Ask the experts, March 2010

PONE  (108):


   3  3 (6-2) ?   
  crib:   7-10
cut:  J          
DEALER  (92*):


You're pone leading 108-90*, and holding 3-3-Q-Q after tossing 7-10. You cut a J, moving dealer to 92*. You lead a 3 and dealer pairs it. Do you triple dealer's 3?

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Dan Barlow:

No. Even if I peg nothing I'll be dealing from nine holes out, which is a good position even for me. True, six holes pegged almost assures I'll go out next hand, but if dealer has the fourth 3, he'll go out this hand with just a 10 hand and a six crib.

John Chambers:

Yes, give up the 12 holes. It's worth a shot. The 12 holes would put your opponent at hole 104. It will put you at hole 114 with four points in your hand to hole 118. You haven't finished the play yet, and you could actually peg out. Your opponent will need a very good hand and crib, otherwise you can peg out next hand.

George Rasmussen:

I would take the six in this case as that would move me down to hole 118 without other pegs and increase my chances to peg out on next deal with a dealer average for pegging of about four points.

Michael Schell:

If I was a couple points farther back, I'd pass on the triple. But I'm guessing that even if I'm quadrupled, dealer probably won't go out entirely this deal, giving me a chance to peg out from 118* next deal.

Phyllis Schmidt:

No. I'll hold the last 3 to the end if I can. I would play a Q. 29 holes is a lot for the dealer to go on his deal then counting first next deal.

Peter Setian:

I would decide to triple the dealer's 3. By this time, the dealer is 27 points away from the win with only one card played (not much above average). The six points for trips would also put me 23 points (after pegging) away from winning, where I may peg out on the next deal (key). I think it's worth taking the chance that the dealer will not have both the case 3 for 12 points and enough points to win with counting the hand (3-3-J so far) and crib (7-10-J so far).


I will definitely play the 3. The key point is that even if dealer has the fourth 3, I still have a 42% chance of a pegout win.

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Dan Barlow won the 1980 National Open Cribbage Tournament, and made the 1985 All American Cribbage Team. His cribbage strategy articles appeared in Cribbage World for many years, and can be seen on the ACC Web site. He also provides strategy tips at MSN Gaming Zone. He has written seven books on cribbage, two of which have been glowingly reviewed in Games Magazine. All, including his latest book Winning Cribbage Tips, are available at The Cribbage Bookstore.

John Chambers was one of the original founding members of the ACC. He is a Grand Master, winner of seven major tournaments, and author of Cribbage: A New Concept, He also directs three annual tournaments: the Ocean State Cribbage Classic, New England Peer Championship and Charity Cribbage Challenge.

George "Ras" Rasmussen is a Life Master - Two Stars, a four-time All-American, the national Grass Roots Division1 champion in 2009, a former state champion in Virginia, Montana and Washington, and holds a Gold Award and a President's Award. He also directs the Washington State Championship, held each year in Centralia, WA. His articles on cribbage are available on the ACC Web site.

Michael Schell is a pioneer of modern cribbage theory, which synthesizes traditional concepts of expert play with new computer-informed insights and analysis. He has published Cribbage Forum since 2000. Schell holds a Bronze Award, is a Washington State Champion (2001), and was one of the principal architects of ACC Internet Cribbage.

Phyllis Schmidt is a charter member of the ACC, and has been playing cribbage for about 40 years. She is a Life Master - One Star, a Senior Judge, a National Champion (1992) and winner of the ACC Tournament of Champions (2005). She attends about 30 tournaments a year.

Peter Setian has played cribbage for over 20 years, and has been a member of the ACC for about 14 years. During that time, he has won seven major tournaments and earned his Life Master rating. He plays in about eight tournaments per year, including the ACC Tournament of Champions and the annual Grand National. He enjoys participation in Grass Roots Club #72.

HALSCRIB is widely regarded as the world's strongest computer cribbage player. Its opinion was solicited using a special analysis version of the program. Since HALSCRIB only speaks binary, its thoughts have been translated into English by Michael Schell and its creator, Hal Mueller, a retired mathematics professor and eight-time ACC tournament winner. For more information, see the HALSCRIB home page.

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