To cribbage players, the long history of the game is just about as important as the preservation of decorum that goes along with playing it. Why else would such players still delight in terms such as “peg out,” “get skunked,” or be “double skunked?” Cribbage card games love these little idiosyncrasies that have endeared them to the players around the world. This own personal lingo is what makes it somewhat hard for novices to get to know and maybe even take a liking to cribbage, yet what keeps seasoned players and those who finally figured out what the game was all about coming back for more!
If you are ready to get down to cribbage, here is a simple way to get started:
Set up your cribbage board and shuffle a deck of 52 playing cards. Keep in mind that while the king is the highest ranking card, the ace is actually the lowest ranking one. This is sometimes a bit confusing for beginners, but if you simply think of the ace as a one, you will be easily able to remember this rule.
You will get two pegs for your cribbage board. One peg marks the current score, while the other marks the previous score. You will move the pegs alternately.
The goal of the game is to score 121 points. You may play as many games as it is necessary for one of the players to accomplish this goal.
After the cards are shuffled, you will deal out six cards. Cut the remaining deck.
Take two of your cards, discard them and place them face down. These cards are now called “the crib.”
As you turn over the card of the cut deck, see if it is a jack. If it is, the dealer gets two points!
You will now play your cards and take turns doing so. Each player will play one card.
You will keep a running total of all the cards that are being played. Look to see if you can get 31 points. You will get one point if you are close to 31, but two if you actually get exactly 31. If your next card would cause the count to go above 31, you will not be able to play any further cards for this hand.
To cribbage players these basics are good and well, but many more rules and regulations have sprung up around this game and it is in these rules that many players rejoice and take their satisfaction from. As a matter of fact, some of the special rules are so intricate that entire books have been written about them, in an effort to help novices to attain the kind of game play that thus far was only left for those who were very familiar with the strategic implications of these little rules.
Of course, strategy is the lifeblood of a game that is as structurally simple as cribbage, but if you are just starting out, it would be best to first limit your intake of rules and special regulations by slowly learning them one at a time. A patient veteran player will be a good partner to go up against in the beginning.