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DeLynn Colvert - Tip #10

Twenty-Six Theory, part 1

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Now that you know how to run traps, play offense, play defense, fake flushes, dump Js, entice the play, use psychological tricks, apply logic and have a solid end game what's left to learn? How can my game be improved to insure winning, even against an expert player?

Remember what Lord Kelvin said way back in the 19th Century:

"When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind."

To carry this thought a bit further, can you honestly say that you can play the first card of the first hand with absolute certainty? And the second card? In fact, can you play the entire hand with absolute certainty? Do you know when to play on? When to play off? If not, your knowledge of cribbage IS of a meager and unsatisfactory kind!

Suppose you the non-dealer. Your very first hand consists of the 4-5-Q-K. Do you know the correct card to lead? The 4? No. The correct card to open the game is the K.

You're the dealer and your first hand consists of the 4-5-6-K. Your opponent leads a K. Do you know the correct response? the 5 for 15-2? Pair the K? No. The correct play is the 6. Both the K lead by the nondealer, and the 6 response by the dealer are made with absolute certainty.

But wait, earlier in these tips, leading from a card lower than a 5 was recommended as the percentage play, the play with 57% less chance of your opponent scoring. And for the dealer, if the K is led, why not play a 5 for 15-2 or at least pair the K? Why lay off?

The Twenty-Six Theory

An explanation of these controversial plays will come later. But first, I have developed a mathematical method of play that has been tried and proven, with thousands of games charted, tens of thousand of hands analyzed, and the results thoroughly studied. During this study, a method of play slowly evolved, a theory of play. A theory I have named the Twenty-Six Theory.

This Twenty-Six Theory, if played consistently, should improve you winning average a full 6%. Insignificant, you're thinking. But in this tough, subtle game of cribbage, 6% is the winning edge. Beating Uncle Jake by 6% is quite an achievement! Of course, players of lesser skill will fall at a much higher rate. On the tournament trail, my winning average is 58.1% or a full 16.2% over breaking even, and this has been accomplished against highly skilled players. This winning percentage comes from consistently using the Twenty-Six Theory.

By applying the Twenty-Six Theory your winning average will bound upwards against players of all skill levels. The Twenty-Six Theory is the ultimate cribbage weapon! The weapon that tells you exactly what card to play and when to play it, almost without exception.

Remember the old "Law of Averages"? That law has built the gambling empires, creating fortunes for the gambling houses? The law that beats you at roulette, beats you at the dice table, beats you at the blackjack tables? This same law can work for you at cribbage too. A Law of Averages operates in cribbage, just as surely as it operates in any card game.

But cribbage is a subtle card game, in fact, one of the most subtle card games devised by man. Players learn the basics quickly, and become competitive quickly. So quickly, in fact, that in a 121-point game, average players are actually dueling over the ten points or so (and usually much less) that can actually be controlled by the players, and not controlled by the luck of the draw. This small edge makes playing the "averages" that much more important. Every point earned, or lost, through skillful, or unskillful play, is critical to winning consistently, or losing consistently. And this is where the Twenty-Six Theory comes in.

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

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