Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Competitive Cribbage - Autumn 2022 Season

The Autumn 2022 Season of Competitive Cribbage is Live!

The Summer 2022 season is in the books, and all stats are locked in and recorded. I'll keep the intro short this season, as I have some ideas to share after the important details about last season. If you are most interested in that, then scroll down past the first table on this post.

The Top 50 has quite a few players new in the mix. I love seeing new players come in and make a run for it! Thank you to all for participating and bringing your friends! Thank you also to everyone who participated at every level, even if you didn't make the final Top 50. Don't forget to invite your friends to compete and see who really is the best cribbage player!

In 1st place for Summer 2022, we have "ThreeG" (welcome back)! 2nd place is "iPeg" (so close, yet...) In 3rd we have "TC2", who was in 25th last season, but has been near the top a few times now as well (see below). Other interesting movements in the Top 50 included "dkatz1877" who moved up 45 places from last season to be 4th, "bbaer1" up 29 to 8th place, "cyrusg" up 22 to 10th and of course the many new faces who are scattered throughout the Top 50 this season who fought particularly hard in the final days of the season to make the cut! Congratulations!!

Everyone who finished the season in the Top 50 ("Recent" list), has been awarded both a special in-game "board peg" as well as Cribbage Pro Gold that can be used in the Cribbage Pro Contests system and then redeemed for cash (awards must be used at least once in a Contest to be cashed out to USDC, see the full terms and conditions for details). The Gold awards do expire, so use them or lose them! If you are awarded Gold, and are not sure what it is good for (or how to access the Contests system), read through the links above or email us any time if you have questions. On iOS you will need the "Cribbage Pro Contests" version of the app, and on Android you need to install the game using the Amazon Appstore. The Cribbage Pro Gold awards are as follows (not cumulative):

  • 4 Gold for Top 50
  • 7 Gold for Top 25
  • 10 Gold for Top 10
  • 20 Gold for 3rd Place
  • 30 Gold for 2nd Place
  • 50 Gold for 1st Place

The top finisher is awarded the "crown" board peg, and all others in the Top 50 are awarded a "star" board peg. These pegs are shown to everyone when playing in online multiplayer games, and they are permanent, so if you see your opponent has one of them you can know that they have earned it by finishing in the Top 50 in competitive play.

Remember: Complete 10 matches per week! See the FAQ for details.

Here was the final Top 50 for Summer 2022:

1ThreeG26bigshane0
2iPeg27scoot1234
3TC228seachica
4dkatz187729Paludeja
5VGKnights30zackzoey
6nob4one31Doksboy
7Mrpadre32bj1949
8bbaer133Trucha1
9rattle1534cribfan44
10cyrusg35Dempegs
11Dhrun36yank29
12lbolt5837Chelsea64
13mountains38BrutusSt
14TempestN39JonKneeGo
152CRIBKING40Gssj21
16pileated41jjonell
17Yompopo42MondoMan
18Mharold43viclen
19kb9212944flashmatt
20Lapete8845Domerzag
21ernie31346nvsru911
22medzy47hillchem
23Geofred148SH00TER
24fpster49pscohen
25sheepman501bh1


Top Competitive Cribbage Stats

Recently I was asked a question related to the top players in competitive cribbage, and it got me thinking about how things have gone over the last 9 seasons (yes, it has been that long - 10 if you count the "beta test" season). This led me to wonder who has been at the very top throughout all of these 9 seasons. Here are a few tables that focus on just the top 3 of the list over all of the seasons.


Who has been in the Top 3 how many times (out of 9 total seasons)?:

PlayerCount
iPeg6
Dhrun5
TC23
ThreeG3
dkatz18772
BigD4Life1
cyrusg1
ernie3131
kb921291
Mrpadre1
nob4one1
Nytric4561
PegSurfer1


Who has been in the Top 3 by final rank?:

RankPlayerCount
1iPeg4
1ThreeG3
1Mrpadre1
1Nytric4561
2Dhrun2
2iPeg2
2BigD4Life1
2cyrusg1
2ernie3131
2PegSurfer1
2TC21
3Dhrun3
3dkatz18772
3TC22
3kb921291
3nob4one1

There are multiple ideas (as shared by a few of you), about what to do with this list. One possibility is to run a "Tournament of Champions" for everyone on the list (or maybe just some, or add everyone from the Top 5 instead of 3). There are several variations on this idea, but in order to prioritize it as something to consider, I would really like to know what everyone thinks.

