November 18, 2023

*** This hand was suggested by fentesk
16-14*  ?
Total votes: 215
fenteskGame's first non-dealer closed the gap a bit on the first hand and now we have to pick what to send from a hand we would much prefer to get as dealer. What goes to the crib? Actual cut was the 5 of hearts with dealer holding 2-3-4-5. And just like that the dealer advantage became a 12-point deficit.
4143 votes

Joined: October 2008

Saturday 3:06 AM
Aside from the risky Toss (J J), Toss (6 9) is also Two Points, but it's somewhat ♋ less dangerous.

Toss (6 J) risks even less, but it also knocks several points off of the Hand, and this early in the game, I'll incur the risk and any wrath of Toss (6 9).

After the Trey of Hearts 💓 Cut, we now have Seven Points in our Hand. Let's lead a Jack from our PAIR. 🍐
3980 votes

Joined: June 2013

Saturday 3:11 AM
I'm on course to win the race to hole 17, so I'll take a, "steady as she goes" approach.

J6 *should* be reasonably safe from these. They sum to 16 so cannot be part of the same 15/2 combo, and with a 5,6,9 and J in my hand, four immediately helpful cards are known to be unavailable to the crib. Fewer Spades in circulation than Hearts, so I'll discard that Jack with the red 6.
Eolus619 says: James500…your choice …I now have a bit of discard remorse …well thought out ..but then I have come to expect this from a man who has the advantage of having been awake seven hours before us here in the Colonies
james500 says: Thanks for the kind words Bruce. I suspect the top few choices will be very close.
1180 votes

Joined: April 2021

Saturday 4:06 AM
I will go with the ultra-defensive (6 J) throw here while keeping 4 starting points. Even early in the game, I don't particularly like the trend after one deal, and will try my hardest to keep my opponent below average on this deal. Of course, I already made the mistake of throwing the JH rather than the JS, which I rightly paid for :) (Due to having another spade in the hand, it would have been correct to throw the spade). My second choice would have been to throw (9 J).
MiketheExpert says: It could have been 2 deals of course prior to this, but that really doesn't matter, as it all amounts to the same thing....
MiketheExpert says: Leading the 6d here as pone.
1482 votes

Joined: February 2009

Saturday 4:09 AM
Caution to the wind today with this hand-a multitude of cuts give us at least 12( 2 sixes,3 nines,4 fours and 4 sevens-im also going to lead the 9 and hope the dealer has an all picture hand-which would enable us to outpeg him 6-2
5214 votes

Joined: November 2008

Saturday 4:31 AM
Dealer of this hand is a few holes short; so, will choose an optimal strategy knowing that have 7 points after the starter card. Will lead a Jack. If dealer scores 15-2 with a five, will advance the count to 25. It matters not whether choosing defense, offens, or optimal strategies, this keep has the edge in combined value. Will defer to HalscribCLX as to win/loss %.
5790 votes

Joined: March 2008

Saturday 4:51 AM
Curling my nose and tossing the Jacks.
957 votes

Joined: January 2019

Saturday 4:51 AM
I’m looking at my cards here, thinking “Why didn’t you throw J 6 instead of J 9?”.
6435 votes

Joined: April 2008

Saturday 5:30 AM
Hard to think about this play as defense but to me it is. Jack of hearts ( not that fake again! ) lead. dec
1400 votes

Joined: June 2020

Saturday 6:16 AM
Hmmmm.devil and the deep blue sea puzzle…going to give up two points with discard..don’t like the possibility of sending Js that then match up with dealer sending 5s / 2-3…and also a 50% chance of nobs happening..of course 6-9 can match up with 7-8 in the crib…dealer’s most frequent toss by far …after reading Ras & Rob…I am a bit befuddled …which is an all too familiar occurrence with my cribbage game
Eolus619 says: Sending out a missing poster report for scottcrib…
2625 votes

Joined: March 2009

Saturday 6:25 AM
I like Rob's strategy of preferring a potentially strong but risky hand early in the game, with high pegging prospects as well. If the situation was the middle of second street or beyond would maybe play differently depending on the relative positions.
1326 votes

Joined: December 2017

Saturday 6:44 AM
Even though it’s early game, the position is pretty extreme at +10/-2. So I’d throw 6J for lack of any better options. I think JJ would be too aggressive - pairs in oppo crib do way better than they do in your own. Also a safer pegging hand. Choice of Jack is a Colvert call- I see one spade, and no hearts, so I’d toss the spade Jack. I’m not insensitive to the fact that 569J is not a stellar hand. This is a case of “playing defense now to play offense later” – hopefully the balk lands and I can afford to play on in the next hand. But imo anything else wouldn’t be worth the risk.

