Zero-scoring cribbage hand

Martin writes:

I am an avid cribbage player and have enjoyed the game for close to fifty years. I've never had a perfect twenty-nine hand but I've had three twenty-eight hands. I know that the odds of getting the twenty-nine hand are approximately one in a little over three million [ Actually, it's one in about 200,000 - Ed ]. Recently something very strange occurred to me. I dealt the first hand of a new game and here is how the scoring went:

The cut was not a jack

The laying down phase of the hand yielded the mandatory one point on a "go"

My regular hand yielded zero points

My crib hand yielded zero points

I have never heard of anyone else accomplish this feat. As you are aware the dealer of a hand will always score at least one point on a "go" or a "last card". So I am wondering - what are the odds of such an event occurring? I'm pretty decent with math problems however I'm not sure I even know exactly what equations are required to calculate the odds of getting a perfect "imperfect" hand. Can you help me figure out the end result?

To work out the odds of a zero-scoring cribbage hand (apart from the mandatory one point for go), we need to calculate how many such hands there are, and then divide that into the number of all possible cribbage hands. It is a tricky problem because we need to make no points in the play, assuming correct play. Anyone care to tackle it?

"corners" on the cribbage board

We recently had a board given to us that has all the "bells and whistles", in cluding spots to mark high hand, skunks and corners. What exactly is corners?
I thought it might simply be the first to reach the corner but that seemed just too simple. Does anyone know what this is? I have searched through many different versions of the rules and have found nothing mentioning this.

Counting 4-4-4-3-3

Juli emailed us to ask:

could you help solve an argument.
The hand is 4-4-4-3 with another 3 turned up.
I counted 15-2, 15-4, 6pts for the 4s and 2pts for the pair of threes for a total point count of 12.
Is this correct?


Exactly right! The 4-4-4 makes 15 two ways, once with each of the 3s. There's a pair royal of 4s (6 points) and a pair of 3s, no runs, flushes or nobs equals 12 points total.

Uneven number of teams in a tournament

We are hosting a one day Round Robin type cribbage tournament and don't wish to exclude a team if there is an uneven number of teams. What would be a fair default score for a team for a 2-game round in which they have no opponent?

Highest possible score for Cribbage Squares?

I was wondering if anyone could help. Been playing Cribbage Squares for some time now - the solitaire city version on the iphone which firstly has reminded me how much I like cribbage again, but now being the competitive sort I want to see what the perfect hand would be. Obviously 29 for a single row but the highest I have managed for the squares version is (a quite respectable) 117. But the top score on the high scores is 141!! and to break into the top 50 you need 118! Think I need a different strategy and wondered if anyone has any ideas.

Scoring a 29 hand

Dennis writes:

Can you break down the count of 29 as it is supposed to be counted?  It seems you are not allowing the Jack to be counted with the 4 5's for another 8 points which would give 36 points.
Please help me with my confusion over this.
Kind Regards.


The 29 cribbage hand page does not explain how the score is broken down, so here goes!

We score the 29 hand in the same way as any other: taking 15s first, then pairs, runs, flushes and nobs.

First count 15s. The Jack makes 15 with each of the 5s, that's 4 15s. Also, there are 4 ways of choosing three different 5s to make additional 15s. That's 8 in total, for 16 points.

Then pairs: there are 6 different pairs of 5s, for another 12 points. That's 28 so far.

There are no runs or flushes, so the Jack of nobs gives us a final point for 29.

I hope this helps!

How many 24 hands are there?

Edie Cappy writes:

How many combinations to make a 24 hand?

Can any mathematically inclined readers answer this?

Thanksgiving family feud

Jason Massie writes:

Dear Cribbage Corner,

I am hoping someone can settle a Thanksgiving day dilema. We had a hand of 2-2-3-8 and a 2 was cut. How many points is there, 10 or 12?


This is not an easy hand to count at first glance, but let's take it step by step. First the 15s. The 8 and 3 make 11, so requiring 4 more to make 15. As there are three 2s, there are three sets of different pairs of 2s to do this with. Therefore three 15s, for six points.

(We know all 15-scoring combinations must include the 3, because there must always be an odd-numbered card - that's a time-saving tip!)

Now count pairs - we already agreed there are three pairs of 2s, for another six points. That's 12 altogether, so I hope your family can now be reunited and enjoy many more games of cribbage!

Out of order runs

Lucy writes:

If a sequence like: 2-4-5-3-7-6. Can the person that put the 6 count 6 points?


Indeed she can! And if her opponent held an Ace, he could play it for another 7 points. Anyone who plays a card which completes a run, whether in order or not, scores a point for every card in that run.

I hope this helps.

Can you go over 31 in the play?

Christine Hendricks writes:


I have just read your Simple Cribbage rules, I used to play a lot with my family many years ago, I have now joined a Cards group and they welcome new games, so I thought I wold introduce them to Cribbage, there is something not clear in you rules and I can't remember, during 'The count' when players are laying down the cards what happens when, say for example 4 of a kind came up and they were 8 or above - thus taking the total of the count to over 31? also the same for runs that would go above 31 - do you stop or what ?


During the playing phase - as distinct from the scoring phase - each player lays down just one card at a time, and you cannot play any card that would take the running count over 31.

So in your example, 4 successive 8s could not be played. After the third 8 (making the count 24), the next player would have to play a 7 or lower, or 'Go' (meaning they have no legal card to play). (Failing to play a card when you legally could is called a renege and is usually penalised.)

When nobody can play any more cards without exceeding 31, the count is over, and a new count begins at zero, with the last scoring player laying the first card.

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