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Dr Ian Plummer

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To SXP or TP?

There was a discussion following the 2012 World Championship, won by Reg Bamford, about when to triple peel (TP) and when to sextuple peel (SXP).

Reg Bamford responded:

My own assessment of whether an SXP should be attempted is if your completion rate is above 72%. I derived this from looking at what could happen after the end of the set-up turn using basic percentages* (it’s slightly more complex in reality, because you have to look at what happens when the TP and SXP are failed, but these numbers usually suffice), in standard conditions:

  • Opponent hits 17 yarder: 33% (1 in 3)
  • Opponent hits 30 yarder: 17% (1 in 6)
  • My TP completion rate: 90% (9 in 10, on average, ignoring which shot opponent takes).

So if you go for the TP, you will win the game next turn in 60% of the cases ((1-33%) x 90%). For you to complete the SXP next turn with the same completion probability, you will need a completion rate of 72% (because 72% x (1-17%) = 60%). So I would suggest going for the SXP if you have a completion rate above 72%.

As you would expect, an assessment of SXP completion rates will depend on the playing skills of the person and the court conditions (lawn speed, lawn quality and hoop rigidity). It does not depend on who your opponent is or the status of the game/match, so whether you attempt it in a dead block game or the final game of a Worlds Final is irrelevant.

While I cannot speak on behalf of Robert (Fulford), I would imagine that we have completion rates in standard conditions (plummer 10-12, smooth lawns and forgiving hoops) of around 80%. This % increases when we’re in the zone, and decreases when we’re not. Additionally, an assessment of court speed, court quality and hoop rigidity (far and away, the biggest factor) must be kept in mind, because these may drop the completion rate to below 72%. Below that point, I would not attempt the SXP as a probability-based game-winning tactic.


* if your own probability assessments are different (this can well vary game-to-game based on whom you’re playing, how they’re playing and in what conditions you’re playing), you can simply calculate your own required completion rate by plugging in any changed %’s.

Author: Reg Bamford
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Updated 28.i.16
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