I thought as the Game of Cribbage was invented by us English and is played Worldwide I thought I would
tell its history. The most famous cribbage player of all, as described by Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist:
"Mr Toby Crackit swept up his winnings [at cribbage] and crammed them into his waist-coat pocket."
According to John Aubrey who was a 17th Century English antiquary and writer, 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 disappeared, crib has survived, virtually unchanged, as one of the most popular games 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 card combinations that add up to fifteen, and for pairs, triples, quadruples,
runs and flushes.
Cribbage, or crib, is a card game traditionally for two players, but commonly played with three, four
or more, that involves playing and grouping cards in combinations
which gain points. Cribbage has several distinctive features: the cribbage board used for score
keeping, the eponymous crib or box (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.
1) The players cut for first deal, and 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" 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 cuts the deck and the dealer reveals the top card, called the
"starter". If this card is a jack the dealer scores two points for "his heels", also known as "his nibs".
2) Starting with the player on the dealer's left, each player lays one card in turn onto a personal
discard pile, stating the cumulative value of the cards 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 total going above
31. Once no more cards can be played, the cumulative position is reset to zero and those players
with cards remaining repeat the process until all players' cards have been played. Players score
points during this process for making a total of fifteen, for reaching exactly, or as close as possible
to a total of thirty-one, for runs and for pairs. Players choose the order in which to lay their cards
in order to maximize their score; experienced players refer to this as either good or poor
"pegsmanship". If one player reaches the target (usually 61 or 121), the game ends immediately
and that player wins.
3) Once the play is complete, each player in turn receives points based on the content of his
hand in conjunction with the starter card. Points are scored for combinations of cards totalling
fifteen, runs, pairs, flushes and having a Jack of the same suit as the starter card ("one for his
nob [or nobs or nibs]"). The dealer scores his hand last and then turns the cards in the crib face
up. These cards are then scored by the dealer as an additional hand in conjunction with the starter
may refer colloquially to a hand scoring zero points as having a score of nineteen.
infrared marked cards
4) 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.