November 4, 2019

*** This hand was suggested by mfetchct425
116-116*  ?
Total votes: 199

Play this scenario out against a robot designed by Hal Mueller for

4886 votes

Joined: April 2008

Monday 3:20 AM
This hold for me covers all cuts ace thru nine. With the ace cut I have four here so hope opponent is agressive and pairs my four lead if they get stuck with at least three face cards put count up to fourteen. Last hope for a run on 6-7 play. dec
291 votes

Joined: August 2019

Monday 3:43 AM
... and start the peg by playing the deuce.
2843 votes

Joined: October 2008

Monday 3:45 AM
Needing Five Points to WIN as Pone seems trivial, since slightly greater than Ten Points is average: but then we pick up this 'whole lot of nothing' hand that starts us off with only Two Points! Blech!

And as Pone, it's almost always an uphill climb, since we'll not only have the awful risk of a Jack Cut, but we must also lead during the pegging, during which we have no guarantees of scoring any points whatsoever.

With no Jacks dealt to us, this means that the Dealer enjoys a 4 DIV 46 equals 0.087 or nearly a 9% chance of cutting his or her way to Hole 118, where the prospects of the Dealer pegging out would become the main risk.

We want to keep in mind all of these seemingly conflicting ideas: a Jack Cut might occur, placing us essentially in a Pegging Battle at (116-118*); a Pegging Struggle may also ensue if we have a Cut Card that offers us no help, and thus we could be Three Holes 'shy', and; we might get a beneficial Cut Card that "covers" those last Five Holes, such that we wish to peg purely defensively.

We already calculated the odds of a Jack Cut, and while it's serious, it is less than 10% likely, so I would predict that it's much more likely that, with just a small dose of help from the Cut Card, we may have to peg One Hole here: and if so, we would need it badly. This tells me we should probably retain the (A 2) for some pegging strength, if at all possible.

Also, holding two "small" cards together protects us extremely well from the liability of either a "lone" Ace or "lone" Deuce that could "bite us" and help the Dealer instead. And so, the real dilemma today I think is whether to retain the (4 K) or the (6 7) alongside the (A 2). And we should decide this carefully!

The King would be a great 'safe' card if we get a good Cut Card today and do not need to peg at all. And the King will also serve to 'push' the Count up more quickly toward Thirty-One, to perhaps help us 'nab' that possibly much-needed "go" or (31-2). However, the (A 2 6 7) is a four-card "Sweet Sixteen," which oftentimes can 'net' us a (31-2) against a Dealer holding a 5 Card with any number of Ten Cards (or "X").

But a Dealer needing just Five Points is going to be fully biased toward the pegging, and not be at all concerned with holding "points" in the form of hands such as (5 X X X) or (5 5 X X). There is no need for it. This takes virtually ALL of the "Sweetness" out of a "Sweet-Sixteen" combination!

The "small" cards will all be "High Bias" cards for the Dealer here, as well as any "Key Connector" cards especially such as a 5 Card, or perhaps even a 7 Card. Dealer will very likely not be pegging in a normal fashion, so if we lead an Ace or a 4 Card, I would expect to see an aggressive "small" card played, and NOT a Ten Card (or "X"), such that we can probably forget about grabbing an early (15-2) with say our Ace and 4 Card combo.

I'm inclined to look at Keep (A 2 4 K) as our most flexible option, since it allows us to retain those two "small" cards, and it also allows us to either "push" the Count up quickly with the King, or peg defensively (if this called for) with the King as well. The King could really be a "goal getter" either offensively or defensively today!

And then we also have either Keep (A 2 6 7), or maybe its more tightly-bunched cousin, Keep (2 4 6 7), each as further possible candidate hands today, which both begin with Two Points. Sadly, we probably should not risk Keep (A 2 4 6), as it starts us off without breakfast (Zero Points)!

Keep (A 2 4 K) seems to have only about six loser Cuts (666, 777), whereas Keep (A 2 6 7) has a whopping eighteen loser Cuts (444, TTTT, JJJJ, QQQQ, KKK), and meanwhile Keep (2 4 6 7) has a similar number of around eighteen loser Cuts (AAA, TTTT, JJJJ, QQQQ, KKK). Almost End of Story Right There!

