facts

Does the dealer always peg one point?

Jay Boysun asks via email:

I had a quick question regarding pegging and am hoping you could provide some light being shed upon the subject. My Grandfather taught me the game when I was younger and I thought I remember him telling me that if you are the dealer you will always have at least one point in the peg although you would not necesarrily reciev any points in the hand or crib. The subject came up tonight when my family was playing cards and this talked about. I am just curious if this holds true in 2 handed cribbage as well as 3 or 4 handed play.

We referred this question to Professor Plum, Cribbage Corner's resident maths and statistics expert. Professor Plum:

Jay,

Your grandfather was quite right. In two player cribbage, the dealer must peg at least one point. Here's why. You both have the same number of cards. Your opponent plays first. When you play your last-but-one card, either your opponent can go or he can not. If he can, you get a point for last. If he can't, you get a point for Go.

This is not necessarily true in the 3 or 4 player game as someone else can score the Go.

Thanks, Professor! And thanks Jay, for asking the question.

Worst cribbage score

What is the opposite of the perfect cribbage hand? Several readers have enquired about a trick hand at Cribbage in which player A, on 2 points, can outpeg player B, on 58 points, to a game-winning 61. Or in other words, a combination of the play and scoring of two hands and a crib that can amass 59 points for the dealer, without conceding pone more than 2 in either pegging or counting. Once again we turn to the wisdom of Michael Schell:

Pone: 2-4-7-8-10-Q with no flush (toss 7-8)
Dealer: 4-4-5-6-7-8 with no flush (toss 7-8)
Cut: 6

Play goes:

Pone:     Q     10
Dealer:      5      6

Pone:     2     4
Dealer:      4     4

Pone pegged two points (for pairing dealer's 4) and has a bust hand. Dealer pegged eleven points, and has a 24 hand and a 24 crib. Dealer has outscored pone 59-2.

(This is a rather unlikely scenario, which requires pone to make the ill-advised discard 8-7. The Cribbage equivalent of Fool's Mate. -Ed.)

Facts about cribbage

Facts about cribbage.

  • The origins of cribbage are uncertain, but the game dates back almost five hundred years.

  • The rules of cribbage are simple to learn, but can take a lifetime to master!

  • The highest possible hand in cribbage is 29, the perfect cribbage hand.

  • There are several 'impossible totals' - point counts which cannot be made with any hand. The lowest such total is 19 - hence the expression 'a nineteen hand', or 'I have nineteen', almost universally (perhaps sarcastically) used to describe a zero-point hand.

  • Cribbage has given the English language a number of expressions which it is hard to imagine doing without, including "level pegging", "what a turn-up/a turn-up for the books", "streets ahead", and "pegged out".

  • The fact that the crib alternates with the deal means that on average, the lead should also change hands with each deal - which means it ain't over till it's over!

  • The biggest possible improvement in your score from the cut is 20 points, when you hold 4-4-6-6 and cut a 5.

  • The first dealer in a game wins 55% to 60% of the time.

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