How to Play Cribbage for Beginners: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you a beginner looking to learn the exciting card game of cribbage? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the rules and strategies of cribbage, helping you become a confident player in no time.

The Basics: Understanding the Game

Cribbage at a Glance

Cribbage is a two-player card game that uses a standard 52-card deck. The objective is to score points by forming various combinations using these cards before your opponent does. The game combines elements of luck and skill, making it both challenging and enjoyable.

Setting Up the Game

To begin playing cribbage, shuffle the deck thoroughly and deal six cards to each player. Each player then selects two cards from their hand (without revealing them) and places them face-down in the “crib.” The remaining four cards are used for gameplay.

The Gameplay: Step-by-Step Instructions

Pegging Phase – Counting Cards while Pegging Points

1. Determine who plays first by flipping a coin or any other method agreed upon.
2. The non-dealer begins by laying one card face-up on the table.
– If this card’s rank matches any previous played cards’ ranks, players take turns saying “one,” “two,” etc., up to 31 based on cumulative values without exceeding that total.
– Players must play their own valid card if they hold one that can be played.
– If unable to play without exceeding 31, say “Go” allowing your opponent(s) an opportunity until they too cannot play anymore.
– Pegging points are awarded for specific combinations (such as pairs, runs, and reaching exactly 15).
3. Repeat this process until all cards have been played or both players say “Go” consecutively.
4. Move the peg(s) on the cribbage board to represent the total points earned during pegging.

Scoring Phase – Adding Up Points

1. Starting with the non-dealer, players count their hands’ value by combining card combinations.
– Pairs, triples, quadruples: Cards of equal rank are worth 2 (per pair), 6 (per triple), or 12 (per quadruple) points respectively.
– Runs: Sequentially ranked cards (e.g., A-2-3) score based on their length.
– Reaching fifteen: Any combination of cards that totals fifteen scores two points.
– Flushes: If four hand cards share a suit (excluding starter card in crib), four points are awarded; if all five do, add an extra point for a total of five.
2. Players repeat this scoring process for their opponent’s hand as well as any additional points scored from each player’s own crib.

Winning the Game

The Home Stretch

The first player to reach a pre-determined number of points wins! In traditional cribbage games, this is usually set at either 61 or 121 points. However, it’s important to note that you must reach exactly this amount – going over requires you to subtract your excess score when pegging back down towards zero.

A Continuous Journey

Cribbage is not just about winning individual games but also about improving your skills over time. The more you play and familiarize yourself with various strategies and common combinations, the better chance you’ll have of outsmarting your opponents in future matches.


Time to Start Playing!

Now that you have a solid understanding of the rules and gameplay, it’s time to gather a friend, set up your cribbage board, and test your newfound skills. Remember, practice makes perfect – so keep playing and exploring different techniques. Have fun on this exciting journey into the world of cribbage!