Type of Game Age Required Decks Required Number of Players
Family, Gambling Adults, Teenagers, Kids Single Deck(52 Cards) 2 or 3

It is a game played with 2 peoples which can be extended up to 4. A cribbage Board and single deck is required to play cribbage. It was invented by an English Poet, Sir John Suckling. It is a game of chance as well as skill.

Cribbage Board

It is a Wooden Board with holes in it throughout the Board. It is used to keep track of score of both the dealer and player throughout the game. Pen and Paper can also be used to keep score but scoring occurs all the time as the board speeds up the scoring. Wooden Pegs are used to point the current score of the player. Inserting the wooden pegs along the Board is known as “Pegging”. In case a player loses its track two wooden pegs are used by both the players. A new board has been designed with 3-4 rows with 121 holes which is ideal to play 121 point game and can also be used for 61 point games.
Traditional Cribbage Wooden Board


Cribbage Board is designed for 2 players but 4 players can play making a team of two.

The Deal

It is played with a single deck. All suits have the same rank. Single deck is shuffled and both the player and dealer cuts the card. They will draw cards again if both players draw cards of the same rank. Whoever has the lowest hand would deal first. After that the turn would be dealt alternatively with the exception that the player will deal first who has lost the previous game if one more game is played.

Six cards are dealt by the dealer from the single shuffled deck to both him and the player facedown. After that two cards having the lowest rank are given by both players to form a crib. Now both have left with 4 cards.

Number of players Cards initially dealt to the Crib Number of cards discarded by every player Cards Initially dealt
Two Zero Two Six
Two(Other Variant) Two One Five
Three One One Five
Four Zero One Five


The objective is to make 121 points before the other player. Points are awarded to make different card combinations. Some games are also limited to 61 points.

The Crib

In standard game in which there are 2 players, each dealt with 6 cards. They both have to discard 2 cards each forming a CRIB which would be utilized later by the dealer. After the crib is formed, both player and dealer are left with exactly four cards each. All the four cards are face down and are not used by the dealer until all the hands are used.

The Starter

The undealt stock is kept aside during the formation of crib. After the crib is formed, the player will turn one card face up of the undealt stock. That face up card is the Starter. This means scoring commence from now on. If the starter turns out to be a Jack, the dealer would score 2 points and move his peg two holes forward in Cribbage Board. The first face up card, is High Heels or High Nibs if it is an Jack.

The Game

The game starts by the opponent. If there are more than one player, then game starts from the dealer’s left. Each player put one card face up on the table, then the dealer and so on the game goes with alternative turns. For example, player lays five and proclaims five, than the dealer lays eight and proclaims thirteen than the player again and dealer after it. Cards having number have that value, cards with picture worth ten while the ace only counts as one.

The game should not surpass 31. If a player is unable to add card without surpassing 31, he will say GO. After proclaiming GO, the player must lay any cards he can without exceeding 31. In case opponent reaches 31, he will peg 2 rather than 1 for GO.

Player who reaches 31 will score two points while if he scores 29, he will score 1 for a GO, even if he scores 30 it would be counted as one point scored.

Whoever says Go first, leads the play for the next series. Now the count starts from 0. It does not matter what the previous score was, the GO make scoring from the start.

The main Aim is to score 121 points by pegging. Points are awarded based on the following combinations.


1. Two points for exactly fifteen. (15 for 2)
2. Adding a card that makes a total of 15 Peg 2.


1. 3 points for 3 consecutive cards irrespective of the suit.
2. 4 points to finish run of four.
3. 5 points to finish run of five.


1. 2 points awarded for pair of a kind.
2. 6 points awarded for making three of a kind. Three pairs all are distinct also known as Pair Royal.
3. 12 points awarded for making 4 distinct pairs. (Four of a Kind-Double Pair Royal)


1. 4 points are awarded to score Flush. All the four cards must be of the same suit and an extra point is awarded if the STARTER turns out to be of the same suit.

2. 1 point for having Jack as a Starter.

Many combinations are scored as a Group. Let’s take an example, Double Run would be scored if the 3 cards with an additional hand matching the one or 3 in rank. Example-3 – 3 – 4 – 5 would be awarded with 8 points, 3 of each runs and 2 of a pair. Fifteen points would be scored by the player in the Triple Runs (3-3-4-5-6). 16 points for scoring Double-Double Runs, for example (3-4-4-5-5).

