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DeLynn Colvert - Tip #1

"Sleeper" cards


For every offense, there is a defense. Knowing that Jake (opponent) will be analyzing your hand after taking a look at your first card, lead your "sleeper" card. A "sleeper" is a card that is a mismatch in a good cribbage hand. For example, in a 7-J-Q-K hand, the 7 is a "sleeper". Lead the 7. Camouflage your hand as long as possible. Make Jake guess which side of a sequence your third or fourth card falls on. For example, you are holding a 10-10-J-Q. Don't play the 10, then the Q, as the void between the 10 and the Q makes the J in your hand obvious. Play the J. Jake may wrongly surmise you are holding a 9. Conversely, if you are holding a poor hand, by purposely leaving a void, Jake may wrongly surmise you're holding the card in the void. This deception makes your odds a little better of scoring on Jake's subsequent plays.

If you're playing offense (playing on) and want to pair as much as possible, lead from the end of a sequence of four cards. For example, the 9-10-J-Q should begin with the 9 lead. A good possibility exists of a queen pair with the 9 lead, but quickly diminishes with the 10 lead, and practically disappears with the J lead. In addition, this play cuts down on the possibility of Jake scoring the "31" follow-up if he happens to have a 6 for 15-2. You follow with the dumped J for 25. Since a 6 has already been played, the odds are lessened for Jake to follow with another 6 for 31. In this case, Jake may be forced to play a 5 for 30 and a go. This makes your following 10 lead that much safer. In this case, dumping the J with your second card creates a 9-void-J, but the lone J is more of a liability than exposing a probable 10.

- Republished from Play Winning Cribbage by permission. Text copyright © 2002 by DeLynn Colvert. All rights reserved.