CRIBBAGE
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According to Hoyle
Cribbage is believed to have been invented by Sir John Suckling (1609-1642).
Probably it is an elaboration of an older game, Noddy. The original game
was played with hands of five cards; the modern game gives each player
six. That is virtually the only change from Suckling's directions.
Players:
Two. There are variants for three and four players, described
later.
Cards:
The pack of 52. The cards in each suit rank: K (high), Q, J, 10,
9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A. The counting values are: K, Q, J, 10, each 10
(wherefore these are called tenth cards); ace, 1; each other card, its
index value.
Cribbage Board:
Indispensable to scoring (unless you have a computer!, ed.) is
the device known as the cribbage board. This is a rectangular panel, long
and narrow, in which are four rows of 30 holes each. (See illustration.)
At one end, or in the center, are two or four additional holes, called
game holes. The board is placed between the two players, and each keeps
his own score on the two rows of holes nearest himself. Each is supplied
with two pegs. Before the first hand, the pegs are placed in the game
holes. On making his first score, the player advances one peg an
appropriate number of holes (one per point) away from the game end of the
board. The second score is recorded by placing the second peg an
appropriate distance ahead of the first. For each subsequent score, the
rear peg is jumped ahead of the other, the distance between the two pegs
always showing the amount of this last score.
The traditional mode of scoring is down (away from the game end)
the outer row, and up the inner row. "Once around" is a game of 61 points.
"Twice around" is a game of 121 points.
Preliminaries:
Cards are drawn; the lower deals first. If cards of equal rank
are drawn, both players draw again. Dealer has the right to shuffle last.
Nondealer cuts, and must leave at least four cards in each packet.
Dealing:
Each player receives six cards, dealt one at a time face down,
beginning with the nondealer. The turn to deal alternates. The dealer
has an advantage.
Laying Away:
After seeing his hand, each player lays away two cards face down.
The four cards laid away, placed in one pile, form the crib. The crib
counts for the dealer. Nondealer therefore tries to lay away balking
cards -- cards that are least likely to create a score in the crib.
The Starter:
After both hands have laid away, nondealer lifts off a packet from
the top of the stock (the rest of the pack). Again, each packet must
contain at least four cards. Dealer turns up the top card of the lower
packer, which is then placed on top of the stock when the packets are
reunited. The card thus turned up is called 1 the starter. If it is a
jack, dealer immediately pegs 2, called 2 for his heels.
The Play:
Nondealer begins the play by laying a card from his hand face up
on the table, announcing its counting value. Dealer then shows a card,
announcing the total count of the two cards. Play continues in the same
way, by alternate exposure of cards, each player announcing the new total
count. The total may be carried only to 31, no further. If a player adds
a card that brings the total exactly to 31, he pegs 2. If a player is
unable to play another card without exceeding 31, he must say "Go," and
his opponent pegs 1, but before doing so, opponent must lay down any
additional cards he can without exceeding 31. If such additional cards
bring the total to exactly 31, he pegs 2 instead of 1.
Whenever a go occurs, the opponent of the player who played the
last card must lead for a new count starting at zero. Playing the last
card of all counts as a go. (Since nondealer makes the opening lead,
dealer is bound to peg at least 1 in play.)
Besides pegging for 31 and go, the player may also peg for certain
combinations made in play, as follows:
Fifteen:
Making the count total 15 pegs 2.
Pair:
Playing a card of same rank as that previously played pegs
2. Playing a third card of the same rank makes pair royal
and pegs 6. Playing the fourth card of the same rank
makes double pair royal and pegs 12.
The tenth cards pair strictly by rank, a king with a king,
a queen with a queen, and so on. (King and jack do not
make a pair, although each has the counting value 10.)
Run:
Playing a card which, with the two or more played
immediately previously, makes a sequence of three or more
cards, pegs 1 for each card in the run. Runs depend on
rank alone; the suits do not matter. Nor does the score
for run depend upon playing the cards in strict sequence,
so long as the three or more last cards played can be
arranged in a run. Example: 7, 6, 8 played in that order
score 3 for run; 5, 2, 4, 3 played in that order score 4
for run.
Any of the foregoing combinations count, whether the cards
are played alternately or one player plays several times
in succession in consequence of a go. But a combination
does not score if it is interrupted by a go.
