3 Of A Kind In Cribbage


Play the classic card game Cribbage online for free. No download required. Play against the computer, or challenge another human player! The ancestor of cribbage is noddy, a game for two or four players, each receiving just three cards and playing and scoring in a similar manner to modern cribbage. However, instead of scoring 2 points for reaching 15 or 31 (called hitter ), players scored the number of constituent cards making up the point.

  1. Score 3 Of A Kind In Cribbage
  2. What Is 3 Of A Kind In Cribbage
  3. How Many Points Is 3 Of A Kind In Cribbage
Cribbage being played with a travel-sized scoring board
Alternative namesCrib
Players2 (variations for 3–6)
Skills requiredStrategy, tactics, counting
DeckStandard 52-card deck
Card rank (highest first)K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 A
Playing time15–30 min.
Related games
Noddy, Costly Colours

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 eponymouscrib, box, or kitty (in parts of Canada)—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. It has been characterized as 'Britain's national card game' and the only one legally playable on licensed premises (pubs and clubs) without requiring local authority permission.[1]

The game has relatively few rules yet yields endless subtleties during play. Tactical play varies, depending on which cards one's opponent has played, how many cards in the remaining deck will help the hand one holds, and what one's position on the board is. A game may be decided by only a few points—or even a single point—and the edge often goes to an experienced player who utilizes strategy, including calculating odds and making decisions based on the relative positions of players on the board.

Both cribbage and its close relative Costly Colours are descended from the old English card game of noddy. Cribbage added the distinctive feature of a crib and changed the scoring system for points, whereas Costly Colours added more combinations but retained the original noddy scoring scheme.


According to John Aubrey, 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 become a historical, rarely-played game,[2] cribbage has continued unchanged as a popular game in the English-speaking world.[3] 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 showing certain jacks, playing the last card, for card combinations adding up to 15 or 31, and for pairs, triples, quadruples (cards of the same rank), runs (sequences of consecutive numbers irrespective of suit) and flushes (sets of cards of the same suit).[4]

Cribbage was played by American submariners,[5] serving as a common pastime. The wardroom of the oldest active submarine in the United States Pacific Fleet carries on board the personal cribbage board of World War II submarine commander and Medal of Honor recipient, Rear Admiral Dick O'Kane, and upon the boat's decommissioning, the board is transferred to the next oldest boat.[6]


A game of cribbage being played.

Play proceeds through a succession of 'hands', each hand consisting of a 'deal', 'the play' and 'the show'. At any time during any of these stages, if a player reaches the target score (usually 121), play ends immediately with that player being the winner of the game. This can even happen during the deal, since the dealer scores if a jack is cut as the starter.


The players cut for first deal, and the person who cuts the lowest card deals. 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' (also called the box), which will be used later by the dealer.[7]

At this point, each player's hand and the crib will contain exactly four cards. The player on the dealer's left cuts the remaining deck, and the dealer reveals the top card, called the 'starter' or the 'cut'.[8] If this card is a jack, the dealer scores two points for 'his heels' or 'his nibs'.


Starting with the player on the dealer's left, the players each in turn lay one card face up on the table in front of them, stating the count—that is, the cumulative value of the cards that have been 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 count going above 31. Face cards (kings, queens, and jacks) count as 10. The cards are not laid in the centre of the table as, at the end of the 'play', each player needs to pick up the cards they have laid.

Players score points during the play as follows:

  • 15 – For causing the count to reach exactly 15 a player scores two points, then play continues.
  • Pair – Completing a pair (two of a kind) scores two points.
    • Three of a kind is the same as three different pairs, or 6 points.
    • Four of a kind is 6 different pairs, or 12 points.
  • A run of three or more cards (consecutively played, but not necessarily in order) scores the number of cards in the run.

If a player cannot play without causing the count to exceed 31, they call 'Go'. Continuing with the player on their left, the other player(s) continue(s) the play until no one can play without the count exceeding 31. A player is obliged to play a card unless there is no card in their hand that can be played without the count exceeding 31 (one cannot voluntarily pass). Once 31 is reached or no one is able to play, the player who played the last card scores one point if the count is still under 31 and two if it is exactly 31. The count is then reset to zero and those players with cards remaining in their hands repeat the process starting with the player to the left of the player who played the last card. When all players have played all of their cards the game proceeds to the 'show'.

