By Neal Taparia - 4/28/2023
If you’re new to playing cribbage, adding up card combinations to tally your points can take time. We’re here to help.
What are the scoring rules for cribbage? There are several ways to score in cribbage. We’ll go over them here.
Because there are so many possible combinations of cards, we’ve made a cribbage scoring chart for quick reference:
|Combination||Points||How it works||Examples|
|15||2||The value of cards played = 15 pips||5+10, 6+9, 4+5+6|
|31||2||The value of cards played = 31 pips||A+5+5+Q+K|
|Pair||2||A pair of cards of the same rank||9,9|
|Double Royal Pair||12||Four-of-a-kind||9,9,9,9|
|Run of 3+||1 per card||Cards with sequential ranks||6-7-8 (Runs do not have to be in order, 8-6-7 counts as a run)|
|3-Card Double Run||8||A run of 3 including a pair||Four cards total, e.g. 6,7,7,8 (Counts as two 3-card runs and a pair)|
|4-Card Double Run||10||A run of 4 including a pair||Five cards total, e.g. 6,7,7,8,9 (Counts as two 4-card runs and a pair)|
|3-Card Triple Run||15||A run of 3 cards with three-of-a-kind||Six cards total, e.g. 6,7,7,7,8 (Counts as three 3-card runs and a royal pair)|
|3-Card Quadruple Run, or Double Double Run||16||A run of 3 cards including 2 pairs||Five cards total, e.g. 6,7,7,8,8 (Counts as four runs of 3 and 2 pairs)|
|Flush of 4+||1 per card||Cards of the same suit. Can only be scored during the Show.||Four-card flush, e.g. 4 spades in a hand or crib = 4 points or Five-card flush, e.g. 5 spades in a hand or crib = 5 points|
|Nobs, or “one for his nob”||1||Jack of the same suit as the Start or top card||Jack of hearts where the Start card (top card) is a heart|
|Nibs, or “two for his heels”||2||Jack is the Start card. 2 points go to the dealer.|
|Last Card||1||The last card played before someone says “Go”|
|Muggins||?||A player calls Muggins to take the points another player forgets to claim.||If a player doesn’t notice a combination of 15 by the end of their turn, their opponent may call Muggins to claim the 2 points at the beginning of his turn.|
To brush up on all cribbage rules, check out How to Play Cribbage for Beginners.
The wooden cribbage board is the traditional way to keep score for this popular card game. Each board has 2-3 score tracks in different colors. There are 120 holes in each track and a final hole — called the game hole — at the end. There is only 1 game hole, as only 1 player can peg up to 121 points and win the game.
What is pegging in cribbage? Pegging in cribbage means moving the peg along the score track for every point earned.
Each player has 2 pegs on the board that will leap-frog as you play. When you score, you’ll move the rearmost peg past the foremost peg the number of points you earned. This way, you can still see your previous score on the board, making it easy to re-count as needed.
For example, if you have pegs in holes 25 and 32 and score 4 points, you’ll leave the peg in hole 32 and move the peg from hole 25 to hole 36.
Scoring during the play phase is immediate — each time you play a card face up, you’ll announce the card’s value, add it to the running total, and score any points you earned. That means players will quickly alternate pegging up during play.
It’s important that each player scores their points as they go. There are a lot of scoring combinations to remember, and even experienced players can miss extra points if they’re not careful to count all played cards.
As a refresher, cards pip values are:
Once the running total hits 31 pips, the count resets at . The round will continue until the last player runs out of cards.
Reminder: The starter card does not count toward points during the play phase.
The phase of the game for scoring hands is called the Show. This will start with the pone — the first player to the left of the dealer in 3+ player games. The dealer always tallies their points last. First, they’ll tally their hand, then they’ll score the crib.
What is the crib in cribbage? In cribbage, the crib is made up of discards at the beginning of each round. After the dealer shuffles to start the round, the crib is created as a second hand of cards to be scored at the end of the round. The crib remains face-down until it is time to score.
How do you count the crib in cribbage? The dealer counts the crib the same way they counted their original hand. The crib is not added to the dealer’s hand, but scored separately as an additional hand.
Scoring order is meant to level the odds in cribbage. While the dealer has an obvious advantage holding the crib cards, non-dealers have the advantage of tallying their scores first. Towards the end of the game, if both players have enough points to win, the non-dealer will win the game by pegging up first.
Once you get the hang of cribbage, be sure to check out these popular variants of the classic.
You can use a single card in multiple configurations. For example, if a player’s hand includes 5, 5, 6, and 10, and the Starter card is a 4, they can configure it as follows:
This is also true of cards played during the play phase. Add up combinations as you go, just remember, your opponent can build onto everything you play and score points too. So think ahead!
If the losing player scores 61-90 points, the game is a “skunk.” In tournaments, a Skunk game is worth 3 points for the winner — regular games are worth 2 points.
While most of us aren’t playing in cribbage tournaments, it’s still fun to do a victory dance and shout “Skunk!” at the end of a game.
Cribbage boards are fun, useful, and most of them are downright pretty to look at. However, it is possible to play cribbage without one. (Many avid cribbage players disagree, arguing that the board is essential for cribbage — let’s assume they’re not reading this.)
You can add points on paper using tally marks, or by adding up the numbers. Tally marks will be a bit easier during the play phase, or you’ll end up with a full sheet of math in no time.
What you really miss using paper are the skunk lines and the visual race to 121. If you like seeing the track, you can easily draw 2 columns and mark off every 5 points and make a space at the end for that 121st point. It’s really up to you.
Ready to play cribbage online? Check out our free version and we’ll keep score for you!