Please either comment here or email and let us know what you think. Could a tournament be fun to see done in some way, even if you are not on the list? If you are on this list and are interested, send us an email confirming your interest. Lastly, assuming there is interest in a tournament of some kind, would you be interested in watching the games live as they happen (streamed live on YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, etc)? If you think that would be awesome, and if you would want to participate in some other way (say, to add color commentary as I'm not sure anyone wants to hear my voice announce the games), let me know. Again, please add your thoughts in the comments or share via email. I will say that I personally find the idea of watching a live game against these players pretty interesting, but that might just be me.

As a reminder, if you have played here and have some thoughts on what you would like to see around prizes, structure or anything else, please email us at support@FullerSystems.com with your suggestions.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Competitive Cribbage - Summer 2022

It is time for the Cribbage Pro Summer 2022 Season of Competitive Matchmaking! If you are here primarily for what is new/changed, then scroll down to the final "News for The New Season" section below. The Spring 2022 season has fully wrapped up, and as usual it was entertaining to watch the rise and fall of different players throughout the season again. I still find myself cheering for different players on and off throughout the season. I admit I also often wish I could personally participate, but  we have a rule that employees/contractors are prohibited from this and Contest play (and from the leaderboards entirely, in case you were wondering).

The Top 50 had quite a few new faces yet again this season. It is great to see all the new challengers working so hard to make their way to the top! Everyone loves an underdog, I suppose. Things just seem to be getting more and more competitive, so thank you to all for participating and bringing your friends! Thank you also to everyone who participated in this great game of cribbage, even if you didn't quite make the Top 50. I hope you enjoyed the journey.

In 1st place for Spring 2022, we have "Mrpadre" for the first time! It is nice to see Mrpadre back this season, as they were in the top 10 last season as well! 2nd place is "ernie313", and ernie313 has been in the Top 50 many times in the past as well, finishing last season at 33rd. In 3rd we have "Dhrun", who was in 2nd last season and also becoming a regular around these parts. Other interesting movements in the Top 50 included "WhyADuck" who has placed in the Top 50 before, but wasn't there last season and is 4th this season, and "Br1Guy" who we have definitely seen before, moving up just a bit from 13th to 9th! "scoot1234" came up from 28th last season to finish 19th this season, while "jjonell" came from 42nd to finish 36th.

Everyone who finished the season in the Top 50 ("Recent" list), has been awarded both a special in-game "board peg" as well as Cribbage Pro Gold that can be used in the Cribbage Pro Contests system and then redeemed for cash (awards must be used at least once in a Contest to be cashed out to USDC, see the full terms and conditions for details). If you are awarded Gold, and are not sure what it is good for (or how to access the Contests system), read through the links above or email us any time if you have questions. On iOS you will need the "Cribbage Pro Contests" version of the app, and on Android you need to install the game using the Amazon Appstore. As it looks like many are not using the Cribbage Pro Gold they win (which makes it kind of a useless prize for them), this part of the prize may change for the Summer 2022 winners (please email us your suggestions). The Cribbage Pro Gold awards are as follows (not cumulative):

  • 4 Gold for Top 50
  • 7 Gold for Top 25
  • 10 Gold for Top 10
  • 20 Gold for 3rd Place
  • 30 Gold for 2nd Place
  • 50 Gold for 1st Place

The top finisher is awarded the "crown" board peg, and all others in the Top 50 are awarded a "star" board peg. These pegs are shown to everyone when playing in online multiplayer games, and they are permanent, so if you see your opponent has one of them you can know that they have earned it by finishing in the Top 50 in competitive play.

