How To Play Cribbage

How To Play Cribbage? A Step-By-Step Guide To Gin Cribbage Rules

| November 26, 2022 | How To

Are you a fan of card games? Do you love playing 29, or Rummy? What about Poker? So how about some Cribbage? Sounds crazy, right? Yes, you don’t know how to play Cribbage. We have a solution for that. Keep reading and stick around – the table’s set, and the cards are laid…so let’s play cribbage! 

How To Play Cribbage? A Step-By-Step Guide To Playing Cribbage:

So you want to know how to play cribbage! Last week, we spoke at length about Teen Patti rules – so today, we are here to help! Don’t worry, we are here to tell you exactly that – so without wasting any more time, scroll down to find out how to play this game without any hassle! 

Setting Up:

Setting Up

Once get hold of any cribbage board inclusive of pegs and your usual deck comprising about 52 cards. In this game, no jokers are used, and every player needs at least two pegs to score, which you will find just under the board. Also, it is highly possible that your set is inclusive of additional pegs to keep track of all the match scores. 

In case you don’t have a board, you don’t need to look up a cribbage board template – you can always use paper and a pencil for keeping scores. Also, in this context, you have to keep in mind two important points. 

  • The two different pegs are meant to be used by two different players in order to track the scores of both their previous and current turns – this helps to double-check everything.
  • The first player who scores 121 points will win, and this can happen easily during the game. In that case, the game was immediately ended. In fact, two strips with your pegs around the cribbage board are equivalent to this score. 
  • However, if you play a shorter version of Cribbage, then only one trip will signify the end, with one player scoring 61 to win. 

Forming The Hand:

Forming The Hand:

According to cribbage rules, in order to find out who will deal first, any one player can choose the deck for shuffling it a few times. Then the deck will be placed face down, and each player will have to pull out a single card from the deck. The person who has the lowest card will become the dealer. The dealer will hand out six cards to every player. 

Forming The Crib:

Forming The Crib

Every player checks their six cards to decide which four cards they can keep in their hands and which of the two cards can be discarded face down on a pile close to the dealer. This pile is known as the crib – at the end of the round, this pile will be looked at. But remember, this pile is reserved only for the selected dealer. 

For those who don’t know, this crib happens to be a crucial part of the cribbage board game. In case you become the dealer, you can easily save all your good cards for later in the crib. And if you are not the dealer, you must attempt to give a weak hand to the dealer without hampering your own game. 

Flipping The Starter Or The Up-Card:

If you have played cribbage online, you will know that the player not dealing will cut the deck to determine the card on the top. The dealer then flips it over. Both the players will utilize this card, known as the ‘cut’ for counting points when the round ends. 

In case the ‘up-card’ turns out to be a Jack, then the dealer will be able to immediately peg two points – this score will be then known as ‘his nibs’ or ‘his heels.;

Scoring Points:

Scoring Points

You don’t need a cribbage scoring chart for scoring and calculating points – it’s not a difficult task to accomplish. Beginning with a player who’s not a dealer, all players will alternately lay cards. While they play every card, they will call the total value. While face cards are worth 10 points, other cards are all worth their numeric values. 

For instance, aces are usually only worth a point, and your suits won’t even matter since the game will only take numeric values into account. The round stops when the value reaches 31 or when the card-laying stops.

During the game, for example, the first player ends up laying a three, and the next player gives a four; the first player then calls out, ‘three’ and the next player will call out ‘seven.’ Even if both the cards are actually inside separate piles, it happens to be the total cumulative of the cards. But when the game ends, each player’s hand will be tallied on their own.

All About The Pegs:

All About The Pegs

You need to make runs, pairs, and other related combinations for scoring points. While others are busy laying cards and worrying about not exceeding 31, try to use what all your opponents are laying for your benefit. While scoring, move the pegs around the cribbage board. If any player is able to reach 12 exactly, then it will earn him about 2 points. 

The other point-scoring moves are as follows,

  • Points can be earned as well as pegged from both pairs and triplets. 
  • Sequences can score points as well, as long as you have consecutive cards. You need not have a sequence in order. 
  • A perfect cribbage hand can also get you all the points. 

Finishing The Round:

Finishing The Round

Finishing the round will end with the player who has the best cribbage hand winning! Once all the cards are played, counting time shall begin. The player who will first count has to be anyone but the dealer, followed by the dealer and the crib. Your hand will consist of all the 4 cards that you have played, followed by your cut card.

This is precisely why keeping these cards inside separate piles always helps. If by chance, you become the dealer, you have to count your crib as well as the original hand separately. 

Playing Cribbage: Strategies To Remember

Playing Cribbage: Strategies To Remember

Keep those custom cribbage boards aside for a second, and check out the best cribbage strategies mentioned below – if you are new at the game, it’s best to check these out to obtain effective results. 

1. Don’t Start Off With A 5:

Yes, you think you have the highest cribbage hand, but what’s the point? The odds are that the player who next already has cards worth 10. So if you begin with 5, they will end up landing on 15, which will get them two points. Ideally, it’s best to begin with four since it’s low in value for you. 

You should keep the deuces or aces for making a 31 at the end or even upsetting other players’ attempts to say ‘Go.’ – usually, cards with lower numeric values are useless but not in such cases. 

2. Think About What You Put Into The Crib:

If you aren’t the dealer, the best thing you can do is not give cards with a value of five into the dealer’s crib. Also, avoid putting any pairs, triplets, or even sequences in the cr. The safest cards to put in the crib are Kings and Aces since these are too high or low to threaten your game at any point in time.

3. Avoid landing on 21:

Cribbage classic is a game that makes you think ahead. You are technically setting your opponents up for every play they are making, enabling or not enabling them to obtain points. Yes, avoiding scoring 15 is crucial, and so is avoiding scoring 21. A face card or a ten, and voila! Your opponent has 31!

4. If You Are Close To A Win, Don’t Worry About The Crib:

So you have played around 4 rounds of the game – you don’t need a cribbage calculator to keep track of your scores. So let’s say you have scored 116 points. That does sound great – so don’t worry about the crib. As long as you keep your best hand with yourself, you can keep throwing whatever you like in the crib. 

You just have to play all the best cards you have – the game will end when you win, and subsequently, the crib will even be counted. 

And It’s A Wrap!

Are you already looking for ‘free cribbage’ online – waitttt! We would suggest that you ditch the online version and opt for the offline board game. Play the game like it’s supposed to be played, otherwise, you will never get good at it. Online versions usually come with a lot of limitations, so it’s best that you try out the game the way it’s supposed to be played. 

In the meantime, let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

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Barsha Bhattacharya
Barsha Bhattacharya

Barsha Bhattacharya is a senior content writing executive. As a marketing enthusiast and professional for the past 4 years, writing is new to Barsha. And she is loving every bit of it. Her niches are marketing, lifestyle, wellness, travel and entertainment. Apart from writing, Barsha loves to travel, binge-watch, research conspiracy theories, Instagram and overthink.


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