All the fives but the wrong jack

All the fives but the wrong jack - 28 points

Last weekend I drew about the best cribbage hand possible.

As seen in the picture, I had three fives and a jack in my hand, and the remaining five turned up.  Those hip to the cribbage scene will dig that this is 28 points.  They will further dig that the best possible cribbage hand is 29 points, which would be the same as what I’ve got here, only with the jack matching the suit of the turned-up five, giving you an additional point for nobs.  If you aren’t hip to the cribbage scene, you’re totally confused at this point.

But the takeaway is: this is pretty amazing.  It never happens.

Well, almost never.

An engineering professor calculates that there are 12, 994, 800 possible cribbage hands, and a hand worth 28 points comes up 0.0006 percent of the time.  Which is to say, if you played 1 million hands of cribbage, this would happen 6 times, or once every 166,667 hands. Either I’m missing something (entirely possible) or he is, though, because the rest of the internet seems to think that it’s well-established that the odds of a 28-point hand are 1 in 15028.

I’ve played a lot of cribbage.  I would guess I’ve played several hundred, if not a few thousand games.  It’s probably in the low thousands – two or three games is an easy sitting and I’ve done that at least a few hundred times (uh, I guess?). Which means I’d estimate I’ve been dealt say, 10,000 hands or so.  If the 15028 is right, I guess I was due.

Additional note of interest: we are playing with a deck of cards featuring L. Ron Hubbard’s pulp westerns published in Western Aces magazine.  This is a swell deck.  They feature summaries of these stories, and they’re all (a) awesome and (b) pretty much the same.  My favorite description is from The Magic Quirt: “Old Laramie, cook for the cowpunchers at the Lazy G Ranch, happens to be in the right place at the right time to stop bandits from attacking a Spanish-speaking family with Aztec roots. The family offers Laramie a silver-mounted quirt as thanks, telling him the small horsewhip will make him a big man. Though he’d never really thought of himself as anything other than old, Laramie accepts the idea that the mysterious quirt holds special Aztec magic; in fact, he thinks, with the quirt in his hands, he’s now invincible. To prove this claim, Laramie sets out on a series of adventures showing that the quirt has given him extraordinary newfound bravery and skill—or has it?”