The Game of Cribbage
The goal is to get to the end of the cribbage board first. You reach the end by scoring 121. This may be one or two trips around the board, depending on the number of point holes on your board. You earn points by playing a hand of 6 cards.
The board is how you keep score. Each player has two pegs. The forward one shows the number of points earned. As you earn points your second peg jumps over your first according to the number of points you earn. The board is one aspect of cribbage which makes it fun, which is why we have taken such time and effort to develop a beautiful board that will last for generations.
How to Play Cribbage - The Basics
Starting the Deal - Two Player Play (see below for alternatives) Players cut for the deal - lowest card wins. After the first hand, players take turns to deal. The dealer
shuffle's, asks his opponent to cut and then deals six cards each. Both players discard two cards face down and these two cards are then called “the crib”. This crib is an extra hand for the dealer. So the dealer aims to discard cards into the crib that will give a good chance of a high scoring hand whereas the opponent aims to give away low scoring cards. Deciding which cards to keep and which to discard is a huge part of the skill and excitement of the game of cribbage.
After the discard, the dealer asks his opponent to cut the cards again. The new topmost card is turned face upwards. If this card is a Jack, the dealer earns or “pegs” two points and says “Two for his heels”.
The opponent begins by laying one of his four cards face up while clearly stating it’s numerical value. All royal cards count ten, the ace counts one and other cards are worth their number value. The dealer then lays a card in front of himself and announces the total of both cards. Play continues like this with each player alternately laying a card on the pile in front of himself while verbally keeping tally of the current joint total. The total must not go above 31. When a player cannot play without taking the total above
31, that player says “go” and, if possible, the remaining player must carry on alone until that player, too, cannot play without taking the total above 31. When neither player can play any card without taking the total above 31, the player who laid the last card pegs 1 point. Should either player manage to take the total to exactly 31, that player pegs 2 points instead of 1. Then the cards already played are turned over and the player who did not lay the last card starts a new play. This continues until the cards are gone.
If one player’s cards are gone, the other player continues alone. You do not score a point for laying the last card unless it makes exactly 31 in which case you score 2 points. So far, the points possible are:
Cutting to a Jack - 2 points
Last Card - 1 point
Last Card if exactly 31 - 2 points
During the play, the following events earn points & are immediately pegged on the cribbage board:
Laying Down a Card that: Earns (“Pegs”)
Brings the total to 15 = 2 points
Makes a pair with the previous card played (Player calls, “2 for a pair”). = 2 points
Makes 3 of a kind with the previous cards played (Player calls, “ 6 for 3 of a kind “) = 6 points
Makes four of a kind (Player calls, “ 12 for 4 of a kind”) = 12 points*
Creates a run of 3 or more with previous cards (Player calls, “Run of X for X “ = 1 point per card in the run **
* 3 of a kind is also known as a royal pair, 4 of a kind is a double royal pair.
** The cards do not have to be of the same suit nor do they have to have been laid in sequential order. Aces count low so Queen, King, Ace is not a run. For example, if the cards were played in this order: 4, 2, 5, 3 The fourth card would score 4 points, (Run of 3,4,5- Say “3 for a run of 3”) and the fifth card would score five points. (run of 4, 2, 5, 3, 6 - Say “5 for a run of 5”)
Each player gathers up their 4 cards and counts the score of the cards in their hand plus the turned up card on the deck. The non-dealer shows first. In a close game, going first is important because it can often make the difference between winning and losing.
Counting Your Hand or Crib:
Fifteen - All combinations of cards that add up to fifteen count 2 points. (Player calls “15 once, 15 twice” etc.)
A Pair, a pair royal or a double pair royal - count 2, 6 or 12 respectively.
A Run - A point for each card in a run.
Double Run of Three - Two 3 card runs that share a pair. (6 points for two runs + 2 points for a pair) = 8 points
Double Run of Four - Two 4 card runs that share a pair. (8 points for two runs + 2 points for a pair) = 10 points.
Double-Double Run of Three - Four 3 card runs that share 2 pairs. (12 points for 4 runs + 4 points for 2 pairs) = 16 points.
Triple Run of Three - Three 3 card runs that share a three of a kind. (9 points for three runs + 6 points for a three of a kind) = 15 Points
A Flush - Four or five cards of the same suit. A point is scored for each card. A 4 point flush can only be scored using cards from the hand. The turned up card can ONLY be used in a five card flush. Note that flushes do not count in the play.