Players choose the order in which to lay their cards in order to maximize their scores; experienced players refer to this as either good or poor 'pegging' or 'pegsmanship'. If one player reaches the target (usually 61 or 121), the game ends immediately and that player wins. When the scores are level during a game, the players' pegs will be side by side, and it is thought that this gave rise to the phrase 'level pegging'.[9]


Once the play is complete, each player in turn, starting with the player on the left of the dealer, displays their own hand on the table and scores points based on its content in conjunction with the starter card. Points are scored for:

  • Combinations of any number of cards totalling fifteen
  • Runs
  • Pairs (Multiple pairs are scored pair by pair but may be referred to as three or four of a kind.)
  • Flush (A four-card flush scores four and cannot include the starter card; a five-card flush scores five.)
  • Having a jack of the same suit as the starter card ('one for his nob [or nobs or nibs]', sometimes called the 'right' jack)

The dealer scores their hand last and then turns the cards in the crib face up. These cards are then scored by the dealer as an additional hand, also in conjunction with the starter card. Unlike the dealer's own hand, the crib cannot score a four-card flush, but it can score a five-card flush with the starter.

All scores from 0 to 29 are possible, with the exception of 19, 25, 26 and 27.[10] Players may refer colloquially to a hand scoring zero points as a “nineteen hand”.[11]


Muggins (also known as cut-throat) is a commonly used but optional rule, which must be announced before game play begins. If a player fails to claim their full score on any turn, the opponent may call out 'Muggins' and peg any points overlooked by the player.[12]


A match (much like tennis) consists of more than one game, often an odd number. The match points are scored on the cribbage board using the holes reserved for match points. On a spiral board, these are often at the bottom of the board in a line with 5 or 7 holes. On a conventional board, they are often in the middle of the board or at the top or bottom.

In a two-player game of cribbage, a player scores one match point for winning a game. Their opponent will start as dealer in the next game. If a player lurches (British) or skunks (US) their opponent (reaches 121 points before their opponent scores 91 points), that player wins two match points for that game. If a player double skunks their opponent (reaches 121 points before their opponent reaches 61), they score three or four match points for the game, depending on local convention.[13] If a player triple skunks their opponent (reaches 121 points before their opponent reaches 31 points), they automatically win the match. Double and triple skunks are not included in the official rules of cribbage play and are optional. There are several different formats for scoring match points.

Match point scoring
Scoring VariationPoints for ..
Normal winSkunking
Double skunking
Triple skunking
Official Tournament rules (American Cribbage Congress)2 points3 pointsNo extra pointsNo extra points
Long Match scoring3 points4 pointsNo extra pointsNo extra points
Free play rules1 point2 points3 or 4 pointsNo extra points
Free play rules with triple skunk1 point2 points4 pointsAutomatic win of match

Cribbage board[edit]

Traditional wooden board layout with wooden pegs
Modern 120-hole board

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').[14] 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.

There are several designs of crib board:

  • The classic design is a flat wooden board approximately 250–300 mm (10–12 in) by 70–80 mm (3–4 in) and 10–20 mm (0.4–0.8 in) deep. There are two sets of 60 holes (30 'out' and 30 'back') divided into 5 point sections. A pegging-out hole in the middle at each end allows the board to be used in either direction. One player or team scores on one set of 60 holes and the other player or team scores on the second set. Different arrangements are made for three player games.
  • A relatively old design is that of an equilateral triangle with two rows of forty holes on each side. These boards did not generally include extra pegging-out holes or holes to count games.
  • A newer design has three or four rows of 120 holes in a 'paperclip' shape (with a pegging-out hole at the end) and is often brightly coloured. It is best suited to games played to 121, though it can also be used for 61-point games.
  • A tournament long board is used in sanctioned tournaments in the American Cribbage Congress and consists of four rows of 60 pegs (two rows for each player), no number markings or five point segments, and only a mark indicating the skunk line. Movement around the board starts on the outside and ends on the inside. Players start and end in the same hole.
  • Another common variation is based on features of the highest-scoring cribbage hand. The board takes the form of the number 29 (the highest possible score), with the pegging rows following the contour of the numbers '2' and '9'. The design can sometimes include a background image of three fives and a jack, with the fourth five offset—the 'perfect hand' giving that score. The count being 8 combinations of 15 for 16 points, 6 pairs of 2 for 12 points and a matching 'nobs' jack (matching the cut card) for 1 totalling 29.

Each of the four 30-point divisions of the cribbage board (1–30, 31–60, 61–90, and 91–120) is colloquially called a 'street'. Being at 15 points would be on first street, being at 59 points would be on second street, etc.

