Yesterday's results

*** This hand was suggested by mrob2199
113*-109  ?
Total votes: 213
3542 votes

Joined: October 2008

Sunday 3:06 AM
We are the Dealer, seemingly in desperate need of a Jack Cut, as we 'lie in wait' at Hole 113, while Pone sits in utter confusion and terror at Hole 109, probably with that irritating but worrisome smile on his or her face.

But should Pone be worried or not? Pone's average tally is about Ten Points, with 20% of this, or around Two Points, that usually come from the pegging. And at Hole 109, Pone needs a Dozen Points to reach the Finish Line. Therefore, odds are, Pone won't make it out anywhere near 50% of the time! That is, if we don't help our Opponent!

Our job is to hold Pone back, and in the process, remove that awful smirk from the face of our Opponent. We can probably plan on doing this in one of two ways: we can (perhaps after a Jack Cut) try to peg out, or; we can defend like crazy, and hope that Pone comes up short. And, since we are indeed crazy, we'll likely choose the latter idea.

Let's see what we dealt ourselves, and then proceed without too much trepidation. We have a veritable "Kitchen Sink" of a hand, and most importantly, NO Jacks! This means that we have a 4 DIV 46 equals 0.087 or nearly 9% chance of getting His Nibs via a Jack Cut! But will that really change things?

Unfortunately, this translates into the sad reality that over 91% of the time, if we do wish to attempt to peg out, we'll need to obtain Eight Points during the pegging! And even after a Jack Cut, it's a lot of work to peg even Six Holes, especially against a highly-motivated Opponent, and so we should probably focus upon DEFENSE today. That begins with an accurate discard!

In situations such as this, I often admonish players for worrying about "covering the distance" and retaining enough points. This puzzle is a wonderful example of this, and since we'll always peg One Point as the Dealer, we should NOT obsess over the distribution of our points today! Don't search for 100% certainty in point coverage when doing so will likely shave your chances of winning by 30%!

Even if we endured with a Hand of just Two Points, and then additionally suffered after a Crib of just Three Points, then the worst we would probably walk away with after this deal would be a score of (119-119*), and another deal. I cannot stress this enough: to focus on our Hand and/or Crib Points today is MISPLACED PRECISION.

Toss (5 8) worked yesterday, and yet for entirely different reasons, it's not too bad of a choice today, either. Can we do better than this? It's amazing that so many choices get help from nearly every Cut Card possible! We should keep this in mind, and NOT panic about holding too few points.

Failing to go out, even after counting our Crib, is a much better outcome than blundering away the game because we held the wrong cards and lost because we failed to defend!

Frequently, you'll see players who worry way too much about holding enough points in such a position, and after they lose during the Pegging Battle, they're often 'sitting' on a Dozen-Point Crib, a Crib that incidentally never even gets tallied!

Toss (7 8) looks automatic, and obvious, and WRONG! On an open board, mid-game, we could Toss (7 8) all day long and feel good about such a decision. But don't do it here! I also don't relish retaining a 4-5 combo! Similarly, Toss (4 5), while it rids us of the 5 Card, entails holding the 7-8 duo.

The "Lone" Ace is of some concern, but if held with a 4 Card, this could "cushion" the blow, since a "Lone" Small Card is often trapped at or above a Count of Twenty-Two. If we can 'slip' the 4 Card in and avoid having to play an Ace and then say "go," we should worry a lot less about this Ace Card liability.

And this all brings us to Toss (5 7). The 5 Card and the 7 Card should scare us the most, as these are Key Connectors, so Toss (5 7) comes to mind right from the start! We must be aware that, even with a choice such as Keep (A 4 8 Q) and Toss (5 7), our Hand gets help from EVERY Cut Card except Four Cut Cards (9999). That is 91% coverage.

I seem to recall a similar discard from a recent puzzle, and I wonder if this puzzle is identical or is similar, with possibly an adjustment of the score(s)? If it is, just as we do in Life and in Cribbage, we'll figure it out (again)!

It's settled: Let's Toss (5 7) with confidence. If we get anything other than a 9 Card Cut, we shall have at least Four Points in our Hand, and at least Two Points coming in our Crib, and since we shall always peg One Point, we will reach Hole 120 with over 90% certainty prior to the cut.

After the Ace Cut, we now hold Six Points in our Hand, and we have at least Two Points in our Crib, so we need to peg NOTHING AT ALL! We've successfully reduced a very complex Cribbage Puzzle from a Discarding Dilemma to a Pegging Problem, and it's all about DEFENSE.

