Learning Cribbage Rules is not as hard as it might seem. Take a look at this brief guide and see for yourself!

## 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!

Cribbage belongs to the family of card games known as ‘adders’ – that is, games in which the idea is to add successive card values to a running total with the aim of making certain totals – in this case, 31. In the first phase of the hand, players take turns playing a card from their hand which is added to the running total. Two points are scored for making the total 15 or 31. Pairs and sequences also earn points. Once the hands have been played out in this way, the players then score points based on the pairs and sequences in their hands, plus the combinations that add up to 15, and record the score on the cribbage board. Each player is free to choose which card to play as long as it is legal according to the rules of cribbage.

## Cribbage tutorial

The interweaving of luck and skill in cribbage is particularly interesting. Although you have no control over the cards you receive (and thus the points you score in the second phase), there is much opportunity for skillful play in the first, or pegging, phase. A good player can make many more points from a given hand than a novice. However, the element of chance is such that a single high-scoring hand can strongly affect the outcome of the whole game. Thus a rank beginner can comfortably beat an expert, given only a little luck. Over many games, though, the luck of the deal should average out and the skillful player’s edge will become apparent. You can find more about the odds of various deals and the distribution of cribbage hands on the cribbage facts page.

This page explains simple cribbage rules and cribbage terms, for those who just want to know how to play cribbage. You can find some advanced tips on our cribbage strategy page, or for a change from the standard “Hoyle” cribbage rules, check out variations of cribbage. If you’re learning cribbage and you want to play on your computer, see the Free cribbage games for Windows page, or practice against other people over the Internet with our list of online cribbage sites. A great place to start learning is our cribbage books section which has links to some of the best books on cribbage. You’ll even find out how to organize your own cribbage tournaments with your friends!

If you have any questions about cribbage rules or how to count a tricky hand, go to the contact page, or email us at help@cribbagecorner.com and we’ll do our best to answer you! Alternatively, post your question in our comments section below most every post!.

## Cribbage rules for beginners

- Cribbage rules part 1 – the basics
- Cribbage rules part 2 – the discard
- Cribbage rules part 3 – the turn-up
- Cribbage rules part 4 – the play
- Cribbage rules part 5 – the rule of ‘Go’
- Cribbage rules part 6 – the scoring
- Cribbage rules part 7 – example hands
- Cribbage rules part 8 – “Muggins”
- Cribbage rules part 9 – winning the game

## Cribbage boards and keeping score

Although the rules of cribbage do not actually require it, the traditional method of keeping score in a game of cribbage is to use a cribbage board. This is a flat board, usually made of wood, with a series of holes to show each player’s score. Each player has two pins which mark her current and previous score. If she makes a score of 5, she moves the back pin 5 holes ahead of the front pin to mark her new total.

For more information on the history of the cribbage board see:

## Cribbage terms

Cribbage has its own unique and interesting vocabulary. Here is our quick guide to the cribbage terms you need to know:

**Crib**– the dealer’s extra hand**Pegging**– marking scores on the cribbage board, or more generally, the card-playing phase of the game**Muggins**– claiming points your opponent failed to notice**Stinkhole**– the 120th hole, one short of winning**His nob**– extra point scored for having a jack of the turn-up suit**His heels**– 2 point score by the dealer for turning up a jack

## RÃ¨gles du jeu de cribbage

Cribbage is extremely popular not only in the United States and Europe but also in Canada. You can find cribbage rules in French here:

## More about cribbage rules

No discussion of the rules of cribbage would be complete without a mention of John McLeod’s excellent Six Card Cribbage page, part of the amazingly comprehensive Card Games site. John has much more information about rules variants and different forms of cribbage.

For a concise and accurate description of the rules, see The Rules of Cribbage by James Masters, part of the Masters Traditional Games online shop, which also sells excellent hand-made cribbage boards and cribbage boxes.

## Learning to play cribbage

One of the best ways to get the hang of playing cribbage is to play against the computer. See our Free Cribbage Downloads page or check out the commercial games available for Windows cribbage or Mac.

