Dan Barlow - Tip #15
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When your opponent is one or two holes from victory, you can
safely throw certain cautions to the wind. A play which could give
up three, four, or even five holes in the pegging is no longer more
dangerous than a play which can give up only two holes. You would
never play a 6 on your opponent's lead of a 4
under normal circumstances, but the truth is, he/she can peg on your
6 only with a 5 or 6.
If your hand happens to be 2-5-5-6, don't
automatically reach for the 2 when opponent leads a
4. There are eleven cards in the deck which would
allow opponent to peg on your 2 (three 2s,
four 3s and four 9s). There are but
five cards (two 5s and three 6s) which
would allow opponent to peg on your 6. And, don't
forget to look at the cut. If the cut was a 5 or a
6, your odds are even better playing the 6.
Normally, you wouldn't play a 6 when opponent leads a
3, for fear of giving up 15-4. But if opponent needs
only two holes to win, what's the danger? Opponent can peg on your
6 only with a 6. Play anything else,
and opponent has at least two different possible pegging cards. So
the 6 is actually your best play.
Suppose you hold A-A-5-9. Both you and opponent need
two holes to go out. Opponent leads a 3. Don't do
what you would automatically do any other time in the game; namely,
reach for the 9 to prevent opponent from scoring a
run. While it's true that opponent can score a run if you play an
A, it's also true that he/she cannot score a 15-2.
Opponent is no more likely to peg at least two holes on your
A than on your 9. But if your opponent does
not peg on your card, you are more likely to peg on his/her
next card if you played the A. Why? Because he/she
cannot put the count over 15. You will have a shot at a pair or
a 15-2. You will peg not only if opponent plays a 5
or a 9, but also if he/she plays a 6,
10, J, Q, or K.
Playing your 9 on opponent's 3 allows
him/her to put the count over 15, so that you can peg only by
To summarize, when your opponent needs fewer than three holes to
win, play so that he/she is least likely to peg, not so that he/she
is likely to peg the least. An if your choices are equal, make the
play which gives you the best chance of later pegging on opponent.
- Text copyright © 2002 by Dan Barlow. All rights reserved.
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