George "Ras" Rasmussen - Tip #7

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Cribbage combines multi-faceted intellectual strategies with the excitement of a game of chance. One of the important strategies is that of discarding to the crib. This lesson focuses on discarding to opponent's crib. Discarding is very important as two-thirds of all cribbage victories are made possible by the count of one or more cribs.

A gain of one point in your crib average and a loss of one point in pone's crib average will make eighteen points difference in the average game of cribbage. You would like to "balk" or "bust" pone's crib. So what are the premises for successful discarding to the crib of your opponent?

1. Discard two cards that will offer little help in establishing sequences, 15-2s or triplets.

2. The K is the most effective balking card followed closely by the Q. In a few instances the Q may be preferable.

3. Avoid when possible the discard of the J to your opponent as the J is the key connecting card among the ten-point cards and has a 25% chance of counting one point as Nobs.

4. Avoid touching cards whenever possible.

5. Be wary of cards with one space between them (K-J, Q-10, J-9, 10-8, 9-7, 8-6, 7-5, 6-4, 5-3, 4-2 and 3-1) as it only takes one card from the dealer to complete the sequence and a double run on the cut is a frequent result.

6. Although cards of the same suit only average .05 more than cards of different suits, if possible, place cards of different suits to pone's crib.

7. Hang onto a 5 if at all possible (it averages nearly 6.0 to the crib regardless of crib composition).

8. Be prepared to sacrifice, depending on board position, a few points (generally one or two) in hand to make a defensive discard. There are times when a greater sacrifice should be made and we will review a few of these when we study board position.

So what are the best discards that can be made to pone's crib to minimize crib count?

Discard Average # Played
10-K 3.83 3,535
9-K 3.93 2,392
6-K 4.09 1,770
6-Q 4.15 1,182
9-Q 4.15 1,484
8-K 4.15 1,756
7-10 4.17 1,676
6-10 4.22 1,483
A-Q 4.23 2,460
7-Q 4.25 2,037
7-K 4.25 1,793
8-Q 4.32 1,980
A-K 4.35 2,400
4-K 4.35 1,338
A-9 4.35 1,422
4-Q 4.45 1,233
2-K 4.46 1,139
6-J 4.47 898
3-K 4.47 1,643
2-9 4.53 1,895
4-10 4.53 862
Q-K 4.53 1,460
A-10 4.54 1,751
3-Q 4.55 932
8-J 4.56 1,171
2-10 4.56 1,219
4-9 4.56 1,232
2-Q 4.57 1,344
3-10 4.57 958
10-Q 4.61 1,348
2-J 4.63 843
J-K 4.64 1,297
A-J 4.69 1,644
3-J 4.70 938
7-J 4.73 737
3-6 4.78 846
2-7 4.81 1,359
2-6 4.81 913
3-7 4.81 1,218
A-7 4.85 964
9-J 4.85 443
A-8 4.86 1,323
2-8 4.91 1,167
4-8 4.93 950
A-3 4.95 1,995
4-7 4.98 632

Only the 10-K and 9-K average less than 4.0 points to pone.

The above discards are the only choices which average less than five points to opponent crib. It should also be noted that discard choices made to opponent average higher than the same choices made to own crib. The classic example compares the 8-8.

- Republished by permission. Text copyright 2002 by George Rasmussen. All rights reserved.

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