John Chambers - Tip #9

First Street

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The first thirty holes are considered First Street. This street is where the game's starting nondealer will be daring, since there are three more streets to make up any lost points and where the game's starting dealer will generally play off.

If you have the first Crib and are even or have fallen behind, your opponent has stolen the Crib. Stealing the Crib can only happen on the first hand of the game.

Having the first deal and the Crib should give a player a slight advantage and the lead. As the game progresses, a player is either ahead or behind. This is not necessarily due to the Crib. Sometimes it is due to a player's poor hands, his discarding or his poor strategy in the Play. Technically, if you are already ahead or behind, you cannot have your Crib stolen. You cannot have an advantage taken away from you which you don't have already.

The advantage of having the first deal has already been shown. Remember, the dealer has three counts to get to hole 17 or 18, while the nondealer has only one count.

These point categories will be used in the following situations:

Poor Hand 0-5 Points
Average Hand 6-9 Points
Good Hand 10-13 Points
Excellent Hand 14+ Points

Your Deal, Around Hole 16 or 17

Good or Excellent Hand: If you feel that this Hand and Crib, and the next Hand will get you to at least to hole 44, then play off. If you will need a few holes to get there and you can peg without giving up the advantage to your opponent, then play on.

Poor or Average Hand: If you are ahead at this point and receive a poor hand, then play on. Your goal is to get to hole 44. If you receive and average hand, play on also. You may need those few extra points at the end of the game.

If you are half a street (fifteen holes) or more ahead of your opponent, play off. Don't give up that position going onto the next street. In most instances your opponent will start doing better and you will need those extra points.

However, if it is a fairly even game around hole 16 or 17, or you are ahead by few holes, it's worth the risk to play on and try to gain points on your opponent. Your opponent will need 28 or 30 holes to get to hole 44. Remember, this is First Street. If you do lose your advantage, you still have three streets to make it up.

Opponent's Deal, Around Hole 16 or 17

Good or Excellent Hand: Assume that you receive a good hand and the starter gave you a sixteen hand. You would play on. The reason for this is that, with your sixteen hand, you would be at hole 32, not counting pegging. You are twelve holes short. If you can peg a few holes this time and lesson the gap to your next positional hole (44), you will be in better position.

Poor or Average Hand: Let's face it, if you receive six or seven in your hand, you will need to peg around twenty holes to get your goal of hole 44. Not very likely. This being the case, pegging will only help your opponent, so play off. For example, if you successfully stall your opponent and he gets to only hole 29 or 31, that is three or five additional holes above the average he must get on his next hand in order to get to his next positional hole. If he doesn't get them, it will make getting to his next positional hole (70) more difficult.

Your Deal, You are Behind by any Amount, Around Hole 16

Good or Excellent Hand: It's your deal. You are at hole 17 and receive a sixteen hand. This means that you will need eleven more points between this Play, this Crib and your next Hand. You will in all probability reach your goal (hole 44). However, depending on where your opponent is will determine how recklessly you should peg. If your opponent is at hole 20, then play on. The more points he needs in this position, the less it will hurt if you do peg.

Poor or Average Hand: Assume that on your deal at hole 17, you receive six in your hand. This means that between your next Play and Hand you will need around twenty holes. Again, depending on where your opponent is located will determine how liberal your risks at pegging will be. The closer your opponent is to you, the more liberally you will peg. The more your opponent is ahead of you, the more conservative your pegging will be.

Opponent's Deal, You are Behind, Around Hole 16

Good or Excellent Hand: If you are at hole 16 and your opponent is only a few holes ahead of you it means that he will, on the average, reach the next positional hole (44). This being the case, pegging can only get him in better position the more he pegs. The advice is to play off. Use your hand to get you closer and try to stall your opponent. If he has below average hands, he may not get to the desired position. You will then have the advantage.

Poor or Average Hand: Since you are stuck with a poor hand and it's your opponent's Crib, you are going to have to play on. Your opponent will probably get into his desired position. You'll have to take the risk and peg.

- Republished from Cribbage: A New Concept by permission. Text copyright © 2002 by John Chambers. All rights reserved.

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