Cribbage Forum
 your guide to winning cribbage
Contents: Introduction to Cribbage Forum

Ask the experts
General instruction
Annotated games

Cribbage glossary

Schellsburg home

American Cribbage Congress

MSO Worldwide Grandmaster Link Award

Cribbage Forum is the first Web site devoted to the strategy and tactics of cribbage. The focus here is on the standard six-card, two-player version of the game that is popular on the Internet and in Canada, the US, Great Britain, Australia and elsewhere, though we also cover variants such as lowball, crash cribbage and so forth. Feature articles are arranged by topic, and are listed on the submenus accessible at left. They can also be browsed in chronological order using the navigation bar at the bottom of each article.

Unless otherwise noted, all articles were written by me. Many of them cover some rather advanced topics, so depending on your level of proficiency, you might find yourself on unfamiliar ground. If this is the case, I suggest tackling the articles in the following order. Start with A course of study, the first article published at Cribbage Forum. This will provide you with some background on the materials at the site, and help you to develop your own regimen of self-study and game improvement. Included are book and software recommendations, and guidelines for analyzing your own games.

Next, I suggest you go to the core articles on discarding. These include Discarding to your crib and Discarding to opponent's crib, which include tables of discard averages, and the three-part series How to analyze discards, which explains the statistical measures used to analyze discarding decisions. Once you have mastered the information in these articles, you'll be able to follow any discussion of discarding theory at Cribbage Forum.

Once you've digested these articles, you should have no trouble following the rest of the offerings at Cribbage Forum. Look over the annotated games, which will expose you to board strategy, the concept that most vividly separates experts from average players. Then move on to the more specialized articles on the nuances of pegging and endgames, two facets of the game that often seem to defy attempts at systematic analysis. Other articles include software and book reviews and replies to readers' mail. And check out Ask the experts, a monthly quiz that lets you match your wits with an all-star panel of writers and players.

In addition to the feature articles and Ask the experts, Cribbage Forum offers the Web's most comprehensive cribbage glossary, a selection of important cribbage links, and a Cribbage Forum search page.

If you're looking for the basic rules to the game, I recommend this page from The Card Games Web site. Most Internet gaming sites also have summaries of the rules. The ACC publishes a tournament rules book, which includes provisions for handling violations and irregularities, and is the standard for competitive play in North America.

The goal at Cribbage Forum is to promote the game, elevate the general standard of play, and encourage the fun and satisfaction that comes from high-level cribbage. Feel free to contact me with your questions and comments, either by email or by posting a message at Peg on!

- Michael Schell

Notation and symbols

Some of the notational conventions employed throughout Cribbage Forum may require an explanation. Game scores are given from the perspective of the player in question. The dealer is denoted with an asterisk. If an exercise states "The score is 94*-88", then you are dealing with 94 points, while your opponent has 88 points. Cards are denoted with standard numerals and suit symbols, rendered in a separate font to distinguish them from other text. 10s, Js, Qs and Ks are collectively referred to as ten-cards, and unspecified ten-cards are denoted with a lowercase x. Note that this is the opposite of how this symbol is used in bridge and spades. Mid-cards are 6 through 9 inclusive. Occasionally I'll use a lowercase m to refer to an unspecified mid-card. Low cards are A through 4 inclusive. 5s are, well, 5s. Suits are generally indicated only where relevant. Occasionally one or more cards in a hand will be underlined (e.g., 3-4-5-7-8-Q), indicating that they are of the same suit.

In an effort to standardize the notation of cribbage pegging, I use the following format at Cribbage Forum:

4  4 (8-2)  6  A (15-2)  5  K (30-1)    5  K (15-3)

When scores are taken, the count and amount of the score is given in parenthesis. Play series are separated by a vertical bar. Exclamation points and questions marks are used to denote particularly good or bad plays (a convention borrowed from chess notation):

9!  K?  4  5  3 (31-5)    K  5 (15-2)  J (25-1)

A single question mark is also used to indicate a decision point in an article or exercise:

Q  8  J  2 (30-1)    ?

The notation for an entire deal looks like this:

PONE  (79):

2-3-5-J  (10-K)

   3  9  5  K  2 (29-1)    Q  J  J (30-3)   
  crib:   10 K
A 4
cut Q  
9-J-Q-K  (A-4)

DEALER  (74*):

In this example, Anderson had 79 points at the start of the deal. Wergin had 74* points and was dealing. Anderson was dealt 2-3-5-10-J-K, and tossed 10-K to the crib, Wergin was dealt A-4-9-J-Q-K and tossed A-4. The cut was a Q. Anderson pegged one point for a go, Wergin pegged three points for a pair and a go. Anderson's hand was worth nine points (including the right J). Wergin's hand was worth eight points, with a six point crib. At the conclusion of the deal, Wergin leads 91-89* (with the asterisk indicating that the deal has passed to Anderson).

If an entire game is given, then the game's first dealer is shown at the bottom of each deal diagram. Otherwise the dealer for that hand is shown at the bottom.

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Original Material and HTML Coding Copyright  2001-3 by Michael Schell. All Rights Reserved.