DeLynn Colvert - Tip #7
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Logic! A five-letter word for thinking!
After playing several hundred games of cribbage, standard plays
become apparent. You will be able to develop "X-ray" vision, a la
Superman, if you work at it! This is especially true when playing
accomplished players like old Jake, the "snake". Beginning players
make too many mistakes to allow full play of logic but, of course,
it works to some degree on all players.
A winning cribbage player must be able to read his opponent's hand
rapidly. This ability is acquired through study, practice and
critical observation of your opponent's habits and style of play.
Surprisingly, the better the player, the easier it is to apply logic
to read his game, his cards.
Beginners play hunches, make unorthodox plays and will surprise you
with a poor play. These hunches and unorthodox plays, though
confusing to the good player, will lead to defeat for the beginner.
And despite being able to read the good player's hand by applying
logic, the good player will be tougher to defeat. The good player's
game is based upon playing the odds, applying his analysis of your
game and his hard, cold logic -- a very tough combination to beat.
Without applying logic of your own, the consistent logical play from
the good player will beat you. But, by applying good, sound logic
you will, at worst, play to a stalemate and, at best, come out
Let's have an example of how to apply logic. Your analysis of Jake's
board position indicates he will be playing defensively. As the
non-dealer he leads a Q. Immediately, you may deduce
he does not have the small five combinations (1-4 or
2-3) or any 2s, 3s or
4s, nor does he have a K (unless he
has two or more Q). Why? A defensive play would be to
lead a 2-3-4 (a 57% less chance of your opponent
scoring on a small card lead -- three losers vs. seven losers if a
lone Q is led). Jake may have a lone A,
5s or he may have led a "sleeper" Q to
his basic 6-7-8 combinations. But his lead, by logic,
almost certainly ruled out any 2-3-4 cards remaining
in his hand.
You play a 5 on the Q lead for a 15-2.
Jake plays a J for 25. You now deduce that J
has all "ten" cards remaining, probably another Q and
a 10, with a lone A or K
a possibility. Why? If he had two J, he would not
dump one here, but would dump a lone J or "ten" card
(the most likely lone "ten" card to be dumped is the J).
If Jake does have two Js, then he also has two
Q (with the Q being the first play...the
safer defensive play). And since Jake did not pair your 5,
his chances of having a 5 have dimmed (unless he is
playing desperation defense and pairs royal would surely beat him).
After seeing Jake's first two cards, logic decrees that the
remaining two cards are, in order of probability, Q,
10, K, J and A.
Since the Q play was followed by a J,
the Q was not a "sleeper", but part of a basic "ten"
You play a 6 for 31. Jake begins a new sequence with
another Q. Now logic tells you the odds are that the
remaining card is most likely a 10 or a K,
the next most likely card would be a J, then the
A, and then any "sleeper" cards (6-7-8-9)
or a third Q. You would then play a card that Jake
would not logically have in his hand -- a 2, 3
or 4. You hold a 3 and a 4.
You play the 3 for 13 (remember, logic decrees Jake
may have an A -- if you played the 4
for 14, Jake may play an A for 15-2).
Jake does have an A for 14. You complete play with
your 4 for 18 and a go.
Q 5 (15-2) J 6 (31-2) Q 3! A 4 (18-1)
Applying logic has saved two points (not allowing Jake the last
15-2) and has not cost you, playing offensively, points.
- Republished from Play Winning Cribbage by permission.
Text copyright © 2002 by DeLynn Colvert. All rights reserved.
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