Counting Your Hand
Counting your hand correctly is a very important part of the game of Cribbage. The best approach is to count your 15's, then pairs, then runs, then Nobs, then finally flushes. In counting the hands below the total score is in bold and a larger font for clarity, scores are announced by saying the scoring method then the total score, i.e. 15-2, 15-4, etc.
A typical cribbage hand:
In this instance the 6 of ♦s is the starter card. First count all the combinations that make 15, then the run, then Nobs. So here you have 15-2(5 and Jack), 15-4(4+5+6), and a run of 4 is 8(3,4,5,6) and Nobs is 9.
Remembering to follow the sequence above should allow you to be able to pick up most of the points in a typical hand. You will however occasionally find a hand with points that are harder to notice, or so numerous you lose track of the total. The rest of this section deals with some of those hands.
Hands with Scores
Starting with the highest hand in cribbage to illustrate how to count a big hand and not get lost.
In this instance the 5 of Spades is the starter card. What you should do first is count all the combinations that make 15, then the double pairs royal(4 of a kind), then Nobs. So here you have 15-2(5 of ♣ and Jack), 15-4(5 of ♦and Jack), 15-6(5 of ♥ and Jack), 15-8(5 of ♠ and Jack), 15-10(5's of♣ ♦ ♥, 15-12(5's of ♦ ♥ ♠), 15-14(5's of ♥ ♠ ♣), 15-16(5's of♠ ♣ ♦), 12 for the four 5's for 28, and Nobs is 29.
The real thing to pick up here is that a four of a kind has 6 pairs and 4 three's of a kind. Most people falter counting the combinations in a four of a kind, usually on the short side because they can't believe how many points there are.
A Double Run
Many people learning the game don't really understand how a double run works. The idea is to count each completely different set of cards that be combined for a run. The hand below has no 15's to confuse you with extra points.
The pair of Aces is 2, a run of 3 is 5(Ace of ♦,2,3), a second run of 3 is 8(Ace of ♣,2,3),
The best strategy is to recognize that a double run is worth 8 points and that you should just count it as a unit and concentrate on any other points in the hand. A double-double run is worth 16 points and should also be counted as a unit, follow the count below:
The pair of Ace's is 2, The pair of 3's is 4, a run of 3 is 7(Ace of ♦2,3 of ♦), a second run of 3 is 10(Ace of ♦,2,3 of ♣), a third run of 3 is 13(Ace of ♣,2,3 of ♦), a fourth run of 3 is 16(Ace of ♣,2,3 of ♣)
RaggityAnn and Andy's
These hands cause confusion for people who forget about the low cards in the hand. A RaggityAnn is worth 13 points and a RaggityAndy is worth 11 points. Using the counting method above follow each hand.
15-2(7+8), 15-4(Ace of ♦+6+8), 15-6(Ace of ♣ +6+8), 15-8(Ace of ♦+Ace of ♣ +6+7), a pair of Aces's is 10, and a run of 3 is 13(6,7,8)
15-2(7+8), 15-4 (2 of ♥ +6+7), 15-6(2 of♠+6+7), a pair of 2's is 8, and a run of 3 is 11(6,7,8)
Hand with a Flush
The first hand portrayed in this section did not have a flush, the point total then was 9, notice the difference in count with a flush.
15-2(5 and Jack), 15-4(4+5+6), a run of 4 is 8(3,4,5,6), Nobs is 9, and a 5 card flush of ♦'s is 14
Note: A flush must contain four cards of the same suit in one’s hand to be counted (it does not have to match the turn card). To count a flush in the crib all cards have to be the same suit as the turn card and consequently the 5 card flush counts 5.
This information is provided for your use and enjoyment by 5th Peg