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Learn to Talk Cribbage

A difficult part of learning something new is learning the vocabulary. Cribbage is no different. Below is our cribbage glossary. If there are terms not on this list that you would like defined contact Dan Zeisler at

"15" - "15" comes up twice in cribbage. During the play of the cards, making the count fifteen scores two points. When counting the hands or Crib, any different combination of cards totaling fifteen will also score two points. One of the most unusual combinations scoring multiple "15s" is the Raggedy Ann.

19 Hand - 19 points is not possible in a single cribbage hand. Possible scores are 0-18, 20-24, 28 and 29. Since 19 is the only score under 24 not possible players often shout "19 hand" when in fact they have 0 points.

28 Hand - Second rarest hand in cribbage. Consists of four 5's with any ten point card. Odds of getting one are 15,028 to one.

29 Hand - The best hand in Cribbage and a 216,580 to 1 shot. Consists of holding three 5s and a Jack, with the Jack being of a different suit than any of the three 5s. The starter card turned must then be the fourth 5 and being the same suit as the held Jack, makes the hand count 29.

Consolation Tournament - The Consolation Tournament is a secondary Sanctioned Tournament often(but not always) held during Weekend Tournaments and allows those who do not make the Qualifying Round or get knocked our of the first couple rounds of the Main Tournament Playoffs. It usually consists of a Qualifying Round of 7-9 games. 25% of the players in a Qualifying Round advance to bracket Playoffs and the top half of those players earn MRPs based upon their qualifying score.

Crib - The Crib is the four cards (two by each player) set aside from the original hand of six cards for the benefit of the dealer before the Starter Card is turned. The Crib is counted by the dealer after counting of the Pone's and dealer's hands.

Double Double Run - A Double Double Run is a run of three cards containing two pairs. The hand counts 16 plus any combinations of "15" that might exist. An example might be Jack,Jack,Queen,Queen,King. An example of a Double Double Run with an embedded "15" is 2,2,3,4,4. This had counts 18 points, 16 for the Double Double Run plus two points for the one combination of "15". There are many combinations making Double Double Runs.

Double Run - A Double Run is a run of 3 or 4 cards containing a pair. These runs count 8 points and 10 points respectively, plus any combinations of 15 that may be present. Example of a three card Double Run is Ace, Ace, 2, 3. A four card double run might be 10,10,Jack Queen, King. There are hundreds of possible combinations plus many of the Double Runs contain combinations of 15 such as 7,7,8,9 which counts 8 for the double run plus an addition 4 points for the two combinations of "15".

Double Skunk - Any game in which the loser scores 60 points or less, not making it onto Third Street.

False Claim Of Game - False Claim of Game is when a player takes more points than what they are entitled to and in so doing pegs into the Out Hole and/or claims the game. During tournament play this is a very serious situation which requires calling for a judge. The offending player is required to go back the number of pegs that were Over Pegged, with the opponent getting those pegs and then the offending player is charged a 15 point penalty for False Claim of Game.

First Street - Holes 1-30 on a cribbage board. A tournament-length cribbage board is divided into four sections of 30 holes each which can be used as landmarks during a game.

Flush - A flush is having all four cards in your hand of the same suit and counts 4 points plus any runs and embedded "15s". If the Starter Card is also the same suit, you add one additonal point to the hand. In the case of the Crib, only 5 card Flushes including the Starter Count are allowed.

Fourth Street - Holes 91-120 on a cribbage board. See first street.

Game Hole - The Game Hole is the 121st hole and the first player to advance his peg to this hole is the winner. Many older boards do not have a actual hole for the 121st point and the first player to score 121 points is the winner. Almost all tournament boards have the 121st hole and players are encouraged to use it. See Pegging Out.

Go - GO: Called by a player during the play who cannot play a card without the count exceeding 31. The opponent scores one point unless they can make the count exactly 31 in which case two points are scored.

Grass Roots Rating Points - Grass Roots Rating Points are those points earned through weekly play at Grass Roots clubs across the country. See Local Clubs tab on the left for locations and club information. Lifetime awards are Bronze Award(1,000 Points), Silver Award(2,500)and Gold Award(5,000).

Gut Shot - A Gut Shot is like filling an inside straight in poker. It's having the starter card fill in between the other cards in your hand and significantly increasing the point total of the hand. While there are hundreds of examples, probably the most famous Gut Shot is holding 4,4,6,6 in your hand and having the Starter Card be the 5 for a 24 hand.

Hauling Lumber - Hauling Lumber(or Timber) usually refers to intentional Over Pegging, which is one form of cheating during a cribbage game. It is believed the term originated due to most boards being made out of wood and the offending player was pegging more wood than what they were entitled to.

His Heels - See Nibs

His Nobs - See Nobs

Judge - A Judge is a person who is knowledgable with the rules and is tested and authorized by the American Cribbage Congress to answer questions and settles disputes of players during sanctioned events.

Main Tournament - The Main Tournament is a Sanctioned Tournament and the premier event of a Weekend Tournament. It usually consists of a Qualifying Round of 12-22 games. 25% of the players in a Qualifying Round advance to bracket Playoffs and the top half of those players earn MRPs based upon their qualifying score. See also Consolation Tournament and Satellite Events.

