Today's results so far

*** This hand was suggested by Inushtuk1
114*-108  ?
Total votes: 272
Inushtuk13 viable options here.
3957 votes

Joined: October 2008

Monday 3:03 AM
Today we have a puzzle that is somewhat similar to yesterday's puzzle, because as we are the Dealer once again, we need more than we're likely to peg, unless a Jack Cut should result, and we have nearly a 9% chance of this occurring.

Otherwise, we want to keep an eye on Pone, since only Thirteen Points, or Three Holes above average, is required to defeat us. Since we'll always peg One Hole, we only need Six Points from our combined Pegging, plus Hand, plus Crib, and this would seem to allow us to split these cards any old way we please! This appears to be an important difference in today's puzzle when we compare it with yesterday's challenge, when we also needed more points, and when we had cards that were less capable of delivering.

The other difference we have in today's puzzle is that there is quite a bit more variation in our card arrangement, but in addition, it is also a significantly more dangerous bunch, with both a Trey and a 5 Card, two Key Connectors that might allow Pone to peg. And yet the one thing in clearly in common with both yesterday's puzzle and this puzzle is that we do not want Pone to peg!

The primary observation we should probably make when comparing and contrasting this puzzle with the one we had yesterday is that, since we require fewer points today, and since we hold more dangerous cards, the best solutions here will likely involve 'busting up' the 3-4-5 RUN! If we do nothing else but see this today, I think we'll at least be on the proper "track." Getting rid of the 5 Card also seems to make sense.

We might Toss (4 5), or Toss (5 Q), or we could even Toss (3 5), getting rid of the more dangerous cards lickety-split, and maybe there are a few other discard ideas in there. It would be a difficult challenge to NOT amass Six Points from our combined Pegging, plus Hand, plus Crib today, and do so after ANY discard! Therefore, our focus should be removed from that of scoring, and placed upon our ability to defend during the pegging, for that is how we can WIN the most games.

This is not too difficult a task, but it's also a skill that many players fail to develop! The tendency is almost always to resort and revert back to points, Points, and POINTS! But at Hole 114, after dealing ourselves a 5 Card, we can almost afford to "coast" out, especially if we hold a few points in our Hand. This means we can optimize our chances, to the best of our ability, to minimize Pone's Pegging today! That's the real challenge here, and in fact it's our only task-at-hand.

I don't want any trouble during the pegging, so I'd like to get rid of the 5 Card right from the get-go, but what should we 'bury' alongside it in the interment process? If we Toss (3 5), we hold Zero Points in our Hand, and this might be tempting fate, so how can we hold those Two Points from 3-4-8 in our Hand, while also getting rid of Mr. Five Card? Notice how the script for our Discard Choice writes itself!

Either Toss (5 Q) or Toss (5 9) come to the forefront, and since the 8-9 duo is more dangerous to retain in our Hand, let's jettison the 9 Card. By using logic, and the process of elimination, we have heretofore now decided what to retain, as well as what we shall eliminate in the process! I am suddenly reminded of the quintessential opening scene that examines coincidence, from the 1999 movie, "Magnolia" -- and how, during an otherwise ordinary day, by the end of the film, it can be raining frogs! (Those who also adore this flick will likely understand.) 🐸 🐸 🐸

If we didn't focus clearly, we probably would have decided, "Why not Toss (5 Q) instead of Toss (5 9) and get more POINTS in our Crib?" And if we had failed to focus at all, we likely would have assumed that the 3-4-5 RUN just HAS to stay together, because, "Why break up a RUN?!" This puzzle gives us both a score and cards that offer distinct possibilities, but these may not always sit in plain sight.

Let's Toss (5 9) today. Notice how easily this not-so-obvious Dealer Discard Decision falls clearly into focus when we use our methodical analysis and simple logic?! And none of the discard tools or algorithms or charts stand a chance of helping us today, because we don't seek what they find, which is maximum TOTAL or NET points! We only require Six Points, and our primary concern is, once that score can be adequately 'covered,' then we simply need to hold the most Defensive Pegging Hand that we can muster.

After the Trey Cut, we have Six Points in our Hand, so all we need to do is make sure Pone tallies no more than a Dozen Points by completion of this deal, and we're good! The pegging should be fairly straightforward: Duck and Dodge EVERYTHING!
5517 votes

Joined: March 2008

Monday 3:49 AM
I kept the Queen as my escape card. Play defense and survive.
6140 votes

Joined: April 2008

Monday 3:59 AM
I believe I checked all the boxes off. Two in the hand, two in the crib, and all cuts would bring two more between both. So now the defensive cards we have kept. We hold a defensive eleven count with the Queen as an off play card. Only thing I would fear are runs at end -unlikely or pegging a small pair. Watch the lead and calculate their count as play engages. Defense. dec
dec says: Congrats to Mike Fetchel on his tourney win in Brookline,NH ( over 100 players ). I was one who voted yes on the poll. dec
mfetchCT425 says: Thanks very much Dan, but one key correction. I didn’t win. I lost in the finals. 😊. Missed you there. Hope to see you again a future tourney.
scottcrib says: Hope to see both of you at GN next week.
dec says: Mike I rushed read after seeing the one star. I will not be able to attend as other matters have come up. Gl Scott there. dec
1093 votes

Joined: December 2017

Monday 4:09 AM
Even though I don’t generally presume on the crib in the endgame, 5Q is strong enough that I’ll sacrifice a point in starting value to hold the better defensive pegger.

