How to Beat Your Family in Cribbage

Cribbage is an entertaining game with twists. You can either get better at playing cards or hate it completely with family. Fortunately, the cards that you get can change your outlook for the round.  But can you use the unfavorable cards to win? You need to know the strategies and basic rules for playing Cribbage. Below are a few ways to beat your opponent.

Tips to Win the Cribbage Game

Discard Strategies

Discarding a card from your hand to your opponent’s crib is important. You should carefully make this decision as it will affect the rest of the game. Whether you are playing Cribbage with 2 players or more, you need to make several decisions at this point in the game. Below are some discarding tips.

As Dealer, Keep Highest Number of Points

An important discarding strategy while playing Cribbage for dummies is that you must keep the highest possible points as a dealer. You must always consider what you throw in the crib and count your hand. That’s because the cards in your crib are counted as part of your earnings. You can easily follow this strategy if you are great at counting points.

Subtract Opposite Dealer’s Crib Points

If you are a non-dealer, your job is to subtract the opposite dealer’s crib points. For this, you must be mindful of what you are throwing. A simple rule of playing Cribbage says you can give dealers some points to save yourself a better hand. Otherwise, you must not give away any point, even if it weakens your hand.

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If you are confused about what cards to throw, here’s what you need to do. You simply need to keep the best hand for yourself. But don’t forget to eliminate the points you put in the crib from your total. With this strategy, you can save your game almost all the time. That’s because many new players don’t tend to remember this strategy. They either avoid giving points or forget that giving points is bad.

Jacks Over 10s

If you ever face a situation where your hands look equal, you must make a smart pick. If you have a Jack and 10, it’s better to choose Jack because you will get a bonus point.

Count Correctly

Many players overlook counting the cards correctly. To get the most points, remember the easy rules for playing Cribbage. Once you start counting correctly, avoid making any rookie mistakes. You can correct your opponents and steal their points if they ever overlook any of their points.

Pegging (The Play)

Pegging is another area where you can use strategies by knowing simple rules of playing Cribbage. Below are two common pegging strategies that you can use:

Start with a 4

To win the Cribbage game, you must start with a 4. That’s because this card is safe from forming a 15 comb. When you play this card, you are giving a chance to your opponent to follow up with your own 15 combos.  Furthermore, 4 cards also leave a 4-5-6 combo. With this card, you can give a run of three.

Lead With One of Your Pairs

The exceptions to the rules of playing Cribbage to 4 or lower are applicable when you have a pair in your hand.

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You can play it with a pair, hoping your opponent will follow the same card to get two points. If your opponent does what you expect, you can play your card for a pair of royals.  For instance, if you play a 6, your opponent might also play 6, 12 for two points. But you can earn more points by playing a second 6 to make 18, so you can get 3 points.

Positional Strategies (The Endgame)

The highest level of players can use the positional strategy. Here’s the strategy:

Keep Down Score at End by Sacrificing Count in Pegging

While the Cribbage game is easy, the end of the game is a bit tricky. Whether the player is in pegging or counting, if they get out, they win.  So, if you have sufficient points at the end of the game, you can choose pairs or lower cards to get more points pegging. But if your opponent gets better combos, they might beat you before you count your hand. Lastly, you must always watch your opponent because they might try to lead you. Mostly, when the opponent throws a 7 or 8, they want to give you a run of three cards.  If they successfully gave you the run of three cards, you will get two points, but they will get three points. The best thing you can do is take away your opponent’s striking power by playing around for a couple of points.


As you have understood the strategies and rules of the Cribbage game, you are good to go.