Checking Liam, I’m cautiously comfortable with this play, but wouldn’t dispute too much with those who did it differently. Tossing the aggressive JJ gives you a hand that averages 9.1, although this mean is distorted by big-but-unlikely cuts. It averages 6 in crib, which of course does not mean that it is worth “about six”. My 6J balk averages 4.1 in the crib – that’s heavy; the delta affected it more than I thought it would. The hand averages only 6.8, so offense may be on the cards next hand. Kinda shocked to be in a 6% minority today… this definitely ain’t a bad move. Oppo is only two points short of par.

To the cut, I’d stay on defense and lead the six.

Alright on to the game with Bozo Mae. On the third deal the score was 15*-21. This is a good example of a case where starting dealer (me) definitely *shouldn’t* play defense – as you can see, the dynamics have been offensive throughout. And on the other side, a case where starting pone did well to play defense, which he did. I wonder if Bozo is a Schellian.

Bozo was dealt 4556KK. Recognizing the defensive nature of his position, Bozo tossed 46 – with delta, it’s a decent balk, and 55KK is a safer pegger than 4556. I’d have tossed KK at this score – it’s early days, KK isn’t that dangerous. But he gets a nod for playing to the score, although I’d say this was a “hyperpositional” move. Can’t overly fault him for that, I make the same kind of mistake often enough, perhaps even in today’s puzzle.

I dealt myself A[A]4[78J]. Tossed 78, of course, to hold AA4J. The flush isn’t strong enough to outweigh 78 vs A4 in the crib, and a double nickle in hand.

The cut was… a four! Poor bozo, he could have held 4556.

Pegging went: K-4(14)-K(24)-A(25)-5(30)-A(31-2)//5-J(15-2)

So Bozo’s lead: a King, not a five. I do think there’s a general tendency for “serious” players to overestimate the risk of a five trap. Consider, dealer does not hold 34 or 67 every hand. And even if he does have ‘em, that’s three points (plus a likely “last”) – but leading a five would give up two a huge amount of the time. So I think he was right to lead the King. It also leaves an opening to rattle a lone five and so on – as we will see, Bozo in his pone pegging is very focused on the second play series, more than I am.

For me – I’m on max offense holding AA4J. So to a King lead, I could entice a run with the Jack. This also drives up the count and maximizes odds of parleying my aces. But in the moment, under the suasion of the gut, I decided to play into the three-card six with my four. Hard for me to say which of these replies is “really best”, they both have upsides and downsides.

In this case, it worked, and I got a 31, as well as a fifteen when Bozo was forced to lead a five as his last card.

So the cut was a 4, I held AA4J, pretty sure I got nob too. And my crib, with the 78 toss, was 44678. Good stuff – Bozo’s balk failed, as they do a substantial minority of the time, and I’m pone all the way at 41 next hand. Bozo pegged nothing and held a 12 point hand, so he’s dealing at 33*.

4.) 41-33*

Bozo had an easy choice, tossing 79 in his crib to hold JQKK.

I also had an easy choice, but not one I was so comfortable with. I was dealt A2368K. I had to toss the 68, anything else was too defensive, but I knew I was playing with fire. I’m at 41, right? I want to be dealing well past par, not merely around par. And with oppo 9 points short, it was worth the risk, but I don’t deny that it *was* a risk.

The cut was a Q. So I have a seven point hand. What’s the best lead here, holding A23K?

