It’s early August, and that means it's time for a Cribbage Pro discard quiz! We've listed some common hands below. See if you can figure which discard gives the best results for pone. Note that in all cases you're playing as pone, so you'll be discarding into your opponent's crib.
We chose the hands below because they show up fairly often, and are frequently played in a suboptimal way. Before you take the quiz, you might want to review the Cribbage Pro discard table. In particular, note that you can minimize your opponent's crib by giving her K10, Q9, or K9; and you'll maximize the points in your opponent’s crib by discarding 55, 78, or 23.
We rate each discard by its net effect on pone's points:
We chose the hands below because they show up fairly often, and are frequently played in a suboptimal way. Before you take the quiz, you might want to review the Cribbage Pro discard table. In particular, note that you can minimize your opponent's crib by giving her K10, Q9, or K9; and you'll maximize the points in your opponent’s crib by discarding 55, 78, or 23.
We rate each discard by its net effect on pone's points:
points pegged by pone
+ points in pone's hand
 points in dealer's crib
 points pegged by dealer
We don't take into account points scored in dealer's hand since pone's discard doesn't affect those points.
2♠ 3♥ 9♦ 10♣ J♠ Q♥
Should you keep the run and give dealer your 23? Or should you break up the run in order to poison your opponent's crib? We've seen the best results for the players who split up the run and give their opponent the Q9. Only 44% of players get this one right, though. Keeping 2310J leaves you you two fifteens, good pegging (lead the 3), and on average gives dealer a terrible crib.
Discard
 9♦ Q♥  2♠ 3♥ 
Pone points pegged

1.78

1.63

Pone points in hand

7.04

6.76

Dealer points pegged

3.06

3.78

Dealer points in crib

4.05

7.39

A♠ 2♥ 3♦ 4♣ 7♦ 8♥
Would you toss A7? If so you're an elite discarder: only 37% of players get this right. A lot of players toss the 78 into their opponents crib in order to keep their run of four. Don't do that: the 2348 gives you a 15 for two, and lessens your opponent's crib by 3.3 points!
Discard
 A♠ 7♦  7♦ 8♥ 
Pone points pegged

2.34

2.98

Pone points in hand

8.32

8.21

Dealer points pegged

2.90

3.41

Dealer points in crib

4.42

7.79

7♠ 8♥ 9♦ 10♣ J♠ K♥
What's the right move here? Go for the run of four (78910) and toss your opponent JK? Or break up your run and put 10K in your opponent's crib? Very few players get this right, but the correct answer is: toss the 10K. On average dealer ends up with 1.7 fewer points in his crib, which makes 10K the right discard.
Discard
 10♣ K♥  J♠ K♥ 
Pone points pegged

2.34

2.98

Pone points in hand

8.32

8.21

Dealer points pegged

2.90

3.41

Dealer points in crib

4.42

7.79

2♠ 4♥ 5♦ 8♣ 9♠ J♥
Everyone's got a different way to play this one. Discarding 24, 28, 49, and 8J and are all popular discards. The most popular choice is to discard the 24, but the best discard is 49. Compared to 24, the 49 discard limits dealers pegging and stifles her crib.
Discard
 4♥ 9♠  2♠ 4♥ 
Pone points pegged

1.81

2.08

Pone points in hand

6.31

4.76

Dealer points pegged

3.26

4.11

Dealer points in crib

4.31

5.00

A♥ 2♠ 4♠ 5♣ 6♠ 10♥
Most players toss A2, but they can do better than that. The 210 discard gives dealer fewer points on average, and keeping the A4 combination gives you an extra 1.6 points of pegging on average. This holds for any card that counts 10: pone should discard 2J from A2456J, 2Q from A2456Q, and 2K from A2456K.
Discard
 2♠ 10♥  A♥ 2♠ 
Pone points pegged

