Penalties in cribbage

What are the rules on penalties in the game of cribbage? How many different penalties are there in the game of cribbage? When playing with friends, we don't usually score penalty points for mistakes in play. In more serious games, though, especially in official tournaments, the ACC cribbage rules dictate various penalties that can be applied when things go wrong at different stages of the game.

Looking at the bottom card

Penalty: 2 points

After the cards are mixed and shuffled, neither player is allowed to look at the bottom card of the deck. If either does, the opponent can claim a 2 point penalty.

Similarly, following the cut, neither player must look at the bottom card of the top part of the pack. The penalty is the same.

Not confirming the wrong number of cards dealt

Penalty: 10 points backwards

If someone is dealt the wrong number of cards, there is a redeal. The player receiving the wrong number of cards must allow the dealer to confirm the number of cards in the hand. If he does not do this, his scoring peg is moved backwards 10 points, or back to zero if he has less than 10 points.

Examining the crib

Penalty: 2 points

Neither player must look at or count the points in the crib before the proper time. If this happens, the player is assessed a 2 point penalty.

Renege

Penalty: 2 points per renege card

If a player reneges (fails to play a card when she could have done), her opponent scores 2 points for each card that should have been played.

Incorrectly claiming the game

Penalty: 15 points backwards, opponent scores overclaim

If a player mistakenly pegs more than their actual score, and claims the game as a result, the opponent scores penalty points equal to the number overclaimed, and the offender takes a 15-point backward penalty (has to peg back 15 points).

Pegging with opponent's peg

Penalty: 2 points

If you accidentally (or otherwise) move your opponent's peg when pegging your own score, the opponent scores 2 penalty points.

Placing starter card in hand, crib or pack

Penalty: 2 points

When counting hands, neither player must mix the turn-up card into their own hand or crib, or place it back in the pack. There is a 2 point penalty for this.

Other penalties and special situations

There are many detailed instructions in the ACC cribbage rules for handling situations which may arise in play such as misdeals, and if you are playing in or organising a tournament it is important to familiarise yourself with them (and ideally have a printed copy of the rules handy to refer to).

Clarification on the Renege Penalty

In addition to the 2 points per card the player could have played, their opponent also has the option to determine if she wants the reneged cards to be dead or to remain in play. Very often the opponent will get an extra few points in pegging because of this.

I've judged two separate situations in the past month where reneging has cost the player the match due to this. Always painful to see, as it's very often the person not expecting a go to be coming to them.

Please clarify this confusing rule.

Not confirming the wrong number of cards dealt
Penalty: 10 points backwards

If someone is dealt the wrong number of cards, there is a redeal. The player receiving the wrong number of cards must allow the dealer to confirm the number of cards in the hand. If he does not do this, his scoring peg is moved backwards 10 points, or back to zero if he has less than 10 points.

I'm confused whether the player who received the wrong number of cards is penalized for not allowing the dealer to count the cards, or if the dealer is penalized if he does not count the cards.

The penalty would be on the

The penalty would be on the player that's received too many cards (dealer or non-dealer) if he doesn't give the other player the option to count the cards. There is no rule requiring the dealer to count the cards.

Basically, the rule is for the "Oh, I have too many cards, let me just put these cards back in the deck" when they really just have a bad 6-card hand and want a redeal.

Realistically, the wording should be "the other player" and not "the dealer", as the dealer can accidentally deal himself too many cards, and the pone should have a right to see that he's dealt too many cards to himself. The rule rarely comes up in play, as it's one of those rules that only comes up if you're actively trying to cheat.

opponent shuffling deck while other player is counting crib

I have been playing with a friend lately who has a habit of clearing all the cards and starting to shuffle (excluding the turned up card) while I count my crib. They say this is so they can get a jump on shuffling. I find it very disturbing and rude that they have their hands jutting in and grabbing cards to shuffle while I am still playing. I asked them to please refrain from doing it but they seemed to think I was being very picky and intollerant.
What are your thoughts on this habit?

Your Choice

If your 'friend' doesn't change their habit of shuffling while you are still counting, put the deck outside of their reach so that you have hand them the deck when you are done. I have had players ask that I not reach across the table to get a deck and I've also had players offer the deck up before they are done so that the shuffling can get started earlier. I would say that if you are playing under a time constraint, like if you are playing in a tournament or want to play a certain number of games within an hour or two, then offer the deck up. If this is just casual play, then your friend can wait until you are done counting to start shuffling. I'm sure that it is just a habit that picked up, but you are certainly within your rights to request that they wait until you are done. If your friend likes to play fast (and it sounds like it) then have them look into competitive cribbage at cribbage.org. There they can play the best in the world.

Playing Two Decks

So, what does your friend do with the five cards remaining after he has shuffled? Reshuffle three times? Where is the benefit? I prefer playing Cribbage with two decks, two different colors, this allows the pone to shuffle a complete deck in preparation for his next deal during play and does not have to reach across. I have often wondered how many other players do this too.

Not sure what you mean

All I can say is that having two decks is not allowed in tournament cribbage. You can do whatever you want when playing at the kitchen table. The rules I try to explain or help people with do not apply to kitchen cribbage unless you want them to. You are 'allowed' to do anything in your games, just not when you are playing in sanctioned events. Please visit cribbage.org for further information on rules.