Dan Barlow  Tip #17
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In the past we've discussed endgame situations in which your
opponent had only one card left. You had to decide which of your two
cards to play to your opponent, based on the board position. While
it's true that these situations arise only at the end of the game,
it's also true that the end of the game may be closer than you
think. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security simply because
your opponent needs 25 or 30 holes to your out and you need only a
few.
You need seven, opponent needs 34, your deal.
The Play So Far
Opponent 
You 
4 
2 (6) 
3 (93) 
3 (122) 
3 (158) 
? 
What a nightmare! You knew pairing a 3 might be,
disastrous but every play looked dangerous and you decided to gamble
the pone didn't have a pair. Besides, the possibility that you might
actually lose this game is only now occurring to you. Do you play
the 4 or the 5? What would you play if
he/she had needed 28 holes? 26? (Solutions at end of column)
Let's assume you're playing Phyllis Schmidt. You needn't have seen
three of her cards to solve these problems. Suppose you hold
68910. The cut is a 5. Phyllis leads a
Q, you play your 9, and she scores a
go with another Q. If she is now 24 holes from
winning and you are six, you might feel so confident that you
carelessly lay down your 10. And if her last two
cards are 5s, you've thrown away a game you should
have won. You should have led the 6 or the 8.
If she pegged on one of those, she couldn't possibly have had enough
to go out.
Suppose you have enough to go out and Phyllis needs 31; the cut is a
5. Assume from a defensive point of view that she has
a 29 hand and play accordingly until it's proven otherwise. If she
leads a 4 to you, great; you now know she doesn't
have a 29!! Now, still on defense, assume she has a 24 hand and play
accordingly. By being pessimistic, you'll save a lot more games.
Solutions
If Phyllis needs 34, you should play the 5. Her
only hope of winning is if her last card is a 5 and
you let her peg three more holes. If she needs 28, again you play
the 5. True, she'll win the game, but you couldn't
have prevented that. You can prevent a defeat if she's holding a
2 by playing the 5. If she needs 26
points, she's already won if she's holding a 2 or a
5. If however, she has a 4, she has a
twelve point hand and needs to peg three more holes. Play the
4 and Phyllis ends up in the dead hole where she ends up so
often!! Play the 5 and she wins the game she should
have lost.
 Text copyright © 2002 by Dan Barlow. All rights reserved.
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