How to Play Cribbage

If you’re looking for cribbage instructions, you’ve reached the right place. Our “how to play cribbage” guide will cover the basics of cribbage, rules of cribbage and review a few cribbage tips.

Cribbage is a card game that calls for quick thinking and calculation. It is widely played in England and is one of the few games that can legally be played in English pubs. It is most commonly played between two players or two teams and point totals are kept track of on a peg board. Etiquette is an important part of Cribbage and this is seen largely through the dealing process and terminology of the game. Familiarizing yourself with terms such as “Double Pair Royal” and “One for His Nob” will ensure a greater quality of game play as you explore the rules of Cribbage.

Cribbage Rules – Cards, Point System, and Dealing

According to cribbage rules the object of the game is to be the first player to win at least 121 points. A standard 52-card deck is used. Each card is worth a certain number of points as follows: King, Queen, Jack, and 10 are all worth ten points, each of the numbered cards are worth their face value and the Ace is worth one point.

Points in Cribbage are kept track of using a board and pegs. (It does not matter what design your board is as long as there are holes representing the numbers 1 to 120.) Each player has two pegs that are staggered from each other on the board throughout the game. The forward-most peg represents the current score of that player while the back peg shows the last score. This back peg is moved forward every time the player receives a new total.

Cards are mixed face-down three times. Each player then takes at least four cards from the top of the deck. Taking the bottom-most card from your pack, you and your opponent reveal the cards to each other. The player holding the lowest-ranking card is the first dealer. If there is a tie, you have to start all over again.

Before each deal, the cards are cut by having the top half placed on the bottom. If a player looks at the cards, he has two points deducted against him and the cards must be reshuffled and the whole process starts over. The dealer then distributes six cards to each player from the top of the pack one at a time. Again, if any card happens to be exposed the whole shuffling process starts from the beginning. The remainder of the deck is placed in the middle of the table. Each player takes two cards from his hand and places them face-down to the side—this forms the “Crib.” The Crib in each hand contributes toward the points for the dealer. The non-dealer would probably place low value cards in the Crib while the dealer might play higher cards for himself.

Cribbage Instructions – Start Card and Game Play Example

The following cribbage instructions portray a game play example.  First, play can begin by the non-dealer cutting the deck and revealing the top card from the bottom half. This is the start card: it basically counts toward each player’s hand when points are being added. If the start card happens to be a Jack, the dealer moves his first peg up two spots, called “two for his heels.”

How to Play Cribbage

How to Play Cribbage

Game play occurs like the following example: The non-dealer flips a card from his pile over first, a Queen, and says out loud, “ten.” The dealer flips over one of his cards, a 7, and says “seventeen.” The first player flips another card and adds that to the total. This continues until the total reaches 31. When this happens, the player who laid the last card moves his peg up two spots and declares “thirty-one for two.” If a player has cards that bring the total to over 31, he can call “go” and his opponent has a chance to lay down a card. A “one for the go” is announced by the last player if neither player can lay down a card without exceeding 31. This continues until all cards have been used.

Cribbage Tips – Scoring During and After Game Play

Understanding the different ways points are scored make up the best cribbage tips available to beginners. The following points can be made during game play. Right after you declare them, you move your peg up the board the amount the score is worth.

When game play is over, each player collects the cards in front of him and tries to find as many combinations as he can to gain points. The start card can be used by both players when figuring out card combinations.

The cards in the crib are now revealed to the dealer and he adds them to his total score.

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