We should try to retain the 4 Card long enough such that we can dispatch ourselves of the dangerous "Lone" Small Card, our Ace. Other than this, "Play Off" and avoid any PAIRS or RUNS, and see if Pone will indeed come up short of Hole 121. In any case, we've done as well as can be expected. And I kept it under one thousand words!
JQT says: What question(s) does this very clever puzzle of mrob2199 ask of us today? In my opinion, we can reduce this puzzle down to three questions, and we can come up with the best discard IF we get the PRIORITY of these in the correct order! Of least importance is: "Will we get a Jack Cut?" The answer to this is academic, because even if we do, it changes very little, since pegging Six Holes, even as the Dealer, is a lot more difficult than trying to contain Pone's movement to be less than a Dozen Points. The next question is, "Can we come up with and produce Eight Points by completion of this deal?" The Dealer tends to move Sixteen Holes as an average, so we should NOT be too concerned with getting half that much, or just Eight Points! Worst case, we might have to try to peg out during the Next Deal, but extending such a game, regardless of the score at completion of this deal, is a mini-victory for us! Points tend to come to the Dealer, and we are in no position to be 'stockpiling' points at the expense of our pegging! And, the final and most important question, "How can we BEST DEFEND this position during the pegging?" And there it is, the critical question, and frankly, I think it's the only one that matters! How can we best defend during the pegging? If you ASK THE PROPER QUESTION, and someone places the arrangement of cards (A 4 5 7 8 Q) down in front of you, out will pop the 5 Card and the 7 Card as Discard Candidates, and so we Toss (5 7). This is NOT an easy puzzle, by any means! Many players allow their thinking to become clouded by the seeming urge or need to gather POINTS. Put yourself in Pone's shoes here: Pone will certainly throw WHATEVER IT TAKES to retain the BEST HAND POSSIBLE. This means almost with certainty that we should obtain a Crib that is HIGHER THAN AVERAGE. And as Dealer, we ALWAYS peg One Hole. Use these and other facts to help guide your decision.
Eolus619 says: After your valuable educational extravaganza post , the cribbage doctor might prescribe a wee dram of your favorite bourbon and a Tom Edison like nap of 15 minutes or so.
JQT says: Still waiting to see if the September or third (or "C922") and last of the yearly releases of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is any good. Last year's "C" release was a bit weaker than what I prefer, as it was only about 120.2 Proof, but strong enough that I suppose you could run your car on it, at like $800 to $1000 per gallon, mileage not too good!
2209 votes

Joined: March 2017

Sunday 3:08 AM
Like the chances for a possible run with the A45Q in hand and 78 in crib. Keeping 78 could cause be to give up more pegs. Q can be my out card. Nice puzzle Rob.
254 votes

Joined: October 2021

Sunday 3:08 AM
First thought was 7-8, then I saw it was a Rob puzzle. Getting the 5 out of pegging and the face to get points in the crib
3308 votes

Joined: June 2013

Sunday 3:15 AM
Not much of a hand, but I'm only concerned with the movement of my opponent's pegs. I think both the Ace and 5 pose a danger to me during the pegging, so I'll hide them away in the crib.

Q reply to a led A,6,7,8 or 9.
7 reply to a led 3,4 or X.
8 reply to a led 2 or 5.
Wouldn't reply with the 4 to any lead, but it does form an 11 combo with the 7.
Eolus619 says: James500…great comment about what to be concerned about…it answered Ras’s first ( of three) decision points…look at the pegs.
5721 votes

Joined: April 2008

Sunday 3:34 AM
Certainly, do not have a nine come up as starter. Start planning responses off the lead card and remember they need twelve. dec
Eolus619 says: dec..valuable comments about having a pegging plan..absence of one may be the #1 flaw in most of our games..I am still trying to improve.. but based on results I have a long way to go.
5097 votes

Joined: March 2008

Sunday 5:35 AM
what set of cards is the best defensively? The opponent needs 12 and that's about a 1 in 3 chance he wins outright. I'll go for the 2 out of 3 and try to stifle. Play off on everything.
729 votes

