What happens if there is a misdeal?

Jacqueline writes:

The other night, I was playing a game against my roommate. It was his deal and we were both very close to the end hole - he misdealt by dealing out 7 cards instead of 6. I said to take the last card dealt me and to continue playing. He looked at his hand and threw his cards on the deck and said -"Nope - it's a misdeal so I lose my crib". I argued that it wasn't a fair play - he could misdeal on purpose just to shift the game so that he would count/peg first and essentially win. Any ruling on this???

I passed this one over to Ezra, the staff librarian and cribbage rules expert. Ezra says:

Jacqueline, the short answer is that you were right. The ACC tournament rules state that "If either player was dealt the wrong number of cards... there shall be a redeal by the same dealer." However, this rule only applies before the starter card has been turned.

If the starter was already turned when you noticed the misdeal, the situation is more complicated. The ACC says "Pegging and play continue (regardless of time of discovery) until the dealer plays his or her last card. If discovery occurs when the pone plays the excess card(s), pegging is retracted to the point of the playing of the dealer's last card or continues until the dealer plays his or her last card. The dealer's pegging points count. Any points scored by the pone during the pegging are retracted. The pone's hand is dead. The dealer's hand is counted. The crib is counted if it is correct. If the crib has too few cards, a judge mixes all of the pone's cards, and the dealer blindly selects the needed card(s) to complete the crib; the crib is then counted."

In other words, you must play the hand as dealt, until the dealer has played his last card, and then retract all the points you scored as pone, and you do not get to score your hand. I would interpret this as meaning that you cannot go out by pegging from a dead hand.

In non-tournament play I would suggest a simpler rule: if you discover a misdeal, all points scored in this hand are void, pone scores a 2-point penalty, and the dealer redeals. You should certainly not switch dealers under any circumstances.