George "Ras" Rasmussen - Tip #4

Toss opponent K-10 or K-9?

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A question often asked by many players is a K-10 or a K-9 the better discard to an opponent's crib? I have recorded 2,999 actual K-10 and 2,004 K-9 discards. Based on this empirical data, I have discovered that these two discards are the only ones that average less than 4.0 points.

  7 or Fewer Points 8 or More Points
K-10 86.02% 13.98%
K-9 88.37% 11.63%

When looking at these two discard options in a more definitive manner, there are distinct differences. The K-10 discard produces a high percentage of zero cribs, far more than any other discard choice and nearly twice as many as the K-9. However, the K-10 is slightly more likely to produce eight points or more in the opponent's crib.

In addition, the K-10 is more than twice as likely to total twelve points or more. Note that in 65 cases, the K-10 has added up to more than twelve points...and in eleven cribs the total was sixteen points or more! And the K-10 may surprise you with a 20 point crib! Even so, the chances of the K-10 producing sixteen points are less than 1/3 of 1% with 11 actual occurrences in 2,999 discards.

Here is a rundown of the numbers for your perusal:


  0 1-2 3-7 8-11 12-15 16+
4.150 Avg. 483 895 1,202 354 54 11
2,999 Discards 16.1% 29.8% 40.1% 11.1% 1.8% 0.4%


  0 1-2 3-7 8-11 12-15 16+
3.903 Avg. 175 599 997 214 19 0
2,004 Discards 8.7% 29.9% 49.8% 10.7% 1.0% 0.0%

Do you need to blank you opponent's crib? The K-10 would be the choice! What about board position? Would the risk of 12-20 points motivate a K-9 (which in my experience has never produced more than twelve points)? The choice is a personal one and is often decided by personal bias. In any case, either choice is excellent as no other discard option averages less than 4.0 points.

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

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