How to Play Crib

Directions courtesy of Future Aids, The Braille Superstore.

Cribbage is usually a two player game, Recommended for ages 8 and up. However, the game can be played with 4 players as teams of 2 players each ... a very useful feature. The object of the game is to be the first to score 121 points by counting combinations of cards during Play, in Hands, and in the Crib.

Crib is a game where players must balance a number of different objectives, remain quick-witted enough to recognize combinations, and be able to add numbers swiftly. It's a game where experience counts for a great deal - though luck, of course, has a large part. Finally, it's a game where etiquette is important. The rituals associated with cutting and dealing, playing and pegging, as well as the terminology, all serve the useful purpose of keeping things in order, and help to give the game a flavor of its own.

Cribbage requires a standard 52 card deck, with cards ranking from the King high to the Ace low. The face cards have a value of 10, with the other cards tallied according to their number, down to the Ace which is one.

The Deal
In cutting for deal, the low card wins; and shuffles. After shuffling, the non-dealer cuts; the dealer unites the cards and deals one card at a time first to his opponent, then to himself alternately till each, has six cards. Each player studies his hand and then discards two of his six face down without his opponent seeing them. These four discarded cards are placed together, face-down, forming an extra hand known as the Crib.

There are therefore three hands of four cards each for each deal. They are the opponent's hand, the dealer's hand, and the Crib

The crib is counted by the dealer after each players hand has been played and counted.

Starting the Game
After discarding to the Crib the opponent cuts the pack and the dealer turns the top card of the lower packet face up on top of the whole pack. This card is called the Start. It is not used in the play. It is counted with each hand and the crib after play is completed. If the Start is a Jack, the dealer pegs two holes on the board at once. This must be done before the dealer plays his first card in order to be counted as "Two for his heels."

Playing the Hands
After cutting the Start, the non-dealer plays any card from his hand, face up on the table, in front of himself, calling out the value of the card he plays. The dealer then plays any card from his hand, face up on the table, in front of himself, calling out the sum of his opponent's card and the card he plays. The non-dealer then plays another card, calling out the sum of all cards that have been played and then the dealer plays in the same manner.

Playing alternates until the sum of the cards played is 31, or until neither player can play without exceeding 31. Either player unable to play a card making the sum less than 31 says "Go," and the other player must go on playing. He continues playing until he reaches 31, or until he cannot play a card making the sum less than 31. The player coming nearest 31 scores a go and may peg one hole on the board. If either player makes exactly 31 he pegs two holes on the board.

After a go, or after 31 has been reached, each player turns the cards he has played face down on the table in front of himself. The player who has the next turn begins the play again and the play continues in the same manner until all of the cards (8) have been played. The last card played scores one point, but if the last card makes 31 only two points are pegged and there is no last in this case.

Scoring during Play
If either player plays a card making the sum of the cards played exactly 15, he calls out "fifteen two," and pegs two holes on his side of the board.

Either player pegs two for 31, or one for Go or Last Card.

Two, three or four cards played in succession, forming pairs, triplets or fours, entitle the player of the card completing a pair, triplet, or four to score.

Peg two holes for a pair (for example 2 five's), six holes for three of a kind, and twelve holes for four of a kind (such as all four fives).

If either player plays a card completing a sequence of three or more, he calls out "Run of three," and may peg three holes on the board. If either player plays an additional card making it a run of four or more, he calls out in the same manner and pegs four holes on the board.

Sequences or runs need not be in numerical order. For example, 9-7-6-8 or 6-7-8-9 are runs of four. Ace is always low and is one in sequence with 2, but not in sequence with King. A-2-3 Yes. Q-K-A No.

If a break in sequence is filled up, without the intervention of a card not in order, the player completing the sequence pegs one for each card in the sequence. For example, if 2, 3, 5, 6 have been played, and a player plays a 4, he pegs twelve (Run of 3, Run of 4, Run of 5).

In playing the cards, each player tries to peg as many points as possible, by making the combinations indicated in the table of scoring combinations.

Scoring of Hands
After all of the cards have been played, the non-dealer places his hand face up on the table and counts his hand, together with the start, first making as many of the scoring combinations as possible and then pegging the number of holes for their total value, counting aloud.

Then the dealer does the same, first with his hand and the start and then with the Crib and the start. Note that the non-dealer may win by scoring game, 121, before the dealer can count his hand or Crib.

Fifteens in hands or Crib are counted by adding together all the different cards (including the start), the indices of which will make exactly fifteen, without using the same set of cards more than once. As usual, tens and face cards are valued at ten each.

Pairs, (two sevens for example) as well as sequences (such as 5-6-7) are scored as in playing the hands.

If a sequence contains a pair such as 7-8-9-9, there are two sequences of three using two different combinations 7-8-9 and 7-8-9. In this event, remember that you have a double run of three with a pair that counts 8 points (3 for each run and 2 for a pair).

Similarly, A double run of four (such as 4-5-6-7-7) has two runs of four, 4-5-6-7 and 4-5-6-7 with a pair and counts 10 points (4+4+2). Remember that the Start card will give you the fifth card needed for this to work.

A triple run of three (such as 2-2-2-3-4) has three runs of three with three pairs and counts 15 points (3+3+3+2+2+2).

Finally, a quadruple run of three, (such as 2-2-3-3-4) has four runs of three with two pairs and counts 16 points (3+3+3+3+2+2).

A Flush in hand has four cards of the same suit and pegs 4.

A hand or Crib containing four cards of the same suit as the Start pegs 5.

His Nob: Jack of the same suit as the start in hand, or in Crib, counts one.

After the first hand, the deal alternates and the opponent of the first hand now becomes the dealer and has the Crib. Play continues until one player first reaches 121 points and wins the game.

Playing Last Cards
All cards must be played. If one player has played four cards and the other player has two cards left (for example, 8 and 7) the latter must play them, calling "fifteen two" and "Last Card." He then pegs 3. If the last two cards are a pair (like 9 and 9), the player calls "eighteen for a pair," and last card and pegs 3.

The Go
Let's say two ten cards and a 4 are played, making 24. The dealer, having no card under 8, calls "Go." Now, if the non-dealer has a 7, he may play it, calling "31 two" and pegs 2. If the non-dealer has a 4, he may play it, making a pair and a go and pegging 3. If the non-dealer has 3 and 2, he plays them, making a run of three and a go and pegging 4. The dealer then plays his remaining cards. No player may call a Go, unless he has a card or cards that will not come in under 31.

The Board
The Cribbage Board is placed horizontally between the two players. Each player uses two pegs, moving one peg ahead of the other (like footsteps) as he counts his points. Thus, the forward peg shows the player's latest score, and the rear peg shows the previous score. When a player scores, the rear peg is moved in front of the forward peg by the same number of holes as the score to show the new total. This enables scores to be easily checked, and acts as a visible statement of the progress of the game. Each hole counts for one point.

Both players start at the same end of the board (usually to the left of the Dealer). They move their pegs up the outside row of 30 holes, then down the inside row of 30 holes. The first player to do this twice, plus at least one extra point (121 or more) WINS THE GAME.

Four-Player Game
The game is played in two partnerships. Partners sit opposite one another. Each player is dealt 5 cards and discards one to the Crib. The player to the left of the dealer cuts the deck for the starter and plays first. When one player calls Go the others must play in turn. The dealer partnership counts their hands last, and they also count the Crib.

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