Dan Barlow - Tip #1

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Here's a play you will be able to make once in a blue moon, but if you are not alert when your chance comes, it could cost you a game. Say you are 16 holes away from going out and your opponent is ten away. You are the dealer, you hold A-6-7-9 and an 8 has been cut. Pone leads out with a 6. You play your 9, 15 for two points. He plays a 5, you play a 7, and he plays a 4 for 31...

PONE  (111):
Opponent

 4-5-6-? play: 6  9 (15-2)  5  7  4 (31-2)    ? crib: ?-? ?-? cut: 8 A-6-7-9

DEALER  (105*):
You

Now you are trying to decided what to lead, your 6 or your A. Like all good cribbage players, you know the advantage of watching your opponent's cards. He has already played a 4, 5 and a 6 so you decide that he is much more likely to have a 6 than an A. Thus you decide to lead the A. But not so fast!!!

If this were any other time in the game, the A would be the better lead. But not here. If your opponent has a 6, he has a 12-hand and enough to put him out (you are not worried that he has a 9 since he would have used it to peg on your 9). But if he happens to have an A, he has only seven points in his hand and he is still eight holes away from winning. By leading your A, you could be giving the game away; leading the 6 will cost you nothing. True, your opponent will seldom be holding the A, so the correct play will seldom pay off, but remember, the correct play can never hurt.

By watching your opponent's cards, you can often obtain valuable information. Just make sure you put that information to its proper use.