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Dan Barlow - Tip #12

Endgame pegging, part 2

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Here's the hand that sent me from fifth place to eighth place in the Losers Losers Tournament at the National Open (by the way; can't someone come up with a better name for this tournament -- say, Raleigh's Renowned Round Robin Regatta -- nah, it would cost too much to engrave the winner's plaque).

I need eleven holes; my opponent needs nine. I save 5-9-10-J. I have first count and I feel great, because I don't even need a cut. I feel even better when the cut isn't a J. I lead my 10 and opponent scores 15-2. I play the J, and she gets a go with her 4. Now I play my 9, she scores another 15-2. My 5 makes the count 20, and she has a 7 for a run of three plus a go. She pegs out. Stunned, I toss my lucky pegs into the trash:

10  5 (15-2)  J  4 (29-1)    9  6 (15-2)  5  7 (27-4)

But, of course, it wasn't bad luck that cost my the game. Holding 5-9, with my opponent needing to peg six more holes, I should have led the 5. There are no two cards in the deck that would allow her to peg six holes, had I played the 5. By playing the 9, I allowed her to win if she held 6-7 or 6-4.

For some of you, this is a lesson in pegging strategy. Figure out the worst that can happen, and play to avoid it. For the rest of you, including myself, the lesson is -- it's not over till it's over, so stay on your toes until your peg is in the game hole.

- Text copyright © 2002 by Dan Barlow. All rights reserved.

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