It's unfortunate that perhaps the interesting pegging hands of those two more "bunched-up" cards have so many fewer helpful Cuts, but since we might end up wanting to play defense today, maybe it's better we don't retain these anyway.

And therefore, I'll go with Keep (A 2 4 K), as it gets help from so many Ten Card Cuts (or "X"), and it's really not too shabby in the pegging department, either. In fact, that dual-nature of offense/defense provided by "Mr. King" is what really seems to make our potential hand "shine" here!

After the Ace Cut, we need NO pegging, and so I'll lead the 4 Card (not the Ace!). If Dealer either PAIRS it or plays any Ten Card (or "X"), I'll play our King, and not the Ace for (15-2) ... remember, we do NOT need any pegging points! By retaining our Ace-Deuce duo, we better protect ourselves as we approach Thirty-One.

And also, a "trapped" final 4 Card is the MAIN way a Dealer holding (5 6) could WIN upon the final volley of pegging, and so we're happy to unload it right off-the-bat. And while leading the Ace is indeed a safer play in isolation, in the aggregate, I prefer unloading the 4 Card first. Even with (and maybe especially with...) an Ace Cut, I would fear an Ace Lead getting PAIRED, and then not being able to 'jump' above a Count of Fifteen immediately.

We could *still* lose today if the Dealer gets us 'jammed up' into an unlikely case of the RUNS, but I think we've done our best to minimize any and all risks, and I really like our chances of winning.
1598 votes

Joined: March 2016

Monday 4:16 AM
I chose to retain 2 points with A-2-6-7 today. Fifteen face cards and a cut of a 4 do not help this hand.
1090 votes

Joined: May 2016

Monday 4:27 AM
I like to hold 1-4-6-X. Powerful pegging hold. Nice cut. Lead the 4. Even without the cut, it is frequent to be able to peg 4 points with 4-X-A-X-6. Holding 7-6-4-A holds no points and relies solely on the cut plus pegging. Holding the X with A-4-6 gives me a cut plus pegging to get out. At this time, I am WAY WAY in the minority.
2506 votes

Joined: June 2013

Monday 4:54 AM
Didn't see John's A-2-4-K. Think it might perform better than the A-2-6-7 that I've chosen.

The cut makes it a moot point, but kicking myself none-the-less.

Ace lead should be the safest.
Andy (muesli64)
1750 votes

Joined: August 2009

Monday 5:01 AM
Keep A 2. Lead the 4. But after that do I keep the 7 or K. Really don't know.
4284 votes

Joined: March 2008

Monday 5:23 AM
Stick a fork in me, I'm done.
375 votes

Joined: April 2019

Monday 6:11 AM
Decided on A-2-4-K(6 7) Before reading any comments here. JQT says it all in his eloquent style.

For me the main reasons were:

1. Only 6 cut cards that miss. The other keeps have more cuts failing.

2. It's a bad hand! But we at least start with 2 pts with this keep - needing only 3 more pts. These may be found after the cut or in the pegging. Turns out the cut(Ace) solved all those worries for us.

With the cut, I agree with JQT again - lead a the 4, try to avoid all pegging pts (to try to make Opp not peg much except his guaranteed 1 pegging pt.). We have all the pts we need for 1st count anyway.
375 votes

Joined: April 2019

Monday 7:01 AM
Thanks to JQT for his presentation yesterday of Positional play, surplus and deficit.

Interesting stuff.

Much of that post was a copy/paste from the cited reference.

I work best from concrete examples, though(I would hazard many in this group do as well.)

So I would like to ask JQT for some examples, if I may.

