Most people experience culture shock when they enter their first ACC tournament; many of the rules/procedures/customs are just not what they are used to:
"What, cut before each deal? No way!! The way we play at home (or the local bar, or the Elks club, or wherever), you get a two point penalty if you are stupid enough to cut the cards when the cut is offered."The list of surprises goes on, often going back to that list of local variations I list in the Common Questions and Answers section. Hopefully this list will cushion the shock of entering into tournaments by warning you of what they are getting into. We really don't want to shock you, what we want is for you to have a great time playing the best card game in the world against other people who can give you a run for your money.
By the way, if you are a little nervous your first time at a tournament, don't worry we all were nervous. I was so nervous my hands were sweating and the cards were sticking to me. My first game was against a past national champion, not that I knew that. I also, unknowingly, played another past national champion three games later. Just to show you that anyone has a chance of winning, I won both of those games.
Tournament Cribbage Rules and ProceduresTournament cribbage rules and procedures vary to some extent compared with how most of us have played at home or in bars. This is a partial list of some rules and procedures which are unique to, or often come up in, tournament cribbage play. This is not the complete set of rules established and published by the American Cribbage Congress just a basic sampling.
- When cutting for the deal take at least 4 cards but not more than half of the deck (first person cutting), or leave at least 4 cards (second person cutting).
- Cards must be cut after the shuffle and before the deal.
- Don't look at the bottom card of the pack when cutting the starter card, this is a 2-point penalty.
- Take or leave at least 4 cards when cutting for the starter card.
- If a card is exposed during deal, you must re-deal, unless pone interference caused the card to be exposed.
- Once cards are discarded to the crib, you may not pick them up again.
Exception: if only one person discards on the wrong side of the board; if the 4 cards are in the crib but on the wrong side then the rule applies.
- If the crib is on the wrong side of the board it can be moved up until the dealer playes a card, at that point the pone gets to count the crib and also has the chioce of being the dealer in the next hand.
- Once your hand is removed from the peg, scoring is completed.
- If you pick up your front peg, it becomes your back peg.
- If you peg in the wrong direction, pegs stay where placed.
- If your opponent catches you over-pegging, you must move back to the correct spot and opponent gets the extra point(s).
If the over-pegging results in your claiming the game, you will also be penalized 15 points (call a judge).
Exception: if you catch your over-pegging before your opponent does, announce the fact, and then correct the pegged amount with no penalty.
- No one is allowed to comment on your hand or crib until you have computed your score and pegged it (No help allowed). [It is also extremely bad form to volunteer a comment about a game you are watching, particularly while the play is in progress. This is the No Kibitzing rule.]
During play, if you have any questions regarding the above rules or situations occurring outside of the normal play of the game, call for a judge to make a ruling regarding any possible infraction of the rules.
Please feel free to email me with any questions you might have. I do enjoy corresponding with all cribbage enthusiasts.