Carol Duncan writes:
My friend and I have a question regarding the rules of 'go'. For example say we are pegging and my opponent plays his final card to bring the score to 25. He now has no more cards. I have three remaining cards. I play a 4 to bring the score to 29 and then I can't play again (I have two 8s left). Do I get a go?
Then we start at zero again and I play my two eights. Do I then get three (two for the pair and one for go)? Or is this incorrect?
You score a point for 'go' when you play a card that means your opponent cannot play without going over 31 (or because he has no cards left). You must then play all the cards you can in succession without going over 31. If you make 31 exactly, you score an extra point. If you fail to play a card when you can, this is a renege.
A new count then begins. Whoever plays the last card scores a point for last.
In your example, the play would have run as follows:
You: "Go" (score 1 point)
You: 8 (score 2 points for a pair and 1 point for last card)
My playing partner's hand consisted of a 10 & three 4s. The cut card was a 3. I thought this should be scored as a hand of eight points. He (and others) thought this should be scored as a hand of twelve points. So, just wondering, what is correct?
Look for the 15s first; the 10 can't make 15 with any combination of the other cards, and you need all of the others (4-4-4-3) to make one 15. So that's 2 points.
Now count pairs; three 4s gives you three pairs, for 6 points.
Runs and flushes there are none, and no points for nobs, so that makes 8 in all. You should ask your partner to explain where the remaining 4 points come from if he would like to claim them!
Ty Nielson emailed to ask:
So, we’re having some controversy in the office over some of the rules of the cribbage game, all being long time players of cribbage and each of us having slight variations in the rules that we want to play. For the rules that I request please answer with the rules that would be played in a traditional cribbage tournament. This is very important, it’s a business full of wrestlers, knife vendors, construction workers and young people, its getting pretty rough around the company deck here if you can imagine.
- When in play, and three people are playing cards off of one another, and a sequence of cards is thrown (3, 5, 4) do the cards have to be in sequence? Does the above throw represent a run of three for the thrower of the 4?
- Now assuming that 3,5,4,2 were played…. Do the last three cards have to be in sequence or is this 4 points for the player of the 2?
- Once this 4 card series is played, if 3,5,4,2,3 is played is this three points because it is the last three cards which must be in sequence? Or is this a double run of 4 for 8 (not counting the pair)?
- Similarly if the next card played is a 4, will this count as a double double run of four? How would this be counted.
- What are the specific rules for adding to runs in game play?
- During tournament cribbage, when the dealer has 4 cards in the crib of the same suit that do not match the lead card which was cut from the deck how does the dealer count his crib? Flush or not?
- If you have a detailed standard set of rules
Ty, that's a lot of questions! We spoke to Ezra, Cribbage Corner's wrinkled retainer and rules librarian. His rheumy eyes peered over his horn-rimmed glasses as he said:
The most important rule to remember when counting runs in the play is this. "Each card played scores points for the run it completes."
To take your first example of 3, 5, 4, the 4 completes a run of 3 so it scores 3. It does not matter if the cards are not in sequence.
If the next player lays a 2, that completes a run of 4, so scores 4.
There are no double or triple runs in the play (those only count when scoring the hand). So if 3,5,4,2,3 is played the last card only completes a run of 4, so it scores 4.
If the next card is a 4, that completes a run of 3 (2-3-4) so scores 3.
If a pair is played, it scores points for a pair but not for a run. For example, 2-3-4-4 would score 2 points for the pair, but it does not complete any runs, so it does not score any run points. Laying a 5 on this does not complete a run, because of the two 4s preceding it, so scores nothing. Remember there are no multiple runs in the play.
Your last question about the flush is simpler to answer. Remember 'No 4-card flushes in the crib'. While you can score a 4-card flush in the hand, in the crib all 5 cards must be of the same suit to score.
While there are no truly official rules for cribbage, the American Cribbage Congress is the recognised governing body for tournament cribbage in the United States and most tournaments worldwide are played according to its rules:
However, most of these relate to handling unusual situations (misdeals, mis-pegging and so on). For a detailed explanation of the mechanics of cribbage play, Pagat.com's Six Card Cribbage page is very useful.
Ray emailed our emergency scoring help department with this question:
we had a discussion on counting one hand with one 9 and four 3. one said total is 24 and another said 20 which is it please.
Regular readers will know the standard Cribbage Corner method for counting this and other tricky hands:
- First count 15s. The only way to make 15 with this hand is with the 9 and a pair of 3s. As we've outlined in other forum posts, there are 6 ways to pick a pair from 4 cards. So there are 6 ways to make 15, scoring 12 points in all.
- Then count pairs - again, there are 6 different pairs of 3s, scoring another 12 points.
- Then count runs, flushes and nobs - there are none, so the total is 24.
I hope this helps settle an argument!
Danielle emailed with the following question:
If I have 8,8,9,10 in my hand; and an 8 shows on board (on deck), what are the total points for my hand when scoring? Have you ever heard of the term "double run"? if so, can you explain it to me?
This is something often asked, so Cribbage Corner's resident rules expert Ezra replies:
As you know, you can score for a run of 3 more cards in sequence in your hand. But if you can make such a run in different ways, you score multiple times for each way you can make the run.
Taking your example, you have a run of 3 cards 8-9-10 which scores 3 points (one for each card in the sequence). But there are three different ways to make this run (using each of the 8s with the 9-10). So you get to score the run 3 times! That's 9 points, plus the 6 points for the pair royal of 8s, making 15 in all.
To recap, a single run is any sequence of 3 or more cards (Ace is low, so Q-K-A is not a run, but A-2-3 is). A double run is any such run where one of the cards is part of a pair: for example, 4-5-5-6, and it scores double. A triple run is one where you have three-of-a-kind of one of the cards, for example 7-8-8-8-9. It scores triple!
My wife and I were playing cribbage at the cabin. A friendly debate erupted when I tried to score the following hand: two 8's and two 6's, and the cut card was an Ace.
How do you score this hand?
If the point count in playing a hand is at 25, and I’ve laid a Ace to make it 26, my opponent plays an Ace to make it 27, he gets 2 points for the pair, and I say “go” and he has another Ace, does he get 2 points for the first pair of Aces, and then 6 points for 3 of a kind ?
We're handing this over to Ezra, the Cribbage Corner librarian and rules guru, for a definitive answer. Ezra has a snowy white beard and half-moon spectacles, as you might imagine. Ezra says:
Unfortunately he not only scores 6 for the pair royal on top of the 2 he already scored for the pair. He scores an additional 1 for go, making 8 in total for the play of two cards.
Cribbage rules and cribbage strategy make the discard one of the key elements of skill in cribbage. You must try to maximise the remaining points in your hand, while leaving yourself useful cards to play in different tactical situations during the pegging, and without giving your opponent cards which may help her in the crib. When discarding to your own crib, you will be trying to anticipate what kind of cards your opponent is likely to give you, and discard cards which will work with them to create big scores in the crib.
Cribbage discard hints
Here are some simple hints to help you get started with your cribbage discards:
Simple cribbage rules
The rules of cribbage are simple - it's one of the easiest card games to learn and certainly one of the most satisfying. Once you've read through our simple rules for cribbage, you'll be playing in no time!