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Matthew Edwards
Matthew Edwards

Enjoy Cribbage Deluxe on Any Device with No Ads


Introduction




Cribbage is a card game that originated in England in the 17th century. It was invented by Sir John Suckling, a poet and gambler, who based it on an older game called Noddy. Cribbage is one of the few card games that uses a special board for scoring, which makes it unique and distinctive. Cribbage is also one of the most popular card games in the English-speaking world, especially in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. Cribbage is a game of skill and strategy, where you try to score points by forming combinations of cards and pegging them on the board. Cribbage can be played by two or more players, but it is best played by two.




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In this article, I will show you how to play cribbage, as well as some tips and tricks to improve your game. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, you will find something useful and interesting in this article. So grab a deck of cards, a cribbage board, and a friend, and let's get started!


The Basics




The Deck




Cribbage is played with a standard 52-card deck. The cards are ranked from high to low as follows: K (king), Q (queen), J (jack), 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A (ace). The suits are irrelevant in cribbage, except for scoring a flush (see below). The cards have different values depending on how they are used in the game. For counting purposes, the face cards (K, Q, J) are worth 10 points each, and the ace is worth one point. For making combinations, such as pairs or runs, the cards have their numerical rank, with ace being the lowest and king being the highest.


The Board




The cribbage board is a wooden or plastic board with holes arranged in rows or tracks. There are usually two tracks for each player, plus one extra track for keeping track of games won. Each track has 121 holes, corresponding to the number of points needed to win a game. There are also some extra holes for holding pegs when not in use.


Each player has two pegs of the same color. One peg is called the front peg and the other is called the rear peg. The front peg shows the current score of the player, while the rear peg shows the previous score. The pegs are moved along the holes as points are scored. The front peg is always moved first, followed by the rear peg, so that the distance between them shows the number of points scored in that turn. The pegs are moved in a zigzag fashion from one end of the board to the other, and then back again. The first player to reach or pass the final hole with the front peg wins the game.


The Deal




To begin the game, the players cut the deck to decide who will be the first dealer. The player who cuts the lowest card deals first. The ace is the lowest card, and the king is the highest. If there is a tie, the players cut again. The deal then alternates between the players for each hand.


The dealer shuffles the deck and deals six cards face down to each player. The players then look at their cards and decide which four to keep and which two to discard to the crib. The crib is a separate hand that belongs to the dealer for that hand, and is used for scoring at the end of the hand. The discarded cards are placed face down in front of the dealer.


The Crib




The crib is a special hand that belongs to the dealer for each hand. It consists of four cards: two from the dealer and two from the non-dealer (also called the pone). The crib is used for scoring at the end of the hand, after both players have shown their hands. The crib can be an advantage or a disadvantage for the dealer, depending on the cards that are discarded and the starter card that is revealed.


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When discarding cards to the crib, both players should try to balance their own hand with the potential of the crib. The dealer should try to make a strong crib, while the pone should try to make a weak crib. Generally, it is better to discard low cards, pairs, or cards of the same suit to the crib, as they are more likely to form combinations with the starter card. It is also better to avoid discarding 5s or 10s, as they can give away easy points to the opponent.


The Starter




After both players have discarded their cards to the crib, the non-dealer cuts the deck and reveals the top card. This card is called the starter or the cut card. This card is used for scoring both the hands and the crib, along with the four cards in each hand. The starter card is placed face up on top of the deck, and the rest of the deck is set aside and not used for the rest of the hand.


If the starter card is a jack, the dealer scores two points immediately. This is called "two for his heels" or "his nibs". The dealer moves his front peg two holes ahead on the board to indicate this score.


The Play




The Counting Phase




After the starter card is revealed, the play begins. The non-dealer plays one card face up on the table, announcing its value. The dealer then plays one card face up on the table, adding its value to the previous card and announcing the total. The players take turns playing one card at a time, adding the value of each card to the running total and announcing it. The face cards are worth 10 points each, and the ace is worth one point. The suits are irrelevant in this phase.


The play continues until either one of the players cannot play a card without exceeding 31, or both players have played all their cards. The player who plays the last card that does not exceed 31 scores one point for "go" or "last card". If the last card exactly makes 31, the player scores two points instead of one. The player then moves his front peg accordingly on the board.


If one or both players still have cards left after reaching 31, a new count begins from zero. The player who did not play the last card in the previous count plays the first card in the new count. The play continues as before, until all cards are played.


