Introduction to the Classic Game of Cribbage

The classic game of Cribbage evolved from the English game called “Noddy,” and the man who is responsible for creating the game is Sir John Suckling, who happens to be a wealthy English poet. Cribbage is a game where players anticipate the luck of the deal and exercise their skills in discarding and play. One of the best features of this game is that it has a Cribbage board that is used for scoring rather than jotting down your scores using pencil and paper. The Cribbage board is a rectangular wooden board that has holes that can accumulate pegs. The board and the peg help reduce the chance of errors when it comes to computing the scores. In this article, we are going to learn more about the classic game of Cribbage.

The Basics of Cribbage

Basically, Cribbage is a game of numbers. You will start earning points by combining all your cards together and making runs or scoring combinations. The mathematics of this game is pure, but Cribbage is a game of tactics and strategy. That’s why sometimes, you try to score points, and sometimes you have to try to stop your opponent from scoring. Every game is somehow different.

This game relies more on intuition and experience rather than mathematical calculation. In some situations, one card may be the right one to play, and on others, it may be the wrong card. In short, you have no way to calculate which set of cards will be the best. Cribbage is also a fast game, and experienced players can complete this game in about ten to fifteen minutes.

Cribbage is a fastidious game that has several rules and regulations. Aside from that, it also has a vocabulary of its own, which you need to be familiar with before you can play.

To play Cribbage, you will need the following:

  • Two players including yourself standard deck of 52 cards
  • A Cribbage board

 There are two distinct phases in Cribbage where you can score points. The first one is in the play of the cards, and the second one is the score points in your hands. You will have the opportunity to record your points during both phases of the game.

Getting Started and Dealing the Cards

When you’re starting the game, both players need to cut the deck, and whoever draws the lowest card is the first dealer. The other player becomes a pone, which is just another Cribbage term for non-dealer. The deal alternates for each player in the game after that.

For every hand, the dealer will shuffle the entire deck and will offer the cards to the pone to cut. After that, the dealer will deal six cards face-down, one at a time to both players. He will put the rest of the deck down in the middle of the playing surface.

Each player will then pick up the six dealt cards and will discard two of them face-down from the six. The four remaining cards will go into the crib, which will form the third hand of four cards, and the dealer gets to score. But, keep in mind that the four cards in the crib have no part in the first phase of the game where the cards are played out. After this, the dealer will now have two hands with which to score points, as opposed to the pone’s one side.

Cutting the Deck

After the players decided which four cards they’re going to keep, the pone will split the remaining cards of the stock. After that, the dealer will turn over the top card of the cut deck and reveal the upcard or the starter card. This card will essentially become a part of all three hands, the crib, the dealer, and the pones. However, the starter card will not have any role in the playing out of hand. If the upcard turns out to be a jack, the dealer will score two points or in cribbage language, “as two for his heels.” The dealer must claim and record these pints before any cards are played.

How to Record the Score

A Cribbage board has four rows that have 30 holes. The game aims to be the player to go around the two rows, just like how a horse goes around in an oval during a horse race. A player must complete the circuits before the opponent does. Earning points means that you can advance to one space; that’s why you will need a total of 121 points to complete the journey and win the game.

Reaching the Finishing Post

When you’re towards the end of the game, you will find that a general strategy for preventing your opponent from winning is to override what’s otherwise the optimum strategy. That’s why if you’re in the lead, you must be cautious about your moves, and if you’re behind, you need to take a risk to be able to win.

For example, if both players have 100 points and you’re the dealer that has the cards Q, 8, 7, 5, 2, 8. You will keep the 8,8,7, and 2 and throw the queen and 5 into the crib to earn fifteen points. And when a 6 comes up as the starter, you realize that you have 14 points in your hand and a promising crib. You have a big chance to win because you only need to earn a few points from the play. Plus, as a pone on the next deal, you will have the first hand of the next game to count as well, that’s if you don’t make it to 121 on this hand. This is why you must avoid giving away your points and tackle the play as carefully as possible.

Looking for a Cribbage Set

Here are some Cribbage sets that is available in the market today: 

Where to Buy
Juegoal Wood Cribbage Board Game Set 3 Tracks with Metal Pegs
House of Cribbage Continuous Cribbage Board Bloodwood
Cardinal Industries Solid Wood Folding Cribbage Set
Patriotic Eagle and Flag Premium Cribbage Board Set
KITCHEN SUPPLIER Game Cribbage Boards Set
House of Cribbage
Royal Cribbage Board with Cards
CHH 3 Track Walnut Cribbage Set
3 Track Continuous Curved Design Cribbage Board