The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject.(August 2019)
|Players||2 (variations for 3–6)|
|Skills||Strategy, tactics, counting|
|Deck||Standard 52-card pack|
|Rank (high→low)||K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 A|
|Playing time||15–30 min.|
|Noddy • Costly Colours|
Cribbage, or crib, is a card game, traditionally for two players, that involves playing and grouping cards in combinations which gain points. It can be adapted for three or four players.
Cribbage has several distinctive features: the cribbage board used for score-keeping, the eponymous crib, box, or kitty (in parts of Canada)—a separate hand counting for the dealer—two distinct scoring stages (the play and the show) and a unique scoring system including points for groups of cards that total fifteen. It has been characterized as "Britain's national card game" and the only one legally playable on licensed premises (pubs and clubs) without requiring local authority permission.
The game has relatively few rules yet yields endless subtleties during play, which accounts for its ongoing appeal and popularity. Tactical play varies, depending on which cards one's opponent has played, how many cards in the remaining pack will help the hand one holds, and what one's position on the board is. A game may be decided by only a few points—or even a single point—and the edge often goes to an experienced player who utilizes strategy, including calculating odds and making decisions based on the relative positions of players on the board.
Both cribbage and its close relative costly colours are descended from the old English card game of noddy. Cribbage added the distinctive feature of a crib and changed the scoring system for points, whereas costly colours added more combinations but retained the original noddy scoring scheme.
According to John Aubrey, cribbage was created by the English poet Sir John Suckling in the early 17th century, as a derivation of the game "noddy". While noddy has become a historical, rarely-played game,cribbage has continued unchanged as a popular game in the English-speaking world. The objective of the game is to be the first player to score a target number of points, typically 61 or 121. Points are scored for showing certain jacks, playing the last card, for card combinations adding up to 15 or 31, and for pairs, triples, quadruples (cards of the same rank), runs (sequences of consecutive numbers irrespective of suit) and flushes (sets of cards of the same suit).
The earliest rules were published in England and appear in Cotgrave (1662)and are soon followed by Willughby (1672) and Cotton (1674).
The continuing popularity of cribbage is due in some part to the influence of the Victorian novelist Charles Dickens, who depicted the game in his novel The Old Curiosity Shop .
Cribbage was popular among prospectors in the American West, and the small mining town of Nelson, Montana, to this day has a sign proclaiming it the "Cribbage Capital of the World".
Cribbage is played by American submariners,serving as a common pastime. The wardroom of the oldest active submarine in the United States Pacific Fleet carries on board the personal cribbage board of World War II submarine commander and Medal of Honor recipient Rear Admiral Dick O'Kane, and upon the boat's decommissioning, the board is transferred to the next oldest boat.
Play proceeds through a succession of "hands", each hand consisting of a "deal", "the play" and "the show". At any time during any of these stages, if a player reaches the target score (usually 121), play ends immediately with that player being the winner of the game. This can even happen during the deal, since the dealer scores if a jack is cut as the starter.
The players cut for first deal, and the person who cuts the lowest card deals. The dealer shuffles and deals five or six cards to each player, depending on the number of players. For two players, each is dealt six cards; for three or four players, each is dealt five cards. In the case of three players, a single card is dealt face down in the centre of the table to start the crib. Once the cards have been dealt, each player chooses four cards to retain, then discards the other one or two face-down to form the "crib" (also called the box), which will be used later by the dealer.
At this point, each player's hand and the crib will contain exactly four cards. The player on the dealer's left or, in a two-player game, the pone, cuts the remaining pack. The dealer reveals the top card of the lower half, called the "starter card" or "cut", and places it face up on top of the reunited pack.If this card is a jack, the dealer scores two points for "his heels" or "his nibs".
Starting with the player on the dealer's left, the players each in turn lay one card face up on the table in front of them, stating the count—that is, the cumulative value of the cards that have been laid (for example, the first player lays a five and says "five", the next lays a six and says "eleven", and so on)—without the count going above 31. Face cards (kings, queens, and jacks) count as 10. The cards are not laid in the centre of the table as, at the end of the "play", each player needs to pick up the cards they have laid.
Players score points during the play as follows:
If a player cannot play without causing the count to exceed 31, they call "Go". Continuing with the player on their left, the other players continue the play until no one can play without the count exceeding 31. A player is obliged to play a card unless there is no card in their hand that can be played without the count exceeding 31 (one cannot voluntarily pass). Once 31 is reached or no one is able to play, the player who played the last card scores one point if the count is still under 31 and two if it is exactly 31. The count is then reset to zero and those players with cards remaining in their hands repeat the process starting with the player to the left of the player who played the last card. When all players have played all of their cards the game proceeds to the "show".