## Penalty points in cribbage

There are many situations in tournament cribbage where penalties can be scored. See our Penalties in cribbage page for full details.

Did we answer your question? If not please email help@cribbagecorner.com and our busy team of cribbage experts will do their best to help! You could also ask your question on the Cribbage Corner Forum.

must all 5 cards in the cribmust all 5 cards in the crib be the same suit to score the 5 points for a flush?

Although you can score aAlthough you can score a 4-point flush in the hand, in the crib all 5 cards must be the same suit. See our cribbage flush page for more details!

Crib flushYes. If your flush is with the crib, the drawn card must also be of the same suit. To get a flush in your main hand, only the cards you are holding need to be of the same suit.

YesYes

Miss dealIf the dealer miss deals, does he miss his crib?

It is my understanding thatIt is my understanding that the dealer loses the deal (and thus the crib) if they misdeal.

Missing DealsI guess your question, is if the dealer makes a mistake and ‘doesn’t deal” do they also get a crib. The answer is no. Only the dealer that deals the cards gets the crib. Be careful though, there might be times where it is advantageous NOT to be the dealer (especially in end game scenarios).

MisdealIf your statement was about making an error, you don’t ‘lose’ the deal and the crib. (Example would be exposing a card while dealing, dealing too many/few cards etc.) The cards are then reshuffled and re-dealt at that point.

CRIB FLUSH?The crib has to be the same suit as the up turned card (on top of the deck) in order to get points for a flush of 5.

In Example: Jack of diamonds is up card and you have 4 spades in the crib (2,3,4,6, all you will score is 15 two (J+2+3) and 15 four (6+4+3+2=15) then there is a run of three (2,3,4) all this equals is 7. NOW if all cards are diamond then that 7 turns into 12. confused? CRIBBAGE is a great game!!!

countingI have three, 3’s and a 9 in my hand do i count 10 or 12

Counting 3-3-3-9Kim,

You didn’t mention what the turn-up card was, but I’m assuming it doesn’t affect the score. To count the 15s in this hand you know you need the 9, and you need to make 6 with a combination of other cards. You have three 3s, so any two of those 3s would do to help make 15. There are three ways to pick any two from three (try it if you don’t believe me!), so there are three 15s in this hand, for 6 points.

In addition you have three of a kind (sometimes called a pair royal), which for the same reason as we just saw, counts as three pairs, for another 6 points, that’s 12 total.

I hope this helps!

three 3’s and a 9 total 12 pointsThree 3 cards and a 9 are 12 points without counting the cut card: fifteens for 6 points and three of a kind (three pairs) for a total of 12 points.

scoring12 fifteen two, fifteen four, fifteen six, 3 of a kind for 6 makes 12

cribbageif there is a count in the crib of 31 do you get two points?

31?Scoring to 31 only gives you points when you are pegging, not in your hands.

Counting2-2-8-3 and K as the turn-up card

2-2-8-3 = 15 for 22-3-K = 15

2-2-8-3 = 15 for 2

2-3-K = 15 for 4

2-3-K = 15 for 6

and the pair of 2’s for 8 points

scoringplease count this hand I received cribbage rules with a new board and they say this hand can count up to 29! Here is the hand 4 4 5 6 6

This hand (4h, 4d, 5h, 6h,This hand (4h, 4d, 5h, 6h, 6d) is 24.

The 15’s are as follows:

6h-4h-5h

6h-4d-5h

6d-4h-5h

6d-4d-5h

For 8 points.

Then the double-double counts as 16 for 24 total.

29I should have added the actual 29 hand.

5h, 5d, 5c, Js with the 5 of spades being the turn card.

I put down an ace and am toldI put down an ace and am told to go. I put down another ace for 31. Do I get four points (31 + pair) or do I get five points (31 + pair + the go)?

Re: I put down an ace and am toldYou get four points: two for the pair, and two for 31 (which includes go; clearly your opponent can’t play another card without going over 31).

do u get the extra point ifdo u get the extra point if its the 8th card played?

