Cribbage Game Rules and Where Can You Play It?
For a game that’s four centuries old, Cribbage fits in surprisingly well with modern card games and is enjoyed by millions of players from around the world.
But the best part? You can enjoy playing the game online.
Here’s a brief look at Cribbage’s rules and where you can play it.
Cribbage Game Rules
Cribbage involves a regular deck of cards with the Jokers removed. The game’s objective is to score enough points to move the pegs on the Cribbage board up and down the board twice. In other words, to win, a player must be the first to score 121 points, after which the game ends.
Cribbage tournaments are typically played in the best of 3 fashion, with the target score of either 61 or 121. Players take turns dealing the hands, alternating every hand.
Scoring in Cribbage
A traditionally crafted Cribbage board comprises four parallel lines with 30 holes each and two game holes. You can find many different Cribbage boards online and in toy stores.
The board comes with four pegs used to keep track of the players’ scores. Each player has two pegs, with the trailing peg indicating the previous tally and the leading peg indicating the current score.
Dealing in Cribbage
Cribbage players conventionally cut for the first deal and take turns to deal after the first hand. After shuffling, the non-dealer cuts the deck, and the dealer distributes six cards each.
Next, the players discard two cards each, making a third hand called the “the crib” or “the box,” which is accessible to the dealer.
For this reason, the dealer aims to discard cards that provide the highest-scoring hand. The opponent must attempt to keep the crib weak.
The game’s outcome depends on luck and also the discarding skills of the Cribbage player.
The Cut and Play
After the players have six cards each, the dealer asks the opponent to cut the cards. The top half is placed under the bottom half of the deck, and the new top card is flipped over.
If the top card is a Jack, the dealer gets two points, declaring “two for his heels.”
Next, the opponent begins the game by laying one of their cards on the table, facing upwards, declaring its numerical value.
Note: The face cards have a value of ten, Ace counts as one, and the other cards are worth their numerical value.
Then, the dealer lays out a card separately in front of themselves and announces the total value of the two cards.
The game continues like this, with the players laying down cards and stating the current total alternately.
The catch is this: the total pip value cannot exceed 31.
If a player cannot play a card without exceeding 31, they must declare “Go.” The other player can then play any cards that do not make the pip value exceed 31.
If both players cannot play any cards, the player that laid down the last card earns a point. If a player can make the total pip value 31, they earn two points instead of one.
The cards that are played are turned over, and the player who did not lay down the final card begins a new game.
Points in Cribbage
- If a player plays a card that makes the pip total 15, they score two points.
- If a player lays down a card similar to the previous card, they score two points. Remember that a Jack cannot be paired with a Queen since the same numerical values do not make the cards similar.
- If someone plays a third card of the same kind (“pair royal”), they score six points.
- If someone plays a fourth card of the same kind (“double pair royal”), they score twelve points.
- If you play a card such that you can score a run with the two preceding cards, you score three points. The cards need not have the same suit or be played in sequential order. Since the Ace is the lowest-ranking card of the game, Queen, King, and Ace do not form a run.
- If you lay down a card such that you can make a run with three or more of the preceding cards, you score points equal to the number of cards that make up the run.
The Show in Cribbage
Every player counts the card’s score in their hand plus the face-up card. The non-dealer shows first, and this is when the winner is decided.
Players can score a maximum of 29 points, with three Five cards and a Jack when the face-up card is also a Five card of the same suit as the Jack in hand.
The dealer counts the score of the crib plus the face-up card and adds it to their total.
The players score points in the same way as the show, except that the crib can score a five-point flush only if all the cards are in the same suit.
Where to Play Cribbage Online
You can play the Cribbage game online for free at https://playcribbage-online.com. Playing online is an excellent way to learn and polish your Cribbage skills for social games and beyond.