Jaqui's Daily Blog

Back to the Cribbage Board!

It's our first Cribbage Group of the New Year tonight so I'm hoping that the advances I made in my game over the last three months will still be apparent.


What advances? Mr B wants to know. He means it kindly (I think) as he works on the basis that it is better if I do not fool myself that I have become a World's Cribbage Expert in the space of a few months. As if I would...


As regular readers know, we belong to two Cribbage Groups, each meeting once a fortnight. One is an afternoon group, the other is an evening group. Both provide excellent biscuits at "half-time" which is always the highlight of my evening / afternoon. At the evening group, we get beautiful paper napkins which always set me wondering whether a fan-shaped napkin adorned with butterflies might be appropriate at any of the social occasions we organise. Surely there must be at least one occasion where a little bit of style is called for? I think I shall have to get back to you on that one...


However, paper napkins and delicious biscuits aside, tonight's session is all about Serious Cribbage. I know, because Mr B has told me so. He has reminded me that I must deal the cards carefully so that nobody can see them as I dole them out. This is apparently a Bad Habit of mine. No wonder people like playing with me and I thought it was because I was a bit of a challenge. Also, Mr B says, I must not overstretch myself when it comes to the Shuffling of the Cards by trying too hard to look like a professional player. Attempting and failing to do a "Riffle Shuffle", however much I like the idea of impressing our fellow players, only makes it clear to The Opposition that I am a bit of a novice where card games are concerned. He is Only Saying This For My Own Good, you understand.


Well, that started me thinking about different ways of shuffling cards. Surely there must be a method which even cack-handed old me could manage without dropping the whole deck on the floor? I turn to Wikipedia for some help.


Goodness, me, do you know how many different ways there are to shuffle a deck of cards? You'd be truly amazed. There's the Hindu, the Pile, the Corgi, the Mongean, the Weave, the Faro. You can even get shuffling machines, though I think that might be a step too far for our Friday Cribbage Group. According to a website called pokerology.com, I use the Overhand Shuffle which is described as "a simple, lazy, sloppy shuffle." Thanks for that - I am crest-fallen.


A fundamental question (according to Wikipedia, I have to confess it would never have occurred to me) is how many times do you need to shuffle the cards to achieve perfect "randomness"? A chap called Persi Diaconis has apparently written dozens of papers on the subject, with various co-authors, concluding that it takes five riffle shuffles for the pack to even start to become random and seven to achieve true randomness. I think he needs to get out more. Honestly, if I start shuffling the cards seven times each time it's my turn to play at being the dealer, we will never get round to the biscuits. 


A very, very nice man called Tim Ryerson, who is Editor-in-Chief of the pokerology website, thinks I should try the Hindu Shuffle which is "simple, quick and very elegant."  He has posted a video to help me master it and says that, once I have got the hang of it, he is sure I will use it all the time. OK, so this isn't exactly personal advice, it's there on the website for anyone and everyone who's interested in learning new ways to shuffle but I like to think that dear old Tom had someone like me in mind when he posted his Handbook to Better Shuffling.


Having said that, we have to leave the house in just over an hour so there's not much time to launch into something new, even with the help of Tim, the Shuffling Expert. I think maybe I will stick to the Overhand for tonight but practise the Hindu in secret over the next two weeks. If Mr B behaves himself, I might even invite him to join me and we can shuffle cards together in quiet contentment. You can tell, can't you, that we know how to enjoy ourselves...


I mean, how can I go wrong? "Simple, quick and very elegant". Bring it on!

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Alex | Reply 05.01.2013 22:47

I love cribbage, my dad taught me when I was a teenager - still haven't beaten him though!

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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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