The Scoring Phase




During the counting phase, both players can score points for playing certain combinations of cards. These points are scored as soon as they occur, and are separate from the points scored for the hands and the crib. The possible combinations and their points are as follows: - Pair: Two cards of the same rank, such as two 7s or two kings. A pair is worth two points. - Pair Royal: Three cards of the same rank, such as three 8s or three queens. A pair royal is worth six points. - Double Pair Royal: Four cards of the same rank, such as four 9s or four jacks. A double pair royal is worth 12 points. - Run: Three or more consecutive cards of any suit, such as 3-4-5 or 10-J-Q. A run is worth one point for each card in the run. For example, a run of four cards is worth four points. - Fifteen: Any combination of cards that adds up to 15, such as 5-10, 7-8, or A-2-3-9. A fifteen is worth two points. - Flush: Four cards of the same suit in the hand, or five cards of the same suit including the starter card. A flush in the hand is worth four points, and a flush with the starter card is worth five points. Note that a flush cannot be scored during the counting phase, only during the show phase. If a player scores more than one combination in a single play, he scores all the points for each combination. For example, if a player plays a 5 on a 10-J-Q, he scores two points for fifteen, four points for a run of four, and two points for a pair, for a total of eight points. The Crib Phase




After both players have played and scored all their cards in the counting phase, the dealer reveals and scores the crib. The crib is scored in the same way as the hands, except that a flush in the crib must include the starter card. The dealer moves his front peg accordingly on the board.


The Show




The Hands




After the crib is scored, both players reveal and score their hands. The non-dealer shows his hand first, followed by the dealer. The hands are scored in the same way as the crib, except that a flush in the hand does not need to include the starter card. The players move their front pegs accordingly on the board.


The Game




The game ends when one player reaches or passes 121 points with his front peg. That player wins the game and scores one game point. If the player reaches or passes 121 points before his opponent reaches 91 points, he scores two game points instead of one. This is called a "skunk" or a "lurch". If the player reaches or passes 121 points before his opponent reaches 61 points, he scores three game points instead of one. This is called a "double skunk" or a "double lurch". The game points are recorded on the extra track on the board.


The players can agree to play a series of games until one player reaches a certain number of game points, such as five or seven. The player who reaches that number first wins the match.


Variations




Five-Card Cribbage




A common variation of cribbage is to play with five cards per hand instead of six. In this variation, each player is dealt five cards and discards one to the crib. The rest of the game is played as usual, except that the dealer scores one point for "his nobs" if he has a jack of the same suit as the starter card in his hand. This variation is faster and more challenging than the standard six-card cribbage.


Three or Four Players




Cribbage can also be played by three or four players, either individually or in teams. In a three-player game, each player is dealt five cards and discards one to the crib. The dealer rotates clockwise after each hand. The crib belongs to the dealer, but the starter card is cut by the player to his left. The play and the show are done in clockwise order, starting with the player to the dealer's left. The scoring is the same as in two-player cribbage, except that a flush in the hand must include the starter card.


In a four-player game, the players form two teams of two, sitting across from each other. Each player is dealt five cards and discards one to the crib. The dealer rotates clockwise after each hand. The crib belongs to the dealer and his partner, but the starter card is cut by the player to his left. The play and the show are done in clockwise order, starting with the player to the dealer's left. The scoring is the same as in two-player cribbage, except that a flush in the hand must include the starter card. The partners combine their scores on the board.


Other Variations




There are many other variations of cribbage that can be played with different rules, such as lowball cribbage, where the lowest score wins; muggins cribbage, where you can steal points from your opponent if he misses them; or backgammon cribbage, where you can move your pegs backwards as well as forwards on the board. You can also use different boards, such as a circular board or a spiral board, or different decks, such as a pinochle deck or a euchre deck. You can also invent your own variations and customize your game to suit your preferences and style.


Strategy and Tips




Discarding Strategy




One of the most important skills in cribbage is choosing which cards to keep and which to discard to the crib. This decision can make a big difference in your score and your chances of winning. Here are some general guidelines to help you improve your discarding strategy:


  • Keep cards that can form fifteens, pairs, runs, or flushes in your hand.



  • Discard cards that are unlikely to form combinations with the starter card or with each other.



  • Avoid discarding 5s or 10s to the crib, as they can give easy points to your opponent.



  • Avoid discarding cards of the same rank or suit to the crib, as they can form pairs or flushes.



  • If you are the dealer, try to make a strong crib by discarding cards that have a high chance of forming combinations with the starter card.



  • If you are the pone, try to make a weak crib by discarding cards that have a low chance of forming combinations with the starter card.



