Dan Barlow - Tip #7
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You need twelve holes to win; your opponent needs sixteen. Your
opponent deals the cards, and you pick up A-2-6-6-6-K.
Should you toss A-K or 2-K? It seems
to be a tossup. Keeping the ace helps if the cut is a deuce or an
8. Keeping the deuce helps if the cut is an A
or a 7. What's the difference?
The difference may lie in opponent's crib. If you throw the
A-K, you'll probably cut a 4. In 30 years of
cribbage, I've never tossed my opponent A-K without
cutting a 4. You may be luckier than I am, so let's
just say that when you toss A-K to your opponent, you
don't want to cut a 4. Likewise, when you toss
2-K, you don't want to cut a 3.
But on this particular hand, you do want to cut a 3.
It's one of the cuts that will put you out. So you toss 2-K.
The cut that helps your opponent's crib as much as any other (as far
as you know), puts you out before he gets to count it. And a cut
that doesn't help your hand (a 4, for
instance) is also less likely to help his/her crib.
Now let's look at the same cards but with a slightly different
position. This time both you and the dealer need sixteen holes. Do
you toss A-K or 2-K?
This time you may lose the game, even if you get the cut. If you get
a cut but peg fewer than four holes, you'll have to hope you can peg
out next hand. Of course, there may not be a next
hand, which is why you shouldn't toss A-K. If you
don't get a cut for a dozen, you'll have little chance of winning;
but if you do get a cut (a 3, in particular),
you want opponent's crib to be empty so that the game goes on.
Granted, A-K could turn into a big crib, even if a
3 is cut; but 2-K is more dangerous,
as it could turn into eight or nine points with just a couple of
face cards from opponent.
Here's another example. You hold 2-4-5-6-9-10. The
dealer needs seventeen holes to win. Do you toss 2-9
or 2-10? It depends. If you need fourteen points, a
4 puts you out; so toss 2-9. Let your
opponent have a good crib when the cut puts you out. If you need
eighteen points, a 4 doesn't put you out; so toss
2-10, hoping opponent's crib is a bust. If you toss
2-10 and the cut is a 3 and opponent's
crib does put him/her out, so what? Your chances of winning dropped
to slim and none anyway when you didn't get a cut.
- Text copyright © 2002 by Dan Barlow. All rights reserved.
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