Dan Barlow - Tip #11

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Below is a quiz on pegging strategy. In the following situations you're playing against old Syl Lulinski; you'd better be on your toes and play your best:

1. Holding A-3-6-9 early in the game, you lead the 6. Syl plays a K for 16. What's your play?

2. You're in the dead hole, and Syl is three holes from winning. He leads a 7. Which card do you play from A-2-3-4?

3. You're both in the dead hole. You pitched 9-9 into the crib. The cut is a 7. Saying "See one, play one", Syl leads a 7. What do you play from:

a. 4-4-Q-K

b. A-2-3-3

c. A-4-K-K

4. You have enough to go out, if you get to count it.

Your Hand Cut
5-5-6-Q 5

The Play So Far

Him You
4 Q (14)
5 (19) 5 (24-2)
6 (30-1) ?

Does it matter whether you play the 5 or the 6 and, if so, which should you play if he needed....

a. 17

b. 19

c. 20

d. 26

Remember, he's already pegged one hole.

Solutions

1. Don't play the 9, making the count 25, on the assumption that if he had a 6, he'd have paired your 6. Play the 3. If he can peg on your 3, you get equal counter-pegging, scoring 31 for two with your 9.

2. If you play the 4, you could lose immediately. If you play the A or the 2, he can score a 15-2 and possibly pair your next card to win. But if you play the 3, he cannot peg without allowing you to peg out.

3a. Play the 4. There are only two cards in the deck he can peg with.

3b. Play the A. There are seven danger cards if you play the 2, six if you play the 3 and only five if you play the A.

3c. The K gives him the fewest chances to peg, but if you trust your opponent to realize that a low card is a better lead than a 7 in his position, you might assume that he has no card lower than a 5. If that is true, your safest play is the 4, hoping to score a go after he plays a high card. Take full credit whether you chose the K or the 4. (If you played the A, there's too much chance that he'll get the go.)

4a. It matters, and you must lead the 5. The outcome of this game has already been decided, unless your opponent's last card is a 9. If it is, he'll be most grateful if you lead that 6.

4b. It matters, and you must lead the 6. If he can peg on your 6, he either has 24 and has won, or 14 and has lost. But if he has a ten-card, he will win the game if you lead the 5.

4c. It matters, and you must lead the 6. The same as the last hand, except that this time his only chance (if he doesn't have the 24 hand) is if his last card is the right J. Still, why give him any chance of winning a game he should lose.

4d. It matters, and you must lead the 5. This game is over unless his last card is a 6 (it can't be a 5 because you can see all four 5s; and if it's a 4, he can't peg on either of your cards). You can lose only if you lead your 6.

- Text copyright 2002 by Dan Barlow. All rights reserved.

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