How to Play Five Card Cribbage and Cash Crib at a Casino

Cribbage is arguably one of the most popular card games in North America. The rules are simple enough to understand, but the potential variations of hands and strategies give it enough variety that it is easy to play for hours on end. 

If you have never played cribbage – it is in some ways comparable to poker – with aspects of five-card draw and Texas Hold’em. If you know how to play cribbage, learning how to play and bet poker games should come relatively quickly.

But as popular as cribbage is, the most common variation of it – six-card cribbage – is absence from physical and online casinos. 

Why Traditional Six Card Cribbage Never Made a Splash at Casinos

Cribbage is a lovely game that can eat away time, but its appeal never caught on in Las Vegas or online casinos. There are a few reasons why this game never managed to crack it on the casino floor.

For one thing, a standard game of cribbage involves multiple stages in each hand – and winning one hand does not dictate the outcome of the game.  

Unlike Poker, which can last much longer, you must play each hand in cribbage to its competition. This element of the game takes some of the skill out of the game and focuses you on trying to win based more on luck. 

Also, the aspect of the crib does not translate well to a casino – as it is essentially bonus points based on luck (compared to your non-crib, which involves more skill and strategy). 

However, by drawing from older versions of cribbage and by adjusting the rules of six-card, some physical and online casinos are now offering cribbage to players. 

Why Five Card Cribbage and Cash Crib Work Better Than Six Card

Although it is not the most popular game you will see on a casino floor, and not every online casino offers five-card cribbage – the five-card version of the game (which actually predates six-card cribbage) and a cash crib version of six-card has been adapted, so it is playable at casinos.

In both five-card cribbage and cash crib, the objective is to score a higher point total than the value of the dealer’s hand. Each player places an opening wager, and then each player is dealt five cards to start the game. 

In five-card crib, two cards are discarded, and players place wagers before the starter is flipped. In cash crib, one card is discarded before the starter is flipped. 

You can also place wagers in cash crib before you are dealt any cards if you wish to bet on your dealt hand score. You cannot bet you will score less than eight points in a hand. Odds range on how many points you will score.

The odds range from 1 to 1 for 8 to 11 points up to 100 to 1 for a 29 point hard (the highest-scoring hand in crib, which features three fives and a jack in your hand, the starter being the fourth five matching the suit of your jack).

In a casino setting, you can use a single deck or multiple decks for this game, depending on the seats at the table. Most games abide by a single deck and feature up to six players and the dealer.

In casino variations of cribbage, the show is not played (when each player lays a card trying to peg to 15, 31, or get runs and pairs to score points). After the wagers are placed, starting clockwise, players score their hands. If you outscore the dealer, then you win your opening wager. If your score equals to or less is than the dealer, you lose your opening wager.

Scoring bets payout in cash crib, whether you win or lose against the dealer. 

The games move much faster than a traditional cribbage hand, and without a pegging goal of 61 or 121, players can play as few or as many hands as they wish.  

Hope you enjoyed our guide! And best of luck playing cribbage!

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