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Werbicki scores improbable ‘29’ hand for third time

Ren Werbicki pictured with his latest ’29’ hand in cribbage
Submitted photo

Tyler Waugh

Ren Werbicki has managed to pull off a feat more rare than a hole in one … and he’s done it three times in 50 years of playing.

Werbicki notched his third and latest ‘29’ hand in cribbage last week while playing against his wife, Sue.

“I saw the Jack of Hearts and three fives, and quickly checked to see if I had the five of hearts in my hand,” he recalled.

“I didn’t, so I knew I had a chance at a 29 hand, slim though it was.  Sue cut the deck, and I couldn’t believe it! I put on my poker face, and we played it through!”

Sue attested to her husband’s poker face.

“I couldn’t believe it, he was just playing like normal. Even when he cut the 5 he didn’t show anything,” she said, adding that Ren went on to win the game. “Wouldn’t that have been funny if he hadn’t?”

The odds of getting a perfect 29 hand in a two-player game of cribbage is one in 216,580. The odds for a hole in one in golf is one in 12,500. 

The 29 hand breaks down like this – 12 points for a four of a kind and 16 points for eight different combination of cards that create a score of 15 (jack and a five, for example, or multiple combinations of the different fives.

Lastly, a player gets one point for having the turned card match the suit of the jack in your hand.

Sue says the two of them are pretty evenly split in crib contests, but that she had been on a two-day winning streak leading up to the day of the 29 hand.

“We do keep track of the big winner day to day, but we tried playing for money and Ren beat me bad for a few days, so that was the end of that!”

The Werbickis played at Good Companions Hall back when it was open before COVID-19, but are playing a few games every morning at home in the meantime.