The Art Of Cribbage: Rules And Strategies For A Classic Card Game

Cribbage is a timeless card game that has entertained players for centuries with its unique blend of skill, strategy, and a touch of luck. Originating in the 17th century, cribbage has stood the test of time and remains a beloved pastime for players of all ages. In this article, we’ll explore the rules of cribbage and provide insights into how to play this captivating game.

Objective of Cribbage:

The objective of cribbage is to be the first player to score a certain number of points (usually 121 or 61) by forming specific card combinations during each round.


Cribbage is typically played with a standard 52-card deck. The game can be played by two, three, or four players, but the most common version is a two-player game. In a two-player game, each player is dealt six cards. During a three or four-player game, five cards are dealt to each player.

How to Play Cribbage:

1. The Deal:

The dealer shuffles the deck and deals six cards to each player. Each player then chooses two cards from their hand and places them face-down in front of them. These four cards, along with the starter card (explained later), form the “crib.”

2. The Starter Card:

After the players have discarded two cards each to the crib, the dealer flips over the top card of the remaining deck. This card is called the “starter” or “cut” card. The starter card will be used by each player during the scoring phase.

3. The Play:

Starting with the non-dealer, players take turns playing one card at a time from their hand. Each player announces the cumulative value of the cards played as they go along. Players must aim to form specific card combinations to score points.

4. Scoring Combinations:

During the play, players score points for certain card combinations:

– Fifteens: Players earn two points for each combination of cards that add up to 15. For example, a 7 and an 8 would be worth two points.

– Pairs: Players score two points for a pair of cards of the same rank.

– Runs: A sequence of three or more consecutive cards earns points. Each card in the run scores one point. For example, a sequence of 3, 4, and 5 would be worth three points.

– Card combinations that equal 31: If the cumulative value of the cards played reaches exactly 31, the player earns two points.

5. Go:

When a player can no longer play a card without exceeding 31, they say “Go,” and the opponent gets to play any remaining cards they have. If the opponent manages to reach exactly 31 or play all their remaining cards, they score one point for the “Go.”

6. The Crib:

After the play, players score the crib. The dealer scores the crib in the same way as during the play phase, but they do not receive any points for “Go.”

7. Pegging:

Players use a cribbage board to keep track of their points. Each player places their peg on the board starting at zero. Points earned during the play and crib phases are moved forward on the board, and the first player to reach the agreed-upon target score (usually 121 or 61) wins the game.

Strategies and Tips:

– Keeping low cards for potential runs and fifteens can be beneficial.

– Consider the cards discarded to the crib and try to prevent your opponent from forming strong combinations.

– Pay attention to what cards have been played to calculate the odds of certain combinations remaining in the deck.


Cribbage is a classic card game that requires a blend of skill, strategy, and card-counting ability. The game’s unique scoring system and the challenge of forming specific combinations make it a favorite among card players worldwide. So, gather your cards and cribbage board, and immerse yourself in the art of cribbage for hours of enjoyable gameplay and friendly competition. Happy pegging!