How to Play Cribbage: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

Introduction to Cribbage

Cribbage is a fascinating card game that has been enjoyed by millions of people worldwide for centuries. Whether you’re a seasoned card player or new to the world of games, cribbage offers an exciting and strategic challenge. In this blog post, we will take you through the rules and tactics of playing cribbage step-by-step.

The Objective of Cribbage

The primary goal in cribbage is to score points by creating combinations of cards in your hand while also strategically discarding cards into the “crib,” a separate pile shared with your opponent. The first player to reach 121 points (or any agreed-upon number) wins the game.

Setting Up the Game

Gathering Materials

To start playing cribbage, you’ll need:
– A standard deck of 52 playing cards
– A cribbage board with pegs (if available)

Dealing Cards

1. Shuffle the deck thoroughly.
2. Each player cuts the deck, and whoever draws the lowest card becomes the dealer.
– If both players draw cards of equal rank when cutting, reshuffle and repeat until there’s a definitive lowest card.

The dealer distributes six cards face-down to each player one at a time.

The Basic Gameplay Steps

Pegging Phase:

1. The non-dealer starts by laying down any card from their hand while announcing its value.
– Face cards count as ten; Ace counts as one; all other ranks correspond to their numerical value.

Continuing clockwise, players take turns adding on top of played cards while keeping track of cumulative values using pegs on a cribbage board or mentally.

2. Players alternate playing cards until the total reaches 31 or no one can play without exceeding this sum.
– A player who cannot play without going over 31 says, “Go” and grants their opponent a point.

3. If a player plays a card that brings the total to exactly 15, they earn two points.

Scoring Phase:

1. Once pegging ends, players score their hands and the crib.
– The dealer scores their hand first, followed by the non-dealer’s hand.
– Finally, both players score the common crib pile together.

2. Scoring combinations include:
– Fifteens: Any combination of cards adding up to 15 earns two points (e.g., King-5-10).
– Pairs: Two cards of equal rank contribute two points each.
– Runs: Three or more consecutive cards in either order count one point per card (e.g., 7-8-9 is worth three points).

Players track their scores using pegs on the cribbage board, moving them forward accordingly after each scoring phase.

The Role of Strategy

Cribbage involves not only luck but also strategy:

1. Discarding: When discarding into the crib at the beginning of each hand round, consider which cards may benefit your opponent and try to minimize those choices while maximizing your own potential for scoring later on.

2. Pegging Tactics: During gameplay, think strategically about which cards to play while considering possible combinations that may grant you extra points without helping your opponent too much.


Cribbage is an engaging card game that combines luck with strategic decision-making. By understanding its rules and employing tactical thinking throughout gameplay, you’ll be able to enjoy countless hours of challenging entertainment with friends and family members alike. So grab a deck of cards, set up a cribbage board if available, and let the games begin!