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Play Cribbage to Win MENSA Paperback – October, 2000
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It is a great game for the husband-wife to play or even just two friends. However, it plays quite a bit different than most card games and scoring can be difficult to understand at first. Once the player figures out the scoring, Cribbage is a very fun and challenging game.
I wish that Cribbage would make a big comeback in popularity. I believe that many people would really enjoy the game if they just took the time to learn. In a manner, I believe that Cribbage went by the wayside like radio, old-time music, and other card and board games. The previously mentioned are making a resurgent headway. I believe that it would be very enriching and positively fantastic to see Cribbage make a big come-back, too. Cribbage is that fun to me.
The book is an enjoyable read, and there are quizzes every few pages, making it a lot of fun to work through. The typesetting and layout are reasonably good, but I personally would have preferred a smaller font and larger margins (leaving more room for notes). A few typos and outright errors have crept into the book, perhaps the inevitable result of commercial publishing nowadays. But one of the things I've appreciated about Barlow's self-published books is their lack of gaffes.
The primary downside to Play Cribbage to Win is its scope. It is not a comprehensive treatment of the game. Missing are statistical tables, a discussion of averages and odds, and coverage of psychology and cheating. The chapter on discarding is weak, and certain pegging tactics, such as jack traps, are not covered at all. There is also no mention of board strategy, except as it applies to the endgame. Considering that most of today's top players regard board strategy as the centerpiece of modern play, this is a significant omission.
If you're a novice or an intermediate player, I think you would do well to read "Play Cribbage to Win" in conjunction with DeLynn Colvert's "Play Winning Cribbage" (still the best single book on cribbage) and John Chambers's "Cribbage: A New Concept". Together, these three books will give you all the essential knowledge you need to move to the next level.
If you're an expert player, or if you've already read Barlow's other books, you'll find yourself going over familiar territory. Nevertheless, it's always worthwhile to review important concepts, particularly when they're presented through new illustrative hands and examples (as far as I can tell, none of the material in Play Cribbage to Win is recycled). You may disagree with the text from time to time, but perhaps you'll also pick up some new ideas -- I know I did.
Whatever your level of play, this book is well worth having, and well worth reading...