Schell thought the “standard” lead was a three with this hand, and that leading the K was only for desperate offense. But leading the three means leading into a bad six – you often give up a 31, or worse, like if oppo holds 23XX. So a low card lead isn’t *so* great on defense.

And on the offensive side, I seem to often get at least a 31 leading the X. And holding only 7 points, and with a cut that doesn’t appear to hit the 68 toss, I’m basically inclined to offense. So I lead the K. Meanwhile Bozo has a 16 point hand with the cut, and a goodish crib toss, so he’s on full offense and played accordingly. Pegging went:


Besides choice of lead, and Bozo’s pairing me, this was all straightforward. We both got lucky in the pegging… but who comes out ahead?

Well, with my 68 toss hitting Bozo’s 79, he has an 8 point crib. No fair, 79 never does that well for me. And he had a sixteen point hand. I pegged four, but only had a seven point hand. So the score next hand is 52*-63, perilous indeed. Bozo has gotten into position in the front, I only have a ten point surplus in the back which cannot necessarily sustain defense. And you’ll hear more about it tomorrow!
285 votes

Joined: December 2022

Saturday 7:28 AM
This is so similar to a hand that I submitted. Thought that it was mine when I saw it. I went with keeping the 5, 6 and both jacks.
Eolus619 says: hello…👏👏👏👏keep posting !
1439 votes

Joined: February 2009

Saturday 7:40 AM
I like the defensive 6-Js here. We will be in position next hand as dealer where we can then “put the pedal to the metal”. And we still have plenty of cuts that will give us a decent hand (4,5,6,7,9,10,J).
Andy (muesli64)
2228 votes

Joined: August 2009

Saturday 8:04 AM
Probably best to throw 6-J. Throwing 6-J, 6-9, 9-J much the same as each other. Throwing JJ could result in a run away crib. Up to 16 points. Let's sacrifice a half point or so, according to Hand Evaluator, and stay in the game.
Andy (muesli64) says: Not showing my throw on right.
Andy (muesli64) says: Not showing my throw on right.
1544 votes

Joined: July 2016

Saturday 8:11 AM
Way too early in the game to give away a pair of Jacks. I'd only do that later in the game. Follow Ras's advice as to pegging. Make sure you toss the black 6 and 9 for a possible flush claim penalty.
Jazzselke says: Hey Mike - How many times have you seen a flush claim penalty?
Eolus619 says: Mike..after you answer Dan's ?.... 3-3-3-6...9 = ? flush
Inushtuk1 says: Hey Dan. I've never seen one to be honest. But I do recall Ras telling us of this very same strategy. Perhaps you have seen it at least once, with all the tournaments you do. I'll never see it; that's for sure.
Inushtuk1 says: Hi Bruce. That's 16; and no flush is possible holding a triple. And right back at you; one of the most frequently under-counted hands in all of Cribbagedom; 3-6-6-9, cut a 3?
Eolus619 says: Mike..your count puzzle with the 3s & 6s is a great lesson..early on , for reasons only known to my maker, i could not for the life of me pick up on A-7-7 or 3-6-6 counting 15..i have been able to fix that the answer is 14
Eolus619 says: oh..and……correct in your answer
Jazzselke says: Maybe once
Ras2829 says: Wouldn't want anyone to rely heavily on a flush claim penalty. Have seen a couple in organized play over the past 30 years. Suppose might not hear of a few such in a crowd. There is a very remote chance for such.
210 votes

Joined: February 2022

Saturday 9:34 AM
I went with the majority toss of JJ and played out the hand on CribPro. It was a break-even with equal pegging and hands - his crib scored a pair and the right Jack for 3 points. Again, I recorded this and uploaded the results to YouTube. I may not do this every day as it's time consuming. Having some problems with the sound quality also. Also, working on a "Mock Cribbage Game" which is a video of a real, board game but with me playing both hands and only playing four hands. This would likely not be of much interest to you all as it tends to be very basic. Here's the Youtube link for today's DCH
horus93 says: Thanks for doing that. Your method of filming live play is certainly intriguing. There actually are some videos of tourney play on youtube but they're not well done - you have to pause the screen and squint to figure out what's going on. Your system would definitely work a lot better, so look forward to hearing more about it.
1694 votes

