Thursday, 18th July, 2024

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Intermediate Cribbage Strategy

Before reading this section, you should obviously be familiar with how to play cribbage, and also basic cribbage strategy. The basic cribbage strategy article is very important because it teaches you the basics of the game, the best method of playing and identifies the most common holes in a cribbage players game.

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Now you understand how to play Cribbage and don’t make any silly mistakes then it’s time to step things up a notch. These intermediate strategies should help you become a much better Cribbage player, whether online or offline. With these strategies you should be able to beat the majority of Cribbage players long-term.

Here are a list of the Top Cribbage Tactics that will help you become a much better Cribbage player.

Exploit The Rules

You would be surprised how many people don’t actually know the rules of Cribbage. There are actually many methods of exploiting the rules which you can use to earn points that others may not know about. Here are just a few examples:

  • If your opponent is the dealer and exposes one of your cards while dealing out cards, not only do you request a new deal but you also get 2 points.
  • If your opponent is the dealer and deals you too many cards, you can point this out and request a new deal AND you receive 2 points.
  • If your opponent is the dealer and the turn-up card is His Nobs, then the dealer must declare the two points before he puts any cards down. Failure to do so means the points are void, so don’t let him claim those points later in the game.
  • If your opponent gets 2 points but accidentally moves his peg for 3 points then not only does he have to move his peg back to the original 2 points, but you get the points that he miscounted.

Those are just a few methods of knowing the rules and exploiting them. For more information be sure to read our Cribbage Rules section.

Study Your Opponent

One thing you will find with Cribbage players is that they often fall into a pattern – they think they know the correct play, and so they’ll make that move. Often it IS the correct play, however if they play the exact same way every time then it is easily exploitable. Also Cribbage players are not very aware of themselves, and give away a lot of “tells” which you can use to your advantage.

For example, there is one person I play on a regular basis who I beat the majority of the time, simply because of the way he plays. If he has any combination of a ten, jack, queen or king he will ALWAYS play the lowest card first. So if he plays a Queen, I know he doesn’t have a Jack or a Ten, so I can play those safely knowing that he can never pair them.

This same opponent also attempts to “set me up”. He’ll put down a 7, hoping that I put down an 8 for 2 points, then he’ll play a 9 for 3 points. However when he does this, he’ll place the 7 down then his hand will go immediately to the 9 in his hand ready to slam it down and yell gloriously “a run for 3!”. Watching his hand movement I’m able to determine this, and stop him from getting that run.

Mix Up Your Play

If you’re playing a good opponent then they’re going to study how you play – so one thing you need to do is mix up the way you play. It doesn’t have to be anything drastic. If you have a 7 and an 8 in your hand and you want to play one of them first – mix up what card you play first.

Concentrate on Pegging

You can win or lose a game of Cribbage during the most important stage: pegging. For the most part when it comes to the points in your hand and crib it comes down to the skill of the opposition player, and the luck of the draw. Where really good players can win is pegging, yet many people see it as an afterthought. We’ve mentioned it above – but focus on your opponent, look at the way they play, the order they play cards. Look to see whether they play it super safe(not putting down a pair so that you don’t get trips), or whether they are aggressive(willing to give up points to earn more).

Use the above strategies and you should be able to defeat the average cribbage player the majority of the time.

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