8th CardNot sure what your question is, but if you play the 8th and final card when counting you would get whatever combination score you have and also one for the go or two for 31. Say the play goes like this A, 2, 3 (for three), 4 (for four), 5 (for 7 15-2 and a 5-card run), 6 (for six), 4 (for three), 3 (for four, a three-card run and the final go.) If that wasn’t what you were asking, please reply back and we will try and clarify.

Peace

sorry i meant if u get 31 onsorry i meant if u get 31 on the 8th card played do you get 2 points for 31 and 1 point for last card played

Last CardIn answer to your question, no you don’t ‘both’ get a score of two for 31 and a point for the last card. The ‘last card’ is really just a go (as your pone cannot play anymore cards). What is interesting is that getting to 31 exactly is technically a go + 1 for a bonus. So you cannot have two goes scored in the same count to 31, just like if your pone says go and you have to lay down 2 cards, you don’t get a go for each of them, only the last one. Hope that makes sense.

aceYou get 4 points as the go gets no points because you have the ace for 31.

Counting/Scoring during playThe following cards were played in order:

4 – 6 – 5. Obviously this addes up to 15, but there is also a run here. As this happens during play, do I peg 2 points (2 for 15), 3 points (for the run), or 5 points (a total of both scores)?

Assuming that these were theAssuming that these were the first 3 cards played – you score “15-2” for making the running total 15, not for any combination of cards which make 15. And another 3 for the run, making 5 points total.

stink holeSome wise guys state ” if one is in the stink hole, they can only go out if they get one point”. What malarkey , i say!!! what do the cribbage Gods say??

I say it doesnt mnatter at all, get 2, maybe 6 off 3 of a kind, what does it matter??? i have never heard of such a thang in 40 years of playing…..i have consulted the bibles of cribbage and not a peep on the subject.. set the record straight, i submit to your wisdom.

stink holeI’ve played this rile for many years – even if only a local rule and not an official rules of Cribbage. This is not an official rules you will find in any tournament – it is only a rule that can be applied when the players at a table agree to it in a friendly match. The actual rule has a number of variations – but for my games we say that if you land in the stink hole you cannot get out without having exactly one point – which is essentially saying that you can’t get out without a “go”. Any other points in your hand are forfeited. For example, if you are the dealer and you land in the “stink hole” you forfeit your hand and you crib to the next round or until you get a “go” – regardless of the number of rounds left in the game. In addition, if you are given a “go” and you have cards that give you “31” then you still cannot get out. Anyway – these are my local rules and I’ve been playing with these rules for the last 25 years – and got them from me mother. Cheers and I hope this helps you play – and as I’ve said you don’t have to agree to the rules – no official in any tournament would uphold this one. It just adds to the fun of the game and some additional meaning to the term “stink hole”.

CRIBBAGE CUT FOR CRIB CARD.WITH 4 PEOPLE PLAYING CRIBBAGE WHO CUTS THE CARD THAT WILL COUNT FOR ALL PLAYERS?

cribbage cut with 4 playerswhat person on what side of dealer cuts the deck for crib??

Who cuts the deck before dealingI assume that, as in most other similar card games, since the dealer will deal the first card to the player sitting to the dealer’s immediate left, the cut is offered to the player sitting to the dealer’s immediate right before the deal commences. Also, the cut can consist of any number of cards, including 0 – which is the same as declining the offer to cut.

Cutting the deck…Actually there are two different times that the deck is cut in a cribbage game. (required in tournament play). The first time is before the cards have been dealt, and that cut is offered to the player on the right of the dealer. The second time is when the deck is cut for the starter card after the players have discarded to the crib. The deck is offered to the player on the dealer’s left. In a two-player match, they are obviously the same person cutting both times. It should be noted that, at least in tournament play, the deck must be cut and it must leave at least four cards from either the top or bottom of the deck. http://www.cribbage.org for further information.

Starter CardThe player to the left of the dealer cuts the deck for the starter card that is exposed for later counting of the hands.