Noddy and costly colours[edit]

The ancestor of cribbage is noddy, a game for two or four players, each receiving just three cards and playing and scoring in a similar manner to modern cribbage. However, instead of scoring 2 points for reaching 15 or 31 (called hitter), players scored the number of constituent cards making up the point. In addition, there was originally a third point at 25. Players also scored for pairs, prials, runs and flushes as in cribbage. There was no crib and game was 31.

Costly colours may have developed separately from noddy, as it retains several original features that are no longer part of cribbage. Again, only three cards are dealt, there is no crib and it uses the same scoring scheme for points at 15, 25 and 31 or hitter. What is new is that deuces play a similar role to jacks and that players may score for colours—i.e., having three or four cards of the same suit or colour. Four cards of the same suit are costly colours, hence the name.

See also[edit]

  • Cribbage Solitaire and Cribbage Square Solitaire, two solitaire card games based on Cribbage
  • Hounds and Jackals, an Ancient Egyptian game, which uses a similar board
  • Kings Cribbage, a game with cribbage hands being constructed crossword-style
  • American Cribbage Congress, sanctioning body for cribbage clubs and tournaments in the US


  1. ^Parlett, David. The Penguin Book of Card Games. London: Penguin (2008), p. 423. ISBN978-0-141-03787-5
  2. ^Cash, Cassidy (12 January 2019). 'Experience Shakespeare: How to Play Noddy, a 16th Century Card Game'. youtube. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  3. ^Aubrey, John (1898). Andrew Clark (ed.). Brief Lives chiefly of Contemporaries set down John Aubrey between the Years 1669 and 1696, Volume II. Clarendon Press. p. 245.
  4. ^'American Cribbage Congress Website'. www.cribbage.org. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  5. ^Klemenc, Stacey Enesey. 'Cribbage: It's not just a game, it's an obsession'. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  6. ^'The O'Kane Cribbage Board Is Passed Down'. US Department of Defense. 8 November 2019. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  7. ^Parlett, David (October 1987). The Penguin Book of Card Games. Treasure Press. ISBN1-85051-221-3.
  8. ^'The Mechanics of Playing Cribbage'. The American Cribbage Congress. 2004-10-01. Retrieved 2008-03-01.
  9. ^Oxford Dictionaries, OxfordWords blog http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2012/11/popular-idioms-explained/ extracted 31 Oct 2014
  10. ^Steven S. Lumetta (2007-05-15). 'Amusing Cribbage Facts'. Archived from the original on 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2008-03-03.
  11. ^Cribbage Corner (2008-05-05). 'The nineteen hand at cribbage'. Retrieved 2008-05-05.
  12. ^'Rule 10. Muggins'.
  13. ^Cribbage Corner. 'Cribbage rules – winning the game'. Retrieved 2015-02-23.
  14. ^'Spilikin'. Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary. Retrieved 2008-03-08. One of a number of small pieces or pegs of wood, ivory, bone, or other material, for playing a game, or for counting the score in a game, as in cribbage.

Further reading[edit]

  • Scarne, John (1965). Scarne on Card Games. Dover Publications. pp. 395–404. ISBN0-486-43603-9.
  • Wergin, Joe (1980). Win at Cribbage. Oldcastle Books. ISBN0-948353-97-X.

External links[edit]

Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Cribbage.
Retrieved from 'https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Cribbage&oldid=1007638297'

What is Cribbage?

Cribbage is a card game originating from the United Kingdom, and it is designed to be played by 2-6 players. The game is, at its core, a strategy-based card game, but it also has a distinct cribbage board that epitomizes the game type. The game has a strict set of rules and a unique scoring system, making it an acquired taste.

The classic Cribbage game has quite a following, especially in its country of origin. It is commonly played in pubs, clubs and other places of gathering, and serves as a popular pastime among the UK-based public.

The Board

Cribbage’s most distinctive aspect is theboard, and the same board style has been used since the game’s introduction inthe early 17th century. The board serves as a makeshift scoringsheet, and is definitely one of the defining aspects of the game.

A typical Cribbage board template is a sequence of holes,known as “streets”, laid out in a cyclic fashion. Scores are kept across thewhole game, so two pegs are used per player. These pegs are used in analternating fashion, such that the previous peg always remains to show theprevious score.

While that forms the essentialscore-counting part of the board, there are also certain other boards thatincorporate a separate game-counter, which shows the number of games won byeach side.

How manyholes are in a Cribbage board?

