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September 16, 2011 > Cribbage club starts season with a beginners' program

Cribbage club starts season with a beginners' program

Submitted By Tracy Yott, Photo submitted by Tracy Yott

Visitors to the Centerville Round Table Pizza on Tuesday or Wednesday nights will see a group of people in the corner having a superb time. They are playing cribbage, a two-person card game dating back to its inception in England during the early 1630s. The Pilgrims brought the game to America where it has flourished ever since, especially during the Great Depression. In 1979 the American Cribbage Congress (ACC) was formed to standardize the rules and promote the game, nationally. Soon after, the ACC Grass Roots program was formed to promote cribbage through organized play at the home-town level. One of 184 active clubs in the U.S. and Canada, members of Grass Roots (GR) Club #43 can be found every Tuesday and Wednesday evening "salting the crib" and avoiding the dreaded "string of pearls."

During the summer, GR 43 director Tracy Yott initiated a Beginners' Club on Tuesday evenings to welcome people who have not played cribbage for a long time or would like to learn. With no entry fee or membership required, players are introduced to tournament-style cribbage, improving their play by learning new strategies and, most importantly, making new friends. By August 2011, the new program was a success and it was decided to continue the beginners' sessions through the remainder of 2011. Once players feel comfortable, they can try their luck on Wednesday nights with the "Big Boys."

Members are of all ages and from all walks of life. GR 43 has thrived since its charter in 1987. Playing in various establishments in Newark and Fremont over the years, the club currently has 26 members from as far as South San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. With an average of 19 players each Wednesday night during the 2010-2011 Season, the club holds a nine-game tournament where each player faces nine random opponents. $10 of the $11 entry fee creates a prize pool, which is awarded to the top scores (25 percent of the total number of players) for the evening. The Grass Roots points system allows for rating players locally, regionally and nationally.

Club director Tracy Yott was introduced to cribbage while stationed at Treasure Island in 1983. In 2004, he learned of the ACC and GR 43. He tells newcomers that he has learned more about playing the game strategically in the last seven years than in the previous 21 years of "kitchen table" games.

The ACC sanctions tournaments almost every weekend of the year at various locations throughout North America. The largest, the ACC Open, held every February in Reno, Nevada, attracts an average of 1,000 players, all vying for the $10,000 first prize. The annual Tournament of Champions, an invitation-only tournament, is held the same weekend, typically attended by approximately 500 players.

ACC Grass Roots Club #43 welcomes all levels of player to join us on a free trial basis on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

For more information, visit www.cribbage.org, email cribbagegr43@yahoo.com or call Tracy Yott at (510) 793-6472. Alternatively, simply visit Round Table Pizza, 37480 Fremont Boulevard, Fremont, on Tuesdays or Wednesdays between 6:00 p.m. and 6:15 p.m.

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