Cribbage Card Game Rules: How to play Cribbage!

 Kevin Brown
  Jan 02, 2019

Popularly known as a crib, cribbage is a game that was traditionally played as a two player game but since, been modified to allow more players. The game involves playing and grouping of cards, in a try to gain points. Unlike other card games, cribbage has its own unique score-keeping board and the need of a crib, a box or a kitty – separate hand counting for the dealer. Knowing how to play crib is important as it is a game where wit and experience could help you make a fortune. Go ahead to learn about Cribbage Rules

Cribbage Card Game

Rules of cribbage are quite simple and make the “Britain’s National game” extremely easy to start off. Cribbage is played in stages, that is, the gameplay happens in phases. The play happens in three stages, namely: Pegging Play, Counting Hand and finally the Counting Crib.

For this 121-point game, there are three stages where the grading system for each stage remains the same. These points are counted by the below pointing system:

  • Any set of cards that sums up to 15 or 31(2 Points)
  • Pairs (Two same cards) => 2
  • 3 of a kind (3 same cards) => 6 Points
  • 4 of a kind (4 same cards) => 12 Points
  • Flushes (Four or more cards of same suite (Type)) (Number of cards = number of points)
  • Runs of (3+) (Three or More consecutive cards) (Number of cards = number of points)
  • If you pick a Jack from the deck, it is known as Nob and it is worth 1 point
  • Last card => 1 point

The gameplay for cribbage ends when any one player reaches 121 points.

Cribbage Rules for Beginners: Deciding Dealer

Unlike other card games, the dealer is an important part of the game and is a player too. As per the cribbage rules, to decide who will be the dealer, the players are required to cut(draw) cards from the same deck of cards and the one who has the lowest valued card at the bottom of the cut deck is chosen as the dealer.

The dealer then deals the cards and distributes the card by below rule:

  • 2 Players: 6 cards each
  • 3 Players: 5 cards each, and one card for the crib dealt separately
  • 4 Players: 5 cards each, players sit opposite to each other

After the cards have been dealt, the players remove a card to two from their pack, if there are two players, each player discards 2 cards faced down, these 4 cards are merged to form a crib in case of more than 2 players, only one card is discarded. This crib is put up as pack that is used later

Once the cards have been discarded, the non-dealer or the player to the left of the dealer cuts the deck and the dealer takes the top card. Once done, the deck is put back and the drawn card is placed on top of the deck, face up.

Cribbage Rules for Beginners: Pegging Play

This is the first stage of the Cribbage gameplay. The cribbage game starts with the non-dealer or the player to the left of dealer playing one of his card face up, the next player then plays his card in an attempt to form one of the scoring sets described above. The total value of the cards at any point could not exceed 31, i.e. Any one player should score something before the sets of cards exceed 31 in value. The players could form run-ofs or kind-ofs or pairs or just sum things up till 15 or 31

This goes on until both players have shown all their cards. The last person to show the last card gets a bonus 1 point. So during the pegging play, the second player or the further players have a higher benefit over the first player.

After every instance that you earn points at, you are supposed to move your coloured peg on the cribbage board in correspondence to the number of points you have earned.

Cribbage Rules for Beginners: Counting Hand

This is the second stage of the game. Once the pegging play is done, the players from all possible sets of scoring points from the hand they have been dealt and the cut card present on top of the deck, and these could have cards repeating. For example, if you have 4 cards (4, 4, 5, 6) and the cut card is 7 you could form the following :

  • Two 15s (4,5,6) (4,5,6) for 2 points each = 6 points
  • One pair (4,4) for 2 points = 2 points
  • Two Run-of-Fours (4,5,6,7) (4,5,6,7) for 4 points each = 8 points
  • Depending on the suite of each card, you may also form Kind-Ofs

The total of these points is then added to the Cribbage board

Cribbage Rules for Beginners: Counting Crib

This as we know, is the third and the final stage of Cribbage game play. The crib as we know now, is the set of cards discarded by the players. This stack is taken by the dealer of cards and the dealer then claims points by forming sets as formed in the earlier stages. This is the key reason why Cribbage has a specific way of selecting the dealer. This final part of the game is a special benefit to the dealer.

One game ends when one person reaches the target of 121 points. In case, more hands need to be dealt, the one dealer selected in that game repeats the task.

Cribbage Card Game Rules: How to play Cribbage!

Kevin Brown

Kevin Brown is a journalist at his own start-up, born and residing in Seattle, Washington. He has a knack of reading up newspaper articles and coming up with summaries and points of view, hence taking up a profession similar to his interest. Simply covering events and activities is something he can do as good as a professional, but he seems to enjoy writing on events that need viewpoints and suggestions.

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