Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The perfect hand

From: North Thompson Times
Apr 09 2007

It was an April “first” for Tom Noble and his partner Gloria Petre as they sat across from each other the morning of April Fool’s. A perfect hand of cribbage lay on the table, staring up at them. Three fives and a Jack had been dealt to Petre with the starter card turned over revealing a five in the same suit as the Jack. A perfect 29 hand.

At first the pair didn’t realize what had occurred.

“I think...” said Petre.

“I’ve never...” said Noble.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Noble recalled, “I had to look at it again, and again.”

The couple get together at least two to three times a week to pit against each other in a friendly game of cribbage.

Neither has witnessed a genuine perfect hand dealt in their lifetime. “We figure we’ve got 120 years of card playing between us,” said Noble.

This was no April Fool’s trick. The highest score that can be achieved occurred during their third game of the morning. “I’ve had a 28 before,” claims Noble. It occurred during a ferry ride, “I was hooting and hollering; the whole ship could hear me!”

The tides may be turning for Petre.

“Usually I’m very lucky when I play cards with her,” said Noble. “She certainly won that game, and I got skunked to boot!”

Cribbage has been played since the early 17th century and has survived with no major changes as one of the most popular games enjoyed by the English-speaking world.

The odds of getting a 28 hand in a two-player game are one in 15,028.

There is a significant difference in achieving a perfect 29 hand in a two-player game. Odds are one in 216,580.

The odds triple if playing with three or four players (one in 649,740).

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