Adding jokers to cribbage
Do you play cribbage? It is the best card game for two by far, or doesn’t anyone have time for card games any more? Here’s how we spiced the game up even more with jokers.
Helen and I play about twice a week, usually when we’re taking something from the freezer that Helen cooked previously, or when I’ve brought in shushi from the local Japanese place. A game of cribbage has all of the elements essential to any good game – luck, skill and some really close finishes. We added an interesting variation, which worked out well. If you know the game, you might like to give this a try.
Add the two jokers to the pack and treat them as wild cards. If you keep a joker in your hand, you have to call its value (and perhaps the suit if there’s a flush available) when you play it. If there’s one in your crib, you call it’s value (and perhaps, suit) when you are scoring the crib. The joker can be identical to another card in the same hand, e.g. 5 of Hearts.
If a joker is turned up, then the person who does not have the crib is the one who chooses its suit and value before the game continues, so be sure to remember what you throw into your opponent’s crib.
If you hold a joker, take a moment before the play begins to figure out whether you need the joker to have a specific value in order to maximise the value of your hand. If it can have more than one value with the same outcome, then you can decide during the play which value it will have and this can greatly improve your pegging score if, for instance it can make up a run or 3 or 4 of a kind.
Without the jokers, the maximum score in one hand was 29 (three fives and a Jack in the hand and the fourth 5, with the same suit as the Jack, turning up).
Now things are different. The maximum score comes from five 5s giving 20 in pairs and 20 in fifteens = 40.