500 Cribbage

What is Five Hundred Cribbage?

I am indebted to Mr Herb Barge who sent me scans of a book written by a distant relative of his in the 30s, Thomas B. Stauff. This book, entitled "Rules of Play governing '500' Cribbage, Thomas system, a Modern Version of Cribbage", appears to be a fairly radical re-working of the game.

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?


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 play

(Previous section: Cribbage rules - the turn-up)

The count

Following the deal, the discard and the turn-up, the hand proper begins.

In the playing phase of Cribbage, the players take it in turns to lay down a card, trying to make the running total equal to certain values. The non-dealer plays first and states the value of her card (for example, "ten" for a Jack). Court cards count ten (together with the face 10 they are known as the 'ten-cards', or 'tenth cards'). Ace counts one.

15 and 31

The dealer then plays a card, the value of which is added to the current running total. The player who makes the total exactly 15 scores two points ("fifteen-two"). Two points are also awarded for making 31. Additionally, you score a point if your opponent cannot play without going over 31 ("one for the go", or just "one for go"). You must play if you can (reneging is against the rules).


If your card is the same rank as the last card played, you score two for a pair. If your opponent plays a third card of the same rank, he scores 6 for a "pair royal" (three of a kind). Four of a kind scores 12 ("double pair royal").


If the last 3 cards played form a sequence, the player making the sequence scores 3 for a "run". For example, 3-4-5 makes a run of 3 and so scores 3 for the player laying down the 5. If the opponent then plays a 6 (or a 2) to extend the sequence to 4 cards, she scores 4, and so on as long as the sequence is unbroken.

Sequence do not have to be in order. For example, if the play goes 7-9-6, you can then play an 8 to score 4 for a run of 4.

Continue to Cribbage rules - the go

Thanksgiving family feud

Jason Massie writes:

Dear Cribbage Corner,

I am hoping someone can settle a Thanksgiving day dilema. We had a hand of 2-2-3-8 and a 2 was cut. How many points is there, 10 or 12?


This is not an easy hand to count at first glance, but let's take it step by step. First the 15s. The 8 and 3 make 11, so requiring 4 more to make 15. As there are three 2s, there are three sets of different pairs of 2s to do this with. Therefore three 15s, for six points.

(We know all 15-scoring combinations must include the 3, because there must always be an odd-numbered card - that's a time-saving tip!)

Now count pairs - we already agreed there are three pairs of 2s, for another six points. That's 12 altogether, so I hope your family can now be reunited and enjoy many more games of cribbage!

Counting 7-7-7-7-A

Danine Schlosser writes:

I have 4 sevens and 1 ace showing. What is the count?


First count 15s. It is clear that a pair of 7s makes 15 with the Ace - but how many pairs of 7s are there in four 7s?

An easy way to remember this is to start by asking how many pairs there are in 2 cards. Obviously just one pair.

Now if you add another card, that card can pair with each of the previous cards - making 2 more pairs. So there are 3 pairs in 3 cards.

If we add another card again, that card can pair with each of the previous cards, making 3 more pairs. So there are 6 pairs in 4 cards.

That makes 6 15s, for 12 points in all.

Now we count pairs, and as we just worked out there are 6 pairs in your hand - for another 12 points. That's a total of 24!

How to score 3-3-3-6-6

On Mon, May 25, 2009 at 7:03 PM, james heap wrote:
> hi
> could you please tell me what points i have in my hand three threes and a
> six in hand six turned up

Hi James,

If we count 15s first, then the three 3s make 9 so they can make 15 in
combination with each of the 6s - that's two 15s. In addition the two
sixes make 12, so they can make 15 with each of the 3s - that's
another 3 15s. Here are the scoring combinations:

3 3 3 6   = 15
3 3 3   6 = 15
3     6 6 = 15
  3   6 6 = 15
    3 6 6 = 15

That's 5 15s for 10 points total.

Now count pairs - a pair of 6s scores 2, and a pair royal of 3s scores
6 (you can make 3 possible pairs from 3 of a kind). For pairs 8 points

There are no runs or flushes and you don't have the Jack of nobs, so
the total is 10 + 8 = 18.

scoring 15-2

Although I've been playing Cribbage for quite a while, but recently I met a New player who threw me off balance by "his" rule which differed from what I've always followed. Here's how it went.

He threw down a king, and then I threw down a king, so I scored for a pair. But then he threw down a five, at which point he said he scored two points because his five and my king totalled fifteen. I DISagreed because the Three cards on the table add up to Twenty-five, so my opponent can Not score two points from count of fifteen. But my opponent objected by saying that he's counting just the TOP cards. Who is correct, my opponent or me?

Scoring 3-4-5-6

Dan R Clark writes:

If you have 3,4,5,6 in your hand,is this a 4 count or a 6 count?

The 4-5-6 makes 15, so that's 2 points, and there is a run of 4, so that's 6 points altogether.

How to score this cribbage hand

north1mile writes:

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!


During the game, if I lay a five and then a king, I know that's 15 and thus scored "fifteen-two." Can I then lay a 10 and add it too my original five to make a new 15 and score two more points?

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