Cribbage Rules

This game is named after the card game cribbage because of a scoring similarity. A cribbage is made by pocketing two balls that add up to 15. The goal is to score five cribagges. There are a total of eight cribbages (1-14, 2-13, 3-12, 4-11, 5-10, 6-9, 7-8, 15). This is a great game for all skill levels.


Fifteen balls in a triangle with the 15 ball in the center. No two corner balls shall add up to 15.


Open break required. Failure to do so gives opponent choice of re-racking and breaking or making the shooter break again.


A cribbage is scored by consecutively pocketing two balls that add up to 15 in the same inning. The 15-ball is a cribbage by itself but only when all other balls have been pocketed. When a player pockets the first ball of a cribbage he is said to be ‘on a cribbage’ and then shoots at the companion ball that adds up to 15. If multiple balls are made when not ‘on a cribbage’, the shooter is ‘on a cribbage’ but can choose any of the companion balls but must continue to pocket companion balls until all have been pocketed. If while pocketing companion balls additional balls are pocketed, these balls are added to the companion ball list. It is a foul to fail to pocket a companion ball when ‘on a cribbage‘. If only the 15-ball is left on the table it is considered to be ‘on a cribbage‘. If the score is tied at 4 to 4, the 15-ball is spotted for the tie breaking cribbage.

Valid Shot

When not ‘on a cribbage‘ any ball may be pocketed except the 15-ball to continue at the table.

When 'on a cribbage', any companion ball may be pocketed to continue at the table.

Spotting Balls

All balls not pocketed by a valid shot and all balls knocked off the table. Any cribbage that is not completed has the initial ball spotted.

Penalty for Fouls

No penalty. Scratch or cue ball off table is ball-in-hand behind the headstring. For all other fouls, opponent has the option of playing the table in position or taking ball-in-hand behind the headstring.

Three Foul Penalty

Three consecutive fouls is loss of game.


When trying to pocket an initial ball, make sure you can get shape on the companion ball. If you can't get on a companion ball or it is a low percentage play, play safe. Playing safe is better than giving your opponent a chance with ball-in-hand.

When pocketing the only or last companion ball, look for the next cribbage pair and play shape for an initial ball that has easy companion ball shape.