Cribbage - Harry Poyner contributes the world's first broadsheet cribbage column

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Indy Lifestyle Online
It wasn't to be my day. With the box against me, I picked up A,A,3,7,8,8. Not the sort of hand you go into raptures about, but no real problem to discard from, I thought, as I selected A,3, preferring to keep six holes rather than to throw out 3,7 and reduce my score to that of Morgan's orchard (which always has two pears in it). My opponent was rather quicker than usual in selecting her own discards, and she seemed quite pleased when I cut an ace for the top of the pack. I should have known this was a bad sign - though it was too late for me to do anything about it.

The play was quite unexceptional. I led one of my 8s - if it was paired I had another 8 all ready for six points; but no, she played a queen (not having an 8 to fall into the trap). It was useless now, so I played my second 8, making the score 26, to see a 5 played for 31 for 2 with the traditional "five's a fix" verbal flourish.

The second round of play gave my opponent just one point for "last".

From my hand, A,7,8,8, thanks to the ace which turned up, I netted eight holes. Across the table, too, came eight holes from the same ace and 4,5,10,Q. Then it appeared that her discards had been 2,2. This turned the box into a very useful A,A,2,2,3 (16 from four runs of three and two pairs) shooting her 19 points ahead on the deal. Ouch! The discards from two modest hands had formed themselves into a brilliant box.

Just suppose, I thought, I had kept the two pairs: A,A,8,8, throwing out 3,7. With the same turn-up, this would have given me a score of eight, though rather differently, but the box would have been reduced to A,2,3,3,7, yielding 10 points - six fewer than it in fact was; still most unwelcome, but a slight improvement all the same.

Would you like to see more cribbage in the paper? Harry Poyner tells us that it is 'perhaps the only card game worth playing for love'. The games page will be interested to hear readers' views on this, and other neglected games.

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