21 June 2016

Personal best

I learned the basics of Cribbage long ago courtesy of my Dad and the woman that bore me*.   It was an important tool in learning addition  ("fifteen plus eight is ... twenty three" (fast answers were rewarded over counting fingers))

As a sub teen, I recall asking Dad what's the best hand... he had to think.  Three 5's plus a jack to the  suit of 5 that was cut.  And I think he answered in the negative if he'd ever had such a hand.

A college job featured 12 hour shifts long on boredom on duty to answer a phone that a) if it rang, it was most likely a wrong number. or b) take information on a problem in the network.  Mostly there was nothing to do but wait for the phone to ring.  But in the meantime, I played a lot of games and  saw a lot of crib hands.

I've come to understand Cribbage is Poker without betting and bluffing.  You are playing the cards and not the player instead of the other way around.  But the rest of the mathematical odds still apply.  And there is no fold.

A 2 hand game starts with 6 cards dealt, discarding 2 and a cut for a community card.  It's still playing the percentages on the cut card.  I can't do the math in my head on the fly but have built up a set of ground rules based on experience which makes me a better player.

The game sets up competing reward systems where 3 card runs (2-3-4) reward sequences compete  with 15's (A-4-10) reward non-sequences.  And the best hand depends on the cut card,  But when you can put them together, there is a multiplication effect 4-5-5-6,  That's 2 15's(4) plus a double 3 card run (8). See also 6-7-7-8 and 7-8-8-9.  Given a fortunate cut on either end of the cut 6-7-7-8-9 rewards even more (16).  Not to mention double-double runs on these sequences:  4-5-5-6-6 scores 15 (8)+4 * 3 card runs of 4-5-6 (12) + two doubles (4)= 24 pts.

Tonight I scored a 28.  I got the 5's and the 10 pip, but not a jack nor of the appropriate suit.
I was dealt the three 5's and cut the fourth.  The perfect hand would be the same set of 5's but with the jack of the suit of the 5 that was cut for the 29th point.

Still this 28 is the best cribbage hand I've had in ~45 years of playing.   And thank $DIETY for the internet where I can share it and my enthusiasm for the game with all of you! ;-)

BTW... I have played this game enough to have grave concerns for the randomizer...  The opponent gets the "Jack for his heels" with maddening frequency.  Still... an amusing game.

* There is a big difference between "mother" and "woman who bore me".  "Mother" is an earned title.  As in being there for a youngun.    T'is much more than a night of passion and squirting out a living being.  The woman that bore me failed to earn the title of "Mother".

1 comment:

jon spencer said...

My father used to tell about the time that a opponent played a Ace for for 28 and then my dad played Ace's for 29(2), 30(6),and 31(14) to go out.
This was a four handed game
Saw one 29 had played against me, I got skunked too.
And this was a three handed game.
Have never have seen another 29.