Two Handed Five Card Cribbage
Cribbage is very popular within the Company and at our 3rd Annual Cribbage event in Dec 2019, our own card expert, L/M Edward Copisarow, adapted the rules of a very old version into modern English, that was outlined originally in The City Gamester and published around 300 years ago.
To be the first to score 61 points. Points are “pegged” on a board as shown in the diagram. Each player has two pegs which leapfrog the other so that the forward peg shows the player's current score and the rear peg shows the previous score, the difference between them being the amount most recently scored.
Players cut pack to determine who deals first. Cards rank K (high) Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 A (low). The player cutting the higher card pegs 3 points “for last" and the player cutting low deals the first hand. Subsequent hands are dealt alternately. For each deal, the dealer shuffles, the non-dealer cuts the cards, and the dealer then deals 5 cards to each player, one at a time. The undealt remainder is placed face down on the table.
Each player must choose two cards to discard face down to form the "crib". These four cards are set aside until the end of the hand. Any card combinations in the crib will count for the dealer, so the non-dealer should throw cards unlikely to make valuable combinations.
Once both players have discarded, the non-dealer cuts the pack of undealt cards by lifting the upper part without showing its bottom card. The dealer turns over the top card of the lower part and, after the non-dealer replaces the upper part of the deck, places it face up on top of the pack. This turned up card is called the "start" card. If the start card is a Knave, the dealer immediately says "two for his heels" and pegs two points.
Play of the cards
Non-dealer plays a single card face up saying the pip value aloud. All court cards count 10. Dealer responds, calling the cumulative value of the two cards played. Play continues alternately until the total equals 31. A player who cannot play without 31 being exceeded says “Go”. If your opponent says "Go" you continue playing without going over 31. If a player reaches 31 exactly they peg two points otherwise the last to play pegs one “for last”.
Other points are scored during the play as follows:
15: If you play a card which brings the total to 15 you say "Fifteen for two" and score 2 points.
Pairs: If you play a card of the same rank as the previous card you peg 2 points for a pair. If immediately after a pair a third card of the same rank is played, the player of the third card scores 6 points for "pair royal". Four cards of the same rank, played in immediate succession scores 12 for “double pair royal”.
Run: A "run" is a sequence of 3 or more cards played in immediate succession which are of consecutive ranks - irrespective of the order in which they are played. The player of a card which completes a run scores for the run; the score is equal to the number of cards in the run. If the next player adds another card in sequence they score points equal to the new number of cards in the run.
After the play has ended, players reckon aloud for combinations of cards held in hand. The start card also counts as part of the hand when scoring combinations. Non-dealer's hand is exposed, and scored first. All valid scores from the following list are counted.
Fifteens: Each combination of cards adding up to 15 scores 2 points.
Pairs: A pair of cards of the same rank scores 2 points. Three cards of the same rank scores 6 points for "pair Royal". Four of a kind scores 12 points for “double pair royal”.
Run: Three cards of consecutive rank scores 3 points for a run. A run of four scores 4 points and cannot be scored for its component runs of three.
Flush: If all three cards in hand are the same suit, 3 points are scored for flush. If the start card is also the same suit, the flush is worth 4 points.
One for His Nob: If the hand contains the Knave of the same suit as the start card, claim “one for his nob” and score 1.
After non-dealer's hand has been shown and the score pegged, dealer's hand is shown, scored and pegged in the same way. Finally, the dealer exposes the four cards of the crib and scores them with the start card. Scoring the crib is the same as for players' hands except that a run of five cards scores 5 points and nothing for its component runs and a flush in the crib (plus the start card) is worth five but only scores if all five cards are of the same suit.
Once all the scores are reckoned, non-dealer takes up the cards and assumes the role of dealer for the next hand.
Winning the game
As soon as someone reaches 61 points, that player wins the game and no more points are scored. It is not necessary to reach 61 exactly.
With thanks to L/M Edward Copisarow