Step By Step Guide on How to Get Better at Cribbage

Cribbage is almost four centuries old, but it continues to entertain both kids and adults worldwide. When people first look at the crib, the game can seem intimidating to play.

But new players quickly find out that the game is easy to pick up and can begin enjoying it within a few minutes of play.

Cribbage has a steep learning curve, and it’s natural for excited new players to want to master the game quickly. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to get better at Cribbage.

How to Get Better at Cribbage in Five Steps

Getting better at Cribbage is five steps away:

#1 Deal First

Getting the first deal gives you roughly 6:10 odds of winning, and many rookie Cribbage players do not realize this.

Cutting the low card to find the first dealer is customary in Cribbage. After the first dealer is found, the deal alternates every play. However, in some groups, cutting the high card is customary.

While cutting the high card gives the same outcome, it’s best to enquire whether you are cutting to low or high if you’re going to cut for the first deal.

New players can sometimes have difficulty dealing first, but you will have the edge over the other players if you manage to do it.

Having the odds in your favor becomes more important if you’re playing a match with only a few games.

At the very least, players must never pass their deal if they want to win Cribbage.

#2 Learn to Count Your Hand

New players must bear in mind that miscounting points while pegging results in a loss of points. Recognizing your hand and learning to count all the possible combinations associated with your hand properly are essential skills.

While you won’t have to worry about counting your hand correctly if you play Cribbage online, not knowing to do it correctly can get you in trouble in an offline game. Accurate tallying and pegging are integral parts of Cribbage, and the responsibility of ensuring a proper count is always on the player.

Cribbage is played with “muggins” in some regions, allowing opponents to steal points that you overlook. For instance, if you declare seven points and forget to take a point for the nobs, your opponent can correct your count to eight and take the missed point.

Since counting is a major aspect of the game, learning how to do it quickly and precisely will increase your odds of winning.

#3 Keep a Five Card in Your Crib

Keeping a Five card in your crib (unless it adds four or more points to your hand) could earn you a couple of points. This is because a hand with a five cannot score less than two points.

If you have a Five card but aren’t sure whether you should keep it or put it into the crib, it’s best to throw the card in the crib. If you have to choose between keeping the Five card and putting it into your opponent’s crib, you must decide based on the strength of your hand.

#4 Keep a Close Eye When an Opponent Leads to You

When players lead to other players, they’re often trying to set up a run of three cards. If an opponent leads with a Seven or Eight card, they’re likely hoping that you play to 15. This enables them to play a Six or Nine card for the run.

What’s important is that when a sequence ends and you earn two points for a 15, and your opponent earns three points, you will need to fight to break even with them.

In these situations, the best tactic is to take away the opponent’s striking power, even if you lose a couple of points.

#5 Always Play Defensive

Being conservative when playing Cribbage is considered the best approach to the game by many seasoned players.

New players often have the mindset that they need a huge hand to be ready for a specific turn of the card, but this typically results in a loss of several points.

Playing the lotto, so to speak, when playing Cribbage, is inherently a bad strategy. Consider the average hand and average crib of five points – playing defensively in such a scenario will give you better control of the board.

Furthermore, settling for a conservative play style leaves you open to fewer damaging situations and provides a better opportunity to win.


An effective way to learn Cribbage is to constantly test out advice you read online and break down the consequences. This way, you learn to play the game intuitively.Other websites that allow you to play cribbage for free offer resources related to the rules, strategies, and gameplay so you can go from a newbie to a seasoned player. Practice makes perfect, so make sure you put in some time each week on this game so you can start beating friends and family members during regular game nights.

Getting together with friends and family is not necessary if you want to play Cribbage. You can play Cribbage online for free at

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