Players choose the order in which to lay their cards in order to maximize their scores; experienced players refer to this as either good or poor "pegging" or "pegsmanship". If one player reaches the target (usually 61 or 121), the game ends immediately and that player wins. When the scores are level during a game, the players' pegs will be side by side, and it is thought that this gave rise to the phrase "level pegging".
Once the play is complete, each player in turn, starting with the player on the left of the dealer, displays their own hand on the table and scores points based on its content in conjunction with the starter card. Points are scored for:
The dealer scores their hand last and then turns the cards in the crib face up. These cards are then scored by the dealer as an additional hand, also in conjunction with the starter card. Unlike the dealer's own hand, the crib cannot score a four-card flush, but it can score a five-card flush with the starter.
All scores from 0 to 29 are possible, with the exception of 19, 25, 26 and 27.Players may refer colloquially to a hand scoring zero points as a “nineteen hand”.
Muggins is a commonly used but optional rule, which must be announced before game play begins. If a player fails to claim their full score on any turn, the opponent may call out "Muggins" and peg any points overlooked by the player.
A match (much like tennis) consists of more than one game, often an odd number. The match points are scored on the cribbage board using the holes reserved for match points. On a spiral board, these are often at the bottom of the board in a line with 5 or 7 holes. On a conventional board, they are often in the middle of the board or at the top or bottom.
In a two-player game of cribbage, a player scores one match point for winning a game. Their opponent will start as dealer in the next game. If a player lurches (British) or skunks (US) their opponent (reaches 121 points before their opponent scores 91 points), that player wins two match points for that game. If a player double skunks their opponent (reaches 121 points before their opponent reaches 61), they score three or four match points for the game, depending on local convention.If a player triple skunks their opponent (reaches 121 points before their opponent reaches 31 points), they automatically win the match. Double and triple skunks are not included in the official rules of cribbage play and are optional. There are several different formats for scoring match points.
|Scoring Variation||Points for ...|
|Official Tournament rules (American Cribbage Congress)||2 points||3 points||No extra points||No extra points|
|Long Match scoring||3 points||4 points||No extra points||No extra points|
|Free play rules||1 point||2 points||3 or 4 points||No extra points|
|Free play rules with triple skunk||1 point||2 points||4 points||Automatic win of match|
Visually, cribbage is known for its scoring board—a series of holes ("streets") on which the score is tallied with pegs (also known as "spilikins").Scores can be kept on a piece of paper, but a cribbage board is almost always used, since scoring occurs throughout the game, not just at the conclusion of hands as in most other card games.
Points are registered as having been scored by "pegging" along the crib board. Two pegs are used in a leapfrog fashion, so that if a player loses track during the count one peg still marks the previous score. Some boards have a "game counter" with many additional holes for use with a third peg to count the games won by each side.
There are several designs of crib board:
Each of the four 30-point divisions of the cribbage board (1–30, 31–60, 61–90, and 91–120) is colloquially called a "street". Being at 15 points would be on first street, being at 59 points would be on second street, etc.
The ancestor of cribbage is noddy, a game for two or four players, each receiving just three cards and playing and scoring in a similar manner to modern cribbage. However, instead of scoring 2 points for reaching 15 or 31 (called hitter), players scored the number of constituent cards making up the point. In addition, there was originally a third point at 25. Players also scored for pairs, prials, runs and flushes as in cribbage. There was no crib and game was 31.
Costly colours may have developed separately from noddy, as it retains several original features that are no longer part of cribbage. Again, only three cards are dealt, there is no crib and it uses the same scoring scheme for points at 15, 25 and 31 or hitter. What is new is that deuces play a similar role to jacks and that players may score for colours—i.e., having three or four cards of the same suit or colour. Four cards of the same suit are costly colours, hence the name.
Tarocchini are point trick-taking tarot card games popular in Bologna, capital city of the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and has been confined mostly to this area. They are the diminutive form of tarocchi, referring to the reduction of the Bolognese pack from 78 to 62 cards, which probably occurred in the early 16th century.
All Fours is a traditional English card game, once popular in pubs and taverns as well as among the gentry, that flourished as a gambling game until the end of the 19th century. It is a trick-taking card game that was originally designed for two players, but developed variants for more players. According to Cotton, the game originated in Kent, but spread to the whole of England and eventually abroad. It is the eponymous and earliest recorded game of a family that flourished most in 19th century North America and whose progeny include Pitch, Pedro and Cinch, games that even competed with Poker and Euchre. Nowadays the original game is especially popular in Trinidad and Tobago, but regional variants have also survived in England. The game's "great mark of distinction" is that it gave the name 'Jack' to the card previously known as the Knave.
