Print Recipe


Sir John Suckling developed cribbage from the older game of Noddy in the 17th century.

The game is played by two people.

The Pip Value corresponds to the numerals on the cards. Face cards count for 10. Aces count for 1.

It takes several deals to complete a game in which one player makes a total of 121 points or 61, whichever you decide to play, and the deal alternates between the two players.

When playing for 121, if the winner reaches home before his opponent has 91, it is a "skunk" and scores two games won. If the winner reaches 121 before his opponent has 61, it is a "double skunk" and scores four games won.

What You Need:

A standard cribbage board with pegs

Two players

A regular deck of 52 cards

Showing and Making Points

The cribbage board is used to keep track of the score. Each player has a colored set of pegs that are moved up and back on his row of holes or around the track if the board is a continuous track type. The peg that is farthest advanced for each player indicates his total current score. The other peg shows the total after the previous play and the difference between the two is the number of points gained in the play just completed.

Points are made in two ways - by the play of a hand and in the count or "meld" of the hand. Players deal and play out their cards as shown below and then pick up their hands again to make additional points through the combinations contained in the hand.

Playing the Game:

1. Each player cuts the deck for low card to choose the dealer who deals six cards to each player one at a time.

2. Each player puts 2 cards face down on the table. These 4 cards make up the crib and are put aside until after the hands are played.

3. The "pone" or dealer's opponent cuts the deck and the dealer takes the top card off the bottom section to obtain the "starter" which, like the crib, is set aside and has no significance during the play. If it happens to be a Jack, the dealer takes 2 points for "Nobs" by putting his leading peg in the second hole.

4. The pone starts the play by putting the card of his choice face upon the table next to his side of the cribbage board and calling out its pip value.

5. The dealer then plays a card, choosing one if he can that will make points when added to the first card played, adding up to 15 or matching the first card for a pair by placing it face up beside his side of the board.

6. The third card played by the pone might make a run of three if all three cards (regardless of suit) that have been played in sequence have pipe values that are played or can be arranged in numerical order, like 2-3-4, 4-3-2, 6-7-8, 8-7-6, etc.

7. Play continues until the total pip values played add up to 31 or until one player cannot play without going over 31. In that event, the other player takes a point for "Go" and must play for as long as he can add pip values that do not exceed 31.

8. After each 31, all cards played are turned over and any part of a "run" cannot be carried over for counting into the next 31 series. Any time a card played hits 31 "on the nose," the player can take 2 points; otherwise, each "last card" before the other player has to stop counts one.

9. If either player sees scoring plays that are missed by the other, he can obtain the points himself by calling "muggins" providing he does so immediately and shows how the score is obtained.

10. While some hands will play out without reaching 31, the hand will usually contain more than one 31 series and continues until all cards are played. Each time one player cannot play without going over 31, he tells the other player to "Go."


Fifteen 2 points

Pair 2 points

Triplets 6 points

Fours 12 points

Runs of 3 or more 1 point for each card

Nobs in hand (Jack of same suit as starter card) 1 point

Last Card 1 point

31 with last card 2 points

Counting the Hand:

After the last card is played, the hands are counted using the starter card as if it were a fifth card in each hand. The pone counts his hand first, taking points for any and all combinations that he finds, as listed, except "last card" and 31. In addition, he may take 4 points for a 4-card flush (4 cards in the hand all in the same suit) and 5 points for a 5-card flush, pegging off his count, as, for example "15-two-four-six and eight, two pairs for 12 and four runs of three for 24. The Jack of the same suit as the starter card is called Nobs and counts one point.

The dealer then does the same for his hand and then for his "second hand" or crib. To count a flush in the crib, all 4 cards must match the suit of the starter card. In counting hands, the same cards can be used over and over so long as either a new card is added or the same cards form different combinations. The example above is for a hand which, with the starter card, contains a pair of fours, a five and a pair of sixes. The best possible count is 29.

Playing with More than Two Players:

You can also play with from 3 to 6 players. The only differences have to do with sides, dealing and discarding to the crib.

With 4 or 6 players, you play two sides with one partner pegging for each side.

With four, players opposite each other are partners, and five cards are dealt to each player.

With six, alternate players are partners, and five cards are dealt to the first four players and each discards one.

With three or five players, as with 2, it's every man for himself and you may need more than one board for each man to peg his own line of scoring. With three, each player is dealt five cards and one is dealt to the crib, each player adding one discard. With five, each is dealt five cards except the dealer who gets four, the others each discarding one to the crib.

Examples of Counting:

"N" stands for His Nobs or Jack of trump and the asterisk (*) indicates that the entire hand and starter are of one suit (5-card flush).

The first example counts out as follows: "Fifteen-two, fifteen-four, fifteen-six (the 10 and 1 combining with each of the three fours for two points each) and triplets are 12."

Hand Score:

1 4 4 4 10 = 12

1 1 6 7 7 = 12

2 6 6 7 7 = 12

1 1 6 7 8 = 13

1 4 4 N 4 = 13

3 3 6 6 9 = 14

4 4 7 7 7 = 14

4 5 6 Q K* = 14

3 3 9 9 9 = 14

1 2 3 3 3 = 15

1 1 2 2 3 = 16

2 3 4 4 4 = 17

2 3 3 3 4 = 17

5 5 J Q K = 17

3 3 3 6 6 = 18

5 5 10 N Q = 18

3 3 4 4 5 = 20

6 6 9 9 9 = 20

3 3 6 6 6 = 20

4 4 4 7 7 = 20

3 3 4 5 5 = 20

6 6 7 7 8 = 20

7 8 8 9 9 = 20

4 5 6 6 6 = 21

5 5 N J J = 21

3 3 3 4 5 = 21

7 7 7 8 9 = 21

5 5 5 10 10 = 22

5 5 5 N J = 23

4 5 5 6 6 = 24

5 5 5 5 10 = 28

5 N 5 5 5 = 29