What Are the Main Rules for Cribbage?


Quick Answer

The objective of cribbage is to be the first player to reach a preset number of points, usually either 61 or 121. Points are earned for standard combinations of cards such as pairs and flushes as well as for card combinations whose face values add up to 15.

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What Are the Main Rules for Cribbage?
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Full Answer

At least two players are needed to play cribbage. It is possible for three to play, and four can play in teams of two. In addition to a standard deck of 52 cards, a special peg board is also needed for scoring.

Play consists of three stages, during each of which at least one hand is played. These stages are the "deal," "play" and "show." During the deal, each player gets six cards, unless there are more than two players, in which case, each player gets five cards. Each player retains four cards of their choice and then discards the remainder into a pile to create the "crib."

During the play phase, players take turns laying down one of their cards face-up while keeping a verbal count of the total face card value. Points are scored during this period for playing combinations and for getting the count to exactly 15. The count may not exceed 31 and resets if necessary until all cards are played.

If no player has reached the target score yet at this point, the "show" begins, in which players receive points for combinations that incorporate the starter card.

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