nobs

Nobs in cribbage

In cribbage, nobs is the name given to the Jack of the turn-up suit. That is, if the turn-up card is a four of Diamonds, then the player holding the Jack of Diamonds scores an extra point in her hand, known as "one for nobs" (sometimes "knobs") or "one for his nob" (or sometimes "his nibs"). This is a very old term, which probably dates back to the origins of cribbage. What is a nob? The word is British English slang for an important person, so perhaps this is why.

The nob Jack (or "right Jack" as it's also known, is essential for scoring a perfect 29 hand, and also affects discard strategy - you should try to avoid throwing a Jack to your opponent's crib if possible.

See also two for his heels - the score the dealer makes if the turn-up card is itself a Jack.

Counting 4-4-4-3-3

Juli emailed us to ask:

could you help solve an argument.
The hand is 4-4-4-3 with another 3 turned up.
I counted 15-2, 15-4, 6pts for the 4s and 2pts for the pair of threes for a total point count of 12.
Is this correct?

Juli,

Exactly right! The 4-4-4 makes 15 two ways, once with each of the 3s. There's a pair royal of 4s (6 points) and a pair of 3s, no runs, flushes or nobs equals 12 points total.

Cribbage rules - the scoring

(Previous section: Cribbage rules - the go)

Having played out all the cards, both players then score their hands, pone first - this time including the turn-up card as part of both hands. The dealer's crib also includes the turn-up. Again, points are scored for 15s, runs, and pairs; you can also score for a flush (all cards of the same suit) - see the cribbage scoring chart below for a handy reference. It is a key part of the rules of cribbage that the non-dealer should score first - at the end of the game, both players may have enough points to win, and the right to score first will determine victory. The cribbage board's positions usually alternate during the game, with first one player leading, then the other. The trick is to be in the first-scoring position when you are close enough to win!

Cribbage flush

If the four cards in your hand are of the same suit, you score four for a flush (a cribbage flush, unlike in poker, doesn't beat three of a kind!). If the starter card is also of the same suit, you score five. However, in the crib you cannot score a four-card flush; all five must be the same suit. These rules occasionally have local variations, so check to make sure which rules are being used. In an official tournament, the American Cribbage Congress rules apply.

Some cribbage rules sites explicitly state that flushes are not scored in cribbage. This is incorrect, at least according to the American Cribbage Congress rules, which are the nearest thing to an official set of rules for cribbage.

Cribbage pairs

2 points are scored for a pair in cribbage, and 6 for a pair royal - that is, three cards of the same rank. This can be considered as 3 different pairs worth 2 points each. Similarly, double pair royal (four of a kind) scores 12 as there are 6 ways of picking two cards from four. You begin to see why mathematicians love this game.

Combinations of cards making 15 score two points each - for example, 8 and 7. As many ways as you can make 15 with your cards, you score 2 points for each of them. For example, 8-7-7-A can make 15 three ways: the 8 and one 7, the 8 and the other 7, and the 7-7-A. Consequently it scores 6 points (for 15s, and a further 2 for the pair of 7s).

Cribbage runs

Runs score as many points as there are cards in them. For example, a four-card run 9-T-J-Q scores 4.

Cribbage nobs

You also score 1 point if you have the Jack of the same suit as the starter card (known as 'his nob' or just 'nobs').

Cribbage scoring chart

You can print out this cribbage scoring chart and keep it handy when you're playing!

Score Value Comment
15 2 -
Pair 2 -
Pair royal 6 Three of a kind
Double pair royal 12 Four of a kind
Run 1 per card Runs need not be in numerical order (eg 3-5-6-4) but they must be consecutive (3-4-4-5 does not score).
Go 1 The go is scored by the last player to lay a card.
31 2 The 2 points for 31 includes a go (by definition no-one can go when the total is 31). So no extra point is scored for the go.
Nobs 1 "One for his nob" is scored if you hold the Jack of the turn-up suit.

Continue to Cribbage rules -example hands

Scoring a 29 hand

Dennis writes:

Can you break down the count of 29 as it is supposed to be counted?  It seems you are not allowing the Jack to be counted with the 4 5's for another 8 points which would give 36 points.
Please help me with my confusion over this.
Kind Regards.
Newbie

Dennis,

The 29 cribbage hand page does not explain how the score is broken down, so here goes!

We score the 29 hand in the same way as any other: taking 15s first, then pairs, runs, flushes and nobs.

First count 15s. The Jack makes 15 with each of the 5s, that's 4 15s. Also, there are 4 ways of choosing three different 5s to make additional 15s. That's 8 in total, for 16 points.

Then pairs: there are 6 different pairs of 5s, for another 12 points. That's 28 so far.

There are no runs or flushes, so the Jack of nobs gives us a final point for 29.

I hope this helps!

Cribbage rules

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!

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