Cribbage was invented by Sir John Suckling, a British poet, around the year 1635. It was derived from an older card game called *Noddy*, about which little is known. It has survived, with no major changes, as one of the most popular games in the English-speaking world.

It is generally played by two people, although it can be played by three or four, or by a pair of two-person teams.

The game has several unusual features: one is the *crib* (or *box*), from which the game takes its name. This is a separate, four-card hand made up of discards from each player, which counts for the dealer. Another is that each hand has two distinct scoring stages, the play and the show, see below.

Visually, cribbage is known for its scoring board - a series of holes on which score is tallied with pegs. Scores can be kept on a piece of paper, but a cribbage board is almost always used, since scoring occurs throughout the game, not just at the conclusion of hands as in most other card games.

There are two main designs of cribbage board:

- the older has four rows of thirty holes and a
*pegging-out*hole in the middle at each end (allowing the board to be used both ways round). It not suitable for three- or four- player games, - the newer has three or four rows of 120 holes with a
*pegging-out*hole at the end and is often brightly coloured. It is only suitable for games played to 121.

**Variations:**

- Six-card cribbage is the most common game, and is the version played exclusively in organized tournaments. Here each player is dealt six cards, leaving them with four once two are placed in the crib. Play is to 121.
- For three players, five cards are dealt each and one to the crib. Each player places one card in the crib. Then play is as six card.
- Five-card cribbage (for two players) is the oldest version, and is sometimes known as "old game". Each player is dealt five cards, so the crib consists of four cards but each hand only three. Whoever is non-dealer first is given a three-point start and play is to 61. The pegging is also slightly different from six card.
- For four players, five cards are dealt each and each player places one in the crib. Play is as six card. In partner crib, players opposite each other form a partnership (as in bridge) and the scores are combined.
- Seven-card cribbage is rare. Seven cards are dealt each and one to the crib, so the hands have five cards. The points can be very complicated to calculate. Play is to 151 (two and a half times round a traditional board).
- Low-ball is a variant of six-card, in which the first person to score 121 points loses.

Table of contents |

2 Tactics 3 Statistics 4 External Link |

The cards should be played face up in front of the player. Players peg points as follows:

- 2 points for bringing the total to 15,
- 2 points if the card is of the same value as the previous card (i.e. completing a pair),
- 6 points for playing a third card of the same value,
- 12 points for playing a fourth card of the same value,
- Three points for completing a run of three cards, four for completing a run of four cards, etc. This is regardless of the order of play, so if the cards played are 4,2,6,5,3, then the player who plays the 3 will score five.
- 1 point for playing the last card before 31 (i.e. none of the other players can go),
- 1 point for bringing the total to 31 (2 in total, including a point for last card).
- 1 point for playing the last card of the hand.

- Player 1 plays a 10, saying "Ten",

- Player 2 plays a 5, saying "Fifteen for two" and pegging two points,
- Player 1 plays a 5, saying "Twenty for two" and pegging two points,
- Player 2 plays a 5, saying "Twenty-five for six" and pegging six points,
- Player 1 plays a 6, saying "Thirty-one for two" and pegging two points.

- Player 1 plays a 9, saying "Nine",

- Player 2 plays a 7, saying, "Sixteen",

- Player 1 plays a 8, saying, "Twenty-four for three" and pegging three points (run of 7,8,9),

- Player 2 plays a 5, saying, "Twenty-nine",
- Player 1 having no cards which would keep the total at 31 or less, says "Go",

- Player 2 plays an Ace, saying "Thirty" and pegging one point (for the "go"),

- Player 1 plays a 9, saying "Nine" (the count has been reset after the "go"),

- Player 2 plays a 3, saying "Twelve",

- Player 1 plays a 4, saying "Sixteen and one for last" and pegs one point (for the last card of the hand)

- Non-dealer's hand
- Dealer's hand
- Dealer's crib

Points are scored for:

- 2 points for having a group of cards that total 15 (again, face cards count 10, aces 1),
- 2 points for having a pair (notice that three of a kind forms three pairs, hence scores 6 points, and four of a kind scores 12),
- 3 points for a run of three, 4 for a run of four, etc.
- The number of cards in the hand (3 in five card, 4 in six card, 5 in seven card) points for a flush (that is cards of the same suit) not including the turn-up card, one more if the turn-up card is included,
- 1 point "for his nob" for having a Jack of the same suit as the turn-up card.

- "Fifteen six" - for three ways to form 15, that is 7 and 8, and Ace, 6 and 8 twice,

- "and two" - for a pair of sixes,
- "and six" - for two runs of three (6, 7, 8),
- "and four" - for the flush,
- "makes eighteen" - the total.

- "fifteen sixteen" - for J-5 four times and 5-5-5 four times,

- "and twelve" - for four 5s,

- "and one for his nob makes twenty-nine."

In the seven-card game it is a whopping 46, scored by 4,4,5,5,6,6 (including turn-up), that is fifteen 16, 24 in runs and 6 in pairs.

Not every score below these can actually be made and the lowest of those that can't is 19 (except in seven-card). Because of this, a player with a hand scoring 0 will often declare "nineteen". Other common calls are "Fifteen two and the rest won't do", and "Fifteen four and the rest don't score".

- Fives - Since 4 out of every thirteen cards are worth 10, there's a good chance that a 5 in the crib will help make 15s, and even in hand
- Sevens and eights - Not only total 15, but have a chance of meeting a 6 or 9 and completing a run,
- Threes, sixes and nines - Likely to combine to 15 (69, 366, 339, etc.),
- In "old game" (2 players, 5 cards) the crib (which has more cards) is the most plentiful source of points, and the split of the hand should reflect this. Players must be prepared to sabotage their own hand, to avoid giving their opponent a high-scoring crib.

- Don't play a five, chances are your oponent has a ten or face card,
- Other than the above, if you have two cards totalling fifteen, play one, that way if your opponent takes the score to fifteen for two, you can complete the pair to get two yourself,

- Play a card from a pair, if your opponent completes the pair for two, you can smugly complete a triple for six (make sure there will be room for your play).
- Try to keep small cards, making it more likely that you the last card for a point or even 31 for two. When pegging first, however, leading a card lower than five prevents the next player from immediately scoring a fifteen.

- There are 12,994,800 scoring hands in Cribbage. (52c5 x 5, 5 cards then any of those 5 as the turn up card)
- Approximately 8.5% of randomly drawn hands will score 0 (not including pegging).
- The highest score is 29 (5555J with the turn-up 5 of the same suit as the Jack).
- The second highest score is 28 (above without the Jack) and the third highest is 24 (A7777, 33339, 36666, 44447, 44556, 44566, 67788, 77889)