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