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How To Play Cribbage

Learn to master this counting card game.


  • TIP: Keep your low cards in your hand as long as possible to score Go points.
  • Step 1: Score with the pegs after all the cards have been played, beginning with the pone, then the dealer and the crib. Points are scored for combinations of cards totaling fifteen, pairs, runs, flushes, and having a Jack of the same suit as the starter card. The front peg shows the score accumulated by a player during the game and the rear shows the latest incremental score.
  • Step 2: Alternate the deal and play until one player “pegs out” or exceeds the last peg in the board with 121 points.
  • FACT: Did you know? Cribbage is the only card game that can be legally played in British pubs for money.
  • Step 3: Alternate playing the cards one at a time, starting with the pone. Announce the total value of the cards played by all players after each card, not exceeding 31. If the total will exceed 31, say, “Go” and the opponent continues until they reach or will exceed 31 total.
  • Step 4: Allow the pone to cut the deck to pick a starter card. The starter card is added as a fifth card to each hand and the crib during counting and is not used during play. If a Jack is the starter card, the dealer gets two points.
  • Step 5: Shuffle the cards after the non-dealer, or “pone,” cuts them, and alternately deal six cards to each player. Use the cribbage board to keep score with the pegs starting at the top of the board.
  • Step 6: Discard two cards to form the “crib,” which belongs to the dealer. The other player also discards two cards to the crib.
  • TIP: Throw good cards, like fives and tens, into the crib if you’re the dealer.
  • Step 7: Cut the deck to see who’ll deal the first game. Low card deals. Cards are worth face value, face cards are worth ten, and aces are one. In subsequent games, the loser deals.

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