Brag is an 18th century British card game, and the British national representative of the vying or "bluffing" family of gambling games. It is a descendant of the Elizabethan game of Primero and one of the several ancestors to poker, the modern version just varying in betting style and hand rankings. It has been described as the "longest-standing British representative of the Poker family."
Thirty-one or Trente et un is a gambling card game played by two to seven people, where players attempt to assemble a hand which totals 31. Such a goal has formed the whole or part of various games like Commerce, Cribbage, Trentuno, and Wit and Reason since the 15th century. 31 is popular in America and Britain. Although the game is also known as Scat it has no connexion whatsoever with Germany's national card game of Skat. It should also not be confused with other games called 31 including Schwimmen and the Greek banking game of 31.
Golf is a card game where players try to earn the lowest number of points over the course of nine deals.
Cribbage solitaire is a solitaire card game using a deck of 52 playing cards. It is based on the game of five-card cribbage, also known as the "old game", and is one of many solitaire card games based on those played by at least two players, best known of which is poker solitaire.
Chinese poker is a card game based on poker hand rankings. It is intended as a beginner-friendly game, with only a basic knowledge of poker hand rankings needed to get started. The format allows for frequent unexpected outcomes due to the large element of luck involved, meaning a beginner has a good chance of winning in the short term against even experienced opponents.
Cribbage Squares, occasionally Cribbage Square, is a patience or card solitaire based on Cribbage which can be played using a deck of playing cards. This game works the same way as Poker Squares, but with cribbage scoring.
Muggins, sometimes also called All Fives, is a domino game played with any of the commonly available sets. Although suitable for up to four players, Muggins is described by John McLeod as "a good, quick two player game".
Twenty-eight is an Indian trick-taking card game for four players, in which the Jack and the nine are the highest cards in every suit, followed by ace and ten. It thought to be descended from the game 304, along with similar Indian games known as "29", "40" and "56".
Noddy also Noddie, Nodde or Knave Noddy, is a 16th-century English card game ancestor of Cribbage. It is the oldest identifiable card game with this gaming structure and thus probably also ancestral to the more-complicated 17th-century game of Costly Colours.
In cribbage, the probability and maximum and minimum score of each type of hand can be computed.
The rules here are based on those of the American Cribbage Congress and apply to two-, three- or four-player games, with details of variations being listed below.
Put, occasionally Putt, is an English tavern game first recorded in the 16th century and later castigated by 17th century moralists as one of ill repute. It belongs to a very ancient family of trick-taking card games and bears close similarities a group known as Truc, Trut,Truque, also Tru, and the South American game Truco. Its more elaborate cousin is the Catelan and Spanish game of Truc, which is still much played in many parts of Southern France and Spain.
The following is a glossary of poker terms used in the card game of poker. It supplements the glossary of card game terms. Besides the terms listed here, there are thousands of common and uncommon poker slang terms. This is not intended to be a formal dictionary; precise usage details and multiple closely related senses are omitted here in favor of concise treatment of the basics.
Commerce is an 18th-century gambling French card game akin to Thirty-one and perhaps ancestral to Whisky Poker and Bastard Brag. It aggregates a variety of games with the same game mechanics. Trade and Barter, the English equivalent, has the same combinations, but a different way of acquiring them. Trentuno, Trent-et-Uno, applies basically to the same method of play, but also has slightly different combinations. Its rules are recorded as early as 1769.
Phat is an English trick-taking partnership card game derived from the 17th century game of All Fours. It is not considered a stand-alone game, but instead a variation of this one. It is quite similar to Don, shortened from Pedro Dom, the name applied to the Five of trumps from the game Pedro, but with the game score resembling the 9-card Don variation, played in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Gleek is an English card game for three persons. It is played with a 44-card pack and was popular from the 16th century through the 18th century.
Penneech or Peneech, sometimes called Penicth, is an unusual historical English card game for two players played with hands of seven cards. English point-trick games are rare anyway, but the unique feature of this game is that the trump suit changes with each trick. Parlett describes it as a "jolly little two-hander".
Costly Colours, sometimes just called Costly, is an historical English card game for two players and a "fascinating relative of Cribbage". The game "requires a moderate amount of skill in playing, and is well adapted to teach quickness in counting". It has more combinations than Cribbage and retains the original scoring system for points, but does not use a 'crib'. In the 19th century it was described as "peculiar to Shropshire."
One of a number of small pieces or pegs of wood, ivory, bone, or other material, for playing a game, or for counting the score in a game, as in cribbage.