Friday, 17th September, 2021

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Basic Cribbage Strategy

So you understand how to play Cribbage but you still keep getting beat, or feel you are always at a disadvantage against your opponent. Well we’ve got some advanced Cribbage strategies that will really help your game, however this article is more focused on plugging the holes in your game, and stopping you from making mistakes.

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The worst mistake you can make in Cribbage, is thinking that it’s all about the cards. Of course the cards are a big factor in the game, however a great Cribbage player will beat a beginner Cribbage player 9 times out of 10 despite the cards. The reason for that is there are a lot of complex strategies involved in Cribbage, from aggressive moves to neutralizing your opponent.

However let’s focus on the most important part of Cribbage, and stopping the mistake made by most Cribbage players. When you play Cribbage there’s one thing you have to remember:

Play Safe Cribbage

The most common mistakes I see by players is being too aggressive, and taking chances. An opponent will have JJ78Q2 and may “take a chance” by throwing away the combination of the 782, hoping that the turn-up card is a 10 or a King. However the odds coming up and the potential points you can make during regular play make this a mistake. You’re much better off keeping the JJ78 for the guaranteed points when counting, or even the J782 as the 2 can help you get at least 2 points and possibly more during regular play.

During the play of Cribbage, don’t make any risky moves either. Try and play defensive Cribbage, aiming to neutralize your opponent. If you have a 7 and a 9, it is common for players to play the 7, hoping for the opponent to play an 8 then you play a 9. They get 2 points, but you get 3 points. These are common mistakes that shouldn’t be done – especially because it opponents your opponent up for a possible run – and if he has a 9 in his hand, it’s more likely that he also has a 6.

The aim with basic cribbage strategy is to play it slow – get as many points as you can without putting yourself at risk. Take it slow, and allow your opponent to make mistakes.

Don’t make any risky discards, don’t play against the odds, don’t take any big risks, and every time you play a card attempt to anticipate what your opponent will play next. Do everything possible to not lose points.

Do that, and you’ll really fix those holes in your Cribbage game.

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