Crash (13 Card Brag)

OBJECTIVE OF CRASH: Construct the highest value 3-card hands.


NUMBER OF CARDS: 52 card deck

RANK OF CARDS:  A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2

TYPE OF GAME: Matching



Crash is a variant of Brag or Three Card Brag that uses 13-card hands as opposed to 3-card hands. However, 13-card Brag has a different game mechanism than Brag. The game is popular in Northern England and South Wales, and it is reported it is played in Edinburgh and Plymouth by the name Crackers. This particular game is known to have numerous variations, so below is the compiled list of rules.


Crash is basically a 4 player game played with a standard 52 card deck. The initial dealer is chosen randomly, whichever mechanism players prefer.

The initial dealer is chosen randomly, whichever mechanism players prefer. Each player is dealt 13 cards after the dealer shuffles the pack. At the end of the game, the deal passes to the left.

A three person game IS possible. There are still four 13-card hands dealt, 3 hands to the players and one spare hand. Beginning with the player to the left of the dealer, players can discard their hand and exchange it with the spare hand. It is often played that an additional stake must be placed if you take the spare hand.

There is also an option for a two-player game, which follows the same mechanism except there are 2 spare hands.


Players split their 13 card hand into typical 3-card Brag hands. The hands are placed on the table in front of the player, in descending order (left to right).

Hand Rankings (from high to low)

  • PRIAL: Prial is short for “pair royal.” Three cards of equal rank, for example, K-K-K
  • RUNNING FLUSH: Three cards in sequences of the same suit. A-2-3 is a viable run and actually the highest, despite A being the highest ranking card. A-K-Q is the second highest run/running flush. 2-A-K is not a valid flush or run.
  • RUN: Three cards in sequence of any suit. Running flushes beat all runs.
  • FLUSH: Three cards, not in sequence, of the same suit. For example, if all cards are spades, 7-10-Q is a flush.
  • PAIR: In a three card hand, a pair is having any two cards of equal rank. For example, A-A-J.
  • HIGH CARD: A three card hand that doesn’t form any of the above combinations relies on high card- that is the highest ranking card. For example, in this hand: 5-10-K, K is the high card.

Note: All different ranking cards, mixed suits, or non-consecutive cards, do not form a legal hand. You can arrange your hand into 4 Brag hands and discard the single remaining card. However, sometimes it is not possible to make 4 valid hands, so you may make however many possible, and discard the remaining cards.

Once the hands are constructed, each player reveals their highest ranking 3-card hand, the best hand wins a point. After players reveal their second hand, and so on.

In the event there is a tie for highest hand, this is called a stick-up or stopper, none of the players score for that hand.

Note: You must always arrange your hands in descending order, from left to right. If you rearrange your hands to win points later in the game, you lose automatically! Also, if you make less than 4 hands, they must all compete at the start of the reveal. For example, if you have 2 hands, you must reveal with the first two hands, not the last two or middle two.


The game uses a target score to determine when the play ends. That score can be anywhere between 7 and 21 points. It is common to increase the target score in games with less than 4 players.

To win the game, players MUST reach the target score. The game continues and new hands are dealt until a player reaches the target. Player generally keep score by using pen and paper. Sometimes a special peg board is used, which is limited to 7 point games only. Cribbage boards are also utilized to keep score.

The winner is paid out by each of the other players. Generally, it is a fixed payment.


crash occurs when 1 player wins all 4 points in a single deal. They earn extra points, which should be mutually agreed upon prior to starting the game. Below are the possible variants of reward:

  • Win the game
  • Extra points, between 1 or 5
  • Win 4 points extra plus and extra stake from each player.

Generally, the Crash must be announced to be valid.


Nakoa Davis