Master Rating Points or MRP - Master Rating Points or MRPs are points earned during tournament play at sanctioned American Cribbage Congress events. They can be earned in a Qualifying Round or in the Playoffs for the top positions. Lifetime award levels are Master(2,000 points), Grand Master(4,000), Life Master(6,000), Life Master One Star(10,000), Life Master Two Stars(15,000), etc.

Muggins - Muggins is taking points your opponent misses. Muggins points come from one of two sources. If your opponent misses points during the play of the cards, Muggins may be called after a pause to make sure the opponent is truly missing the points. The other situation is where your opponent fails to count and/or take all the points in the hand. Once he has under pegged his hand, Muggins may be called for the difference in what was pegged and the actual count in the hand. Muggins may not be taken in the case of an opponent failing to take his two points when a Jack is the starter card, those points are lost once the dealer plays a card. Muggins is not applicable in the case where an opponent over pegs his hand, see Over Pegging - Hauling Lumber

Nibs - Nibs or His Heels is a Jack turned as the Starter Card, counts as two points for the dealer. A player needing only two points to win a game may take Nibs to win.

Nobs - Nobs or His Nobs is a Jack, either in the hand or crib, of the same suit as the Starter Card. Counts one point.

Overpegging - Overpegging is pegging more points that what you are entitled to take. It may happen during the play of the hand, in counting the hand or by accidently taking more pegs than indicated. If the opponent catches the Overpegging, you must return your front peg to the proper place and the opponent gets to take the difference between what was pegged and the correct total. If you notice your own Overpegging before your opponent, you may announce the fact and correct your front peg to its proper location with no penalty. See also False Claim of Game and Hauling Lumber.

Pegging Out - Pegging Out is the act of moving your peg into the Game Hole (the 121st) and winning the game. While not absolutely required to claim a game win, it is highly recommended by most tournament directors and Judges.

Playoffs - Playoffs are bracketed matches between players who were successful in the Qualifying Round. Initial bracket places are determined by place of finish in the Qualifying Round. Most matches are best 3 of 5 in the Main Tournament and 2 of 3 in the Consolation Tournament. As long as players win their match, they continue to advance to determine the ultimate winner of the tournament. MRPs are earned by all players in the Playoffs and increase based upon each round won.

Pone - The Pone is the non-dealer in a hand of cribbage.

Qualifying Round - Qualifying Round is the beginning round of play at a sanctioned tournament. It usually consists of 12-22 games in a Main Tournament or 7-9 games in a Consolation Tournament. At the conclusion of the Qualifying Round, the qualifiers or top 25% of the players will move on to bracketed Playoffs to determine the final winner of the tournament. The top 50% of the qualifiers will also get MRPs.

Raggedy Andy - Cribbage Hand of 8-7-6-2-2, scoring 11 points. See Raggedy Ann.

Raggedy Ann - Term for cribbage hand containing 8-7-6-A-A. Believed named because of its ragged nature but scores well at 13 points. Have also heard it called a "ragged thirteen".

Renege - A Renege is the failure during the play of the cards to play one or more cards that could have been played still keeping the count at 31 or less.

Sanctioned Event - A Sanctioned Event is one that has been approved by one of the regional tournament directors of the American Cribbage Congress. A potential tournament director makes a proposal for a Tournament Weekend and then based upon various guidelines and rules, most are approved as a Sanctioned Event allowing players to earn MRPs during the Main and Consolation tournaments.

Satellite Event - One or more Satellite Events may be held during a Weekend Tournament. These events may be either a single or doubles tournament, usually consisting of 7-9 games. They are usually scheduled on Friday or Saturday evenings of a Weekend Tournament but sometimes are scheduled on Friday afternoon or Sunday afternoon as a last chance tournament. Satellite Events are not Sanctioned Events and do not qualify for MRPs although the ACC does monitor the payouts and reports the winners in Cribbage World Magazine.

Second Street - Holes 31-60 on a cribbage board. See First Street.

Skunk - Any game in which the loser scores 61-90 points, not making it onto Fourth Street. In most Sanctioned Tournaments, a Skunk counts as 3 game points while a regular win is 2. See Double Skunk.

Starter Card - The Starter Card is the card cut and placed on the remainder of the pack before the play of the hand and is used in counting the value of each hand and the crib.

Stink Hole - Hole 120 on a cribbage board, sometimes referred to as the dead hole. If you finish up a game in this hole it means you lost 121-120, which stinks!

Third Street - Holes 61-90 on a cribbage board. See First Street.

Triple Run - A Triple Run is a run of three cards containing 3 of a kind. The hand counts 15 plus any embedded "15s". An example with no "15s" might be 2,2,2,3,4 or one containing "15s" might be 4,4,4,5,6. In the last case the hand count is 21, 15 for the Triple Run and 6 more points for the three embedded "15s". There are 33 possible combinations to make a Triple Run.

Up Sticks or Sticks - Indicates a tie at the end of a hand during the course of a game. Can occur anywhere on the board.

Weekend Tournament - Most tounament directors schedule Weekend Tournaments for the benefit of the players. A sanctioned Main Tournament is always included and most times a Consolation Tournament. One to four Satellite events may also be scheduled on the director's perogative. Occasionally tournaments are scheduled during the middle of a week and there have been instances of tournaments held on cruise ships during a week of cruising.