Score points round to round through different card combinations and preventing your opponent from playing in the classic 2 player game of Cribbage!
*There are slight rules variations for 3 player and 4 player games as seen at the bottom of this rules sheet.
- In Cribbage, the goal is to get to 121 points for a long game or 61 points for a short game.
- Players score points by preventing their opponent from playing cards during the Play phase and through their different card combinations in the Counting the Hands phase.
- Cribbage is played with a standard 52 card deck and a Cribbage board.
- Shuffle the deck. Normally for game of Cribbage, each player would cut the deck and reveal the bottom card of their deck and the player with the lower card would be dealer.
- For PlayingCards.io, it's easier to just shuffle the deck and have each player draw one card from the top and reveal, having the lower card player be the dealer. If cards are tied for rank (low to high: A-K), they draw again until one card is lower.
- Shuffle the deck once more and deal 6 cards to each player.
- Each player will play 2 cards from their hand of 6 facedown to "the crib". The cards in the crib will count for the dealer so its generally better for the dealer to play higher ranked cards to the crib and better for the non-dealer to play lower ranked cards to the crib.
- The crib is set aside face down and neither player look at it until the end of the round.
- Next, draw one card off the top of the deck and place it face up on the deck. This is the "starter card". If the starter card is a Jack of any suit, its considered "his heels". The dealer automatically scores 2 points for revealing "his heels" at the start of the round and will move their peg up 2 spaces on the Cribbage board.
Playing the Game
Cribbage has two phases: the Play phase and Counting the Hands.
The non-dealer player starts the play phase by playing a card from their hand face-up and saying its value out loud. The values are as follows: A = 1, numbered cards = their number, J/Q/K = 10. This is known as "starting the count".
The dealer player then plays a card from their hand in the same way, but instead of saying their card's value, they say the new total of the count (EXAMPLE: P2 played a 4 Clubs and says "Four". Now P1, the dealer, plays a 9 Hearts and says " Thirteen".)
Players go back and forth playing cards in this way, adding to the count until the count reaches exactly 31 or no more cards can be played without pushing the count total over 31.
When a player cannot play a card without pushing the total over 31, they do not play a card but instead say "Go". Their opponent then scores the Go. A Go is worth 1 point.
Whenever a Go is scored in this way, the Go scoring player must continue by playing any remaining cards that they can without pushing the total over 31.
A Go can also be scored by playing a card that puts the count total to exactly 31. This happens in the same way as before except the player who got the count to 31 would score an additional 1 point for doing so (1 point for the Go + 1 point for getting the count to 31, thus preventing their opponent from playing a card without exceeding 31).
Once all cards that would either get the count to exactly 31 or as high as the count could get before exceeding 31, the count is reset to 0 and the cards played are set aside and no longer used this round. Each player should take the cards they played and set them aside because they will need to count these cards in the next phase.
The player who did not play the last card will start the new count.
If a player does not have any cards remaining to play, they say "Go" and their opponent plays any remaining cards without exceeding 31 that they can and will score 1 point for the Go.
There are other ways to score points as well!
- If a player plays a card that brings the count total to 15, they will immediately score 2 points.
- If a player plays a card that matches the previous card's rank (making a pair), they will immediately score 2 points.
- If a player plays a card that matches the previous two cards' ranks (making a triple), they will immediately score 6 points.
- If a player plays a card that matches the previous three cards' ranks (making a quadruple), they will immediately score 12 points.
- Points can also be scored by forming a Run of 3 or more. Unlike most other games, a run of cards does not need to be consecutive (EXAMPLE: P1 plays a 5 on top of a 3 with a 4 beneath it. This is a run of 3 cards. If P2 then played a 2 on top of the 5, this would make a run of 4 cards because the cards contain a 2, 3, 4 and 5). Runs are worth 1 point for each card in the run.
- Points for matching ranks and runs can also coincide with getting the count to 15 (EXAMPLE: P2 plays a 5, which matches the previous two cards played thus forming a triple of 5's. They immediately score 6 points for the triple + 2 points for bringing the count to 15).
After both players have played all of their cards in hand, the Play phase is over.
COUNTING THE HANDS
- Each player will gather back and count the that they played from their hands. Each player will have the 4 hand cards + the starter card. The dealer will also count the cards from the crib.
- The non-dealer player counts their hand. Then the dealer will count their hand + the cards in the crib.
- The hands are counted as follows:
- They count their cards that will add up to 15. They will score 2 points for each unique combination of cards they have that scores 15.
- Then they will score pairs (2 points), triples (three points) and quadruples (four points). Cards are not shared between pairs, triplets and quadruples as they are when scoring for 15.
- Then they will score their unique runs (1 point per card in the run). Runs can share cards between them (EXAMPLE: P2 has a two 3's, a 4 and a 5. This counts as two separate runs of 3).
- Then they will score for flushes. Flushes are specific to the Counting the Hands phase. A Four Card flush is when all the cards in a player's hand are of the same suit (not including the Starter card). This is worth 4 points. A 5 Card flush is when all the cards in a player's hand are of the same suit as well as the Starter card. This is worth 5 points.
- And lastly, players score 1 point for each Jack in their hand that has a matching suit as the Starter card. This is called "his nobs".
- Because the non-dealer player counts first, the non-dealer player passes 61 or 121 (depending on long game or short game) before the dealer counts their hands, the non-dealer player will win.
- After the non-dealer and then the dealer has scored their hands, the dealer will score the crib. To do so, the dealer will score the cards are in the crib in the same way as their hand with the exception that a 4 Card flush cannot be scored.
After both the Play phase and the Count the Hands phases are over, the non-dealer becomes the new dealer, the deck is shuffled and a new round is started.
- Scoring in Cribbage involves a two peg system. The first time you move your peg, you score as normal moving a peg forward one space per point you just scored. The peg in the highest position is your "current peg".
- Then, whenever a player scores again, they take their peg in the lower position and move it one space per peg in front of their current peg.
- So, whenever a player scores any number of points, their lower peg will become the new current peg.
The first player to get 61 points (shorter game) or 121 points (longer game) is the winner!
*3 Player Rules Differences: Each player is dealt 5 cards instead of 6, still playing 1 card to the crib. 5 Card flushes are not possible because the crib will only consist of 3 cards so 4 Card flushes then become possible. "Go" is scored when 2 players are forced to say Go.
*4 Player Rules Differences: Opposite players are on teams. Each player is dealt 5 cards instead of 6, still playing 1 card to the crib. "Go" is scored when 3 players are forced to say Go. Games go to 121 points.
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