May 25, 2023

*** This hand was suggested by Granny
20-20*  ?
Total votes: 237
GrannyAA23 seems to be the best to retain, but tossing a J5 is painful. The live cut for me was another 5.
4153 votes

Joined: April 2011

Thursday 3:43 AM
This early in the game I’ll keep max points.
4143 votes

Joined: October 2008

Thursday 4:12 AM
After Thirty-Nine Cuts (AAA, 22, 333, 4444, 7777, 8888, 9999, TTTT, JJJ, QQQQ, KKKK) or 39/46 = 0.848 or nearly 85% of the time, we'll begin with Ten Points or more;

And after Twenty-Seven Cuts (AAA, 22, 333, 9999, TTTT, JJJ, QQQQ, KKKK) or 27/46 = 0.587 or nearly 59% of the time, we'll begin with a Dozen Points or more.

We shall not only Toss (5 J), but let's 'gift wrap' it for our Opponent, and add a pretty, hand-made bow. 🎁 🎀 ✨

Wordle 705 4/6 (A New Yorker should get this in One Guess!)

JQT says: Would you trade me your One Dollar Bill for my Two Dollar Bill? If points or holes on the Cribbage Board were dollars, that's the deal you are giving up on by not performing Toss (5 J) today! Many puzzles that are debated at great length here on the "Daily Cribbage Hand" are over a quarter-point or third-of-a-point, but today's mistake will cost you, on average, anywhere from One to Two FULL POINTS! Expected Value of both Our Hand and Dealer's Crib are the most accurate measures we have, and to challenge the mathematics of these is like trying to beat the Casino in Roulette. At Hole 20, it is the ideal time to play these percentages, since being First to Deal from Hole 44 is the next meaningful target, and that is Twenty-Four Holes away. Only Seven Cuts (555, 6666) won't add points, and Twenty-Three Cuts (AAA, 22, 333, TTTT, JJJ, QQQQ, KKKK), or HALF the remaining deck, will give us Fourteen Points or more, setting us up to 'swipe' the Positional Advantage away from our Opponent, and do so exactly 50% of the time, just upon seeing the Cut Card, and doing so WHILE WE ARE PONE! It doesn't get any better than this, although the one thing lacking is what I call, "Five Card Cut Insurance." Yes, a 5 Card Cut could "burn" us very badly, but since we were dealt one of these, the odds of cutting a 5 Card are only 3/46 = 6.5% which means that nearly 94% of the time, it will not happen. Play the Actual Numbers, Folks, and avoid the Casino Odds! 🎲
5790 votes

Joined: March 2008

Thursday 4:40 AM
I'll keep my sure 8 points. Got a bonus.
1439 votes

Joined: February 2009

Thursday 4:50 AM
Agree with above. Opponent is already in good position so think the play here is to be aggressive at this early stage of the game and retain the powerful double run. Every “face” / “10” cut gives us 14 and we have a chance for a max of 16. Too many helpful cuts. Could be some decent pegging too with this hold.
70 votes

Joined: April 2022

Thursday 4:53 AM
I think giving away the J5 is what I would have done in real life. Thought that had to be "wrong" though, so i was afraid to say so here :)
Gougie00 says: Playing defense into a close loss.
Eolus619 says: Gougie00…the best and most remembered axioms are simple..Al’s is a cribbage classic.
JQT says: Every Cribbage Game WON entails accumulating 121 Points, and doing so before our Opponent can do the same.
6435 votes

Joined: April 2008

Thursday 5:17 AM
I will explain this in two scenarios. First in "live" competition I would do the J-5 fairly quick as not to give my opponent any hints on any long decision. The second would have do to with internet online playing. I have noticed this certain type of set of cards have this gaming site cuts a five I would say at least 90 percent of the time when it is our discard to the opponent. Sorry but I have a pretty good history of seeing this happen. I would lead one of the twos and hope for a lot of play on. dec
Inushtuk1 says: Great point Dan about tossing the (5-K) fairly quickly. I need to work on that.
MiketheExpert says: Don't have much "live" experience at cribbage, but this makes complete sense...Do it quick, and with a smile on your face for the gift you just gave him...My smile would be fake unless I saw the cut card we did today :)
370 votes

