Cribbage is a card game that utilizes a Cribbage board for easy score keeping and a standard 52-card deck. At its simplest, it is a game of numbers. You collect points by scoring combinations or putting cards together to make runs. The math is simple, but you do need to know some tactics and strategies.

You have to know which is the right card to play is and which is the wrong card to play. If both players do know that, you can complete a game in less than 15 minutes. But there are a lot of rules and vocabulary to learn, so you may be slow at first.

In order to play Cribbage, you need the following:

● Standard deck of cards

● Two players (or up to four)

● Cribbage board (or a pencil and piece of paper)

Starting the Game

To start, each player cuts the deck and the player with the lowest card is the first dealer; the other is the pone or non-dealer. From that point, players alternate. The dealer has to offer the cards to the pone to cut and then put the rest of the deck (or the stock in Cribbage) into the middle of the table.

From that point, each player picks up their six cards (five for games of three or four players) and discards two of them facedown to form the crib. The dealer, pone, and crib will each have four cards.

Cutting the Deck

After the players decide which cards to keep, the pone has to cut the remaining cards of the stock. The dealer turns over the top card to reveal the starter. This card is part of all three hands, the dealer’s, the pone’s, and the crib. If the upcard is a jack, the dealer then scores two pegs (two for his heels) -- the dealer must claim and record these before any cards can be played.

Playing the Game

The object is to score points by pegging. The ranks of the cards are from highest to lowest: King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace.

After the starter is played, the pone lays a card face up on the table and then the dealer, alternating until a Go (each player’s cards are kept separately from his/her opponent’s). When a player lays a card on the table, he/she announces the running total reached with the addition of the card. The running total of the cards may not exceed 31. If a player cannot lay down a card without exceeding 31, he/she says “go” and the opponent scores one peg. In addition to Go, pegs may be scored through runs or pairs.

Score Recording

Players use the Cribbage board to record points. There are two sets of 60 holes, four rows of 30 holes, and the object is to go around the two rows like a horse goes around a racing oval. You have to complete your circuit before your opponent does. You advance one space for each point, needing a total of 61 or 121 points to win (depending on the agreed upon total).

As each player has two pegs, one is used to score (pegging) and the other is used to keep track of your last score in case you lose track.