Most enthusiasts consider it the best two-person card game there is. It has the combinations of poker, the strategic thinking of bridge, the luck of Crazy Eights, the math you wished you had learned in high school, and some of the best interaction between players of any game.
“What game is that?” you ask. Well, it is cribbage. The game with that board covered in rows of holes. Yes, the game you played with your dad, probably. The game that you think is too hard to learn; no, it’s not.
So, what is with all the holes in the board? Well, points are scored continuously and if you had to stop to write them down and then do all the math, the game would take forever and you would probably add it up wrong anyway.
So, back in the 1700s, when Sir John Suckling invented the game over in England, it was decided to use a board with 121 holes and every time points are scored, the player takes the back peg and moves it in front of the front peg the appropriate number of holes/points.
The first person to get 121 points wins the game. Points are scored for pairs, trips, four-of-a kind, runs, flushes, and every time you can make your cards add up to 15.
It must be a pretty good game because there is a national organization of more than 5,000 cribbage players belonging to the American Cribbage Congress (www.cribbage.org) with local clubs and national tournaments in nearly every state.
In fact, there is a local club here in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. (Club# 346 if you are up to checking them out online.) With players as far as Canton in one direction, and Franklin in the other, they meet every Monday night at 6:30 p.m. in Cherokee because of its central location for members. It is an eclectic group with young and old, male and female, good players and novices. And the cool thing is that they willingly help each other if help is needed.
In what other contests do you see that happening? In cribbage, they play one game against a different opponent each time for a total of nine games. The results are tabulated, placed in the computer, and accumulated throughout the year, with awards given for various levels of achievement.
National tournaments draw players from all over the country and there is one most every weekend somewhere in the United States. In North Carolina, yearly tournaments are held in Winston-Salem and Raleigh/Durham. Last year’s National Championship was in Virginia Beach, Va., in early October – drawing upwards of 300 devotees.
If you are overcome with a burning desire to refresh your cribbage skills or learn cribbage for the first time, meet new people, have a good time, win with a smile and lose with grace, then Monday nights playing cribbage is for you. Boards, pegs, and cards are all provided.
There is no fee to play but we do have a few small optional side pools that players may or may not enter. One of them, for example, is for the person who has the worst night, so even a bad run of cards can return a very small windfall.
We meet in a member’s homes on Lambert Branch in Cherokee. For the exact location, contact me, at [email protected].