Joined: March 2023

Thursday 5:33 AM
Sacrificed only 2. Not interested in turning this game into a track meet.
3980 votes

Joined: June 2013

Thursday 6:01 AM
Fortunate with the cut.
1180 votes

Joined: April 2021

Thursday 6:09 AM
Nothing to defend here. I am pone with a hefty hill to climb, even though on the board the score is tied. I need to keep the double-run, and the cost to do so is the (5 J). (A 5) is barely a consideration, only because the face card is a J. For the very reason of today's cut on CHOD, don't sacrifice any points unless there is a better trade-off available. Would have led the deuce ordinarily no contest, but maybe see one, play one (after the cut). The deuce lead now might be an easy tip-off that I have another resting in my hand as well.
19 votes

Joined: April 2023

Thursday 6:14 AM
This is full of bad throws, A-2, 2-2, 2-3, anything with a 5 or a J. This leaves the question of which throw is the least bad. The 20-20 score is irrelevant to my decision.

I always knew 2-3 was a bad throw and Ras’ research indicates it’s the best throw to your own crib which means if not the worst, then one of the worst to the opponent’s crib. I didn’t watch that part of his video - yet.

What I want to do is throw the J-5 but this isn’t the hand for that. The 5 needs to stay out of the opponent’s crib. While the double run is worth 6 points (8-2 in crib) the risk is too great for me. I’d rather everyone get a few points than to risk a 12+ crib. I realize that every throw from this hand risks a 12 crib, but why make it easier on the dealer.

Keeping the 2-2-3-5 gives me an improved hand from every cut except 9. Of course the cut 2 gives me 6 and the 3 gives 4 with similar results from the 7 & 8, but none by themselves help the crib and greatly reduce the probability of a large crib. Of course I don’t like to throw J’s into the opponents crib but given the choices I think this is the least bad.

I’ll throw the J-A and keep the hand full of 5’s with a couple chances at a double run. It also gives me 8 for every X cut. This hand that you would happily deal yourself every hand turns into a hand you hope is average after your throw and cut from the other side.


Great cut...this time
mike320 says: Oops, not so great cut, I was thinking I still had the A for some reason.
mike320 says: I just read that Granny got a 5 cut in the live game which makes me glad I chose the J-A throw. The 5 cut pretty much wiped out the double run kept after a J-5 since dealer probably threw an X into the now more dangerous crib.
1544 votes

Joined: July 2016

Thursday 6:27 AM
Very difficult for me to break up this double run as Pone, even later in the game. Not at all interested in keeping the triple nickels worth only 2 starting points. Great cut. Keep the pedal to the metal, and lead the 3 to the 2. If paired, entice the run pegging war with one of the red deuces.
Inushtuk1 says: (A-5) I believe will end up the second best choice by Halscrib.
1400 votes

Joined: June 2020

Thursday 6:29 AM
I am going goldilocks this morning…sacrificing 2 points to avoid 5-J. My keep gets cut help from all but a 6 & 8..A,2,3,4 get me back the double run. With my current, always evolving, approach I am willing to consider sending fives across the board with A,2,8 or 9.
Eolus619 says: whoops my mistake on a 3 helping a double adds points though
Eolus619 says: a bad morning…the deuce helps but not the double run
JQT says: There are a few exercises that can help players lose their superstitions over the 5 Card. 5️⃣ Late at night, when nobody is watching, play a dozen games against your favorite Cribbage sparring program or app, and every time you are dealt a 5 Card as Pone, force yourself to put it in the Enemy Crib. After a series of games, you should come away with at least two important lessons: Don't do this in your real games; it's a bad idea! But also, you will see that the 5 Card, in many, many respects, is JUST ANOTHER CARD in Cribbage. Don't fear handling it appropriately, which means it could sometimes end up being tossed 'over the board' or even led during the pegging. Speaking of pegging, play a few more online games during which you peg by playing the "wrong" cards at the wrong times. Make as many blunders as you can, and notice how often your Opponent can actually take advantage of your errors. Lastly, another exercise is to play a few games against a willing person during which, after discarding, you lay your cards face-up, and see if you can peg any better when seeing the cards of your Opponent. Try to play at a normal pace, as in a real game. By testing such "boundary conditions," you can often gain insight into just how dangerous or risky certain plays really are (and ofter are NOT), and then, when there comes a time that accepting some risk might be worth it, you'll hopefully be drawing from a larger base of experience.
Eolus619 says: Very good recommendations..TY JQT
3073 votes

