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George "Ras" Rasmussen - Tip #1

Discarding 8-8


Does it seem that two cards to your opponent's crib have greater value than the same cards to your own crib? Some blame the "cribbage gods" and others attribute this to Murphy's Law. "I don't get any cuts" may be another explanation. Beyond those possibilities, a pattern emerges which suggests that any discard choice produces more points on the other side of the board. Is it possible that the tendency to "salt" your own crib and "balk" your opponent's crib is the major contributor to this imbalance? Discarding bias skews mathematical probability and random possibilities in the composition of the crib. Although this influence is apparent in the value of all discard choices, it is most apparent with the 8-8 discard option. Let's take a look at what happens when this identical pair is placed on opposite sides of the board:


Your Crib 2 Pts 3-7 Pts 8-11 Pts 12-16 Pts 20+ Pts
5.49 Avg. 347 634 146 138 6*
1,271 Hands 27.3% 49.9% 11.5% 10.9% 0.5%

*(None of 24 Points)


Pone's Crib 2 Pts 3-7 Pts 8-11 Pts 12-16 Pts 20+ Pts
8.03 Avg. 26 83 23 42 8*
182 Hands 14.3% 45.6% 12.6% 23.1% 4.4%

(One of 24 Points)

Note that I have recorded 1,271 discards of the 8-8 to my own crib. My opponent has been the recipient of this pair in 182 recorded instances. By the way, I am not planning on throwing this pair more frequently to increase the recorded database. Perhaps you can do this for me and tell me the results!

This pair looks very similar in the 3-7 column and the 8-11 category. Note that the 8-8 to your own crib produces seven points or less nearly 80% of the time. Note that this pair to your own crib tallies two points 27.3% of the time while your opponent will score two points 14.3% of the time (approx. one of four to your own crib and one of seven to your opponent's crib). In the 12-16 point category, approximately one in ten cribs are reflected for the dealer and one in four show up in this column for your opponent. And in the 20+ column, the pair of 8s is nearly ten times more likely to benefit the opponent's crib. Some discards to pone's crib produce a moan. This is a double-moan discard!

Why does this pair fail in so many instances to your own crib? Of the 46 discard possibilities which average less than five points, 33 do not benefit this pair (10-K, 9-K, 6-K, 6-Q, 9-Q, A-Q, 6-10, A-K, 4-K, A-9, 3-K, 4-Q, 6-J, 2-K, 4-9, Q-K, 2-9, A-10, 3-Q, 4-10, 2-10, 2-Q, 3-10, 10-Q, J-K, 2-J, 3-J, 2-6, 3-6, 9-J, A-J, A-3 and 4-6). So perhaps a blessing from the "cribbage god" is what makes this crib since not much seems to on the dealer's side of the board. Better go for the "lucky cut"!

- Republished by permission. Text copyright © 2002 by George Rasmussen. All rights reserved.