Tradition has it that cribbage was created by an English poet named Sir John Suckling. While it is still popular in the land of it’s birth it also has gained a strong following in the United States and Canada. For centuries it has been played in hunting cabins, aboard ships, and in local pubs. Once you learn to play you will quickly discover why it has endured so long.

Cribbage uses a scoring tool called a cribbage board. Usually made of wood, the board has four rows of thirty holes. These holes are where the players put pegs to keep score. A game of 121 points is scored by moving the pegs up and down your side of the cribbage board twice. The peg in front is keeps the cumulative score while in the back peg records the last score made. With pegs leap frogging over one another the score is kept. This means a simple glance at the board can tell you who is ahead in the game. It also reduces most arithmetic errors that could occur while keeping score.

**Players** 2

**Equipment**

Cribbage board deck of cards.

**How to play**

Players cut for deal. The player who cuts the lowest card deals first.

The dealer deals six cards to each player.

The players discard two cards face down into the crib. The crib is extra hand for the dealer used after both players have scored their hands. The non dealer cuts and the dealer turns of the top card of the remaining stack. This card is placed face up on the stack for the rest of the hand and it is known as the starter. If the starter is a Jack the dealer scores two points.

Play starts with the nondealer. Players take turns placing a card from their hand on the table face up in front of them, and announcing the total value of all the cards face up on the table. ( For example the first player plays a 6 and says six. the next player plays a 5 and says eleven)Play continues until the value of all the cards on the table is 31. When a player plays a card that brings the value of all the exposed cards on the table to 31 they get 2 points. The players turn over the cards played, and continue play starting from zero with the remaining cards in their hand. The player who who did not bring the total to 31 starts play.

If a player cannot play card because it would bring the combined total over thirty one, that player says go. When a player says go the opposing player continues to play cards till the value is 31 or as close as they can without going over. The opposing player scores 1 point if the total is under 31, or 2 points if it is exactly 31. The player that said go starts play.

When a player puts down a card that completes any combination shown below that player earn points.

A pair is 2 points ( for example a player plays a six immediately after the other player played a six)

A three of a kind is 6 points ( for example a player plays a six immediately after a pair of sixes was played )

A four of a kind 12 points ( for example a player plays a six immediately after a three sixes was played )

A run is a group of 3 or more cards in sequence and scores one point for each card ( for example playing a four immediately after a six and five was played. The numbers do not have to be played in order)

When any combination of cards have face value totaling the number 15 it scores two points

*Paying the last card of the hand 1 point*.

After all the cards have been played the players score their hands earning points for any combinations shown below. Both players include the starter card when making combinations. The non dealer scores first, then the dealer, and finally the dealers crib.

*A Jack of the same suit as the starter card is 1 point*

A pair is 2 points

A three of a kind 6 points

A four of a kind 12 points

A run is a series of 3 or more cards and scores one point for each card

Four cards of the same suite in the hand 4 points

Five cards of the same suite in the hand or the crib 5 points

When any combination of cards have face value totaling the number 15 it scores two points

The first player to reach 121 points wins the game.

There is a patter that many players use when counting their hand. Let us say starter card is a queen and the player has 2 fours 1 five and 1 six. The player would call his hand like this fifteen 2, fifteen 4, fifteen 6 and a double run for 8 makes 14. What that means is the five and queen make fifteen earning two points. The first four the five and six make combined make fifteen for another two points. The second four combined with the six and the five make fifteen for another 2 points. The first four combined with the five and the six make a run for three points, as does the the second four combined with the five and six. This is called a double run and is scored as eight. This is because there are two runs of three and a pair.

**Variations**

One popular optional rule is called muggins. When using this rule if a player fails to claim all the points they have earned, the opponent claims muggins and collects the overlooked points.

Cribbage can also be played by four players playing in partnership. The game is played the same except each player

is only dealt five cards, and each player puts puts only one card into the crib.

If you want to play cribbage with three players deal each player five cards, and the players put one card into the crib plus one from the top of the deck.

Hey Pete…this is a game that you and I have played quite a few times together throughout the years. I look forward to playing some games together the next time that I see you. Wishing you all the best on your birthday cousin! Love, Chris.