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  • Rules You Need to Know

    All ACC events (Grass Roots clubs and weekend tournaments) follow official rules set by the ACC. While these rules will generally be the same as you may use when playing at home or with your friends, there are certain details that may be different than what you are familiar with. The ACC requires that the official rules be strictly adhered to in Grass Roots and tournament play, and failure to follow these rules in an ACC event may result in penalties during play (up to a 15 point deduction in some cases). The ACC website has a page with all the official rules, but here is a list of the more common differences between official ACC rules and how you may play at home.

    • After the dealer shuffles the cards, the pone (opponent) MUST cut the deck before the cards are dealt.
    • While cutting the cards, neither player is allowed to look at the bottom card of the top pack. The top pack should be lifted straight up (remaining horizontal) so that neither player is able to view the bottom card.
    • Once the player has discarded to the crib, he/she MUST NOT pick up the cards to look at them again or switch the discard. An allowance can be made if the player has discarded to the wrong side of the board (see official rules for exact details of this situation).
    • Once a card has been played on the table, once that card has been released by the fingers, it cannot be retracted unless the total count would exceed 31.
    • The starter card (also called the cut card) must remain separate from each player's hand and the crib throughout the play and counting of the hands. Mixing the cut card with the hand or crib is a penalty.
    • When pegging your points, an underpegged hand may not be corrected once the player's fingers are removed from the peg. However, an overpegged hand may be self-corrected after the fingers are removed from the pegs if the offending player notices the mistake before the opponent. If the opponent points out the mistake, the offending player must move their peg back to the correct position and the opponent scores the amount of the error.
    • If a player picks up their front peg by mistake, the error cannot be corrected. That peg becomes the back peg, and the latest score may be recorded. This mistake can be very costly in terms of lost points, so always make sure you know which way you are moving down the board!
    • You must not help your opponent count his/her hand, nor can you ask for help from your opponent. After the hand is over and all points have been taken, you may ask your opponent if the hand was counted correctly, but no adjustments can be made to the position of your pegs.
    This website is not endorsed by, nor affiliated with, the American Cribbage Congress.
    Banner image used with permission of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (
    Questions, comments, and corrections may be sent to Jeff Gardner.