Joined: June 2020

Sunday 6:57 AM
I am reminded of the Al Miller quote Gougie00 frequently posts…….“One can play defense into a close loss” But today defense is warranted imo. Ras & Colvert tell us to play the %s….So dealer has 80% chance to earn 12 & Pone has 50% chance to earn 10. Pone needs 12 to win…So. select the best dealer hand to limit his/her pegging and away we go BTW..only a nine cut is a loser.
Eolus619 says: better the best dealer hand to limit Pone’s pegging
Gougie00 says: You hear newbies saying "I broke up my double run because I didn't want to put a 5 in your crib. I would have had 16!", is a good example of being so defensive minded that you end up losing. The takeaway from the magister Al Miller's teaching is give yourself a chance to win. In this case, you need to stifle the pone then have enough to go out yourself. Not sure the 5-7 will do that for you, but willing to be schooled.
JQT says: Here is a quick exercise every doubtful player should do: Imagine you are Pone and you need a Dozen Points. Take a deck of cards and remove (Ac 4d 5s 7h 8h Qd) from it, and then shuffle the remainder and deal out six cards and do it six times, then save the remaining ten cards as sample Cut Cards. Examine each of the six six-card arrangements and perform your Discard as if you were Pone needing a Dozen Points. Now you should have six two-card piles of discards in front of you. Combine the first of these with the Toss (5s 7h) and now proceed to look at each of the ten Cut Cards alongside those six imaginary Cribs, and write down the resultant Crib Total for each of the ten Cut Cards. By the end of this exercise, you should have sixty Crib values that portray actual possible Crib Totals, so let's add them all up and divide by sixty. I got a value of 5.78 Points. The Discard Tables do this with millions upon millions of samples, and for Toss (5 7), we can see that Schell lists 6.01 Points, Hessel lists 6.04 Points, Colvert lists 6.00 Points, and RAS lists 6.00 Points. Therefore, if we Keep (A 4 8 Q) and Toss (5 7), we know that we shall ALWAYS peg One Point (or more), and that our resultant Hand will ALWAYS be Two Points (or actually MORE over 90% of the time), and our Crib Value hovers right at Six Points. The TOTAL of Pegging, Hand, and Crib is therefore now averaging a MINIMUM of Nine Points (and will be MORE than that over 90% of the time). The odds of not having enough points is SO MUCH LESS than the *RISK* of retaining a dangerous pegging hand it is minuscule! And so, we should definitely retain the safest pegging hand and Toss (5 7).
80 votes

Joined: May 2022

Sunday 8:12 AM
Made the right decision!
Eolus619 says: hello of the beauties of cribbage is each player makes independent choices based on a variety of factors. Playing devils advocate…what if Pone counting first… …hand+ pegging…gets to 121 before ANY of your hand+ crib choices can counted to earn you needed points. Have a think about it ..all the best
504 votes

Joined: April 2021

Sunday 8:44 AM
Have no concerns with the count on this hand, I just want to keep the best DEFENSIVE holding I can keep to limit him to 0 points on pegs if possible. So, let's get rid of the most dangerous pegging cards, which I believe are the 5 and 7. It happens to provide a nice crib throw also, but once again, I am not concerned in the slightest. The widely spaced ranks and range from low to high with the (A 4 8 Q) provides the best flexibility for playing off with any possible lead. I will try to unload the A at earliest when it is safe to do so. Quite happy to see the A cut as well, it gives me enough to count and adds another level of "safety" just by its very presence.
MiketheExpert says: No reason to keep the dangerous (4 5) in your hand at this score, it is taking unnecessary risk in my opinion.
275 votes

Joined: April 2021

Sunday 10:11 AM
I often forget I will get at least one point pegging as dealer. I think this would have changed my choice of going for max points in hand. Now I have to peg very cautiously.
JQT says: Don't beat yourself up: if you now realize how vital the pegging is, you *still* have a very good chance of winning this game. A strong player learns to peg defensively even with a hand that might not be the best defensive choice! Your predicament is much better than that of a player who, after perhaps making the better discard decision, does not acknowledge the danger and thus pegs recklessly. I especially like your last sentence!
1160 votes

Joined: January 2012

Sunday 10:40 AM
I’d be shocked if I don’t go out with any combo of cards, assuming my opponent does not. This seems like the best mix.
Sally3 says: TY Jason....I don't feel so alone now!
4997 votes

Joined: October 2007

Sunday 3:53 PM
I think it's between A-4-5-Q (7-8) and 5-7-8-Q (A-4) which both hold 4+2pts. I think the A-4-5-Q will peg better so I'll throw the 7-8.
4724 votes

Joined: February 2008

Sunday 3:57 PM
At 113*-109 playing an Optimal strategy (cautious offense) for the pegging the dynamic expected averages and Win/Loss %s are:

Optimal___Hand_Pegs_Crib_Total____Win %___Loss %

A-4-5-Q is best for expected averages by 1.97pts but A-4-8-Q is best for Win %s and lowest for Loss %s so as these are more important at the end of the game I'll select 5-7 to discard.

After the A cut I'll play Defense to the lead.
4547 votes

Joined: November 2008

Sunday 8:53 PM
Non-dealer will score 12 points 1 in four attempts; so not likely that n/d will win on this deal. Even so, minimizing n/d pegs would seem to be paramount to success for dealer here. Like the spacing of A-4-8-Q; offers a lot of wiggle room on most any lead and 5-7 to crib is a good scoring combination. A little-known fact is that 5-7 11/91 (703) to own crib averages 6.009 compared to the frequent 7-7 at 5.873 13/91 (1,372). Avoid pegs and play off the lead.