How To Play Cribbage
This 17th century English card game was designed for just two players who love playing games that require intense concentration. Learn how to play cribbage.
Cribbage is a wonderfully challenging card game to play with a friend. This 17th century English card game was designed for just two players who love playing games that require intense concentration. The object of the game is simple. Each player is attempting to score points from combinations which are formed during play and made from the hand you still hold after play ends.
Score for cribbage is kept on a board with four rows of 30 holes each. Each player will have two of the four rows to keep their score on. In each board there will be 2 to 4 extra holes. Each player will be given two pegs to keep their score with. Both players will start with their peg in an extra hole at the beginning of the game. The dealer will deal six cards to each player and they will place two cards face down to form a crib which will go to the dealer. The remaining deck should be cut and the top card turned face up. This will be the starter card.
Game play is started by the player opposing the dealer. They should lay down any card and announce its value. Aces are valued at one, face cards count as ten and all other cards are face value. Remember that the value announced by the player is not a score. Next the dealer will play a card announcing the value of both cards played. Each player should keep the cards they play directly in front on them. Continue to play until either one of the players cannot play without making the count go over 31. This player should say, "go". The other player plays all the additional cards possible without pushing the count over 31. When this is complete, the player who could no longer play will start a new play from zero, using the cards that were left in their hand.
To keep score when playing cribbage, at the beginning of the game each player should advance his first peg one hole at a time in the outer row for each point that is scored. When the second turn comes the second peg is added to the board, counting the hole beyond his original peg as one. This allows each player to keep track of their previous score and the new score. The player should walk the pegs along the outer row first and then the inner row. This is when the total score is 61 to win. If the total score is 121 to win then the player should go twice around his two rows of holes. This should be agreed on before the game begins.
Calculating your score is simple. The first opportunity begins just before the first play. When the starter card is a jack the dealer will receive two points. While playing, any card that brings the announced value to exactly 15 will bring two points. When a card brings the announced value to exactly 31, two points are scored and if the 31 value is not reached, the card bringing the value closest to 31 will score 1. The player that plays the last card scores one point. When you have a pair or a card that is equal in value to the card previously played you will score two. Three of a kind or a triplet will score six. Four of a kind will score twelve. The final card of a run or sequence of three or more cards of the same or mixed suits will score one point for each card in the run.
When the play has ended, the dealer's opponent takes the scores for the cards in his hand and the dealer takes the score for the cards in his hand plus the crib. Any player with a jack of the same suit as the starter card should add one point to their score. This jack is also called his nobs in cribbage. Combinations, runs, and pairs earn the same score as when you were playing, but at the end of the game the starter card can be used to form them. Any single card can be used in more than one combination as well. A double run of three or a three card sequence with a pair to any of the three cards scores 8. In other words a sequence of 8-8-7-6 would score 8. A double run of four cards in a sequence would score 10. A good example of this would be 8-8-7-6-5. A triplet or triple run with two other cards in the sequence with it scores 15. For instance, 8-8-8-7-6 would score 15 points. Two pairs and a card in sequence with both, or what is known as a quadruple in cribbage, would score 16 points. An example of this would be 8-8-7-7-6. Four cards of the same suit or a four card flush will score 4 points. These cards must come from you hand and not from the crib to get these 4 points. A five card flush, four cards in a hand or the crib of the same suit as the starter card will score 5 points. When you notice your opponent has over looked points in his hand yell "muggins." You can then make those points your own and count them on your cribbage board. When either player has reached 61 or 121, which ever was decided as the final score, that player is the winner. When the person who looses does not score a minimum of 31 or 61 points, it is said the he is left in a lurch. This is when the first half of the run on the cribbage board is not filled. In this case, the winner is credited with winning two games and the deal for the next game is passed to the looser.
Of the many card games available today, cribbage is by far one of the most challenging and entertaining. Learning to concentrate as much on what your opponent is doing as you do on your own hand creates an atmosphere of laughter and intense competition. If you do not have a cribbage board but would still like to play cribbage, you can draw the board out on a sheet of paper using squares for the peg holes and coins for the pegs.