How To Play Cribbage? – A Beginner’s Guide

How To Play Cribbage? – A Beginner’s Guide

Have you ever played cribbage? Or do you know how to play cribbage? Or do you want to learn to play this amazing card game?

Whatever it is that you want, we have got you covered. The article below will explore the various aspects of cribbage, including cribbage rules, strategy, best cribbage hand, and more.

Basics of Playing Cribbage

Below we will tell you all the basics of this strategic and fun card game cribbage including how to play cribbage. To learn the cribbage card game basics, you will need two things first – a deck of cards and a cribbage board. 

The good thing is that you can easily find both of these things at your local store and that too at a price less than $15.

Object of Cribbage Card Game

The cribbage card game’s objective is to score 121 points that are pegged over the board with the points which are in your hands. Your every hand determines how many points you will get. 

Description of Cribbage Board

You will find three variations of colors in a standard cribbage board, and each color has 121 points pegged on it. The board also has three pegs, one for each color. These pegs are there to help you keep track of the points during the game. The pegs are kept in a small compartment, which is at the back of the board. 

How To Play Cribbage?

Step 1

To start playing the game of cribbage, you need at least two people. You can also play it with three or four people. Here is a brief of guidelines that will help you:

  • In two people set up, the dealer deals six cards for each of the players.
  • If there are three players, then the dealer will deal five cards to each of the players while keeping one to the offside. 
  • In a four-player setup, the dealer will deal five cards for each of the players. They do this by sitting opposite each player. 

Knowing the dealer rules is essential when we want to learn how to play cribbage. The lowest card formula decides the player who becomes the dealer in the cribbage card game. For it, the full deck of cards is placed in front of the pacers. After this, each player gets a turn and draws a card from the deck. The player who draws the lowest card from the deck becomes the dealer. 

According to the cribbage rules, every time a new hand is dealt, the dealer changes people. These dealer rules are also similar in the various cribbage game online.  

Step 2

After picking up the cards, you have to arrange them in a format of smallest to largest. The Ace is the smallest card in the cribbage card game, whereas the king is the largest card. This distribution of cards makes it different from the other popular card games like go fish and snaps. 

However, the orderly setup of the cards is not a compulsory thing according to the cribbage rules. 

Step 3 

The points system of the cribbage card game: The Basic and Best Cribbage Hand

  • Any of the cards which, when added, give a sum of 15 in total. 
  • If there is a pair of two similar cards.
  • Flushes; when there are four or more than four cards of similar units. 
  • When there are three of a kind cards.
  • If there are runs of three or more cards. The run cards are those which are in numerical order. 

These are some hands that can get you points in the game. For the best results, you must form a cribbage strategy as it will let you win most. 

Step 4

After you know how to play cribbage and its points system, the next important thing is making combinations of cards. 

For having the best cribbage hand, you must determine the combination of cards that can gain you the most points. This is essential as you have to discard two cards if six are dealt, and one card of five are dealt. This leaves you with flour cards, and the best combination wins from the cards left in your hand. 

Step 5 

After dealing with the cards in the cribbage card game, you have to discard one or two cards from them, as we told in step 4. You must know which cards will gain you the most points and thus keep them in hand while discarding the remaining one or two cards. 

The discarded cards are to be kept in a pile of cards in front of the dealer according to the cribbage rules. These cards are to be kept face down, and the pile is known as the crib. The crib is a hand of four cards, which is made up using the discarded cards. The dealer uses these cards at the end of the hand to count any extra points. 

Which cards to discard is a vital aspect of how to play cribbage and thus study the cards well before discarding them. 

Step 6

After discarding cards, the game starts. The person who is on the left side of the dealer, or in two players, the player other than the dealer cuts the remaining deck of the cards. After it, the dealer pulls off the top card of the cut deck. 

The card which is cut in the game is known by the name of the cut card. This card is then put on the top of the remaining deck, and later it comes into play in the game. After this, the person left to the dealer or the one who didn’t deal in the two player game lays down the first card. The first card, which is laid down, is kept face down. When the player lays down the card according to the cribbage rules, they have to announce that card’s face value. 

The highest face value of a card can be ten, and thus if the card is a queen, king, or jack, the value is 10. Typically the best card to start laying down is the highest card as it is the best cribbage strategy.

Step 7

When the player lays down, the card announcing the face value; the next turn is of the player to the left. In a two player game, the turn is of the dealer to lay down a card and announce the value. The second person or dealer lays down the card in an attempt to match the laid down cards and gain up to 15 of two points. 

Another way of scoring two points in the cribbage card game is to lay down two similar cards one after another. For example – A player lays two just after a two. 

A player can also score if they lay down in a run of three. For example – if one player lays down six, another lays down eight, and you lay down 7. This would lead to a person saying a 21 of the three and three peg points on the board. The last way of scoring a point in the cribbage game is to add up to a number of 31. This is the highest number that a player can add up to. 

All these point-scoring rules are the same for the cribbage game online also. 

Step 8

Repeat the 7th step again and again by laying the cards down. Do this while adding the cards until you reach the no 31, or you can’t go any further. In the situation where you can’t go, the person who laid the last card in the deck gets the point for going. Once a person gets a go, the person who can’t go until they reach 31 needs to start over. They do this by laying a card face up from the hand.

Step 9

cribbage card game

Once every player lays down hands in the game, count your hands again. To begin counting of your hands, you have to determine various ways which can lead a card to a sum of 15 first. 

If you have any of the cards summing up to 15 you, need to say 15 for the two. In case you have more than one 15, then you need to say 15 for four. This goes on until a player finishes the counting of combos, which sum up to 15. A player also needs to determine if they have any runs, three of a kind, or pairs. 

Step 10

The first player who counts the hands according to the cribbage rules is the one who didn’t deal with the cards. In a cribbage card game that involves more than two players, it is the person sitting left to the dealer. This cycle, after completing the round, moves back to the dealer. 

This is the time in the game when a cut card comes into play. A cut card can gain you a point during the counting of hands. Now the dealer counts their hands; remember they also have the discarded cards or cribs which were discarded in the beginning. They can also count them to add more points. 

Step 11

Once the counting of hands concludes, the process of the game starts again. Only change this time is that the person who didn’t deal or was to the left of the dealer will deal this time. This cycle goes on with every time hands counting concludes. 

The process of dealing and counting hands continues until one of the players has a total of 121 pints or more than it. Once any player has 121 or more, then it points, the game ends. 

These are some of the steps which will help you to play the cribbage card game. So, now when you know how to play cribbage, when are you doing it? Whenever you play – you will surely enjoy it. 

Some tips for a cribbage card game are:

  • Always follow the cribbage rules as not doing so may result in your turn ending or points deduction.
  • The best cribbage hand is the one that gains you 10 points in one go. So always look out for it.
  • Cribbage strategy is a vital aspect of the game and thus, always think, observe, determine and then act. This will surely result in your favor and make you win the game. 
  • If you and your friends can’t catch up to enjoy the game, you can also go for a cribbage game online. There are various platforms that offer it online, and you can virtually enjoy it with your friends.
  • The announcement of the card values by the other player must be remembered like go fish for making a hand. Thus always pay attention to other players. 

Final Words

If you love card games, then you will surely love the cribbage card game. This is a strategic and fun card game that evolved from the English game of the “Noddy.” Sir John Suckling, a famous and wealthy English poet, was the man behind the invention of this game. Amazing thing about the game is that it allows players to exercise luck and anticipation at the same time. 

In cribbage, players need to make hands to score points. The players with the most hands in the game are winners, and the game ends when any of the players reach a score of 121 or more. 

Jatin Choudhary

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