Invented by British gambler and poet Sir John Suckling in the early 1600s, the card game cribbage has long been a favorite of seamen. In one legendary game aboard the submarine U.S.S. Wahoo during World War II, Lieutenant Commander Dudley “Mush” Morton dealt his executive officer, Richard “Dick” O’Kane, a perfect hand. The odds of receiving this exact set of cards are estimated at one in 216,000. O’Kane’s winning streak continued afterward as the Wahoo, tracking the Japanese navy in the northern Pacific, set a record for the number of ships sunk during its mission. The board from that game has been passed on continually to the longest-serving submarine in the U.S. Pacific fleet, and is currently aboard the U.S.S. Olympia.
A Scrimshaw Cribbage Board Offers a Glimpse of the Mariner’s Life
HUMANITIES, Fall 2018, Volume 39, Number 4