One for his Nob - a jack of the same suit as the turned up card. This is always scored last so that the score is tallied by finishing with the satisfying phrase “and one for his Nob”.
The highest possible score in the show is 29 points - 3 fives and a Jack in the hand with the turned up card another five of the same suit as the held Jack.
Cribbage Points in “The Show”
For each combination adding up to 15 = 1 point per combination
2 - 3 - 4 of a kind = 2 - 6 - or 12 respectively
Run of 3 or more = 1 point per card in run
4 card - 5 card flush = 4 or 5 points respectively
His Nob - Jack of same suit = 1 point
Continue another deal with the non-dealer taking the next turn as shuffler and dealer. Play until one person pegs to hole number 121. If one player gets to 121 before the other has gotten across the “Skunked point (Peg Position 90) - the winner says “You’ve been skunked” or on our Modern board design "You've Been Smoked".
Three Person Cribbage
The rules for three player cribbage are generally the same as those for two player cribbage, with a few exceptions. In this version you use all 3 tracks of your Classy Cribbage Board. Five cards are dealt to each player instead of the usual 6 cards. After the last card is dealt, the Dealer deals one card, face down, to start the crib pile. Each player discards only one card from their hand to the Crib pile. The player to the left of the Dealer cuts the deck for the Start card. After a hand is played, the deal and possession of the Crib goes to the next player to the left. The game proceeds in this manner until one of the players pegs at least 121 points.
The rules for playing cribbage with Partners are generally the same as those for two player cribbage, with a few exceptions. The game can be played by 4 to 6 players, with each player having at least one other person as their assigned partner. Partners are seated opposite each other around the playing table. Each player counts their points individually, but combine their points with those of their partners by pegging on the same track of the Cribbage Board. Five cards are dealt to each player instead of the usual 6 cards. Each player discards only one card from their hand to the Crib pile. The player to the left of the Dealer cuts the deck for the Start card. After a hand is played, the deal and possession of the Crib goes to the next player to the left. The game proceeds in this manner until one of the Partner groups pegs at least 121 points.
Terminology & Definitions
Crib: Four cards (two from each player) set aside for the dealer to score after the dealer’s hand.
Cut Card: (1) the starter card; (2) the card cut by either player at the start of the game or match to determine the dealer.
Flush: Four cards of the same suit held in the hand count four points; five cards of the same suit (including the starter card) count five points in the hand or crib.
Game Hole: Hole number 121.
Go: Called by a player who cannot play a card without exceeding the cumulative count of 31; the opponent scores one point, or two if reaching exactly 31.
Hand: The six cards dealt to each player or the four cards remaining after discarding to the crib.
His Heels (Nibs): Jack, when it is the starter card, counts two points for the dealer.
His Nobs: Jack of the same suit as the starter card, either in the hand or crib, counts one point.
Match: One or more games between two players, the outcome of which is a match winner and a match loser. The play of one or more games between two players during tournament qualification play does not constitute a match.
Muggins: The scoring of certain points that one’s opponent fails to peg. It has no relationship to penalties. Muggins is played at the option of the tournament director, but must be listed on a sanctioned tournament flyer and announced prior to the beginning of play.
Pair: Two cards of the same rank, such as two Aces.
Peg: (1) A small marker that fits into the holes of a cribbage board and is used for scoring. (2) To record a score by advancing the rear peg in front of the front peg.
Pegging: The recording of scored points by advancing the rear peg in front of the front peg.
Score: Any points earned by a player.
Scoring: The earning of points.
Shuffle: A random mixing of the cards, which could include riffling.
Skunk: To win by 31 or more points (Peg position 90).
Double Skunk: To win by 61 or more points (Peg position 60).
Starter Card: The card that is cut and placed on the remainder of the pack and is used in counting the value of each hand and the crib.
Stink Hole: Hole number 120, which is one short of the game hole.
Straight (or Run): single Sequence of three or more consecutive cards in any order during the play of the cards; for example, 3, 5, 6, 7, 4 (counts three when the 7 is played and counts five when the 4 is played).
Straight, Multiple: (used only in counting hands and crib):
• Double run Two three-card or four-card straights, including one pair; for example, A, 2, 3, 3 or A, 2, 3, 3, 4.
• DoubleDouble run Four three-card straights, including two pairs; for example, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10.
• Triple run Three three-card straights, including three of a kind; for example, J, Q, Q, Q, K.
Most of all: Enjoy playing Classy Cribbage!