Joined: November 2014

Thursday 7:25 AM
Very tempted to toss the A-5.... would probably do so in a real game. But on this forum? 5-J is probably the mathematically correct choice (and it would appear that C. Liam Brown's site proves the math). Still, hate tossing 5-J, but damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!
513 votes

Joined: January 2023

Thursday 7:46 AM
I went with toss A-5 having felt that it could give me an above average hand as pone while reducing the chance of a big crib for dealer. Appreciate that I may well have fallen between two stools, though.
1326 votes

Joined: December 2017

Thursday 8:15 AM
I know I was going on yesterday about how you shouldn’t be too defensive in the early game, but 20-20* is a place for defense, usually, and 2235 is a decent keep. I wouldn’t skunk my hand to toss TK here, but I would for sure toss AJ from these cards, even with the risk of some losing cuts. Then again, yesterday, at 48-48*, I was afraid to keep even as strong a hand as 5569 for fear of falling back. But we just don’t have good choices here. Toss 5J? Way too offensive, even for me, in this position. A5? Interesting goldilocks, but I still don’t like the idea of giving a five to dealer. It does leave a safer pegging hand, but that shouldn’t be overconsidered.

You could justly accuse me of inconsistency– A5 is, if anything, (checking the charts), safer than the 69 I tossed yesterday. But I don’t think that was a good call… still very much a learner, and when I approach these things as puzzles I often think my way into subpar plays. (And if I approach them as real hands, I get them wrong often enough then too, because they’re tough calls! Haha). Anyway, Emerson said that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”, and it would be foolish to be consistent with that line of thought.

I’d say most everyone is being a bit inconsistent today, frankly, being willing to toss 5J at 20-20* but afraid to toss 56 or 69 at 48-48*.

I understand doubting the value of playing positional cribbage before the end of the game – there is so much room for extreme hands on either side to change the trajectory, and I do think a lot of positional ideas are rubbish for this reason (and others). But the fact of the matter is, even dealer’s modest positional advantage at 0*-0 is worth a 12% swing in win rate. I think if you “lean in” to the scoring trends of the game, it’s worth a lot. In fact, I’d say two weeks of studying Schell did more for my win% than years of subsequent work on pegging and discarding.

Interestingly, with delta, 2J would have been a better balk here than AJ (by 0.2), and leave a better hand by 0.1 too. A2, with delta, is better by 0.1 as a balk, and leaves a much better hand by 0.7 over my keep! So if I’d have realized that, I think A2 is the truly best play today – and none of the commenters went this way! I just didn’t take delta into account adequately. I’d say a lot of people aren’t taking position into account adequately today, either. I don’t understand the phrase, “nothing to defend”. With dealer at 20*, there is a lot to defend – with cautious play and halfway decent cards, he could easily be knocked off course. The analogous fourth street score is 99-99*. Would you really play offense there, or what? That doesn’t make sense to me.

