Cribbage rules - the discard
(Previous section: Cribbage rules - the basics)
Following the cut, each player throws away two cards from his hand into the 'crib' or 'box' - a third hand that is scored by the dealer. The rules of cribbage differ in this respect from its predecessor, Noddy (see the cribbage origins page for more details). This phase of cribbage is called the discard. Since the crib scores points for its owner, your choice of discard will generally be different depending on whether the crib is yours or your opponent's. However, you must throw two cards; it is against the rules to discard none or only one.
It is no exaggeration to say that the discard is the part of cribbage where skill and knowledge has the greatest effect on the outcome of the game. Whole books can be, and have been written, on the art of cribbage discards. A great site to practice your discards is The Daily Cribbage Hand, which has a sample hand for you to consider and then compare your choice of discard against other users, and discuss the different choices.
There are rules of thumb about the discard, and you can find some of these on the Discards section of Cribbage Corner. However, the choice of cards to throw is entirely free and not mandated by the cribbage rules.