Starter CardThe “Starter Card”, aka the community cut card is cut by the player to the dealer’s left. Whether you play with two, three or four people, the cut before the hand is dealt is done by the player to the dealer’s right, and the starter card cut by the player on their left.

ruleIn a recent close game my opponent picked up my crib, counted it and put it back in the stack of cards. I can not find a rule that states he can’t touch my cards, where can I find the rule that applies.

Pone took the cribFrom http://www.cribbage.org

Rule 9.4. Mixing Hand With Other Cards

a. If a player mixes his or her hand with the crib or pack before it is counted and pegged and before the opponent confirms the count (see Rule 9.2), the player forfeits the count of the hand.

b. If the crib is involved and the dealer mixes the crib with the pack, the dealer forfeits the crib count.

c. If the pone mixes the crib with the pack, the pone is penalized two points and the dealer is permitted to retrieve the crib and peg its value. If there is disagreement on the cards, summon judges.

The judges shall assist in the reconstruction of the hands in an attempt to determine which cards were placed in the crib.

The cards that the players recall shall be retrieved. If a full crib cannot be recalled, a judge shall shuffle the remaining pack and from the top add the number of cards required to constitute a full crib.

How to score a “go” when playing 4 person cribbageHow do you score the “go” if you’re playing four person cribbage if you’re paying teams? If each player can’t play their cards does it just continue to go around and each person pegging 1 point until it lands with the player who originally played the last card to restart play? I hope I’m not confusing with my explanation. Thanks for the help.

The person who plays the lastThe person who plays the last card scores the ‘go’, so if you play a card bringing the total to 30, play continues with everyone saying go, if it gets back to you then you score 1 for the last card, if you were to bring the total to 29, player to your left cannot play, neither can your opposite, but the player to your right brings the total to 30, he will then call go, you will get no points unless you can bring the total now to 31, basically the player who puts down the last card, assuming he doesnt hit 31, will get 1 point for the ‘go’.

hope this clears things up.

when do you changewhen do you change dealers?

Smudge

Changing dealersYou will change dealers after the crib has been counted by the dealer and scored and the cards then turned over to the opponent. (pone)

runsCould you like possible score ten if you have the following cards?

A-2-3-4

I think you can but I am not totally sure on this. I think you can by:

A.

A-2-3

B.

2-3-4

C.

A-2-3-4

please help!

There is a waythe A-2-3-4 would only be four points. However, if any of those cards are cut, you would get t double run of 4 for 10. I will demonstrate, let’s say the cut card is a 2.

A-2 (hand)-3-4 = 4 pts.

A-2 (Cut)-3-4 = 4 pts.

2 (hand)-2 (cut) = 2 pts.

Total = 10 pts.

skunks in 3 player gamesIf you were playing for match points in a 3 player game, how do you handle skunks? Example: the final scores are 121, 110 and 85. Should skunks be removed from scoring? Should match play be avoided and just play single off games?

skunks in 3 player gamesIf you were playing for match points in a 3 player game, how do you handle skunks? Example: the final scores are 121, 110 and 85. Should skunks be removed from scoring? Should match play be avoided and just play single off games?

skunks in 3 player gamesIf you were playing for match points in a 3 player game, how do you handle skunks? Example: the final scores are 121, 110 and 85. Should skunks be removed from scoring? Should match play be avoided and just play single off games?

skunks in 3 player gamesIf you were playing for match points in a 3 player game, how do you handle skunks? Example: the final scores are 121, 110 and 85. Should skunks be removed from scoring? Should match play be avoided and just play single off games with 3 players?

Skunks in 3-person gameAssuming that the players are all playing to 121 (yes, there is a variation where only one player plays to 61 and the other two to 121 as partners), then the skunk line (90 points) would still be in effect. Assuming the scoring of your game, you would win one game against the player with 110 points and one and a half (or two) games against the player scoring 85 points.

8-2-2-2-1How would you score this hand? Is it only 8 or can I mix the combination of 2’s for a total point count of 12?

Only 8It is scored only 8 points. Since you have used all 5 cards at once to make only one 15, you cannot mix or rearrange them anymore. 15-2, and 3-of-a-kind for 6 equals 8.