The record of hands I was taking is done – over 1k hands for dealer and pone each. Organizing them will take a long time… first I have to sort them into categories like 5XXX, LLLM, MMXX, 5MMX, etc, then then each category will have to be further organized. But I’ll finish eventually and certainly share the results.
horus93 says: Similarly, "defending your way to a close loss" - it's a cute phrase, but I defend my way to wins pretty regularly. And JQT's "exchange" metaphor is also highly misleading, because the value of your scoring vs your opponent's scoring changes drastically depending on the score.
JQT says: I cannot recall using the term "exchange" but no doubt you are referring to my One Dollar for Two Dollars comment. It's not really an exchange; this is about probabilities, a very precise and exacting field of mathematics. This requires an understanding of probabilistic math, which is actually key to understanding Expected Averages as being the BEST tool for predicting growth. Let me state it another way: Retaining the Double Run today is, upon average, equivalent to gaining at least a FULL POINT MORE over any other choice; and while the risk of not holding the Double Run could be large, the reward when we do hold it is even larger, which compels us to Toss (5 J). I think the score does not enter into the decision today, because (A) it's still very early in the game, and (B) the difference between holding the Double Run or NOT holding it is too large. In my reply today about WON games, I am referring to amassing enough POINTS in order to WIN. When we have a Hand such as the one dealt to us today in which we can obtain Fourteen Points or more after 50% of the Cuts, I contend that we need to "Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May" and retain those points! It is, I'm afraid, the calculated mathematical result. Positionally, you might have some argument, but can it overcome all those additional points while we sit at Hole 20? I don't think so, but it's proper that you ask the question. When it comes to Expected Averages, I've found that there are three kinds of players in Cribbage: those who have no idea what an Expected Average is, or how to calculate one (it's worth learning, and Michael Schell's Cribbage Forum is loaded with examples!); those who sort-of know what it is, but don't always believe that it should be used in the decision-making process; and, those who understand it and implement it every time. I draw many analogies to investing and growing wealth, because it uses essentially the same (and yet frequently misunderstood) mathematics, and Expected Averages are also well known by those who always seem to be sitting on "the right side" of the equation in money matters: The Casino, The Bank, The Payday Loan Shark, etc. Becoming comfortable with the concept of Expected Averages requires a two-pronged process, because it's not only a matter of doing and understanding the math, but then it requires both the knowledge and confidence to "let it work for you" and trust in it, because sometimes it is as simple as giving up one in order to obtain two! A lot of people can usually follow the logic of how one choice does produce a higher Expected Average, but then they fail to follow through, in spite of knowing that it supplies us with the best choice. It's why Casinos exist!
MiketheExpert says: Hi horus. To explain my statement of "nothing to defend", it is not only the exact score all the time 20-20*, but also the complexion of the cards I am dealt which are being taken into consideration. And even before looking at the cards I am dealt, am leaning towards offense with dealer already at hole 20 and myself barely into 1st street, and 23 holes away from 2nd street. There is no option I see in this deal of cards that would make defense a "reasonable" strategy, as the hand sacrifice is just too great to be able to justify it.
MiketheExpert says: Referring to JQT's comments about expected averages, my background of education is heavily mathematical, and involved in the business of "expected averages" so to speak. Even in saying this, in the game of cribbage, I don't always make the choice that corresponds to the best result mathematically --- not because I don't trust the numbers - either (A) We know there are specific circumstances, positions, endgames, where it is CORRECT not to use the expected average benchmark, although these numbers are still good. (B) There are situations where I'm willing to take a RISK (meaning an expected LOSS in terms of my choice from the mathematically SOUND one), if the potential BENEFIT of a SPECIFIC result could outweigh the damage, or disadvantage of my expected loss, based on probabilities of this specific event occurring (similarly to taking insurance against a very bad outcome, or maybe in this case, the opposite (maintaining the possibility of a very GOOD outcome). So, I guess you can say my style of playing cribbage is similar to how I would play many casino games (for the better or for the worse :-)
MiketheExpert says: I should add, the potential BENEFIT or CONSEQUENCE of a specific, or set of results, all while taking the expected average into account, so it can work both ways.
MiketheExpert says: @JQT, maybe we can also add a 4th type of player, where I might fall :) ...Those who fully understand the concept of expected average, believe it SHOULD be used as part of the decision-making process, but who don't always ABIDE by it, or implement it 100% of the time. At least it would be that way or that result if I were to sit and calculate each hand every time, so often it is a "feel" which amounts to that same result.
mike320 says: Since I've never run the numbers, I'm not sure of the exact expected averages. Unless someone like Halscrib… (not a personal jab) has all of those numbers memorized those numbers may tell you what is best to do, but does not truly tell you how to make a good decision at the table. I know from looking at the cards what I can probably expect from the various cuts if the dealer has a favorable throw to the crib or a bad throw to the crib. Looking at today, if the dealer throws 4-6, to the crib, which is a reasonable expectation if he holds it or a pair of X’s if he can, I’m up against a huge crib in Granny’s game with the J-5 throw. On the other hand, the computer’s 3 gives me a double-double run and hopefully the dealer didn’t throw a 4 or God forbid 2 4’s or his own X-5 in the crib. I see too many possibilities for dealer to get a big crib. Dealer’s hand is of course totally out of my control, so I won’t really factor it into my decision, though I know his average is 8. Having said all of that, if I felt the score justified my taking the chance to get a big hand, I would by all means reconsider the wimpy A-J throw and throw something that gave me more of a chance at a much larger hand at the risk of giving up a large crib. An example score might be 70-90* since if I can’t win, I would like to at least avoid the skunk. (I don’t consider this an unwinnable score) With the score at 20-20 my expectation is that the hand will be about average with the score around 30*-35 with my A-J throw and I would prefer that over a score of 30*-50 at my next deal. Would I like a score of 50*-30? Of course, but I think in this situation, if I throw for that (J-5), I’m risking too much of a chance of it being closer to 30*-50 on the next hand.
877 votes

