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John Chambers - Tip #1

How to count your hand


One thing that bothers many players who participate in leagues or tournaments are slow counters. If you are a new newcomer to the game and you are not experienced, there are ways to improve yourself. The ways listed below are meant to help your counting speed.

1. Always count your hand in the same orderly manner. You need a system. This eliminates error and oversight. Count in the following order:

a. Count all of your fifteens
b. Count your runs
c. Count pairs
d. Count your flush
e. Lastly, count His Nobs

2. Always count your hand as soon as the starter card is cut and before the play starts. You cannot realize how this helps you become a better and faster counter. I feel it helps because:

a. It limits the time you have to count
b. It makes you concentrate more
c. You learn to recognize hands without counting them
d. If you have a board strategy, it will help you to know whether to play on or off in run situations
e. It makes for a faster game and a faster game is more exciting. You still have time to check your I count after the play has ended

3. Practice. You cannot expect to be a good counter playing only once or twice a month. The best way to practice is in a game situation against someone. However, if you do not have anyone to play against, cribbage solitaire is the best way. Cribbage solitaire can be found on page 94 of my book. I average one-and-one-half minutes per game.

- Republished from Cribbage: A New Concept by permission. Text copyright © 2002 by John Chambers. All rights reserved.