How to Play Cribbage: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners


Cribbage is a game traditionally played by two players, although it can be played with three or four. The game uses a board with holes, and players use pegs to track their score. It is a game of strategy and requires players to continuously count and keep track of their cards. The objective of the game is to be the first player to reach 121 points.

The game has been around for hundreds of years and has roots in England. It was originally played by sailors, who used the game to pass the time during long voyages at sea. Today, cribbage is played all over the world and has become a beloved pastime for many.

The cribbage board is a simple board that has 120 holes, with two additional holes for each player to keep track of their game wins. The board also includes a line separating two rows of holes and a pegging out hole at the end of each row. A standard deck of cards is used in the game.

The objective of the game is to be the first player to reach 121 points. Each round consists of both players taking turns playing their cards and scoring points. After the card play, players move their pegs along the board to keep track of their scores.

Set up for Play

To set up the game, the cards are shuffled and dealt, with each player receiving six cards. After the cards are dealt, players then each select two cards to be placed in the “crib”. The crib is a separate scoring hand that will be tallied at the end of the round and is not used during the gameplay. The remaining four cards will be used in the card play. The dealer then cuts the deck, and the player who draws the card closest to an Ace goes first.

The crib is designed to give players an opportunity to score additional points. You’ll want to select two cards that can be used together to form a set (pairs, runs, etc.).

Card Play

The card play consists of each player playing one card per turn until all the cards have been played. Players can score points by playing certain combinations of cards. The player who plays the last card in a round also gets to play any additional card that can also be used to score points.

The main types of plays that score points are pairs, runs, and fifteens. Pairs are two cards of the same rank played in succession, runs are three or more cards played in order, and fifteens are any combination of cards that add up to 15.

Players should keep track of which cards have been played and what combinations are still available. Using strategy to play your cards can help you win the game. Remember, not every card needs to be played immediately, and you can hold onto some cards to form better combinations later on.


Pegging is the process of moving the pegs on the board to keep track of the score. Players score points both during the card play and after all the cards have been played. Players can score points by playing certain combinations of cards, such as pairs, runs, and fifteens.

Players must keep track of the running total of each player’s score throughout the round. The pegging process allows players to track their score while also providing opportunities to gain points by playing strategic combinations of cards. The player who reaches the end of the board first wins the round.


Scoring consists of tallying points based on the cards played in the round. Points are awarded for pairs, runs, fifteens, and for having a Jack in the same suit as the cut card. Points are also awarded based on the score in the crib.

It’s important to keep track of the hand count, which is the total number of points in a player’s cards. If a player’s cards have a total count of 31, they get two points. Players should also keep track of the points available in their crib and try to play their cards in a way that will provide the most points.


There are many different variations of cribbage that players can enjoy. Three-hand cribbage, partners cribbage, lowball cribbage, and muggins cribbage are just a few of the variations available. Each variation has its own specific rules and scoring systems. It can be fun to explore and try out different cribbage variations to see which one you prefer.

Tips and Tricks

One helpful tip for playing cribbage is to pay attention to your opponent’s play. By keeping track of what cards they’re playing and what combinations they’re making, you can anticipate their moves and plan accordingly. Another tip is to practice mental calculations to help keep track of the score and card combinations.

Finally, remember that playing cribbage should be fun! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to win every game. Enjoy the game for what it is and have fun.


Cribbage is a classic game that has been enjoyed by players for centuries. It’s a game of skill and strategy that requires players to continuously count and keep track of their cards. In this article, we have provided a comprehensive guide on how to play cribbage. We’ve covered the basic rules, the set-up for play, card play, pegging, scoring, variations, and tips and tricks on how to win at the game. With a little practice, you’ll be able to master the game of cribbage and impress your friends and loved ones with your skills.

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