Cribbage Instructions

Use our cribbage board (including pegs), and a standard deck of 52 cards. The jokers will not be used. Each player will need two pegs for scoring. The first to accumulate 121 points wins. (This often occurs in the middle of a deal; the game ends immediately.)

Step 1:
Deal the hand. To determine who deals first, any player picks up the deck and shuffles it 2 or 3 times. The deck is placed face down on the table; each player pulls out one card. The person with the lowest card is the dealer. The dealer deals 6 cards to each player.

Step 2:
The crib. Each player looks at their 6 cards and decides which 4 to keep in his hand and which 2 to discard into a pile near the dealer called "the crib."

Step 3:
The up-card. The player who did not deal cuts the deck to determine the top card. Both players will use this card, called the "cut", as a wild fifth card to count points at the end of the round. If this "up-card" is a Jack, the dealer gets to peg 2 points immediately. This score is called "his heels."

Step 4:
Pegging. Players alternate laying cards down, starting with the non-dealer. As they play each card, they call out the value of the total. Face cards are worth 10 points, all others are worth their numeric value. Aces are always only worth 1 point. Suits do not matter in this round, only numeric values.

Step 5:
This continues until a player cannot lay down another card without exceeding 31. At this point, he says "go." If the other player can still lay down another card without exceeding 31, he must do so for as many times as necessary. Once he lays down as many cards as he can without going over 31, he says "go" and earns 1 point. However, if the total he ends up with is exactly 31, earns 2 points.

Step 6:
Other points to be pegged:
  • If either player reaches 15 points exactly, this earns him 2 points.
  • Points are also earned and pegged for pairs. For example, Player 1 lays down a 6 and Player 2 immediately follows with another 6, which would earn him 2 points. If Player 1 then lays down a third 6, he earns 6 points. The fourth sixth would be worth 12 points. (Note: if Player 2 is not able to lay down any other card without exceeding 31, and Player 1 has the fourth 6, he can lay it down and earn the 12 points.)
  • After "31" (or as close as possible in the hand), the person laying down the last card takes a point for having the final card. If the last card makes exactly 31, player gets 1 additional point.

Step 7:
Counting up the cards. Once all cards have been played it is time to count them up. The person to count first is the non-dealer, then the dealer, then the crib. Your hand consists of the four cards you played, plus the cut card.
  • You score one point if you hold the Jack of the suit that was cut.
  • Pairs, triples and quadruples count, 2, 6 and 12 points, respectively
  • Sequences (i.e. 6-7-8) do not have to be the same suit, and count 1 point per card.
  • Any combination of cards that add up to 15 count are worth 2 points (even if it took all five cards to do it). A flush (all four cards are the same suit) is worth 4 points.
  • The cut cannot give you a flush. It gives a fifth point if it extends a 4 card flush to a 5 card flush, but 3 spades and a heart don't score flush points if you cut a spade. (When counting the crib, only 5 card flushes score.)
  • If all four cards in the crib are the same suit, no points can be taken unless the fifth card is also that same suit. Then 5 points are pegged.