2-2-2=68-2-2-2-1:15=2

Overal

2-2-2=6

8-2-2-2-1:15=2

Overall rule is 15’s are 2 points. no matter if the 2 is in the play pile.

ScoringOK, here goes. During a recent game, I ended up with a 6, both a 4 of clubs and spades, and an ace. The crib was a 5; although that’s not really the issue.

My belief in counting is that I could utilize the 6 and 4 of clubs to total 10 then add the 4 of spades and ace to total 15. And then tally the 6 and 4 of spades to total 10 then add the 4 of clubs and ace to total 15 for a point combination of 4. My opponent believesn that I can only count the noted four card combination once, notwithstanding in what numerical order I utilize either of the 4’s. Basically, is there one total 15 to count here or two? Please assist. Thanks.

Same cards = only onceAs stated in some earlier posts, you can only use the same EXACT cards once in any combination to score points. Ignoring the five that you discussed, if you are only using the 6, 4, 4, A to score your hand you would have a 15-2 and a pair for a total of four points. You cannot rearrange the cards to take additional points, because you are just using the same exact cards as your original scoring. Hope that helps and keep pegging!

Peggings with acesIve heard a couple different things about pegging with aces.

I’ve always known, ace =1 no matter what, but I have also heard that an ace can be counted as an 11. Some have said that it only counts while pegging, but some have said that it counts in your hand as well…

Example: while pegging if your opponent plays a 4, you can play an ace, treating it as an 11, and score a 15 and you would count from there.

Example: if you have a 4 and an ace in your hand, you can count those two as a 15.

while playing this way there has also been a dispute about switching back and fourth between counting the ace as 1 then 11.

Example:

Ur hand has an ace, 4, 10, 6 and an 8 on the draw. Whether you can count it like

1+4= 15 (with the ace being 11)

And 6+ace+8=15 (counting the ace as 1)

If the ace can be counted as an 11 in your hand, do you have to treat it as an 11 the entire time your counting? Or can u use it as both to add up to different combinations?

I hope my questions make sense and some one can help me out! If clarification is needed, let me know on what and I’ll try!

Thanks!

Never ElevenNicole, in cribbage, the Ace ALWAYS is counted as the lowest card and equals one. It is never eleven. The official rules can be viewed at http://www.cribbage.org

Keep Pegging!

skunk and double skunk linesIn a two person game, the winner has 121 the loser has either 59 or 89 pts. My father started teaching me when I started school and I have played every since lam 68yrs. This is very good math game for me helping my grandchildren. Thank you

Keep PeggingKeep pegging Gene! Most people learn the game from a family member and it is a great way to teach and stay connected. There are many clubs popping up all over the country and into Canada as well. Look into one for you and your family.

help to count up handwhat would the points be for a 10,10,10,9,8? we scored it as 24

Count it as 15The hand 10, 10, 10, 9, 8 is a 15 point hand. You have three runs of 3 points (8-9-10) and six points for the three tens for a total of 15 points.

10-10-10-9-8 = 15This is a

10-10-10-9-8 = 15

This is a tripple run = 9

3 tens = 6 = totoal = for hand = 15 points

Counting/ScoringWhen the dealer is counting his/her hand, can he just add the points he receives from his/her hand to the points he/she earns in the crib and just make one move? In other words, since the outcome, or number of points, are the same, are separate moves required for the dealer’s hand and the crib?

Counting the hand(s)Great question, the answer depends on whether you are just playing for fun or by the rules. By the rules, you count each hand separately and then move your pegs after each score. The reason for this is that your opponent needs to be able to review the scoring on each of the hands so that a claim for a miscount can be made if one has been committed. It also verifies that you have moved your pegs into the correct holes after each score. Combining hand scores would not allow that. Stick to scoring each hand individually and then peg them separately.

CombinationsHow many 15’s can you get from 3 7’s and an ace?

Since it takes two sevens andSince it takes two sevens and an ace to make fifteen, you can get three of them. Just like you get three pairs with 3 sevens.

you can get 3,7a, 7b, A

7a,

you can get 3,

7a, 7b, A

7a, 7c, A

7b, 7c, A

It works the same way as a prial.

