top of page

How to Play Cribbage

Cribbage is a game for two or more people, though the following rules are for the most commonly played version, which is a two person match. It uses a single deck of 52 cards, a board, and pegs to track scoring. Cards are ranked Ace through K, Ace being the lowest.

Each card is attributed with a point value as follows:

                     A=1    2=2    3=3    4=4    5=5    6=6    7=7    8=8    9=9    10=10    Jack=10    Queen=10    King=10

When either players score points, they move their peg that many holes in their track. Players use the back peg to jump the front peg as they score. This is called "pegging". The first player to reach the final hole wins.


Each player picks a lane and peg color then places their pegs in the first two holes at the start. Remove the jokers from the deck and shuffle the cards.

Both players draw a card from the deck. The player who draws the lowest card deals first.

In a tie, draw again. The role of the dealer will alternate after every hand.

The dealer deals six cards to each player. 

Players choose four cards to keep and two cards to place face down into the crib, which belongs to the dealer.

The non-dealer cuts the deck and the dealer flips one card face up - this is called the cut card.

If this card is a Jack of any suit, the dealer says "Nobs" and pegs two points.

At this point, each player should have four cards in their hands, four cards face-down in the dealers crib, a shuffled deck with a cut-card face up, and a board ready for pegging. 

The Play

The Deal

The Setup

Next, the non-dealer lays a card from their hand face up in front of them and says its point value out loud.

Then the dealer plays a card face up and says the sum of the cards out loud. This goes back and forth until 31 is reached, or as close as the players can get with the cards they have. 

If a player cannot play without going over 31, they say "Go" and the opponent plays again as many cards as possible. If they cannot, the player closest to 31 pegs one point.

If a player can play a card that makes a sum of 15 or 31, they peg two points. Players can also score points by playing pairs or runs. Runs can be out of order, like 9-J-10, but go strictly by rank (not 9-10-Q) and score one point per card. Runs can also be more than three cards, like 10-8-9-7. Two pair is two points, three pair is six points, and four pair is twelve points.

If either player still has cards after 31, or as close as possible, they start from zero again and the player who didn't play the last card begins.

The play is over when both players have no cards left in their hand. The player who plays the last card pegs one point.

The Count

The non-dealer counts the total points in their hand first. The count includes the four cards and the cut card, for a total of five usable cards. The ways to score are as follows:

  • 2 Pair = Two Points

  • 3 Pair = Six Points

  • 4 Pair = Twelve Points

  • Run  = One point per card

  • Flush = One point per card
    (Four or more of the same suit)

  • Fifteen = Two Points
    (Any cards that equal 15 in total)

  • Nobs = One point
    (Jack the same suit as cut card)

After the non-dealer counts their points, they peg for that amount. Then the dealer does the same.

The Crib

All cards except for the cut card are discarded, and the dealer reveals the four cards in the crib. The dealer then proceeds to count the points in the crib the same as they did during the count.

The only exception to counting during the crib are flushes, which MUST include the cut card to score. After counting, the dealer takes their points.

And that's the end of the hand! Alternate dealers and continue until someone wins!

bottom of page