Showing:
After the play, the hands are shown (counted). Nondealer
shows first, then dealer's hand, then crib. The starter
is deemed to belong to each hand, so that each hand includes
five cards. Combinations of scoring value are as follows:
Fifteen:
Each combinations of two or more cards that total
fifteen scores 2.
Pair:
Each pair of cards of the same rank scores 2.
Run:
Each combination of three or more cards in sequence
scores 1 for each card in the run.
Flush:
Four cards of the same suit in hand score 4; four
cards in hand or crib of same suit as the starter
score 5. (No count for four-flush in crib.)
His Nobs:
Jack of same suit as the starter, in hand or crib,
scores 1.
It is important to note that every separate grouping of cards that
makes a fifteen, pair, or run counts separately. Three of a kind, pair
royal, counts 6 because three sets of pairs can be made; similarly, four
of a kind, double pair royal, contain six pairs and count 12.
The highest possible hand is J, 5, 5, 5 with the starter the 5 of
the same suit as the jack. There are four fifteens by combining the jack
with a five, four more by combinations of three fives (a total of 16 for
fifteens); the double pair royal adds 12 for a total of 28; and his nobs
adds 1 for a maximum score of 29. (the score of 2 for his heels does not
count in the total of the hand, since it is pegged before the play.)
A double run is a run with one card duplicated, as 4-3-3-2.
Exclusive of fifteens, a double run of three cards counts 8; of four cards,
10. A triple run is a run of three with one card triplicated, as K-K-K-Q-J.
Exclusive of fifteens, it counts 15. A quadruple run is a run of three
with two different cards duplicated, as the example 8-8-7-6-6 previously
given. Exclusive of fifteens, it counts 16.
No hand can be constructed that counts 19, 25, 26 or 27. A
time-honored way of showing a hand with not a single counting combination
is to say "I have nineteen."
The customary order in showing is to count fifteens first, then
runs, then pairs, but there is no compulsion of law. Example: A hand
(with starter) of 9-6-5-4-4 will usually be counted "Fifteen 2, fifteen
4, fifteen 6 and double run makes 14," or simply "Fifteen 6 and 8 is 14."
Muggins:
The hands and crib are counted aloud, and if a player claims a
greater total than is due him, his opponent may require correction. In
some localities, if a player claims less than is due, his opponent may
say "Muggins" and himself score the points overlooked.
Scoring:
The usual game is 121, but it may be set at 61 by agreement.
Since the player wins who first returns to the game hole by going "twice
around," the scores must be pegged strictly in order: his heels, pegging
in play, non-dealer's hand, dealer's hand, crib. Thus, if nondealer goes
out on showing his hand, he wins, even though dealer might have gone out
with a greater total if allowed to count his hand and crib.
When the game of 121 is played for a stake, a player wins a single
game if the loser makes 61 points or more. If the loser fails to reach
61, he is lurched, and the other wins a double game.
Irregularities:
Misdeal. There must be a new deal by the same dealer if a card
is found faced in the pack, if a card is exposed in dealing, or if the
pack be found imperfect.
Wrong Number of Cards. If one hand (not crib) is found to have
the wrong number of cards after laying away for the crib, the other hand
and crib being correct, the opponent may either demand a new deal or may
peg 2 and rectify the hand. If the crib is incorrect, both hands being
correct, nondealer pegs 2 and the crib is corrected.
Error in Pegging:
If a player places a peg short of the amount to which he is
entitled, he may not correct his error after he has played the next card
or after the cut for the next deal. If he pegs more than his announced
score, the error must be corrected on demand at any time before the cut
for the next deal and his opponent pegs 2.
Strategy:
The best balking cards are kings and aces, because they have the
least chance of producing sequences. Tenth cards are generally good,
provided that the two cards laid away are not too near (likely to make a
sequence). When nothing better offers, give two wide cards -- at least
three apart in rank.
Proverbially the safest lead is a 4. The next card cannot make
a 15. Lower cards are also safe from this point of view, but are better
treasured for go and 31. The most dangerous leads are 7 and 8, but may
be made to trap the opponent when they are backed with other close cards.
Generally speaking, play on (toward a sequence) when you have close cards
and off when you do not. However, the state of the score is a
consideration. If far behind, play on when there is any chance of building
a score for yourself; if well ahead, balk your opponent by playing off
unless you will surely peg as much as he by playing on.