Of course, you will get away with 3458 or 345Q most of the time. But if pone holds any hand with three+ low cards, you could run into major trouble (as well as other touching configurations).

Tossing the five has nothing to do with getting rid of a “dangerous card”. Trapping a five as pone is very difficult, and holding something like 3458 or 345Q it’s even less common. I’d say the five is no more vulnerable in these hands than the trey or the four, really probably a bit less vulnerable. But the “dangerous dealer five” is one of those irradicable cribbage notions that “everyone knows” – why waste time arguing against it? Pay attention to your next twenty or thirty games and see for yourself how infrequently pone manages to trap dealer’s five, and what sort of dealer hands are most exposed to trapping. The risk, such as it is, is that pone will pair the five with his own – but you have the momentum. Just conserve your five, and this will not happen most of the time.

A hold with two lows and two mids tends to do quite well on defense, especially with higher ranked low cards as today - it’s relatively hard for pone to trap a trey or four versus an ace or two for obvious reasons. We basically have four escape cards that balance each other out. One can imagine scenarios where things go south, as always, but these are pretty nearly ideal cards to be dealt at this score.

I don’t think other keeps would actually be any better on defense, and even if they were, it would be by so little as not to compensate the risk of failing to count out.

JQT reminds us once again of the odds of a Jack cut – much appreciated, as I’m sure we had all forgotten. He speaks of the 3 and 5 as “key connectors” – this concept, of course, refers properly to the crib, and has little relevance in the pegging. The ace is the most trappable low card, and the deuce is more trappable than the trey. Ras himself has said as much. He clings to the belief that the five is a “bad card”, never having ever paid overmuch attention to anyone else’s opinions but his own. As for the defensive value of 3489 versus 348Q:

1) If pone holds a double run of mid cards, the game is lost anyway.

2) If pone holds something like 6789, he will play out three of his mids for a “go” and our own mids are basically safe, or no less safe than any other card would be, any of which could be paired – no risk of a run anyway, and we will have a lot of info to help make the safer lead to the second series.

3) Even holding 6789 - either he hits the double with the cut, and then the game is lost, or he cuts for 9 or 10, and then even giving up two on our lead in the second series will not lose the game.

4) Holding 3489 instead of 348Q, the 9 or the 8 makes it a bit easier to break up low-card mischief at the end of the first series because the Q valued at “ten” will tend to be squeezed out, and having two such ranks in play gives us more flexibility depending on what low cards we predict pone to hold (e.g. a pair of aces versus a pair of deuces, etc). Really, they’re quite comparable hands on defense, but it is certainly not true that 348Q is far and away better, merely because it has two touchers.

5) 5Q is much better than 59 in the crib.

And this has all of course been dished up with his particular brand of smarmy condescension. I saw Magnolia on a plane one time and I’m not at all surprised that JQT liked it.
horus93 says: Obligatory erratum - if pone holds 6789 and cuts an ace or deuce, gets the first go, and fifteens or pairs our lead in the second series, this would lose, but such a situation is a classic "Barlow" and it would be easy to make the correct lead between the eight and nine.
916 votes

Joined: April 2021

Monday 4:45 AM
Maybe chances are 1 in 200 of not being able to count out with this distribution - whatever they are, they're worth it in order to try to prevent our opponent from pegging anything whatsoever.
MiketheExpert says: I seem to recall we may have had the same or very similar hand within the past few weeks --- and HAL may have chosen the (3 5), but I see little issue or difference between choosing (5 9) or (5 Q). I personally still wouldn't start with 0.
MiketheExpert says: I found the one - it was submitted by Eolus19 back on August 22. The score was exactly the same, the only difference being we were dealt a K in the 6-card hand instead of a Q. HAL did choose the (3 5), and ironically I chose to throw (5 K) instead of the (5 9). I guess that proves my theory in that I'm not too bothered about which of these holdings I keep here....or subconsciously, I prefer holding onto the Q rather than the K, and I'm not sure why... :)
3719 votes

Joined: June 2013

Monday 4:59 AM
I thought I'd try Q5 on for size.
3-8 eleven may be useful.
2451 votes

Joined: March 2009

Monday 5:16 AM
Assured of a combined 6 points as mentioned by Dec, a Magic 11 and an escape card. Dump either the 3 or the 4 when available.
1139 votes

