CRIBBAGE

Introduction

This is a revised version of the classic game of Cribbage.
It incorporates variants found in different versions of the game and adds another!
While the nature of the game remains respected, the additions the author includes have been devised to achieve the following:
Enjoy all these innovations. We have used them for many years and we would not prefer to go back to original scoring.

Setting up the game

Played with 2, 3 or 4 players. If 4 opposite players are partners.
Requirements:

Mechanics of the game

Phase I - Dealing

The elected dealer shuffles the pack well and his RHO cuts the cards for him.
He deals face down as follows:
2_handed 6 cards to each player
3_handed 5 cards to each player and one additional card for the CRIB
4_handed 5 cards to each player
When play of any hand is completed all the cards faced in that deal are discarded.
The unused cards of the pack are not shuffled nor cut
The deal rotates clockwise.
In this way, one shuffle of the pack serves for:
4_deals 2 players
3_deals 3 players
2_deals 4 players
After these number of deals the pack is shuffled by the winner of the cut (or alternatively his partner at 4 handed)
The advantages of this are two-fold:
  1. Quicker games. Less time wasted shuffling
  2. Skill is enhanced by memory of cards played in previous hands. Good observation allows for better judgement in discarding into the CRIB (both maximising your hand’s point potential, the risk or gain level of discarding into the CRIB and risk/gain in the play of the cards.

Phase II - Discarding

Each player has to discard face down into the CRIB as follows:
2_handed 2 cards
3_handed 1 card
4_handed 1 card
The idea is to discard in such a way as to maximise their chances of further advancing their peg on the Cribbage board. The various ways of scoring are detailed in later sections.
Once all players have discarded into the CRIB; the CRIB will contain 4 cards & each player will also have 4 cards in their hands.
At this point the dealer turns over the top card of the remaining pack. If this card is any JACK he may claim 2 points immediately. And advance his peg accordingly.

Phase III - Play

The player to the left of the dealer leads the first card.
The others follow by contributing a single card in turn as long as the running total does not exceed 31. These cards are played in front of themselves, face up, and not covering previous cards they have played maintaining the order in which they have played them.
For this purpose all picture cards count as 10 and Ace to Ten count 1 to 10.
If they are unable to play a card they call PASS and the next player then plays a card or also says PASS. If one can play a card one must play a card.
then:
As each card is played the running total is announced and various means of scoring points occur:
  1. If the count reaches precisely 15, the player calls “15 for 2”
  2. If it is match with the preceeding card (e.g. successive Queens): 2 points are claimed “pair for 2”
  3. If there are 3 matched successive cards 6 points are claimed
  4. If there are 4 matched successive cards 12 points are claimed
  5. If the last 3 or more cards played, regardless of order, make a run (e.g. 867 or QTJ) then 3 points are scored for a run of 3, 4 for a run of 4, etc. For the purpose of runs the card sequence are A23456789TJQKA23 etc and this is played cyclically so that K 2A is also counted as a run!
  6. Points may be scored for a Flush that is 4 points for four successive cards of the same SUIT, 5 for 5 successive cards etc.
  7. Finally a point may be claimed for a Jack matching the turned up card's suit. However the player may elect to take this point in the next phase of the game - the COUNT. This point cannot be claimed at this juncture by the next player.
As a really extreme example, suppose the following cards are played, all Hearts: 4 6 5( 15 for 2 & run of 3: scores 5 points) 3(18 for run of 4: scores 4 points), 2(20 scores 5 points) K(30 no score), A(31 for run of 7 & 2 for 31: scores 9 points!)
All points must be claimed as the card is played & pegged immediately. If they are not claimed the next player may claim them as his points!
At his turn a player announces: ’running total’ and if scoring adds ’n for pair|run|flush’ or ’for 2’ reaching 15 or 31exactly.
Each player must peg any points earned in the play immediately.