A PrialBen, I believe a prial is a pairs royal (or 3 of a kind). That is different than scoring 3 sets of 15. You can have a prial and never have a 15 in your hand.

The hard setting is ridiculousIt is just stupid that the way Hoyle makes the game “hard” is that it gives the computer player great hands almost every time. I just played a game where the computer started with 17, 21, 16, 18 and then the tiny 12. It wasn’t even unusual that the computer would have such hands. It does make pegging a little easier because after the first card you start to know what they have already.

help settle points. please8 of hearts is the flip card. In the hand is 2 of hearts, 2 of spades, 3 of diamonds, and 6 of clubs. My friend says he has 6 points I say he has 4 points. Who is right?

cribbage points8h,2h,2s,3d,6c= 2+2+3=15-2points and 2+2-for a pair=2points….4 points total in that hand for after play count

Last card on 31If you play last card which makes 31, do you get 2 or 3 points?

land on 31 exactlyis 2 points.

Cribbage counting ruleWhen counting for the first phase of all four of the cards in your hand plus the turnup card equal less than 21 do you score points for that

Huh?Sandyy, I’m really not sure what you are asking here…but I suspect the answer is no. This is not like blackjack where in some games being under a score gets you points. Please clarify or give me an example.

Turns EndHi there!

Hope you can help end a dispute between my husband and I… the out come of tonight’s game depends on it! When counting one’s hand, when does the turn officially end? If a person has counted, moved their peg completely, and then see two more points that the other person had not called, can they then call those points even though they have finished moving their peg? Thanks for your help!

Turn EndsThe turn of any action for any player is when the player takes his finger off of the peg and/or card. Until that point, they can adjust their score. Once the finger comes off, they can no longer adjust their score, unless they have over-scored at which point, they need to move backwards to what their proper score should have been and the pone gets to take the amount of over-score. Under scores are not treated this way unless you are playing Muggins.

Turns EndWe called this “Muggins” where I grew up learning to play. Simply, if you miss points when counting, your opponent has the ability to call you out on those missed points and claim them as their own. Counting order of the hand, after playing the hand, is important in this regard (at least as we play it). The person first dealt to counts first. Muggins must be declared after they have declared their hand’s score and moved their peg, and cannot be claimed once the next hand is counted. For instance, in a two player game, if I’m the dealer, my opponent counts their hand first. Once they count their hand and move their peg, it’s up to me to catch any unclaimed points BEFORE I elect to count and peg my hand. They get a window to claim Muggins on my hand count after I’ve pegged, but must claim it before I count and peg my crib, and also get an opportunity to claim Muggins if I miscount/peg my crib. I’ve found that helping people learn to count is far more enjoyable than screwing them out of points by claiming Muggins, but that’s just my style… Hope this makes sense!

MugginsPaul, Your description is accurate for Muggins. What I was referring to was taking too many points. That is not Muggins (scoring un-scored points), but someone who either 1. incorrectly over-scores their hand, or 2. Scores the hand correctly vocally, but they moves the peg(s) too many holes. Both of these are violations that require the violator to move their peg back to the correct hole and then the other player moves how many the over-score was. If my hand is 10 points, but I move my pegs 12 points, I have to move back to the 10 point and my opponent takes 2 points. That is not Muggins. That is just the rules and it can be enforced or not depending on the skill level of the players.

Properly Playing the CardsWhen playing the cards (or pegging), do you stack your cards on top of each other so that you can not see the previous card played? Or do you place them so that you can see all of your previous plays?

Good QuestionYou have to expose your cards to your opponent. Both in pegging and in counting your hand. Hiding them is a violation of the rules.

Playing the cardsDuring pegging and exposing your cards while counting your hand, your cards and hand must be plainly seen by the opponent. What you have played during pegging may very well determine what you have remaining in your hand and a good opponent will use that information to plot their next move against you.

A 2 3 4 cut 5My wife had A, 2, 3, 4 off suit and the cut was a 5. I said she scored 5 points and she is saying she scored 9. What is the correct scoring of this?