The Most Important Cribbage Rules You Should Know

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Are you looking for a simple card game that you can learn in a matter of minutes? If so, you should consider playing Cribbage. Although you can easily learn the basic rules for playing Cribbage, it can seem like a confusing game.


Once you develop an understanding of cradle, it won’t be long before you enjoy it as if you were a professional! But you may have to go through the rules a couple of times before you get to that stage.

For this reason, we have listed the most important things to know when playing this game.

Preparation of the Cribbage card game

Before you start playing Cribbage with 2 or more players, you need to make some preparations. An important element is the standard deck of playing cards, but avoid using jokers as Cribbage only needs 52 cards.

In addition to this, you will also need a Cribbage board to keep track of the scores during the game. Lastly, you need to find a player to join the game.

The main goal of the players in this game is to achieve a specific number of points. When a player scores 121 points, he is declared the immediate winner. Players can also play shorter Cribbage games by setting the winning score to 61 points.

Deal cards

The game begins with a player cutting the deck of cards. Whoever cuts the lowest card is the first to deal. After selecting a dealer, each player is dealt six cards face down.

Players must take two cards from their hands and place them face down on the table. The distributor also repeats this process. The four cards face down on the table are called the crib, which belongs to the dealer. However, the cards are not used or exposed until after they are played.

Card Values ​​and Cribbage Scoring

Cards have values ​​similar to their numerical value. All face cards have a value of 10, but the Ace is considered one.

It means that if you have a Queen and four, that becomes a total of 14. If you have another face card, the sum will be 24. You should always remember the value of the card to avoid losing the game.

In this Cribbage for Dummies game guide we decided to list all the scoring terms and the relevant number of pegs to place on the board:

  • Two cards that add up to 15: 2 pegs (dots)
  • Any pair (such as 55 or QQ): 2 pins
  • Triplets or Trips (ie KKK or 999): 6-pin
  • Cuatros, also known as double pairs: 12 pegs
  • Races or sequences (cards ordered by ranks regardless of suits, that is, 7, 8, 9 or 4, 5, 6, 7). The number of pegs is determined by the number of cards in a sequence, i.e. 3, 4 or 5
  • Flushes: four cards of the same suit are 4 pegs and five cards are 5 pegs
  • Nobs: having a jack of the same suit as the starting card: 1 peg
  • Playing the last card: 1 peg

Cribbage Card Game Tips and Strategy

Here are some tricks to play Cribbage that you should know:

  • When you play Cribbage, you need to practice the game daily to develop the ability to add cards and call them correctly.
  • You can combine fives with tens to make 15. \It is important to avoid discarding fives during the game as you could easily give your opponent points.
  • Properly analyze your cards, and then put two of them in the crib. Your decision may even change depending on whether or not you are a dealer. This is because, as the game progresses, dealers can use cribs, but non-dealers cannot. As a non-distributor, you must
    • Avoid discarding the 5
    • Avoid discarding consecutive cards to decrease the opponent’s chance to make runs
    • Avoid discarding any pair

Non-dealers primarily want to prevent the dealer from making pins. But as a dealer, you need to set things up so you can use the cradle later. Deciding which cards to keep and which to discard in the crib is not easy, but you can do it easily by following the tips:

  • If you have a hand that contains connected cards and an unrelated pair (such as 4 5 6 7 QQ), you should always chip the pair.
  • If you can afford it, throw at least a 5 to the crib for some 15-point pegs.
  • Throwing a pair of 5s in the cradle has great potential to result in a good amount of extra pins.
  • Consecutive cards like 6, 7 or 7, 8 are good candidates for the cradle as almost 30% of the deck will help you improve in some way (creating sets or pairs).


You can learn the Cribbage rules, but it will all make sense once you start playing. The simple rules for playing Cribbage may seem complicated at first, but when you play a few games, you’ll know it’s easy.

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