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What happens when you get skunked in Cribbage?

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Players in Cribbage compete to score 121 points before their opponent does. A player earns points through combinations in hand and pegging. 

The objective is to count pairs, sequences and 15 before reaching 31 points without exceeding. Every time a card is laid, a player has to announce the play and ensure they don’t exceed the figure.

Before the game begins, the players involved must choose whether to use skunk or double skunk rules. Being skunked in Cribbage implies that a player has not reached certain points when the opponent reaches 121 points.

What happens when you get skunked in Cribbage? When the skunk rule is applied, if a player reaches 121 points before their opponent reaches 91 points (three-quarters of the total points), the player will win two games instead of winning one. 

Whenever the double skunk rule is applied, if the player reaches 121 points before their opponent player reaches 61 points (halfway points), the player wins four games instead of winning one game.

These scores are kept on a Cribbage board, but if there is no board, there is no need to worry because players can always improvise methods to tally the points. Players can use counting objects, improvised boards, the Cribbage board app on the phone, and virtual boards. 

In Cribbage, scoring is based on strategy combined with the luck of the draw! Answered below are frequently asked questions about getting skunked in Cribbage, and how the points are scored.

What is the highest hand in Cribbage?

The highest possible score per hand in Cribbage is 29 points. The combination is as follows, 5-5-5-J with face-up 5-card being the same suit as the Jack to score the extra point.

This score is calculated from the tally points awarded for the pairs and combined cards found in hand. To get such an ideal hand, one requires one Jack card and four 5-cards. 

The face up 5-card should have a suit similar to Jack in order to score the extra point for the Jack. Otherwise, the hand is only worth 28 points.

What does it mean to get skunked in Cribbage?

One gets “skunked” in Cribbage if they fail to cross the skunked line found in the Cribbage board marked with an “S” or 90th point line when their opponent reaches the final hole (reaches 121 points). 

A double skunk is applied for failure to cross the 60th point mark before the opponent finishes. The further one gets Skunked on the board, the more additional points the opponent earns in a tournament. 

How does the Skunk line work in Cribbage?

The skunk line is marked “S” on the Cribbage board and is 30 points before the last hole. If a player manages to finish the game (if the player reaches 121 points), the opponent gets skunked if they fail to cross the 90th point line! 

In a tournament, that will imply the player will have the bragging right of scoring one additional win. So instead of winning one game, they score two wins.

For players that also use the double Skunk rule, there is an additional Skunk line at the 60th point. If a player finishes the game before the opponent crosses the double skunk line, the player wins 4 games instead of one.

Many Cribbage boards mark the skunk line with the letter “S,” and others just mark using a bold line. The skunk line matters most when it comes to tournament level or gambling, but when it comes to casual games, the line is just for bragging rights that the player successfully skunked their opponent.  

One can avoid getting skunked by keeping a big hand as long as their opponent is not within pegging range to end the game, and try to score as many points as possible to cross the line before they count. 

This will only apply if one is a non-dealer player since they will score first. If one is the dealer trying to avoid a skunk, then focus on pegging chances as opposed to keeping a big hand.

Can I avoid getting skunked in Cribbage?

Yes, one can avoid getting skunked in Cribbage, but how one goes about it will depend on whether you are the dealer or non-dealer. 

If one is a non-dealer player, they will have to score their hand first. Therefore, as long as the opponent is not near the peg to end the game, the player should player for a big hand to score enough points to cross the skunk line. 

However, if one is a dealer, they will be the last to count their hand, so they should focus on pegging more points than keeping a big hand.

What happens when you get skunked in Cribbage

Skunk in Cribbage: Conclusion 

Skunk matters when it comes to tournaments level because those additional points are very crucial at the end of the league. When gambling, the player that gets skunked has to pay 2 times for the loss. 

For casual games, it’s all about bragging rights, nothing more! However, nobody wants to be humiliated by their opponent in a game.

The “S” mark on the cribbage board marks the skunk line, try and at least cross the mark before the opponent reaches the final hole. A skunk earns the winner additional points, and touted as the dominating victory.

So, is a skunk in Cribbage a good or bad thing? That will depend on whether the player is being skunked or if they are the one doing the skunking. 

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