How to Deal a Six Handed Cribbage Game

Cribbage Board

I would like to introduce you to the wonderful world of cribbage, with more than four people. Reading the instructions on every cribbage board I have ever seen there are directions on how to deal for two, three, or four but never six players. Finally, a game everyone can play!

This introduction is geared for people that already know how to play standard cribbage, yet have no idea how to play with six people.

Shuffle the Cards

There is no special trick to this, just shuffle as normal. I have read that shuffling seven times will give you a truly random mix. However many times you shuffle, the goal here is to have the cards in some random order so that no player has the advantage of knowing what the other players have.

Deal the Cards

Start as normal, to the left of the dealer and continue in a clockwise rotation, doling out five cards to the first four people, and just four to the remaining two. They are not going to be disadvantaged, I assure you.

Select the Cards for the Crib

The first four people that received the extra fifth card select one to throw into the crib. I know, the other two are feeling really left out, but they will get their opportunity during the next two rounds.

Commence Play

Play goes around as it would with any standard 2-4 player game, except that every other person is on the same team. If you were to count the dealer as number one, then his teammates would be numbers three and five counting clockwise around the table. Everyone gets to participate and play commences until the last cards are thrown.

Scoring is performed in the same manner as in traditional play.

Total Your Hand

Scoring for your hands is the same as usual. There will still be just 4 cards in the crib, so there is no special ruling on how to count it.

Repeat the Sequence

Rotating to the left of the previous dealer, begin again with step one and repeat until game is concluded. The previous dealer does not get one of the extra fifth cards for the next two turns, allowing one of the unfortunates who didn't get to pick a crib card in the last hand the opportunity to play the extra card.


A standard game played by skilled scorers will take an average of fifteen minutes, allowing two games of play during the average lunch break at the workplace.