By Neal Taparia - 8/8/2023
The perfect cribbage hand, or 29-point hand, will get you the highest score possible in a game of cribbage. The perfect hand happens when the starter card is a 5 and your hand consists of all three other 5s and nobs — a Jack in the same suit as the starter card.
This hand is the unicorn among cribbage players.
Here’s the breakdown of the points you’d get from this hand:
What is the rarest hand in cribbage? The 29 hand is the rarest hand in a game of cribbage. There are 4 ways you could attain this hand (1 per suit), but the odds are high at 1 in 216,580.
The next highest-scoring combination of cards is the same, just without nobs. It’s much easier to get this hand, because you don’t need a Jack. Any card with a value of 10 will do. There are 76 possible combinations to get a hand scoring 28 points. The odds of scoring 28 are 1 in 170,984.
What you need for the second highest possible score in cribbage is three 5s and any 10, Jack, Queen, or King. You could have all 5s in your hand, and the 10 or face card could be the cut card.
While not the perfect 29 hand, this would still be a game-changing hand of cribbage for any player.
While the pone is just as likely to score 29, the dealer scores two separate hands. If the cards are dealt in his favor, he could end his turn with a lot of extra points.
The maximum score a dealer can earn in a single turn is 53 points. This would happen the dealer’s hand were a 29 hand, and the four cards in the crib were 4-4-6-6.
There is no way to score 19 points in a hand of cribbage. It is, however, possible to score zero points. When seasoned players have a hand that scores nothing, they’ll often refer to it as a “19 hand.”
Other impossible scores are 25, 26, and 27.
|Score||Number of hands (out of 12,994,800)||Percentage of hands||Percentage of hands at least as high|
What is a 31 hand in cribbage? While players count to 31 during pegging, this does not mean you score 31 points. There is no hand in regular 4-card cribbage with a possible score of 31.
Check out How to Play Cribbage for Beginners to learn the basics.
If all those statistics have you ready to play, here’s a quick refresher on how to score any possible cribbage hand. You can use your own cribbage board or our cribbage board template if you’re playing IRL, or just let the game do it for you when you play online.
|Combination||Points||How it works||Examples|
|15||2||The value of cards played = 15 pips||5+10, 6+9, 4+5+6|
|31||2||The value of cards played = 31 pips||A+5+5+Q+K|
|Pair||2||A pair of cards of the same rank||9,9|
|Double Royal Pair||12||Four-of-a-kind||9,9,9,9|
|Run of 3+||1 per card||Cards with sequential ranks||6-7-8 (Runs do not have to be in order, 8-6-7 counts as a run)|
|3-Card Double Run||8||A run of 3 including a pair||Four cards total, e.g. 6,7,7,8 (Counts as two 3-card runs and a pair)|
|4-Card Double Run||10||A run of 4 including a pair||Five cards total, e.g. 6,7,7,8,9 (Counts as two 4-card runs and a pair)|
|3-Card Triple Run||15||A run of 3 cards with three-of-a-kind||Six cards total, e.g. 6,7,7,7,8 (Counts as three 3-card runs and a royal pair)|
|3-Card Quadruple Run, or Double Double Run||16||A run of 3 cards including 2 pairs||Five cards total, e.g. 6,7,7,8,8 (Counts as four runs of 3 and 2 pairs)|
|Flush of 4+||1 per card||Cards of the same suit. Can only be scored during the Show.||Four-card flush, e.g. 4 spades in a hand or crib = 4 points or Five-card flush, e.g. 5 spades in a hand or crib = 5 points|
|Nobs, or “one for his nob”||1||Jack of the same suit as the Start or top card||Jack of hearts where the Start card (top card) is a heart|
|Nibs, or “two for his heels”||2||Jack is the Start card. 2 points go to the dealer.|
|Last Card||1||The last card played before someone says “Go”|
|Muggins||?||A player calls Muggins to take the points another player forgets to claim.||If a player doesn’t notice a combination of 15 by the end of their turn, their opponent may call Muggins to claim the 2 points at the beginning of his turn.|
With any card game, you have to play to win! Play cribbage online for free here!