DeLynn Colvert - Tip #3

The dealer 5-card trap

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Setting traps in pegging can net tidy sums of points and can be the deciding factor in the game. The easiest card to trap is the 5, the next easiest to trap is the J, then the A, the 2, and then the 3.

The Nondealer 5-Card Trap

First, let's trap the 5. The most common hand in cribbage is "ten" cards combined with one or more 5s. In fact, this hand will be played about one time in four. This hand offers several varieties of traps. Let's describe the hands you must hold if you're the non-dealer and playing the first pegging card. The slickest and easiest trap: your hand must contain three key cards, 6-6-4. Lead a 6. Jake cannot play his 5 (this would allow you to score an easy three-card run) and is forced to play a "ten" card. You play your other 6 and the trap is sprung! Jake must play a 5, making the count 27. You follow with your 4 for 31 -- a run of three and two points for 31. A total of five points. Poor Jake comes up empty! This play works whether Jake has one or two 5s.

Another variation of the 5 trap; Uncle Jake must have two 5s to spring the trap so it is a little tougher to pull off. In this case, you must have four key cards: 6-7-7-x (the second 7 could also be an 8 or 9). Lead the second 7 (or the 8 or 9), and almost certainly, Jake will respond with a safe "ten" card. You respond with your "sleeper ten" (if you're lucky, you'll get a pair for two points). If the trap works, this will be a go. Jake is forced to lead his remaining "ten" card. You respond with your 7, forcing one of the trapped 5s into the open to run the count to 22. You then add your 6 for a run of three and a go for four.

Both traps usually net five points for you, and one point for Uncle Jake. A profit of four points pegging when you're the non-dealer is excellent, indeed!

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

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