Joined: August 2019

Saturday 10:16 AM
I'm with horus and fetch today. And make sure you toss the correct Jack.
Eolus619 says: scottcrib appears..yea!…the prodigal cribbage player returns to CHOD
750 votes

Joined: May 2019

Saturday 11:22 AM
What nicest guy in cribbage said.
5646 votes

Joined: October 2007

Saturday 5:22 PM
I'll examine 5-6-J-J, 5-6-6-9 (J-J), 5-6-9-JH (6-J) and 5-6-6-JS (9-JH):

5-6-J-J: 6pts - 6¼pts (Schell: 6.26) = -¼pt

5-6-6-9: 6pts - 6¼pts (Schell: 6.42) = -¼pt

5-6-9-JH: 4pts - 4½pts (Schell: 4.57) = -½pt

5-6-6-JS: 4pts - 5pts (Schell: 4.96) = -1pt


5-6-J-J: Improves with 4444, 555, 66, 7777, 999 + 14xXs = 30 cuts = 30/46 = 65.2% up to 9/11/12pts with 4444, 555, 7777, JJ = 13 cuts. Plus 12 heart cuts and 11 spade cuts for 1pt extra for his nob = 23/46 = 0.50pt.

5-6-6-9: Improves with AAAA, 3333, 4444, 555, 66, 7777, 999 + 14xXs = 38 cuts = 38/46 = 82.6% up to 12/16pts with 4444, 66, 7777, 999 = 13 cuts.

5-6-9-JH: Improves with AAAA, 4444, 555, 66, 7777, 999 + 14xXs = 34 cuts = 34/46 = 73.9% up to 7/8/9pts with 4444, 555, 66, 7777, 999, 10101010, JJ = 22 cuts. Plus 12 heart cuts for 1pt extra for his nob = 12/46 = 0.26pt.

5-6-6-JS: Improves with 3333, 4444, 555, 66, 7777, 999 + 14xXs = 34 cuts = 34/46 = 73.9% up to 8/10/14pts with 4444, 555, 66, 7777, 999, JJ = 18 cuts. Plus 11 spade cuts for Ipt extra for his nob = 11/46 = 0.24pt.


In three deals time if we score the average 10-16-10 we'll be at 52* while opponent will score on average 16-10-16 and will be at 56 so we're 8pts past 2nd street positional hole while opponent is 8pts short of where they'd like to be so I'll play Defense.


I think all these hands will peg quite well playing Defense.


5-6-J-J and 5-6-6-9 are best for starting value by ¼pt over 5-6-9-JH but both the other hands have approximately ¼pt nob potential but 5-6-J-J has 0.50pt. nob potential. 5-6-6-9 also has the most cuts for improvement and 13 cuts for 12/16pt compared to 22 cuts for 7-9pts with 5-6-9-JH and 18 cuts for 8-14pts with 5-6-6-JS while 5-6-J-J has 13 cuts for 9-12pts. So overall I think 5-6-J-J may perform best and I'll throw a 6-9.
5371 votes

Joined: February 2008

Saturday 5:28 PM
At 16-14* playing an Optimal strategy (cautious offense) for the pegging the dynamic expected averages and Win/Loss %s are:

Optimal___Hand_Pegs____Crib____Total___W8 %____W9 %

Optimal______L8 %____L9 %

5-6-J-J is best for expected averages by 0.52pt and although 5-6-9-9 is best for Win %s and 5-6-9-JH is lowest for Loss %s as it's early in the game I'll decide based on expected averages and select a 6-9 to discard.

After the 3 cut I'll lead a J and play a SAFE strategy:

Lead____________Dealer's Pegging Points
1261 votes

Joined: January 2021

Saturday 6:02 PM
This may be the most split I've seen this site, making me feel better that I struggled to determine the best play. Pretty sure I ended up with this choice and as indicated at the top, it went extremely poorly. Thanks for all the great comments and thoughts!
Ras2829 says: Hi fentesk: Excellent puzzle. Even thought so when I had my red pencil out. Keep 'em comin'!