Suppose we are talking about the surplus/deficit around the 96-pt target. Suppose first we are dealer:

a. The score is 96*-96. We have no surplus/deficit, right? Pone has a 10-pt surplus, since we must add 10 pts to his score, right? Does this mean play Offense? His surplus > our surplus.

b. The score is 100*-94. Our surplus = 4(100-96), right? His surplus = 8(94+10-96), right? Again, his surplus > our surplus, so play offense, right?

c. Score is 101*-88. Our surplus = 5(101-96), right? His surplus = 2(88+10-96), right? So now our surplus > his surplus, so play defense, right?

d. Score is 107*-97. Our surplus is 11(107-96), right? His is also 11(97+10-96), right? We're equal, so play Optimal? If the 2 surpluses are just 1 pt different, say 107*-96 => surpluses of 11/10 - we still play optimal?

e. Score is 95*- 85. Implies our Surplus/his surplus = -1/-1. So we both have deficits, now right. Let's let the minus sign indicate deficits. We're equal at -1/-1, so play optimal?

f. Score is 94*-80. Implies two deficits: -2/-6, right? We're less worse off(-2) than he is(-6), so play offense?

g. Score is 91*-85. Implies we are both deficit. -5/-1, right? He is less worse off(-1) than we are(-5) so play defense, right?

h. Score is 97*-84. Implies 1/-2, right? We have a surplus of 1, he a deficit of -2. We're ahead, so play defense, right?

i. Score is 94*-88. Implies -2/2, right? He is ahead, so play offense, right?

I would like to ask all the equivalent questions if we are pone, instead of dealer. Instead, let me just check by asking only one question.

In (a) above, score was 96*-96, implying 0/10. We, as pone, are ahead, so play defense, right?(as dealer, we played offense, right?)

A bunch of questions. Thanks for your patience. Concrete examples help.
192 votes

Joined: December 2018

Monday 7:23 AM
With hold of 7624, can lead small and hope for run on end of 3 go 4, and the 2 pts I have already...this is a risky play, but the only hold I see to get the peg points needed, 762A also works as well, more points in hand to go out with that cut......this hold will depend on the cut how it is played....
375 votes

Joined: April 2019

Monday 7:23 AM
Reviewing the above:

In (f), we're ahead(-2/-6), so we should actually play defense(not offense, as I suggested), right?

And in (g), he's ahead(-5/-1) so we should actually play offense(not defense, as I suggested), right?
4886 votes

Joined: April 2008

Monday 7:47 AM
see above all do. finger twitch. dec
725 votes

Joined: December 2017

Monday 8:44 AM
I'm like it this way too
590 votes

Joined: January 2018

Monday 11:04 AM
Have not delved into everyone's explanations yet. For me, I need 4 points and a go to win. I gambled on an X card being flipped to give me the extra 2 points. Low cards hopefully get me 1 go.
4204 votes

Joined: October 2007

Monday 11:55 AM
A-2-4-K has 40 cuts for improvement = 40/46 = 87.0% and with three low cards and a high card should peg well playing offense or defense. With the broken five I'll lead the 4 although the A cut now means we can play a Safe strategy as we have enough to go out.
552 votes

Joined: February 2009

Monday 12:26 PM
Had this scenario in a real game and held it this way. A led the 4, opponent paired me. I played the K, opponent paired me! And then pegged out with last card. It shows that you can have a well laid out plan, and still not succeed. But that’s just one of the things that make this such a great and intriguing game.
880 votes

Joined: June 2016

Monday 12:30 PM
I originally looked at A-2-6-7, but I felt that it was far too easy for the dealer to trap me into a run, due to the fact that I am rather restricted after I play my first card.

The king allows me to vary the hand count without exposing the value of my hand. It may also allow me use the A-2 for late play pegging to limit the dealers "go". Since the A is cut I don't need the pegging points so I will play defense and lead the 4.
3741 votes

Joined: November 2008

Monday 2:07 PM
JQT has this hold down pat. Once seeing the starter card, knowing that RAS has six points, it's play SAFE. Lead the four as retaining the Ace with an Ace on the deck seems to be the safest option. Advance the count with the K escape card. Pegs are not needed, so play off. If dealer played an Ace on my 4 lead? would take the 15-2 with the King. Other than that would not bother with pegs. Dealer needs five pegs and dealer average is 3.5; so likely needs me to cooperate in order to peg five holes. Great time to be uncooperative.
27 votes

Joined: October 2019

Monday 9:34 PM
Decided to keep the A-4-6 combination in the hope of pegging 31 off the 11.