Cribbage, also known as crib, is a two-player card game. The game can also be played with three, four or more players, but it is best played with two players. The game involves playing cards and grouping them in combinations to score points. Cribbage is one of a kind game in which a cribbage board is used for score keeping rather than a pen and paper. It also involves a crib, which is a separate hand counting to the dealer, two different scoring stages and a unique scoring system.
According to John Aubrey, an English antiquary, natural philosopher and writer, the creator of cribbage game was the English poet Sir John Suckling, in the early 17th century. As a derivation of the game of noddy, which eventually disappeared, crib not just survived but is one of the most popular card games today. It is recognized as Britain’s national card game. For American submariners, cribbage has been their official pastime.
The objective in cribbage is to be the first player to achieve the target score of 121 points or 61 points, as decided prior to the game.
The game is played with a standard deck of 52 cards without any Jokers. The Ace is the lowest-ranking card, with a value of 1 point, and the face cards are the highest-ran king cards, with a value of 10 points each. The number cards are worth their face values. Cribbage rules are simple. The game proceeds through successive hands with each hand consisting of two stages: play and show. However, if a player reaches the target score of 121 or 61 (as decided prior to the game) at any time, the game ends and the player becomes the winner.
At the start of a cribbage game, cards are shuffled and then placed face down on the table. To determine the dealer, each player cuts the deck. While one player removes part of the deck, the other player removes the remaining deck ensuring there are at least four cards at both ends of the deck. The player with a lower-ranking card gets to deal. In case both the players draw the same value card, they draw cards again, until one of the players draws a lower-ranking card.
Scoring in Cribbage is called pegging. It is done on a special scoring board known as the cribbage board, on which pegs are moved on the basis of points scored. Each player uses two separate pegs for marking the score on the cribbage board. At the start, each player moves the corresponding number of spaces with a peg. As the game continues, the scoring continues by leapfrogging the pegs one above the other based on the score. The peg at the highest position gives the current score, while the one behind is used to move to the new score. Players move the pegs around the cribbage board to reach the target point.
Cards are reshuffled and the dealer places the deck before the non-dealer to cut that. The non-dealer cuts the deck by picking a part of the deck from the top and placing it below the remaining deck. Then the dealer deals each player 6 cards face down, starting from the non-dealer. The players pick up their cards without revealing them to their opponent. After evaluating their cards, each player picks two of their own cards and places them in a pile known as a crib. The crib forms the dealer’s hand, and that adds to the dealer’s points later. While placing cards in the crib, the dealer ensures that he/she places useful cards. But the non-dealer puts the least valuable cards in the crib. The players cannot see the cards placed by their opponent until the end of the round.
After the crib is set aside, the non-dealer cuts the deck by picking a part of the deck. The dealer picks the top card from the lower part and places the cards back on top of the deck. The picked card is placed face up on the deck and forms the starter card. If the starter card is a Jack of any suit, it is called his heels. This gives the dealer 2 points automatically and they begin recording their score by moving a peg 2 spaces forward on the cribbage board.
Cribbage online is a fast-paced game where the player who scores 121 points or 61 points (whichever is decided prior to the game) first is the winner. There are two phases of the game: the play and the show or counting phase.
The game begins with the non-dealer placing one of the cards face up on the table. The dealer then places one of their own card on the table and says the total of the two cards on the table. The players continue playing their turns ensuring the total value of the cards on the table doesn’t exceed 31 points. If a player is not able to add a card without making the total exceed 31, they say “go” and the opponent pegs or scores one. The player who scores for the go then play their turn.
Two ways of scoring a go
• The player who plays the last card pegs one for the go. They continue to play if they have any cards in their hand that keep the total score less than 31 points.
• If a player reaches the exact score of 31 at any point, the player pegs two instead of one: one for playing the last card for the go and one for reaching the exact score of 31.
After they reach 31 points, or if neither player is able to play without making the total exceed 31 points, the score is reset to zero.
Other ways of scoring points
• When a player plays a card that makes the total of the cards 15, the player gets 2 points.
• When a player plays a card that is similar to the previous card, it is a pair, and the player scores 2 points.
• If a player adds a matching card to an existing pair, it is called a triple, which gives 6 points to the player who added the third card to the pair.
• When a player adds a fourth card, it is called a quadruple, and the player who added the fourth card gets 12 points.
• When a player adds a card to a run, they score points. For a 3-card run, the player who played the third card scores 3 points, for a 4-card run the points scored are 4, and a run of 5 cards fetches 5 points. In Cribbage it is not essential to have consecutive cards.
After the players have played all the cards in their hands, the next phase begins, which is adding up the values of the cards in the hands according to the scoring system. Here, players can score additional points by taking back the cards they played in the play phase. When you play crib online, remember that the total value of the crib is also counted as the dealer's points. The non-dealer scores on the basis of their hand first followed by the dealer. Lastly, the dealer adds up the cards in the crib. To score for the hand, players use their hand cards and the starter card placed face up on the deck. Counting of hands follows an order: starting with scoring for the cards totaling up to 15, followed by pairs, triples, quadruples and the cards forming runs. Then the players score additional points for the flush, which is unique to the counting phase of the game. There are two types of flush.
Two types of flush
• In a 4-card flush, all the four hand cards are of the same suit, but it does not include the starter card. The player scores 4 points.
• A 5-card flush includes 5 cards of the same suit: 4 hand cards and the starter card. The player scores 5 points.
If the non-dealer has a Jack among their cards and it belongs to the same suit as the starter card, it is called his nob(s). The player, non-dealer, gets 1 point for it.
After the non-dealer counts their cards, the dealer counts their hand cards. In case the non-dealer reaches the finish point, the non-dealer wins. In that case, the dealer is not able to count their cards. However, if the non-dealer does not reach the finish point, the dealer arranges the cards in fifteens, pairs, triples, quadruples, flushes and his heels. Finally, the dealer scores with his crib keeping aside their hand cards. Crib cards are arranged in the same way. The only difference is that the dealer can score only a 5-card flush here. The counting of the hand cards of both the players, and the crib by the dealer, completes the round. The next round begins, and the game continues the same way until one of the players reaches either 61 or 121 points.