Dan Barlow - Tip #9
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Some players never pair an opponent's lead. The two holes they
score just aren't worth the risk. The "risk" of course, is the net
loss of four points if the opponent was leading from a pair. This is
a good policy when the game situation demands that you keep the
opponent's pegging to a bare minimum, but is it always a good
The answer is no. If you will examine your cribbage hands
more closely, you will see that the risk is not always four holes!
Look at these two hands:
Your opponent leads a 9. In hand 1, if you play an 18
for two and your opponent has the third 9, he or she
scores a 27 for six, plus a go. You lost five holes. But look at
hand 2. If your opponent plays 27 for six here, you play your
4; 31 for two. Total loss is only two holes. Since you
cannot lose more than two holes by pairing the 9 in
hand 2, your opponent must hold the third 9 50% of
the time just to break even. You don't need a computer to tell you
he or she won't hold the third 9 that often.
Suppose you hold hand 2 and your opponent leads a 2.
Should you play your 2? Yes, because he does have the
third 2, you can play your 9; 15 for
two. Again, you have lost only two holes. Remember, when two holes
are all you can lose, that's no great risk at all. After all, risk
losing two holes almost any time you lay down a card, right?
In short, if you pair up only when the danger is least, you will
make a steady profit in the long run.
- Text copyright © 2002 by Dan Barlow. All rights reserved.
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