  • Consider your position on the board and your opponent's position when deciding which cards to discard. If you are ahead, you may want to play more defensively and avoid giving points to your opponent. If you are behind, you may want to play more aggressively and try to catch up.



Pegging Strategy




Another important skill in cribbage is playing your cards effectively during the counting phase. This is where you can score points by making combinations with your cards and your opponent's cards. You also need to avoid giving points to your opponent by playing cards that he can use to make combinations. Here are some general guidelines to help you improve your pegging strategy:


  • Try to play cards that make fifteens, pairs, runs, or 31s, as they score points for you.



  • Try to avoid playing cards that allow your opponent to make fifteens, pairs, runs, or 31s, as they score points for him.



  • Try to play cards that are close in rank to your opponent's cards, as they can form runs or pairs.



  • Try to avoid playing cards that are far in rank from your opponent's cards, as they can give him more options to play.



  • Try to play low cards early in the count, as they can give you more flexibility to play later.



  • Try to avoid playing high cards early in the count, as they can limit your options to play later.



  • Try to play cards that are likely to trap your opponent, such as a 4 on a 2-3 or a 9 on a 7-8.



  • Try to avoid playing cards that are likely to be trapped by your opponent, such as a 2 on a 4-5 or a 7 on a 9-10.



  • Consider the cards that have been played and the cards that are left in your hand and in the deck when deciding which card to play. If you know or can guess what your opponent has or does not have, you can play accordingly.



Counting Strategy




A third important skill in cribbage is counting your hand and the crib accurately and quickly. This is where you can score points by making combinations with your cards and the starter card. You also need to avoid missing any points that you are entitled to. Here are some general guidelines to help you improve your counting strategy:


  • Start by counting the fifteens in your hand or the crib. A fifteen is any combination of cards that adds up to 15, such as 5-10, 7-8, or A-2-3-9. Each fifteen is worth two points.



  • Next, count the pairs in your hand or the crib. A pair is two cards of the same rank, such as two 7s or two kings. Each pair is worth two points. If you have three cards of the same rank, such as three 8s or three queens, you have three pairs and score six points. If you have four cards of the same rank, such as four 9s or four jacks, you have six pairs and score 12 points.



  • Then, count the runs in your hand or the crib. A run is three or more consecutive cards of any suit, such as 3-4-5 or 10-J-Q. A run is worth one point for each card in the run. For example, a run of four cards is worth four points. If you have more than one run in your hand or the crib, you count each run separately. For example, if you have A-2-3-4-5 in your hand, you have three runs of three (A-2-3, 2-3-4, and 3-4-5), one run of four (A-2-3-4), and one run of five (A-2-3-4-5), for a total of 15 points.



  • Finally, count the flushes in your hand or the crib. A flush is four cards of the same suit in the hand, or five cards of the same suit including the starter card. A flush in the hand is worth four points, and a flush with the starter card is worth five points. Note that a flush cannot be scored for the crib unless it includes the starter card.



  • If you are the dealer and you have a jack of the same suit as the starter card in your hand or the crib, you score one point for "his nobs". This point is scored separately from any other combination.



  • Add up all the points from each combination and announce your total score. Move your front peg accordingly on the board.



General Tips




Besides mastering the skills of discarding, pegging, and counting, there are some other things you can do to improve your game and have fun playing cribbage. Here are some general tips to keep in mind:


  • Practice makes perfect. The more you play cribbage, the more familiar you will become with the rules, the strategies, and the probabilities of the cards. You will also develop your intuition and your memory, which will help you make better decisions and avoid mistakes. You can practice by playing with a friend, a computer, or online with other players.



  • Learn from your mistakes. Cribbage is a game of chance as well as skill, and sometimes you will lose even if you play well. Instead of getting frustrated or discouraged, try to analyze what went wrong and what you can do better next time. You can also learn from your opponent's moves and strategies, and see how they affect the outcome of the game.



  • Have fun. Cribbage is not only a game of numbers and logic, but also a game of creativity and imagination. You can make up your own variations, rules, or challenges to spice up your game and test your skills. You can also enjoy the social aspect of cribbage, by chatting with your opponent, cracking jokes, or making friendly bets. Cribbage is a game that can bring people together and create lasting memories.



Conclusion




Cribbage is a classic card game that has been enjoyed by millions of people for centuries. It is a game of skill and strategy, where you try to score points by forming combinations of cards and pegging them on a special board. Cribbage can be played by two or more players, but it is best played


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