After scoring all his hands by the dealer he turns the CRIB face up. Rules of scoring a crib are same as that of a normal hand with some exceptions. Starter is used in conjunction with the hand as an additional hand. A flush or a Four Card flush is scored if it is of the same suit as the starter.

The Highest Score

The maximum score possible is 29 points for a hand. It is very rare to occur. To score a perfect 29, player must have a 5 as a STARTER, In addition to one jack and three cards of five (J, 5, 5, 5) all belonging to the same suit.

The perfect 29 goes like this:

Four Jack-5 Combinations. (15 two, 15 four, 15 six, 15 eight).

Four 5-5-5-5 combinations. (15 ten, 15 twelve, 15 fourteen, 15 sixteen)

Four Five’s (12 for pairs) that makes 28.

Nob-1 point that makes a total of 29.

Example For Two Players(Standard)

Cribbage for 2 players

Total score of all hands in Cribbage for two players

The Game

The game is played with two variations. Either the play will end after 121 points or after 61 points. In standards, play ends after 121 points. The aim of player and dealer is to reach first to 121 points either by pegging or counting their hand. The game ends if the opponent Goes Out through his hand count and the dealer would not score either through his hand or Crib.

In its variation, if a player fails to reach 61 in a game of 121 points or 31 in a game of 61 points as other player wins the game, than he lose 2 games instead of one.

Scoring Chart

Cribbage Combination to Score Points

Card Combinations Crib During Game
Starter Turned out to be a Jack None Two
Jack of the same suit in the hand or the Crib of Starter Card One None
Pair (2 of a Kind) Two Two
Triple( 3 Of a Kind ) Six Six
Quadraple (4 of a Kind) Twelve Twelve
Any combination have 15 in Total Two None
4 cards Flsuh Four None
5 Cards Flush Five None
Straight per hand (Three or More Cards) One One
31 Count None Two
Go None One
Last Card Dealt without reaching 31 None One

The End

All the cards are assembled after dealer has scored his crib, and the turn passes to the opponent. Player to reach 121 points first on the Cribbage Board wins the game.


Players are always in dilemma which cards to discard. First, focus to build strong hand. Commence by seeking pair of 15. Do not play cards of high rank at the starting and if CRIB is discarded by the dealer he should mix it with the best combinations. As for the player, put cards which would be least beneficial to the dealer.

Never lay down five as they can be used anytime to make combination of 15 with Jack, King, Queen and Ten. Putting a pair or sequential cards is the worst choice, like laying four and five in the CRIB. Best cards used by the dealer for CRIB are ace as it is difficult to make a good hand with it.

After making a good hand, turn your attention towards the crib if you are the dealer. You can discard two good cards which would be utilized later. If you are a player, be vigilant while discarding your hand. Do not discard 5’s or cards that can be easily turned into combination of 15’s, pairs or sequences and you can do the vice-versa if you are dealer.

Variations of Cribbage

1st. 3 Players

5 Cards are distributed to each player from shuffled pack and 1 card is discarded to the crib by each player. Either the 3 players can score individually or compete in a “2 on 1” format where the team of two together reach 121 points before the single player.

2nd. 4 Players

Players are dealt with 5 cards each and each player discards one to the crib. If two players play together as a group, then the standard rule of 2 players is followed.

3rd. Old Game

This game is of 61 points and both players are dealt with 5 cards out of which 2 are discarded into the CRIB. The opponent has a head start in Five Card Cribbage.

4th.Five Cards

Each player is dealt with 5 cards except dealer and everyone discard 1 card to the crib except the dealer.


It does not mean penalty. It is simply a scoring variant in which player fails to peg certain points.

6th.Toss Fives

All the players have to discard any one five into the CRIB whether it is their crib or of the opponent.


This is just the opposite of Cribbage. The first player to reach 121 points will lose the game.

8th. Jokers

They are included into a single deck making 54 cards in total. They are used to score 6 of a kind, 7 of a kind, pairs, etc. Dealer would score two points is the starter turns out to be a Joker.

9th. Cribbage Auction

It will not be the dealer anymore who scores points in the crib. Anyone can bid for the crib. The non-dealer who bid for the CRIB must proclaim the points he is going to surrender. Dealer has the advantage as if no one bids for it, CRIB belongs to the dealer.

10th. No Point Penalty

If a player scores zero, other player would score one point.

11th. Backup Ten

Both the CRIB and the hand must contain points. If both the hand do not, the one who own the hand would go back 10 points.

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