Remember: Complete 10 matches per week! See the FAQ for details.

Here was the final Top 50 for Spring 2022:


1Mrpadre26koala29
2ernie31327nvsru911
3Dhrun28Domerzag
4WhyADuck29gotupeggd
5Gssj2130wfdove
6nob4one31aela
7iPeg32cyrusg
8scout333sagdog16
9Br1Guy34Dempegs
10shudbgolf35Legonaut
11wightness36jjonell
12PALONSO37bbaer1
13236Postie38farleysma
14VGKnights39pscohen
15Cutch1340Paludeja
16hillchem41vhray
17nhguy42IAMFAST
18hunterIT43Buikemad
19scoot123444SH00TER
20cribfan4445james500
21lbolt5846dph
22UberPooch47jehcjehc
23BigD4Life48brewski42
24jwr1349dkatz1877
25TC250yank29


News for The New Season

Some of you have been asking, and patiently waiting, for some bigger changes. However, there will not be big changes for this season.

During the Spring 2022 season, while you were all playing (and we were watching all the ups and downs and crunching the numbers), we spent a lot of time working on several different ways to bring ideas around a single game match to the competitive system. The idea was to lighten the games required, and the time needed to participate, as not everyone is able to do so with a 3 game match. Ultimately, it just didn't work out as hoped, and so we couldn't release it.

We worked through several different ways to try to provide for a single game match, but in testing and analysis, it just could never provide good results. What I mean by that is our system simply could not accurately isolate the skill from the luck with just a single game, even if the total number of games played went up significantly (which it is also unclear if that would be the case). Playing more games against other players just doesn't compensate. This means, among other criteria, that it couldn't accurately predict the winner (meaning the skill calculated isn't good enough), or then subsequently calculate the skill rank adjustments to be made reliably as a result, when tested against real world game data. Either the skill ranking system we use (even with various tweaks/changes to it), or the game of cribbage itself, just doesn't allow for it to happen. I personally try to hold a high standard for everything we do, and if anything can't be shown to meet or exceed that standard, no matter if we have spent a lot of effort on it, we will not release it.

As we have tested lots of different skill ranking systems before selecting the one used today, I honestly don't think that is the problem, but likely this is just the nature of cribbage that there can often be a non-trivial amount of luck in a single game. Frankly, the "Best of 3" isn't perfect (and I think there are things we can still do to help more there), but given the limitations (like the amount of time people can play), it ends up being a good compromise. So, because of all that time working on these things that didn't result in changes this season, we decided to not make any other core changes. There just wasn't enough time. There are some minor things, but mostly just around making the system more reliable, and bug fixes. So, we have decided to put this task aside for now, and to move on to other improvements that many are also asking for.

As a reminder, if you have played a few seasons here and have some thoughts on what you would like to see around prizes, structure or anything else, please email us at support@FullerSystems.com with your suggestions.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Calculating the Odds of Winning a Cribbage Game – Part 1

A Guest post by Donald E. Heller

As an almost life-long and daily cribbage player, one of the things I enjoy about the game is the ebb and flow of a typical match. At any point in time, player 1 can have a strong lead, looking like a lock to win the game, and then player 2 can get two or three great hands and pass her opponent to go on and win the game.

As this occurs, I often think about what the odds were of player 1 winning the game given the score and position on the board. For example, if I am ahead of the other player 90 to 75, what are the odds that I will win the game? This calculation is similar to what sports websites often do for games in progress. One example from ESPN is shown in figure 1 below.

Figure 1: ESPN win probability chart for Major League Baseball (screenshot courtesy ESPN)

In this game, in the top of the 4th inning and none out, and Cleveland ahead 2-0, ESPN calculates that Cleveland has a 67.3% chance of winning the game. This is based on the score and point in the game, along with ESPN’s calculations of the skills and track records of each of the two teams and their respective players.

