Six Card Cribbage is a game for two players.
To be the first to score 121 points or over accumulated over several deals. Points are scored mainly for combinations of cards either occurring during the play or occurring in a player's hand or in the cards discarded before the play, which form the crib or box.
The first deal is determined by cutting the cards. The player cutting the lower card deals and has the first box or crib. The deal then alternates from hand to hand until the game is over.
The dealer shuffles, the non-dealer cuts the cards and dealer deals 6 cards face down to each player one at a time. The undealt part of the pack is placed face down on the table. At the end of each hand, the played cards are gathered together and the whole pack is shuffled before the next deal.
Each player chooses two cards to discard face down to form the crib. These four cards are set aside until the end of the hand. The crib will count for the dealer. The non-dealer will try to throw cards that are unlikely to make valuable combinations, but must balance this against keeping a good hand for himself. The dealer, on the other hand, may sometimes find it pays to place good cards in the box - especially if they cannot be used to best advantage in hand.
The non-dealer cuts the stack of undealt cards, lifting the upper part without showing its bottom card. The dealer takes out the top card of the lower part, turns it face up and places it face up on top of the pack. This turned up card is called the start card - it will count for combinations as part of both players' hands as well as of the dealer's box. If the start card is a jack, the dealer immediately gets points - this is called Two for his heels.
Play of the cards
Starting with the non-dealer, the players take turns to play single cards. You play your own cards to form a face-up pile in front of yourself, keeping them separate from the other players' cards. In this stage of the game the total pip value of the cards played by both players must not exceed 31.
The pip values of the cards are:
Ace = 1
2 to 10 = face value
jack, queen, king = 10
As each card is played the running total is kept. If a card is played which brings the total exactly to 31, the player pegs 2 claiming Thirty one for two as he does so.
A player who cannot play without exceeding 31 does not play a card but says Go, leaving his opponent to continue if possible, pegging for any further combinations made (see below). Bringing the total to exactly 31 pegs 2, but if neither player can lay a card without going over 31, then the last player to lay a card pegs one for the go or one for last.
The cards that have been played are turned over and a fresh round of play starts with the unplayed cards in exactly the same way. This second round of play again continues until neither can play without going over 31. The last player again scores one for last or thirty one for two, and if either player has any cards left there is a further round. Play continues for as many rounds as necessary until both players' cards are exhausted. Towards the end, it may happen that one player has run out of cards but the other still has several cards. In that case the player who still has cards simply carries on playing and scoring for any combinations formed until all his cards have been played.
Tactical note: It is often worth keeping low cards in hand for this phase of the game, especially when there is a strong possibility of being able to peg out before one's opponent.
Scoring during the play
A player who makes any of the following scores during the play pegs them immediately.
15 : If you play a card which brings the total to 15 you peg 2 claiming Fifteen two.
31 : As mentioned above, if you play a card which brings the total to 31 you peg 2.
Pair : If you play a card of the same rank as the previous card (e.g. a king after a king) you peg 2 for a pair. Note that (for example) a 10 and a queen do NOT make a pair even though they are both worth 10 points.
Pair Royal : If immediately after a pair a third card of the same rank is played, the player of the third card scores 6 for pair royal.
Double Pair Royal : Four cards of the same rank, played in immediate succession. The player of the fourth card scores 12.
Run : A run or sequence is a set of 3 or more cards of consecutive ranks (irrespective of suit) - such as 9-10-jack or 2-3-4-5. The score is equal to the number of cards in the run. The cards do not have to be played in order, but no other cards must intervene.
Last Card : If neither player manages to make the total exactly 31, whoever played the last card pegs 1.
Players now retrieve the cards that they put down during the play and score for combinations of cards held in hand. First the non-dealer's hand is exposed, and scored. The start card also counts as part of the hand when scoring combinations. All valid scores from the following list are counted.
15 : Any combination of cards adding up to 15 pips scores 2 points.
Pair : A pair of cards of the same rank score 2 points. Three cards of the same rank contain 3 different pairs and thus score a total of 6 points for pair royal. Four of a kind contain 6 pairs and so score 12 points.
Run : Three cards of consecutive rank (irrespective of suit), such as ace-2-3, score 3 points for a run. A hand such as 6-7-7-8 contains two runs of 3 (as well as two fifteens and a pair) and so would score 12 altogether. A run of four cards, such as 9-10-J-Q scores 4 points, and a run of five cards scores 5.
Flush : If all four cards of the hand are the same suit, 4 points are scored for flush. If the start card is the same suit as well, the flush is worth 5 points. There is no score for having 3 hand cards and the start all the same suit. Note also that there is no score for flush during the play - it only counts in the show.
One For His Nob : If the hand contains the jack of the same suit as the start card, you peg One for his nob.
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.
Winning the game
As soon as someone reaches or passes 121, that player wins the game. This can happen at any stage - during the play or the show, or even by dealer scoring two for his heels.