In cribbage, nobs is the name given to the Jack of the turn-up suit. That is, if the turn-up card is a four of Diamonds, then the player holding the Jack of Diamonds scores an extra point in her hand, known as "one for nobs" (sometimes "knobs") or "one for his nob" (or sometimes "his nibs"). This is a very old term, which probably dates back to the origins of cribbage. What is a nob? The word is British English slang for an important person, so perhaps this is why.
The nob Jack (or "right Jack" as it's also known, is essential for scoring a perfect 29 hand, and also affects discard strategy - you should try to avoid throwing a Jack to your opponent's crib if possible.
(Previous section: Cribbage rules - the turn-up)
In the playing phase of Cribbage, the players take it in turns to lay down a card, trying to make the running total equal to certain values. The non-dealer plays first and states the value of her card (for example, "ten" for a Jack). Court cards count ten (together with the face 10 they are known as the 'ten-cards', or 'tenth cards'). Ace counts one.
15 and 31
The dealer then plays a card, the value of which is added to the current running total. The player who makes the total exactly 15 scores two points ("fifteen-two"). Two points are also awarded for making 31. Additionally, you score a point if your opponent cannot play without going over 31 ("one for the go", or just "one for go"). You must play if you can (reneging is against the rules).
If your card is the same rank as the last card played, you score two for a pair. If your opponent plays a third card of the same rank, he scores 6 for a "pair royal" (three of a kind). Four of a kind scores 12 ("double pair royal").
If the last 3 cards played form a sequence, the player making the sequence scores 3 for a "run". For example, 3-4-5 makes a run of 3 and so scores 3 for the player laying down the 5. If the opponent then plays a 6 (or a 2) to extend the sequence to 4 cards, she scores 4, and so on as long as the sequence is unbroken.
Sequence do not have to be in order. For example, if the play goes 7-9-6, you can then play an 8 to score 4 for a run of 4.
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.
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!
Al & Carol Turriff emailed to ask:
You're in the stink hole. Can you cut a Jack and then go out? I say yes you can. Is this correct?
Under normal circumstances, if the dealer turns up a Jack as the starter card, she scores 'two for his heels'. The official ACC cribbage tournament rules specifically say that this score still counts even if the dealer would peg out and win the game as a result:
Rule 6.3. Scoring When The Starter Card Is a Jack (His Heels)
a. When a Jack is turned up, the dealer is entitled to two points.
b. The dealer may peg out into the game hole by turning a Jack starter card.
However, some people like to play a local rule that you are not allowed to score 'his heels' (and sometimes 'go') if you are in the stinkhole (the 120th hole, one short of game). Sometimes this also applies if you need 5 or fewer points to win. There is nothing to stop you playing this rule if you want, so long as all players agree it beforehand.