3.07

1.72

Pone points in hand

8.86

9.75

Dealer points pegged

3.49

3.77

Dealer points in crib

4.31

4.77

2♥ 3♠ 5♠ 6♣ 9♠ J♥
It seems counterintuitive to give your opponent a 69, but that's the right play here. A lot of players toss the 23 in this situation, but our discard data shows that 23 is a more dangerous discard than 69.
A♠ 2♥ 3♠ 4♣ 6♠ 9♦
A lot of players are throwing 69, but they'd gain a few points if they kept 2346 and discarded A9.
A♣ 2♥ 4♠ 8♣ 10♦ K♠
Once again, 10K is the right discard. Your hand will score fewer points, but you'll peg more and your opponent's crib will have fewer points. A248 pegs well, so when you're dealt A2478K you should keep the A248 and throw 7K into opponent's crib.
A♥ 3♥ 4♣ 7♦ 10♠ K♠
You've guessed it: 10K is the way to go. Keeping the A347 is good for pegging (if you lead the 4), and the 10K discard shuts down dealer's crib.
3♠ 4♦ 6♣ 7♣ 9♠ J♥
The wrong (but most common) discard is 7J. You'll score better if you discard 3J: better pegging and a lower scoring crib for the dealer.
2♠ 3♥ 4♠ 8♣ 9♠ 10♦
Oh, here's a good one. The right move? Toss the 810. A lot of players toss the 89 here, but that sets dealer up for a nice crib. Some players toss 23, but that leaves them with too few points in their hand. 2349 strikes the right balance of a poor crib for dealer, with a good hand and good pegging for pone.
A♥ 2♠ 3♥ 5♦ 5♣ 9♠
Tossing the 23 is pretty scary, but it leaves you with six points. Tossing the A9 gives dealer fewer points in her crib, but leaves you with only four points in your hand. Hmm.. What's the right choice? Toss the A9. Discarding 23 almost guarantees your opponent a great crib. Keeping the 23 increases your pegging potential, especially if you lead the 3. So on balance A9 is the right discard here.
2♠ 3♥ 7♦ 8♣ 9♠ 10♥
Don't toss that 23!!! Toss 103 or 102 instead. You'll score fewer points in your hand, but you'll more than make up for that by shutting down dealer's crib.
How can we help you?
Do you frequently run into a hand that flusters you? Leave us a comment below and we'll tell you what our data suggests.
Handful of sixes and nines lead with the six or the nine ?
ReplyDeleteI lead with the six, if your opponent has a 9 for 15, you can follow with a 9 for a pair. Count is 24 and they can't triple you up. If you use the same play theory and lead with a 9 then 6 for 15, 6 for a pair, 21 count. Your opponent can play 6 to triple up or 10 for 31, two points.
DeleteDefinitely lead with the 6.
Hi Adrian,
DeleteThe Cribbage Pro data shows that there's a slight advantage to leading the 6. We've seen tens of thousands of 6699 hands played with a 6 lead and tens of thousands with a 9 lead. When pone leads a 6 she averages 2.0 points of pegging and gives up 3.0 points to dealer. When pone leads a 9 she averages 1.9 points and gives up 3.0 to dealer. So lead the 6 and you'll average an extra 0.1 points of pegging.
You mention a couple of times here to lead the 3 when hold 23 as pone. I almost always go for the "reverse psychology" play in that situation and lead the two. I haven't done the detailed analysis you have, but I think I get a 10value on a 2 way more often than a 3, allowing for the 15fortwo play. Thoughts?
ReplyDeleteHi Thomas.
ReplyDeleteThe 3 lead actually gets a 10value response a little more often than the 2 lead. I looked specifically at the case where pone is holding 231010 (or any two 10count cards instead of the 10). In those cases dealer plays a 10 card 34.6% of the time on the 3 lead vs. 31.5% on the 2 lead.
Why is that? Well, dealers are less likely to respond to a 3 lead with a 4, 5, 6, 7, or 9 than they are with a 2 lead. The data doesn't say why the players are doing that, but my personal feeling is that the 4 and 5 are scary because pone could turn them into a run; 6 is scary because pone could score 15 for 4 if she has a 6; 7 is scary because pone could score 15 for 2 if she has a 5; and 9 is scary because pone could score 15 for 2 if she has a pair of 3s. Eliminating 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9 as a response doesn't leave as many options, so dealer is more likely to respond with a 10 count card.
That said, the results are actually pretty similar: the 3 lead gives a very, very slight edge over the 2 lead, and if you're getting good results leading the 2 then I wouldn't suggest you change.