Is it possible to calculate similar odds of winning in cribbage? My curiosity led me to a web search, but I could not find anything along the lines of what I was looking for. Being a user of Cribbage Pro, I reached out to the team there to see if they knew of anyone who had ever done these calculations. They did not, but said that they were willing to share some data with me if I was interested in doing the calculations myself. Being an experienced quantitative researcher, I agreed to take on the challenge.

Fuller Systems (the developer of Cribbage Pro) generously provided me with the data necessary to do the calculations from their log files of Cribbage Pro users. After providing me with a small sample file of anonymous data (data that couldn’t be tied back to any Cribbage Pro user), I worked on extracting the data and analyzing it. I was able to do the odds calculations I had hoped for, so Fuller Systems then provided me with a set of larger files – 72 files, each representing a consecutive hour’s worth of log records from Cribbage Pro games over the course of three days, and containing the step-by-step records of games played on the app. These are massive files, each one of the 72 with over one million records in it. In order to make the data analyzable in Stata, the statistical software that I use, I had to extract samples from each game and then combine these samples from the 72 files into a single, smaller file that could be analyzed to do the odds calculations.

This smaller file represented over 600,000 games that were completed during the 72-hour period for which Fuller Systems provided me with the data. From the scores at each point in time, and knowing who won each game, I was able to calculate the odds of each player winning the game given the score.

There are certainly some limitations to these calculations. I did not know anything about the players, so I could not conduct a sophisticated point-in-time prediction for each game that takes into account the skill and track record of each player, similar to what ESPN does in its predictions. So these predictions are what I would describe as “player-neutral,” i.e., they only relate what we know about a score at a given point with who won the game in the end, but nothing about the skill of the players.

Another limitation is that I did not calculate the odds for every potential score. To keep the analysis simple, I analyzed scores that were reasonably close and would typically be found in games. In other words, I did not calculate the odds of winning when the score was 115 for player 1 to 60 for player 2 (though one could intuit that player 1 would have very high odds of winning the game and skunking player 2).

With these caveats, table 1 shows some examples of what I found. The full table can be found here (note: in the table the “Win %” is the percentage of games won by player 2; the win percentages were calculated only for those scores that had at least 100 occurrences in the data).

Table 1 – Odds of winning for a variety of scores

Player 1 score

Player 2 score

Odds of player 2 winning

30

40

61%

60

70

78%

60

80

84%

90

91

54%

90

95

61%

90

100

76%

100

110

78%

In general, the wider the margin between the two players, the greater are the odds that the player who is ahead will win. But this pattern, however, is not perfect. Figure 2 below provides one example. As noted, the closer player 2 is to winning when player 1 has a score of 100, the greater the odds are that player 2 will win the game. But you will note the interesting dip starting when player 2 has a score of 117.

Figure 2: Calculated odds that player 2 wins the game when player 1 has 100 points

The reason for this can be found in the laws of probability. For example, if you flip a true coin, you know the odds are 50 percent that it will come up tails, and 50 percent that it will come up heads. If you flip it ten times, you would expect five heads and five tails. But if you conducted this experiment of ten coin flips a number of times, you would probably find that it was not always split 50 percent between heads and tails. And if you conducted 100 coin flips, the same would be true – you would likely not have exactly 50 heads and 50 tales.

The same is true in the game of cribbage. While you would expect that a wider lead would lead to an increased chance of winning the game, this is not necessarily always true, even over the hundreds of games represented by each of the scores in the table. Another reason for this is that the scores used in my analysis are taken at random points in time, e.g., at the end of the hand, or during the counting of a hand, etc. So who wins the game could be impacted by who has the deal and who is counting when the score in the analysis was used.

Part 2 of this post will explore this phenomenon further. For now, I hope that you enjoy using the table to look up your odds of winning the game as you play cribbage. But remember – these predictions are not perfect, and as they say, your mileage may vary!

