Monday, March 1, 2010

Pop quiz, hotshot! - the answer

In yesterday's pop quiz, I gave you four card combos that have special significance.  They were:


J♣ 55♠ 5 + 5♣
J 5♣ 5♠ 5 + 5
J♠ 5♣ 5 5 + 5♠
J 5♣ 5 5♠ + 5


The answer is that these combos are the four perfect hands in the game of cribbage, each worth the maximum of 29 points.  Using the first hand, we would count it like so:

J♣ 5 - 15/2
J♣ 5 - 15/4
J♣ 5 - 15/6
J♣ 5 - 15/8
5♣ 55♠ - 15/10
5♣ 55 - 15/12
5♣ 5 5 - 15/14
55♠ 5- 15/16
5♣ 55♠ 5- Four of a kind for 12 making 28 (which is really just means 6 pairs at 2 points each)
J♣ + 5♣ - and nobs (or nubs as we say in our family) for 29

There are 12,994,800 possible hands in cribbage. The chances of getting one of these four hands in a two person game is 1 in 216,580.  My grandfather once told me he had seen the hand, but I don't recall how many times he said he had seen it or if he had gotten it himself.  Still, all I can think of is that that would require playing a lot of cribbage.  At 10 hands per game with two people playing, that's 20 hands seen per game.  It takes about 20 minutes to play, so statistically speaking, you'd have to play 10,829 games to see one perfect hand, for a total of 3610 hours of game play.  That's a lot of cribbage.  I ordered the same board grandpa and I used to play on, and played my first 'open' hand with Ian (6) this weekend.  Maybe by the time I'm 84 I'll have seen the hand too.