Joined: April 2021

Thursday 8:24 AM
Too many good things happen with this keep versus trying to balk the dealer's crib. Now that we avoided a 5 cut let's move on down the board with a bit of a smile and maybe a small flourish while pegging.
5215 votes

Joined: November 2008

Thursday 9:59 AM
Choice of strategy should indicate the discard. It's offense to include the pegging. N/D is not likely to reach 2nd street CPZ (43-47) for upcoming deal. Even so, having 16 points after seeing starter card, n/d should play to get close, lead the trey, and take any pegs offered. Wouldn't consider discarding A-5 to hold six points. A five with anything to opponent crib averages near 6 points. In this case 5.811.
Ras2829 says: Only 5-6 do not add value to this hand with values ranging from 10-16 points. With that kind of hand potential, n/d can justify discarding 5-J.
5646 votes

Joined: October 2007

Thursday 12:48 PM
I think it's between the aggressive A-2-2-3 (5-J), the defensive 2-3-5-J (A-2) and perhaps the compromise 2-2-3-J (A-5):

A-2-2-3: 8pts - 8pts (Schell: 7.76) = 0pt

2-3-5-J: 4pts - 6¼pts (Schell: 6.01) = -2¼pts

2-2-3-J: 6pts - 5pts (Schell: 5.07) = +1pt


A-2-2-3: Improves with AAA, 22, 333, 4444, 7777, 8888, 9999 + 15xXs = 39 cuts = 39/46 = 84.8% up to 12/14/15/16pts with AAA, 22, 333, 9999 + 15xXs = 27 cuts.

2-3-5-J: Improves with AAA, 22, 333, 4444, 555, 7777, 8888 + 15xXs = 38 cuts = 82.6% up to 7/8/10pts with AAA, 22, 333, 4444, 555 + 15xXs = 30 cuts. Plus 11 diamond cuts for 1pt for his nob = 11/46 = 0.24pt.

2-2-3-J: Improves with AAA, 22, 333, 4444, 555, 8888 + 15xXs = 34 cuts = 34/46 = 73.9% up to 10/12/14pts with AAA, 22, 333, 4444 + 15xXs = 27 cuts. Plus 11 diamond cuts for 1pt for his nob = 11/46 = 0.24pt.


In two deals time using the 26pts per two deals we'll be at 46-46* where, I think it's more obvious that opponent is much better positionally. Ideally we need to slow Dealer down and score a good hand.


I think all the hands will peg well but perhaps playing more defensively 2-3-5-J and 2-2-3-J will peg better.


2-2-3-J has the best starting value at +1pt and it also has 27 cuts for 10-14pts, the additional approx. ¼pt nob potential and should peg well. So I'll throw the A-5.
5371 votes

Joined: February 2008

Thursday 12:57 PM
At 20-20* playing a SAFE strategy for the pegging the dynamic expected averages and Win/Loss %s are:

Defense___Hand__Pegs____Crib____Total___W7 %____W8 %

Defense______L7 %____L8 %

A-2-2-3 is best for expected averages by 0.73pt. over 2-2-3-J and 1.36pts over 2-3-5-J. It is also significantly best for Win %s and despite it being very much higher for Loss %s because of the risky 5-J I'll still select it to discard.