Joined: June 2020

Monday 5:56 AM
If you discard the five, you don’t need a pegging plan for it.
78 votes

Joined: September 2022

Monday 6:17 AM
CribEDGE picked a reasonable choice today, in my opinion. One would simply have to HOPE that the opponent does not go out this turn, while also trying to peg well (or at least prevent the opponent from doing so). Here is CribEDGE's output for today:

Worried about opponent score. Prioritizing hand worth.
Keep: Three of Clubs, Four of Spades, Five of Diamonds, Eight of Hearts
Toss: Nine of Clubs, Queen of Spades
Worth: 5 / Bonus: 3

The specific commentary message CribEDGE included with the result implies that the default logic was overridden to make this selection. I tested this hand again with 30-30 scores, and it appears that the default logic would go with this hand:

Keep: Three of Clubs, Four of Spades, Eight of Hearts, Nine of Clubs
Toss: Five of Diamonds, Queen of Spades
Worth: 2 / Bonus: 11
330 votes

Joined: December 2020

Monday 6:27 AM
Good puzzle. Based on the end game position and being dealer I went for the safest hand and tossed 8-9 to my crib.

I ended up with the heard but I need to re-read the comments later today. I kept the run including the 5, that greatly impacted by decision to keep the Q while other chose to bank the Q ....
330 votes

Joined: December 2020

Monday 6:28 AM
"herd" not "heard" damn spell check...
2828 votes

Joined: November 2014

Monday 6:44 AM
Q is my escape card. Maybe I should be more worried but I'm not.
wasa says: After reading the above (especially MikeTheExpert) I checked Aug 22 where I held the 3-4-5-K. So live and don't learn for me. I'm sure I'm wrong, but I disagree with HAL that tossing the 3-5 is the "best" choice here. Needing 7 points I should keep zero and with my one peg (for sure) and a 5 in my crib min of 2 points I'm risking playing another hand where my opponent can peg out? Sorry - this game ends on this hand, at least for me!
james500 says: Hi Wasa, hope you're well. I went back and checked 22/8 too. Not only have I not learned, I've made a slightly worse choice today than I did then.
112 votes

Joined: February 2022

Monday 7:11 AM
I tossed 8-9 going with the majority opinion. Pone needs 13 points for the win. Hoping the pone doesn't lead with a 10, J, Q, or K, otherwise I'll have to put more thought into this...
1300 votes

Joined: February 2009

Monday 10:49 AM
Like this setup for the most defensive pegging hand. Reasons defined by many an above. And this hold will still let us get home if we can hold pone from going out.
1006 votes

Joined: January 2021

Monday 1:08 PM
Went with 5-9 over 5-Q just to get a bit more space instead of two sets of connected cards. Far more worried about what non-dealer was dealt than the pegging at this point, but will do my best to dodge giving up anything. I think 3 of the last 4 games in anywhere similar of a position the opponent got a double run combination with 4/5/6s AND matched one with the cut, so I'm well acquainted with the knowledge my fate may not be in my hands today, all I can do is play the hand I'm dealt.
1266 votes

Joined: July 2016

Monday 1:23 PM
The Win is absolutely sure with this keep. Anything else is a probable win only. This puzzle was from Schell's Ask the Experts Dec. 2001. It is a pure coincidence that we had a similar puzzle on Aug.22nd of this year. Note how Halscib CLX gave a different answer back in 2001, from the one he gave this year.
Inushtuk1 says: Sorry. That last sentence should read, "the 2001 version of Halscrib gave a different answer from Halscrib CLX earlier this year.
JQT says: I believe Michael Schell posted the best and the correct analysis on that Dec 2001 puzzle, and Halscrib was incorrect, a rare occurrence! Let's see if it redeems itself today! Halscrib had a major update in circa 2010 with REX, and yet another circa 2012 as Crib Prof, which is essentially the same as HalscribCLX.
Inushtuk1 says: Thanks John. That's one of the reasons I submitted this puzzle. Looks like the latest version picks 3-4-8-9 for the lowest average pegging points. A bit surprising with keeping two sets of touchers.
5415 votes

Joined: October 2007

Monday 2:31 PM
I think it's probably between 3-4-5-Q (8-9), 3-4-5-8 (9-Q) and 3-4-8-9 (5-Q). I think 3-4-8-9 may well be best to avoid Pone pegging too many and unless the cut is an A we'll have enough to go out.
5127 votes

Joined: February 2008

Monday 2:41 PM
At 114*-108 playing an Optimal strategy the Hold Enough % and Pone's Pegging Points are:

Optimal______Hold Out %_____Pone's Peg Pt.
4-8-9-Q _______74.9_____________(-2.17)

Including the crib we're almost certainly going to score enough so I'll keep 3-4-8-9 and select 5-Q to discard.

After the 3 cut I'll play Defense to the lead.
1197 votes

Joined: August 2018

Monday 3:52 PM
Went with defensive pegging cards, but still 2 points in crib abd 2 in hand.