The boards count score for each player, upto a maximum of 121, hence each line of peg-holes having a maximum of 120 holesin total.

How to Play Cribbage?

Cribbage is designed to be played by 2-6players, and you really just need a deck of the standard 52-card deck to play Cribbage. The board is anadded bonus, but can be substituted with a simple score sheet or counter if oneis unavailable.

The goal of the game is to be the firstplayer to reach the score threshold of 121 points, though certain variationsmight prefer the 61-point limit instead. Scores are awarded for satisfyingspecific conditions, which will be described in detail in the Scoring sectionof the guide.

We provide easy Cribbage instructions for the 2-player variant below.

Deal Phase

Regardless of the number of players, theturn order is determined through deck splitting. The player who reveals thelowest card goes first. Turn order then proceeds in clockwise order.

The dealer shuffles the deck and proceeds todeal 6 cards to each player. These 6 cards form the hands of each player. Eachplayer is then required to discard 2 cards, to form the crib. These discardedcards are placed face down, and will only be used in the Show phase of thegame.

At this stage, all players will have handsconsisting of 4 cards, and the crib also contains 4 cards.

The player to the left of the dealer willthen cut the deck, and the dealer reveals the top card. This card will be the“starter”.

Dealers rotate at the end of each round.

Play Phase

The non-dealer goes first, and places acard from their hand face up in front of her, stating the count. The count iscumulative, so each successive card played by any player will add to thisvalue.

For instance, if the first card laid down isa 5, the non-dealer will say “5” as the count. The dealer then plays a 10 inresponse. The dealer will say “15” as the count, summing up all previouslyplayed cards.

The count cannot exceed 31, and if a playeris unable to play cards without exceeding the count, they will say “Go”. If allplayers call “Go”, the last player who managed to play a card will earn apoint. The count is then reset to 0.

During the Play phase, players can beawarded points for achieving certain conditions. These include:

  • Making a count of exactly 15
  • Playing a card that is a pair,three of a kind, or four of a kind with the previously played card
  • Making a run of three or morecards (note that suit is unimportant in these runs)

As scores are awarded, the pegs are movedin a leapfrog fashion. For example, if the dealer gets 2 points, he places apeg 2 holes ahead.

Show Phase

Once the play phase concludes, each playerthen places their hands face-up. Scores are the awarded based on the contentsof each hand. The starter card that was revealed during the Deal phase is alsoconsidered in the combinations.

Points are awarded for the following:

  • Combinations of cards totallinga value of 15
  • Runs
  • Pairs
  • Nobs, where a player has a Jackof the same suit as the starter card
  • Flushes

When revealing each combination, the playeris required to show each combination, and count the points out loud.

The dealer, after counting his/her hand,also counts the crib, and adds valid combinations from the crib to his score.


A player wins the game once he/she reachesthe defined point threshold.

Cribbage Rules

There are specific rules one must follow in Cribbage, and there is the optional “Muggins” rule that can add a layer of strategy.

Card Values

The cards are valued with Kings being thehighest card, and Aces being the lowest.

Calling Counts

Counts are called with the conditionpreceeding it. For example, a player will call their scores as such “Pair 2,Pair 4, Three of a kind 7, 15 9…” and so on. This applies to all phases of thegame.

Flipping Jacks

If a Jack is revealed during the deckcutting, the player making the cut will be awarded 2 points.

CribbageRun Rules

Runs do not have to be played in order. Forexample, Player 1 plays an 8, followed by a 10 from Player 2. Player 1 can thenplay a 9 to claim a run.


Since the game involves calling out thevalid combinations for scores, it is possible for players to miss some scorablesets. If other players observe these missed point opportunities, they can call“Muggins” to claim the points.

Note that this is an optional rule, andsome people play without this rule.

Summary of Rules

Score 3 Of A Kind In Cribbage

In summary, the Cribbage pegging rules are:

  • Dealer is determined by deck cutting.
  • Each player is dealt 6 cards.
  • Each player discards 2 cards to the crib.
  • The non-dealer cuts the deck to reveal the “starter” card.
  • The non-dealer begins by playing a card, followed by the dealer.
  • The play continues until all players have clear their cards from their hand.
  • The Show phase commences, and each player counts their hand.
  • The dealer counts the crib.
  • The dealer rotates at the end of the round.
  • When a player reaches the defined point threshold, they win.

Scoring Chart & Points

Cribbage scoring is based on the available combinations of cards, and each combination has a different assigned score. Once a player achieves the required points, they win the game. The highest score in Cribbage is 121, at which point the player wins.

