# Another cribbage question

When two people are playing cribbage – in person, not online – how are cards laid out during play (pegging)? Online games handle this pretty elegantly, but during a real-life game, where is the physical placement of the cards? One must keep track of whose cards are whose, but also keep track of the last 2, 3, 4, or up to 7 cards played.

I can easily envision arguments over what the last several cards were. In other words, when the cards out there are A, 2, J, 5, 3, 5, and 4 (not necessarily in that order), there can be confusion about whether he last cards played constitute a 15, pair, or run of whatever.

This can get even worse in a game of 3, 4, or 6 players. How is it typically handled?

And after each time 31 is reached, do players reclaim their cards?

Just lay cards on top of each other. Each player gets his own pile, new cards go on top of older cards spaced out slightly so you can see what was played before, and you say the running total and any scoring sets out loud.

Good cribbage players know the cards that have been played.

Everyone has a pile in front of them, some folks play by flipping over that pile at the end of each 31/Go, others just keep playing right on top of them. But even with a large group it’s not confusing.

Yeah, I’ve always played that you clear the pile at 31/Go. You’re supposed to remember what’s been played in order to figure out what cards your opponent might have left in their hand, and leaving all the cards on the table makes this much easier. So clear, and flip.

This wonderful online card game resource confirms:

I honestly have never played with anyone who didn’t turn over the cards after 31/One for last.

I don’t usually but I have played with a group that doesn’t flip. It’s a little confusing at first but easy to pick up.

I’ve never flipped, just the first person to play after the 31/go states the new (reset) total. If anything, as the cards are played, use a slightly larger gap to indicate where the break was.

My family never flips. People are pretty good at the game and the pegging rounds go really quickly, flips aren’t remotely necessary if people are all engaged and paying attention.

And that’s why I’ve always flipped. Even though it seems like memorizing what two or three cards have been played should be trivial, every once in awhile a player (myself included) forgets.

And that’s why I’ve always flipped. Even though it seems like memorizing what two or three cards have been played should be trivial, every once in awhile a player (myself included) forgets. Cribbage has a pretty good deal of variance, so I think every element of skill should be left in the game, no matter how trivial it is. (Though I don’t usually play muggins rules.)

We do play muggins, which makes all the more reason why not flipping is part of the challenge.

I’m missing something. How is not flipping part of the challenge?

Making players pay attention to the game and knowing when a Go or a 31 occurred. If you have to keep track of the cards in your head it makes it tougher to call muggins and tougher to notices runs and pairs.

Oh, are you saying you play by laying cards on top of one another, then, covering up previously played cards? That makes a lot more sense in terms of making it more skillful. I was thinking playing one card next to another, like it does on the computer, which kills one skill element if you can see what cards have already been played without having to memorize them.

We don’t go out of our way to obscure the cards played first, but everyone just piles their plays in one pile in front of them continuously. By flipping over the cards every time you get to a 31 you always have a fresh set of cards and it’s pretty easy to sort out what’s been played, when you just keep everything face up in one pile in front of you it’s a little trickier. It’s not revolutionary or anything, but I see no need to reset the round after every 31 to start with a clean pile.

I agree actually, but most people I play with look at me oddly when I don’t flip so I succumb to peer pressure and flip.