2 to 4 players

One standard 52-card deck.

The object is to be the first player to score 121 points (long game) or 61 points (short game).

For 2 players, each player is dealt 6 cards. For 3 players, each player is dealt 5 cards, and one card is dealt into the kitty. For 4 players, each player is dealt 5 cards. The rest of the cards are placed in their pile on the table. The cards are cut, and low card is the first dealer. Deal passes on clockwise.

Cribbage is played in two phases. Before game play begins, you must decide which four cards you wish to keep, and discard your extra cards to the kitty. The kitty cards are given to the dealer, but they aren't used for the first phase of play (and cannot be looked at until the first phase of play is over).

This is the general scoring table. Below it are some rules that apply to the scoring table.

Combination | Points |
---|---|

Fifteen(Any combination of cards that adds up to 15) |
2 |

Run(three or more cards, ace is always low) |
1 per card |

Pair3-of-a-kind 4-of-a-kind |
2 6 12 |

Knobs(Jack of suit of the flipped card) |
1 (in hand) * 2 (flipped) ** |

Flush(4 or 5 cards, in hand) (all 5 cards, in kitty) |
1 per card * |

* = this item is scored in the second phase of game play only

** = this item is scored immediately upon flipping

After everyone has discarded to the kitty, then the player to the dealer's left cuts the deck and flips up a card. If this card is a jack, it is the Knobs card, and the player who flipped it immediately scores his two points. Otherwise, this card is only used during the second round of scoring and does not affect the first round of play.

During the first round of play, players will play cards one at a time, starting with the person to the left of the dealer. Totals of 15, runs, pairs, 3-of-a-kinds, or 4-of-a-kinds that result from playing are immediately scored to the person who created them. The first set stops when someone has taken the total to 31, or when the current player does not have any cards that wouldn't put the total over 31. If the total is not all the way to 31, the last player who played cards may continue to play cards until the total goes to 31, or until they also cannot play. If the total gets to the 31, the person who played the last card gets two points; otherwise, the person who played the last card gets one point. The total is reset to zero, and a new set of cards is played. Play continues until all players are out of card.

Two players; number two is the dealer, and number one is sitting across from him. Their cards are:

Player 1 | 9♦ 10♦ Q♦ K♣ |
---|---|

Player 2 | 5♣ 6♦ 10♠ J♠ |

Flipped Card | J♦ |

Kitty | A♦ 2♣ 3♠ 7♣ |

Player one flipped a jack, so he immediately scores 2 points.

Player one has the lead, and plays K♣. The total is now 10. Player two plays 5♣. The total is now 15, and player two immediately points himself two points for the 15. Player one plays Q♦. The total is now 25. Player two plays 6♦. The total is now 31. This set is over, and player two points himself two points for ending the set by reaching 31.

Player two made the last play, so it is player one's turn. One plays 10♦, total is now ten. Two plays 10♠, total is now twenty. Two scores two points for the pair. One plays his last card, 9♦, total is now twenty nine. Two says "go", meaning that he cannot play without taking the total over 31. One is out of cards, so he also cannot play. This set is over, and player one points himself one point for ending the set without reaching 31.

Player two plays his last card, J♠, total is now ten. Both players are out of cards, so player two points himself one point for ending the set without reaching 31.

During the second round of play, the players collect their cards back into their hands, and lay them in front of themselves to be scored (and verified by the other players). Players score their hands (including the flipped card), starting with the player to the left of the dealer. Scoring order is important, because the first player to hit the target score is the winner (regardless of whether another player would also have hit the target score). Each player is responsible for counting their score, announcing it, and scoring themselves. Scoring continues clockwise, until the dealer, who scores last. Once the dealer has scored his hand, he then flips over the kitty cards and scores it like an additional bonus hand.

Be careful to count your points right! When playing competitively, miss scoring has detrimental effects. If a player catches you underscoring yourself, they may claim the extra, uncounted points for themselves. If a player catches you over scoring yourself, you will be forced to correct your score, and they may claim the difference in scores for themselves. In some tournaments, you will be required to count your score aloud: "15 - 2, 15 - 4, run - 7, knobs - 8" to ensure you are scoring correctly. Most people play friendly, though, and allow players to correct their scores.

We will continue this example with the last cards we used, so we can show you how the second round is scored.

Player 1 | 9♦ 10♦ Q♦ K♣ |
---|---|

Player 2 | 5♣ 6♦ 10♠ J♠ |

Flipped Card | J♦ |

Kitty | A♦ 2♣ 3♠ 7♣ |

Player one is the first player to the left of the dealer, so he starts scoring first.

Player one has a score of 9 points: 5 points for the 9-10-J-Q-K run, and four points for the diamond flush. The knobs card was already scored when it was flipped.

Player two has a score of 8 points: 2 points for each of the 15s, and 2 points for the pair of jacks. In the kitty, player two has a score of 5: 3 points for the A-2-3 run, and 2 points for the 15 from J-3-2.

Traditionally, Cribbage is scored with a cribbage board. This is typically a board with holes and pegs that allow you to easily count up to your intended score. While you can score this game on paper, it isn't very convenient, because of the rapid and repeated scoring nature of the game.

Some people play that the score of flipping Knobs is given to the dealer, rather than the person who flips the card.