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DeLynn Colvert - Tip #6

Other traps

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Another excellent trap play occurs when Uncle Jake leads an 8 or 7, while you are holding the combination of 4-5-6. Entice a run with your 6. If Jake leads an 8, your 6 for 14 may entice his 7 for 21. Jake may be trapped! Add your 5 to the run for 26. A good chance exists that this will be a go, and you add your 4 for a run of five! And a go! This combination results in Jake pegging three and you pegging ten. A tidy profit, indeed! This is an especially good play if you're holding 4-5-6-6. If Jake decides to pair your first 6, you counter with a pairs-royal. A no-lose, situation. But don't employ this trap when playing defensively, as even a profit of seven points is worthless if it allows Jake to peg into range to win the game. Conversely, if you lead an 8 or 7, and Jake plays a 6, take a wary look at your hand. Do you have a 5 or 4 to cut off this sucker play? If you don't, think twice before creating the run for three. Check your board position carefully.

Trapping low value cards -- with the A being the easiest to trap -- is simply accomplished by running the count to 29 (if you're holding two As) with one of the As, hoping Jake has a lone a for 30, then adding your last A for 31 and a tidy eight points. With a pair of 2s, you run the count to 27 with the first 2. With 3s, run the count to 25 with the first 3. In all cases, the trap, if it works, nets a profit of six points. Five points if 31 is not reached exactly.

A variation is to run the count to 30 with the first of your two aces, hoping to pair yourself for a "free" four points. Running the count to 29 with the first of your two 2s, and to 28 with the first of your two 3s has the same result. But this play runs the risk of backfiring! Uncle Jake may have the third A, 2, or 3 and nail you. However, the odds are in your favor for a successful trap in all cases. You should give the trap a try unless your board position dictates otherwise.

The key to setting traps is thinking ahead!

After taking a look at Jake's first card, and the starter card, quickly make the best estimate possible of the logical hand that Jake is holding. Consider your hand, also, when making this estimate. After seeing Jake's second card, rethink your estimate. After seeing two cards, your estimate becomes much easier, and, of course, the third card will help that much more in predicting the fourth card. After making your best estimate of Jake's hand, set your traps! Keep thinking!

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

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