Cribbage Instructions

Player Count: 2-4 players

Age Range: Ages 6 and up

How to Win!

  • Be the first player to reach 121 points by scoring the cards in your hand and “the crib” during play.

Game Set-Up:

  • Two or Three Player Game:
    • Each player picks a color and places 2 pegs in their section of the track at the starting end.
    • For two players, deal each player 6 cards. Then each player chooses 2 cards to put in “the crib”.
    • For three players, deal each player 5 cards. Then each player chooses 1 card to put in “the crib”.
  • Four-Player Game:
    • Each player picks a color, but players sitting opposite each other are partners and play on the same track. Deal each player 5 cards. Then each player chooses 1 card to put in “the crib”.

The Crib:

  • All cards put into the crib must be passed face down to a place near the dealer. The crib belongs to the dealer but remains face down until the entire hand has been played. The remaining deck of cards is placed facedown near the board.

Starting Card:

  • The player to the left of the dealer cuts the deck. (The player lifts part of the deck, revealing a card in the middle.) The dealer turns the top card of the portion of the deck still on the table. Then the cards being held are replaced on top of the deck. Finally, the now face-up card is set on top of the full deck, this is the starting card. It will not be used during play of the hand.
  • If a Jack is turned up during this process, the dealer immediately scores two points. This is called “His Knobs”. However, this must be done before the dealer plays their first card, or the points are forfeited.

How To Play:

  • The player to the left of the dealer begins by playing a card and announcing its point value.
  • Each subsequent player going clockwise, adds the point value of their card to the previous point value total stated. Face cards are worth 10 points, Aces are worth 1 point, and all other cards are worth their face value.
  • This total should never go above 31 points. If a player cannot play a card without going over 31 points, they must state “Go” instead of playing a card.
  • The next player follows, either playing a card or stating “Go”. This continues until 31 is reached.
  • Once 31 is reached (or cannot be reached without going past by all players), the count is reset to zero, and cards are played until all players are out of cards.

Scoring During Play:

  • Score is kept by having the pegs jump over one another as the score increases. Every peg movement is done by grabbing the peg falling behind and bringing it ahead of the leading peg the number of holes equal to the points scored.
  • Scoring is as follows:
    • If the cards reach fifteen, that player scores 2 points.
    • Any player who completes (plays the last card of) a pair scores 2 points.
    • Any player who completes a three-of-a-kind scores 6 points.
    • Any player who completes a four-of-a-kind scores 12 points.
    • Any player who completes a run scores one point for each card in the run.
      • A run is a sequence of three or more cards in a row, it does not have to be in numerical sequence. Ace is always low. (Ex. 7,8,9 or 8,7,9)
    • If a player reaches exactly 31 points when playing their card, they get 2 points.
    • If they are the last card before a reset to zero, or the last card played at all, they get 1 point.

Scoring of Hands:

  • Now, each player, starting with the player left of the dealer, scores their hand, including the starting card on the deck. The dealer scores their hand last, starting with their hand, then scoring the crib.
  • The goal is to make as many combinations as possible:
    • Combinations of cards that add up to 15. 2 points is scored for each combo.
      • Examples, 9+6, 7+8, face card+5
    • Pairs – same as during scoring
    • Runs – same as during scoring. Exception: When the run includes pairs. Then the total is double, triple, or quadruple times the total number of cards in the run + scoring for the pairs.
      • Examples:
        • 4,5,6,7,7 = (2x4) + 2=10
          • Two runs of four and one pair
        • 3,3,3,4,5 = (3x3) + (2x3) = 15
          • Three runs of three and three pairs
        • 5,5,6,6,7 = (4x3) + (2x2) = 16
          • Four runs of three and two pairs
    • Four cards of the same suit (a flush) score 4 points.
    • Five cards of the same suit score 5 points.
    • A Jack of the same suit as the starting card scores one point.

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