How to Play Cribbage - Master the Art of Pegging and Scoring!

How to Play Cribbage - Master the Art of Pegging and Scoring!

Cribbage is a timeless card game blending skill with a dash of luck, featuring a unique scoring system and a board for keeping track. Ideal for two players, though adaptable for three or four, cribbage rewards strategic thinking and mental arithmetic. Ready to shuffle up and learn the ropes? Let’s deal you in!

What You Need

  • Players: 2 to 4 (best with 2)
  • Deck: Standard 52-card deck
  • Cribbage Board: Used for scoring, consisting of a series of holes ("streets") and pegs for each player to track their progress
  • Goal: Be the first player to score 121 points (around the board twice)


  1. Choose a Dealer: Randomly choose a dealer for the first hand; afterwards, the deal rotates.
  2. Shuffle and Cut: The dealer shuffles, and the non-dealer cuts.
  3. Deal the Cards:
    • In a two-player game, each player gets six cards.
    • In a three- or four-player game, each gets five cards.

Gameplay Instructions

The Deal and the Discard

  • Deal: Each player receives their cards and then chooses two to discard into the "crib"—an extra hand that the dealer gets to score later.
  • The Starter: After the discard, the non-dealer cuts the deck, and the dealer reveals the top card, called the "starter" or "cut." If this card is a Jack, the dealer immediately pegs two points ("two for his heels").

The Play

  • Players alternately play cards face-up, adding their values together (face cards count as 10, aces as 1). The running total cannot exceed 31.
  • Points are scored for combinations—pairs (2 points), sequences (one point per card), and totals of exactly 15 or 31 (2 points each).
  • When a player cannot play without exceeding 31, they say "Go," allowing the other player to continue if possible.
  • Once neither can play, the count resets to zero, and play resumes with remaining cards.

The Show

After the play is complete, players score their hands, plus the crib for the dealer:

  • Pairs: Two of a kind (2 points), three of a kind (6 points), four of a kind (12 points).
  • Runs: Sequential cards (regardless of suit), scored at one point per card.
  • Fifteens: Any combination of cards adding up to fifteen earns 2 points.
  • Flushes: Four cards of the same suit in hand (not counting the starter) score 4 points; if the starter is also the same suit, score an additional point.
  • Nobs: Possessing the Jack of the same suit as the starter scores one point.

Winning the Game

  • Players move their pegs along the board to track their scores. The first player to reach or pass 121 points wins the game.

Tips for a Fun Game

  • Strategy and Counting: Keep track of cards played and strategize around the most advantageous plays for points.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Cribbage has a learning curve, so play multiple rounds to get comfortable with scoring nuances.


Cribbage offers a delightful mix of strategy, skill, and chance, making it a favorite among card game enthusiasts. Whether playing a quick match with a friend or spending a lazy afternoon perfecting your strategy, cribbage is sure to challenge and entertain. Ready to peg your way to victory? Let’s play cribbage!

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