How to Play Cribbage

Cribbage is a classic card game that has been entertaining players for over 400 years. It is a game that requires both strategy and luck, making it a favorite among players of all ages. In this guide, I will provide clear and concise instructions on how to play Cribbage using a standard 52-card deck.

Objective: The goal of Cribbage is to be the first player to score a total of 121 points.

Players: Cribbage can be played with 2, 3, or 4 players. However, it is traditionally a two-player game.

Cards: Cribbage uses a standard 52-card deck with no jokers. The cards are ranked from low to high: Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King.

How to Play:

  1. To determine who goes first, each player cuts the deck and the player with the lowest card becomes the dealer. The dealer shuffles the deck and deals six cards to each player, one at a time. The remaining four cards are dealt to the “crib,” a separate pile that will be scored at the end of each round.

  2. The non-dealer then places one card face-up on the table, starting the play. The other player responds by playing a card. The values of the cards played are added together, with Aces being worth 1, face cards worth 10, and all other cards worth their numerical value.

  3. The player who did not start the play then plays a card, and players take turns playing cards until the total value of the played cards reaches 31 or as close to it without going over. If a player cannot play without going over 31, they say “Go” and the other player can continue to play until they also cannot play without going over 31.

  4. If a player reaches exactly 31, they say “Go” and score two points. If a player cannot play without going over 31, the other player scores one point. The player who played the last card starts the next round of play.

  5. Play continues until both players have played all six of their cards. Points are awarded for reaching exactly 31, making a 15 (a combination of cards that add up to 15), pairs, runs, and flushes. These points are tallied up and added to the player’s score.

  6. After scoring, the non-dealer then takes the four cards in the crib and adds them to their hand. They then discard two cards and the dealer does the same. The crib is then scored, and the player who did not deal gets the points.

  7. The game continues with players taking turns being the dealer until one player reaches a total score of 121. If the non-dealer reaches 121 first, the dealer gets one more chance to catch up. If they do not, the non-dealer wins.


  • Keep track of the cards that have been played to anticipate what cards are left in the deck.
  • Try to make combinations of cards that equal 15 to score more points.
  • Discard cards that are unlikely to help you make combinations in the crib.

Congratulations, you now know how to play Cribbage! Grab a deck of cards and challenge your friends to a game. With these clear and concise instructions, you are ready to become an expert at this classic card game. Happy playing!

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Clear and concise instructions on how the Cribbage standard deck card game is played.


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