains in the deck to help our Crib! After Toss (7 8), however, Thirteen Cards (6666, 777, 888, 999) in the remaining deck (at 28.3% odds) shall help us! This means that Toss (7 8) is Thirteen Times more likely to get help in our Crib than Toss (T T)!
MiketheExpert says: The (T T) to own crib not surprisingly ranks as third choice today, illustrating the huge difference between top 10 throw (7 8) and a high-ranking pair, even falling short of keeping the starting double-run (8-9-T-T) with a poor crib throw of (7-T).
19 votes

Joined: April 2023

Tuesday 7:15 AM
466 votes

Joined: December 2020

Tuesday 7:46 AM
I ran out of high test k cup coffee pods this morning so I had to settle on half de-caf. In any event I am a grumpy cat...

Should I give up a set of tens for a double run? no in this case it would poison my crib. And salting away the 7 and 8. I am poised for a big hand if the cut is good...... Alas an ace doomed that hope' I am with the herd lamenting the ace
5186 votes

Joined: November 2008

Tuesday 9:35 AM
Don't panic as to position as n/d need 13 out of this hand to reach 3rd street CPZ (69-73). Dealer has the deck smack dab in middle of 2nd street CPZ (43-47) For that reason am choosing an optimal strategy. Once seeing the starter card adds nothing to hand and no direct benefit to 7-8 discard, will shift to offense. Don't be misled that n/d is 11 points ahead. The real positional advantage is about 2 holes. Will play the 9 on all leads except for Ace and deuce. Want the count to reach the ideal 22, at which point would say "go". You'd be surprised how many times dealer can score triples back-to-back (2 for pair, six for triple, and last card). Dealer can do this with any triple although more frequent with large triples. Go for it! With no apparent help from starter card, much easier to close the gap on 2nd street than waiting until 4th to wake up. Yes, would skip taking 15 on a five lead as would still like to see what the rest of n/d cards look like. Just have to see how this unfolds. Perhaps n./d found no use for A-6. Turn the crib for a Raggedy-Ann and 13 points. Don't despair - dealer is in better shape than pegs suggest.
Inushtuk1 says: Thanks Ras. Could you explain how the "real positional advantage is about 2 holes." Do you simply mean we are dealing 2 holes into our CPZ, while Pone is more than 10 holes short of the next one?
Inushtuk1 says: When replying to all leads except for the Ace or Deuce with a 9; does that also apply to the rare 10 lead? I ask because that would take a lot of patience from many of us to not take the safe pair in that case.
MiketheExpert says: Hi Ras, agree and also choose optimal strategy. Only thing is I would be afraid to play my 9 over a 7 or 8 lead for fair of multiple runs being scored against me that I couldn't defent. So in addition to the A and 2, I'd also play the 10 over a 7 or 8 lead.
MiketheExpert says: And of course the 10 lead as well, would pair :)
MiketheExpert says: Seems my typing has eluded me today. In the above: fair=fear, defent=defend.
Ras2829 says: Hi Inuyshtuk1: Yes was referring only to dealer position. When considering that n/d is 3 holes short, total positional advantage favors dealer by +5. If the averages are attained (10+16), dealer of this hand will have first count at 113 with opponent at 108. Still not a slam dunk although has the advantage.
1153 votes

Joined: April 2021

Tuesday 9:38 AM
Give me an excellent crib throw and keep (9-10-10-10) for defensive purposes as well as several cuts to hit a triple run. With the A cut, I'll take relatively safe pegs. Want to keep pone short of 3rd street at beginning of next deal.
MiketheExpert says: Won't be happy pairing a 9 lead by pone, but seems as if there is no better option for an optimal strategy.
MiketheExpert says: If we are lucky on this hand, our 10's can definitely work to our advantage on the pegging...In most instances, I will discard that 9 and keep those 10's in case I run pone out of cards and earn a big cash-in with those 10's on the pegging.
1517 votes

Joined: July 2016

Tuesday 10:08 AM
(10-10 is an also ran-toss. (7-10) is what I would throw as Pone. (7-8) is at least a one star toss (Ras), or a two star toss (Schell). It all boils down to what JQT said about one card helping the hand, and three aiding the Crib. I'd be surprised if the pegging can make up the difference at any strategy.
5624 votes

Joined: October 2007

Tuesday 11:01 AM
I think it's between 8-9-10-10 (7-10S) and 9-10-10-10 (7-8) but perhaps 7-8-9-10 (10-10) is worth looking at as well:

8-9-10-10: 8pts + 3¼pts (Schell: 3.23) = 11¼pts

9-10-10-10: 6pts + 6½pts (Schell: 6.53) = 12½pts

7-8-9-10: 6pts + 4¾pts (Schell: 4.76) = 10¾pts


8-9-10-10: Improves with 5555, 6666, 777, 888, 999, 10, JJJJ = 22 cuts = 22/46 = 47.8% up to 12/15/16pts with 5555, 777, 888, 999, 10 = 14 cuts.

9-10-10-10: Improves with 5555, 6666, 888, 999, 10, JJJJ = 19 cuts = 19/46 = 41.3% up to 12/15pts with 5555, 888, 10, JJJJ = 12 cuts.

7-8-9-10: Improves with 5555, 6666, 777, 888, 999, 10, JJJJ = 22 cuts = 22/46 = 47.8% up to 9/12/14pts with 6666, 777, 888, 999, 10 = 14 cuts


We're 1pt past 2nd street positional hole while Pone is 2pts short of where they would like to be. Our target is 60pts+ so I'll play Offense but with caution.


I think 7-8-9-10 will peg best but 8-9-10-10 I think will peg better than 9-10-10-10.


9-10-10-10 has the best starting value by 1¼pts over 8-9-10-10 and although 8-9-10-10 has a few more cuts for improvement and 14 cuts for 12-16pts 9-10-10-10 still has 12 cuts for 12/15pts so I think 9-10-10-10 will maintain its lead. Therefore I'll throw the more useful 7-8 to my box.
5347 votes

Joined: February 2008

Tuesday 11:04 AM
At 45*-56 playing a Defense strategy for the pegging the dynamic expected averages and Win/Loss %s are:

Defense_____Hand__Pegs____Crib_Total____W5 %____W6 %

Defense_________L5 %____L6 %

* Suited 7-10

9-10-10-10 is best for expected averages by 1.79pts and is considerably best for Win %s and lowest for Loss %s so I'll select 7-8 to discard.

After the A cut I'll play Optimally to the lead (cautious offense).
MiketheExpert says: Hal says all there is to say for me today.