EXTENDED SPECIAL - Free Circle Track Set With Select NameTrains Purchases!
Ground shipping only $6.95, FREE for orders over $75!

Cribbage Instructions



Standard Cribbage


Folding Cribbage


Three-Hand Cribbage


Continuous Cribbage


Spare Pegs



Cribbage is a card game that can be played with two, three, or four players. All that is required is a standard deck of 52 cards and a cribbage board, with pegs, for keeping score. A game of two players is most common. Play with three requires an extra set of holes for keeping score; playing with four is done in pairs.


The object of cribbage is to be the first to peg 61 or 121 points, depending what is agreed upon. On a standard board, the pegs are moved down the outer row (30 holes) and back the inner row. A game of 121 points would be twice around. A continuous board will have 120 holes for each player. Each player has two pegs of a color for keeping their own score. Points are recorded by jumping the rear peg ahead of the other by the number of points scored. Points are scored and pegged during play and by counting the hand after play is finished. The extra six holes per player are to score the final point and to keep count of games won with a third peg. A player winning before their opponent passes the halfway mark is credited with winning two games. In this case, the loser has been "lurched".

PLAY (2 players)

The first deal is determined by cutting the deck. Low card is the dealer and thereafter the deal alternates. Dealer begins by dealing six cards to each. Each player then discards two of their six cards putting them face down on the table. The four cards are put together to form an extra hand called the crib. This goes to the dealer after play is completed. The non-dealer then cuts the remainder of the deck and the dealer turns up the top card, called the starter, placing this card on the top of the deck. The starter isn’t used until after the hand is played: however, if it is a jack the dealer immediately pegs two points for "heels".

The non-dealer starts the series by showing a card from their hand and calling its value. The dealer then follows with one of their cards and calls the sum of the two cards. Each player keeps their own cards in separate piles. Play continues with the non-dealer laying down another card and calling the sum of the three. Play alternates up to 31 without going over. If a player can't play without going over, they say "go"; their opponent continues play alone if they can. One point is scored for playing the last possible card without going over 31, two points for exactly 31. The spent cards are turned over and another series begins with the player who said, "go" on the previous play. Play continues until the hand is gone, the last card played being worth one point. Other points scored during a series: Two points for a count of 15, two points to the player making a pair of two consecutively played cards, six points for completing three-of-a-kind, and 12 points for four-of-a-kind.

The last card completing a run of three or more, no matter what suit, scores one for each card.

After play is finished, the hands are counted in the order of non-dealer, dealer, and crib (which goes to the dealer separate from their own hand). The started card is considered the fifth card in each hand for counting purposes. A card can be used any number of times in different combinations. Points in counting hands are as follows:

Combinations Points

Each combination totaling 15


Each pair


3 of a kind


4 of a kind


Runs of three or more

1 for each card

Nobs (jack of same suit as starter)


4 cards of same suit (not in crib)


4 cards same suit as starter (in hand or crib)



PLAY (3 or 4 players)

For both three and four players, each person is dealt five cards with only one going to the crib. With three players, each keeps their own score with playing rotating around the table. With four players, play is with two pairs of partners seated alternately around the table. Hands are scored separately but points are pegged together on the board with partner.

Copyright Maple Landmark, Inc., Middlebury, VT 05753

Shop Cribbage Here  Purchase spare pegs here  Download PDF print-out here