Phase IV - COUNT

With the play over the count is taken.
Each player in turn starting with the player to the left of the dealer and finally the dealer. Each player shows his 4 cards and declares the points his hand is worth.and pegs it, then the next player follows suit and so on until the dealer has his turn and pegs. The dealer now continues and counts an extra hand - the CRIB and then pegs that too.
Again any points unclaimed or falsely claimed and pegged by any player may be claimed by the following player at his turn to count (or by the player on the left of the dealer after he has pegged both his hand and crib. This rule applies in the PLAY as well as in the COUNT.
For the purpose of the COUNT exch hand consists of 5 cards: the 4 cards remaining after discarding into the crib PLUS the cut card exposed after the crib is completed. This ’CUT’ card therefore is used by all players and the dealers crib.
Scoring is similar to the play, but take care not exactly the same, it is as follows:
  1. Pairs. For each different pair: Score 2 points. Note 3 the same counts as 3 different pairs and 4 the same as 6 different pair combinations.
  2. Runs. For each different combination run of 3 cards: Score 3 points. Example: a hand such as QQKA and 5th card A counts as 4 different combinations of 3 card runs - note the cyclic runs OR 4567 and a 3 cut counts 9 (3 different runs of 3)
  3. 15’s. For each different subset of the 5 card hand which adds up to a 15: count 2 points. Example: 4556 and 5th card 5 counts four different combinations of 15.
  4. 31’s. For each different subset of the 5 card hand which adds up to 31 count 2 points. Ex. 6788 and 5th card Q there are 2 31’s or with QQKK and an Ace cut counts 8 - 4 distinct 31’s.
  5. Flushes. If aby 4 of the five cards are of the same suit this counts 4 points. If all 5 cards are of the same suit, then this count for 8 points.
  6. If holding J of the same suit as the cut card take 1 point (unless already taken in the play).

Pegging & winning

For the time being we note that the winner of the game is the first player who’s peg arrive at the ’summit’ of the Cribbage board 121 - having more points than he needs is of no consequence.
Note carefully that there is a stict order of pegging throughout the game.
The winner scores ’points for a win’ as follows:
1_point For each opponent in the last quartile of the cribbage board (i.e. 90-120)
2_points For each opponent ’skunked’ lying in the third quartile of the cribbage board (i.e. 60-89)
4_points For each opponent ’double skunked’ that is remaining in the first or second quartile of the cribbage board (i.e. 1-59)
Note: these points are doubled for each re-cut at the start of the game when both players cut the same card!
After playing an agreed number of games the winner is the player who has accumulated the maximum of points.
Now for the last innovation!
This applies only to the 2 and 4 handed variants of the game.
When both players/teams are in the final quartile, that is pegged 90 to 120 points, then at each separate pegging whether in the card PLAY or hand COUNT one has the additional option of DEDUCTING points from your opponent instead of pegging yourself forwards. The following points must be strictly observed:
  1. The points, at each turn to peg, may not be split between pegging opponents back and pegging yourself forwards.
  2. Pegging opponent backwards cannot be done if it takes the opponents score beyond the final quartile (Skunk point) to 89 or less
When a game is won the cards are reshuffled and a further cut is made to decide the dealer (and therefore first CRIB) for the winner of the cut.

Comments

Skill level and interest are much enhanced by these additiona to scoring also reducing to some extent the ’luck’ aspect due to the run of the cards.
Games will tend to take less deals:
8 for 2-handed. A fast game 7 and a slow game 9
10 for 3 handed.
5-6 for 2 partnerships in a 4 handed game
Skill has been increased due to much increased scoring opportunities
Especially in the 2-handed game the discarding into the crib is of heightened significance.
Memory can play a part! Remembering the cards previously discarded can alter the odds significantly when choosing cards for the crib or retention in obes hand.
The concept of pegging forward or your opponent backwards can increase the tension and skill in the endgame. Utilising your knowledge of your own points and estimation of your opponent points. It can also significantly increase the drama in a close game even extending it by several deals!
The 2 & 4 handed games are highly recommended; the 2 handed being the best 2 handed card game i knowof, the four handed partnership game an ancester of whist & bridge, the 3 handed is rather less skillful.