Scoring Chart

The standard cribbage scoring chart is shown below.

TypeDescription Example Hand pointsCrib points
FifteenA group of cards combining to a total of 15 pointsA68 2 2
PairTwo cards with the same rank66 2 2
Three of a kindThree cards of the same rank333 6 6
Four of a kindFour cards of the same rank3333 12 12
Run of 3Three cards of consecutive ranks789 3 3
Run of 4Four cards of consecutive ranks10JQK 4 4
Run of 5Five cards of consecutive rank23456 5 5
Run of 6Six cards of consecutive rank89 10JQK 6
Flush of 4All cards are of the same suit3JA6 4
Flush of 5All cards are of the same suit6910A♣, 5 5
NobA Jack in hand is the same suit as the starter8A6J♥ Starter Card: K 1
Thirty – one The played cards sum up to 31 points78106 2
GoThe last card is played before exceeding 31 points during Play 1
Revealing a Jack as StarterRevealing a Jack as a starter card during the deck cutting phase. 2

There also several Cribbage scoring calculators available like this one.

Hand Example

This is an example hand of Cribbage played from thedeal to the end of the round.

Dealer Non-dealer

The players are then required to discard 2cards to form the crib.

Dealer Non-dealer

Crib: 6 ♥, K ♥, 10 ♦, 8

A starter card of is A ♣ is revealed.

The Play phase begins:

  1. The non-dealer begins by playing a A ♣.
  2. The dealer plays a A ♦, making a pair, getting awarded 2 points.
  3. The non-dealer plays his/her A ♥, making a three of a kind, earning 6 points.
  4. The dealer plays a 3 ♠, increasing the count to 6.
  5. The non-dealer plays a 6 ♣, increasing the count to 12.
  6. The dealer plays as 3 ♦, increasing the count to 15, earning 2 points.
  7. The remaining cards are played out without any points being earned by either player.

At the end of the Play phase, the scores are:

  • Dealer: 4 points
  • Non-dealer: 6 points

The Show phase then begins:

The dealer’s hand has 2 pairs (3s and Aces with the starter card). The dealer gets 4 points.

The non-dealer’s hand has a three of a kind (Aces with the starter card). The dealer gets 6 points.

The players now have these points:

What Is 3 Of A Kind In Cribbage

  • Dealer: 4 + 4 = 8 points
  • Non-dealer: 6 + 6 points = 12 points

The dealer then counts the crib, but thereare no available combinations.

Blackjack Blackjack trainer compares all player choices with the blackjack basic strategy. Expert mode gives a time penalty if the desicion took more than 10 seconds. Blackjack pays 3 to 2, all other bets pay even money.

Hence, the round ends with these scores:

  • Dealer: 8 points
  • Non-dealer: 12 points

The dealer the rotates for the next round.

What is thebest hand in Cribbage?

The best hand is ultimately subjectiveduring the Play phase, but the highest score a hand can get during the Showphase is 29.

The best possible hand is 5555♦ and any Jack.

One of the four cards will be the startercard. This combination gives 8 different 15s for 16 points, a four of a kindworth 12 points, and a nobs worth 1 point, giving a total of 29 points.

Cribbage Strategy & Tips

Strategy and tips to help you master Cribbage land:

  • Discards are important, as the crib serves as a possibility for the dealer to earn extra points.
  • Cribbage strategy revolves around choosing the right cards to play during the play phase.
  • Remember, runs do not have to be played in order.
  • The best cribbage players always have the count in mind, getting easy 15s and 31s.
  • Take your time during the show phase, as you don’t want to miss potential points.
  • Keeping runs during the Deal phase can help during the Show phase, but not necessarily during the Play phase.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Points Is 3 Of A Kind In Cribbage

When was the game invented?

Cribbage was invented in the early 1600s in Great Britain. You can read more on the history here.

How many points is a Four of a Kind in Cribbage?

A four of a kind is worth 12 points.

What is a Skunk in Cribbage?

Scoring 3 of a kind in cribbage

A skunk is when a player wins with a 31 point difference with his opponent.

What is a Flush in Cribbage?

A flush is a combination of 4 or more cards in the same suit.

Useful Links

  • American Cribbage Congress: The largest Cribbage organization in the world. They standardized the rules for tournaments.
  • The Cribbage Guy: Great place to find all kinds of unique Crib Boards.
  • Cribbage Boards – Limited Edition: House of Cribbage is an online store for limited edition exquisite inlaid wooden boards.
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