After the 3 cut I'll lead a 2 and play Offense:

Lead_____________Our Pegging Points
JQT says: As a few people have mentioned, we cannot perform the precise Expected Average calculation at the board. But what we can do is estimate it very closely, by knowing our Discard Tables. We should know that Toss (5 X) when we are Pone, while very dangerous, will tend to average about Seven or Eight Points. We can also quickly surmise that after Toss (5 J) today, that on our side of the ledger, the Double Run will reach Fourteen Points OR MORE after Cut Cards of HALF the remaining deck. The difference here is Plus Six Points. The safest Discard Choice we have is likely Toss (3 J), which 'chimes in' at over Four Points, possibly dooming our Hand to Two Points after Four Cuts (4444)! Other Discard Choices such as Toss (A J) all 'fork over' an average of over Four Points, so perhaps we can reduce the damage 'over the board' by an average of Four Points, but it's going to 'cost us' dearly, at least Five or Six Points LESS in our Hand. Our Opponent may be the Dealer, and our Opponent does indeed have a Positional Advantage, but we both still need over One Hundred Points to WIN this game, and we're sitting on a 50% proposition of starting with Fourteen Points or more! Even with (A A 2 3 5 J) in the same position, I think the decision leans slightly in favor of Toss (5 J). A very nice puzzle!
MiketheExpert says: I suspect that even (A A 2 3 5 J) will have the same top choice in terms of discards, with (5 J) to crib creating an expected average for OUR hand of 11.35, while (A 5) and keep (A 2 3 J) (I'm assuming only the 2d and Jd in hand) would yield an expected average of 7.93. Crib averages against would be similar, but slightly different with changing one of the cards dealt to us. The (2 3 5 J) might maintain 3rd position with a now more dangerous crib throw of (A A), and I even wonder how the choices of (2 5), (2 J), or (3 J) would rank in comparison to this.
MiketheExpert says: Forgot about (A J). I suspect that (A J) might actually now come up to 3rd choice ahead of the toss (A A), and possibly even come close to the (A 5) toss for 2nd place.
Ras2829 says: The cribbot knows that chances of A-2-3 after leading deuce, will score more points than will holding A-2-2 after the lead of the trey, and hoping to triple a deuce. Also dealer is more likely to get away with pairing the trey since there is one on the deck. HalscribCLX is an amazing program, Hal Mueller a real genius. And all of that is built into algorithms. RAS is stil learning this game; so from such a configuration, choosing offense to include the pegging, will lead a deuce in future such crib action.
343 votes

Joined: February 2023

Thursday 2:17 PM
Wow! My first suggested hand makes its debut. In real life, the cut was a 5. So painful to let go of points, but I too kept the run and tossed J-5
19 votes

Joined: April 2023

Thursday 2:40 PM
In my response to Horus93’s post, I mentioned your numbers not being very useful at the table unless you have a method to quickly compute them in your head or have them all memorized, which would surprise me. In a forum such as this; however, they are a useful gauge against which people can compare their choices, so please don’t think they are of no interest to me. I can use them to hone the decisions I might make at the table. You did not consider the J-A throw in your number today and I would be interested in seeing how they compare to the others.
mike320 says: I meant this as a reply to HalscribCLX
fentesk says: I don't know that we see responses from whomever posts the HalsCribCLX program results and I don't have access to it so I can only make a rough estimate. The A-J discard today likely performs worse than the A-2. The hand average for the A-2 is ~0.7 better than A-J (~7.4 vs. ~6.7). Using the Schell discard table directly gives the A-2 ~0.4 points more in crib than A-J (5.07 vs 4.68). The A-2 most likely is worth even less today as the biggest help to it are the 3s, of which we hold one, and we also have another 2. The program has selected Safe pegging today, so it is subtracting any points the opponent scores from its reported values (and taking no credit for our points in the pegging). I'd expect the hands peg close enough to not skew the results much. That all says that A-2 is probably worth 0.1-0.2 more points than A-J for HalsCrib today, and thus slightly better results for Win% for the A-2.