I've recently begun memorizing totals of common multi-run combinations to help score cribbage hands. I've seen some others do this as well.

Short-Hand Examples:

  • AS AC 2H 3H | 6D - A double-run of three for eight.
  • AS AC 2H 3H | 4D - A double-run of four for ten.
  • AS AC 2H 3H | 3D - A double-double-run for sixteen.
  • AS AC AD 2H | 3D - A triple-run for fifteen.

The alternative methods of counting these hands can be rather long and cumbersome, and can add to what might already be a rather complex hand if there's also fifteens involved.

Long-Hand Examples:

  • AS AC 2H 3H | 6D
    • A run of three for three, a run of three for six, and a pair makes eight.
    • Two runs of three for six, and a pair makes eight.
  • AS AC 2H 3H | 4D
    • A run of four for four, a run of four for eight, and a pair makes ten.
    • Two runs of four for eight, and a pair makes ten.
  • AS AC 2H 3H | 3D
    • A run of three for three, a run of three for six, a run of three for nine, a run of three for twelve, a pair for fourteen, and a pair make sixteen.
    • Four runs of three for twelve, and two pairs make sixteen.
  • AS AC AD 2H | 3D
    • A run of three for three, a run of three for six, a run of three for nine, a pair for eleven, a pair for thirteen, and a pair makes fifteen.
    • Three runs of three for nine, and trips make fifteen.

Nightmare Example:

  • 7S 7C 7H 8D | 9C
    • Really Long: Fifteen two, fifteen four, fifteen six, a run of three for nine, a run of three for twelve, a run of three for fifteen, a pair for seventeen, a pair for nineteen, and a pair makes twenty-one.
    • Somewhat Short: Fifteen two, fifteen four, fifteen six, three runs of three for fifteen, and trips make twenty-one.
    • Short-Hand: Three fifteens for six, and a triple-run makes twenty-one.

Is it a commonly accepted method to use the above short-hand combinations to announce your score? Are there any tournament rules for or against this?

  • I use the shorthands you make mention of, but when they're not present I always make a point of counting 2-point combos (and 4-point runs, if applicable) first. Keeping the score tally even as long as possible is easy to follow. Jun 20, 2012 at 17:01
  • @Gregor I do roughly the same. Usually my order is (for each present): Fifteens, Pairs (skipping any that are a part of a multi-run), Run/Multi-Run, Knobs.
    – Iszi
    Jun 7, 2016 at 20:34

2 Answers 2


According to the American Cribbage Congress rules there is no specification as to HOW you score your hand but the score must be said in a way that is understood by your opponent and that they accept the total.

From http://www.cribbage.org/rules/rule9.asp

Rule 9.2. Order Of Counting

The counting and pegging of the hands and crib shall be done in the following sequence. 
Each step must be completed before the next is started.

a. The pone shall count his or her hand first, announcing the total, and peg the score. 
Pone shall leave cards face up until any claim or overpegging is resolved or until the 
dealer indicates acceptance of the pone's pegging by counting his or her hand.


This continues on for each of the phases of the count with the dealer accepting the pone and the pone accepting the dealer thru the hand and the crib separately. So as long as your opponent understands your "shorthand" then it should be acceptable play.


Not to be trite, but the score is the score!

Announcing point contributions from the various categories (runs, pairs, same suit, correct Jack, etc.) should suffice. Note: this is what you have called "shorthand".

Of course, this all depends on the level of play. If I'm teaching the game to a new player, I would go as far as to count (the first example) as "one, two, three" (pause), "four, five, six... and a pair of Aces is eight".

In a tournament, players should know that pairs/trips/quads are worth 2/6/12, runs are calculated as (length of run) times (multiplicities of each rank involved), etc.

  • 1
    I understand that the way the score is counted has no effect on what the score is. However in some circles - especially tournaments - there may be rules or expectations that scores are counted in a certain way to avoid confusion. I'm not much familiar with tournament play or rules yet, so I thought asking here would be appropriate. If you can provide a reference to support your statement regarding tournament play, I'd appreciate it.
    – Iszi
    Jun 20, 2012 at 15:49
  • 2
    The rules of the ACC don't explicitly mention how to count. The overall tone of the rules promotes politeness and grace... Jun 20, 2012 at 15:58
  • Just be prepared to break it down if your opponent fails to grok your shorthand. Double Run, Triple Run, Double-Double run, and Pair Royal (=3 of a kind) are pretty widely used, and most competent players will know what you mean by them. Most tournament players will be well more than just competent... The only one that's standard that a lot of players don't know is "his heels"... many confuse it with "his knobs"...
    – aramis
    Jun 21, 2012 at 14:28

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