Donald E. Heller is a retired professor and college administrator, and lives in San Francisco. He was taught the game of cribbage as a child, and plays daily with his wife as well as on Cribbage Pro.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Competitive Cribbage - Spring 2022 Season

It is the time you have all been anxiously waiting for, a new competitive season of Cribbage! Welcome to the Spring 2022 Season of Competitive Matchmaking for Cribbage Pro! Where we are, it is definitely that time of year again, and spring has sprung. I know for many there are a few more weeks of winter weather, but here the flowers are blooming, the bees are buzzing and I am sneezing - it is springtime! The Winter 2022 season has completed, and if you had any bets placed on who was going to be at the top, there were not a lot of surprises this time around. Overall, the Top 50 leaderboard still had some new faces, and the season had more matches played than any of the previous 3 seasons! It was a fairly hard and long battle for many to reach their rankings. As always, continue to tell your friends about competitive cribbage, and take advantage of those prizes! Thank you to all who were once again able to participate in this great game of cribbage! For those who couldn't make the commitment to Winter 2022, I hope you can find the time to join in the fun this season.

In 1st place for Winter 2022, we have "iPeg". Welcome back, iPeg! 2nd place is "Dhrun", and I admit I was kind of rooting for Dhrun this season. In 3rd we have "nob4one", which is someone we have seen around these parts before too, and great to see come up from 13th last season. Other interesting movements in the Top 50 included "hillchem" moving from 15th to 7th, and "Yompopo" who came all the way from 41st to 12th! The next biggest moves between seasons were "Br1Guy" who rose 24 places from 37th to 13th, and "RatKing" from 32nd to 14th!

As with past seasons, everyone who finished the season in the Top 50 ("Recent" list), have been awarded both a special in-game "board peg" as well as Cribbage Pro Gold that can be used in the Cribbage Pro Contests system and then redeemed for cash (awards must be used at least once in a Contest to be cashed out to USDC, see the full terms and conditions for details). The top finisher is awarded the "crown" board peg, and all others in the Top 50 are awarded a "star" board peg. These pegs are shown to everyone when playing in online multiplayer games, and they are permanent, so if you see your opponent has one of them you can know that they have earned it by finishing in the Top 50 in competitive play. The Cribbage Pro Gold awards are as follows (not cumulative):

  • 4 Gold for Top 50
  • 7 Gold for Top 25
  • 10 Gold for Top 10
  • 20 Gold for 3rd Place
  • 30 Gold for 2nd Place
  • 50 Gold for 1st Place
Remember to complete your 10 matches per weekSee the FAQ for details. Play early, and play often!

Here was the final Top 50 for Winter 2022:


1iPeg26IAMFAST
2Dhrun27jjpears20
3nob4one28scoot1234
4flashmatt29Looie3nba
5yank2930gmric5
6Mrpadre31Freddie69
7hillchem32SergeLam
8ryguy202133ernie313
9TC234SH00TER
10Domerzag35Podracer
11lbolt5836fab50
12Yompopo37yvanobc12
13Br1Guy38kb92129
14RatKing39konadive
15pileated40dixietix
16enaud5841dcpastore
1731four1442jjonell
18pscohen43gsosin
19VGKnights44Barusu1
20nvsru91145mountains
21rattle1546Wyorwk
22EVW47tassie08
23pegmstr7748catpat
24dkatz187749Trucha1
25greyday50Paludeja


Some Changes This New Spring 2022 Season

Although we had hoped to add several changes this season, we were unable to do so because of competing priorities leaving not enough time to get everything tested and ready to go. So this new season is keeping changes to just a little widening of the difference in CR allowed to make a match in the matchmaking system. Last season had it around 1000 CR, but we tweaked it up a bit to allow for some broader competition. This was needed due to how quickly the lower CR players were bumped out of being able to play (find a match) so early on in the season. We want to be able to welcome players into the season for a longer period of time, and not have people lose all hope early on as the time require to find a match grows beyond the time they have available to play. Again, more changes in the future, but for now that is the noteworthy change for this season aside from some bug fixes, etc.

As a reminder, if you have played a few seasons here and have some thoughts on what you would like to see around prizes, structure or anything else, please email us at support@FullerSystems.com with your suggestions.