Pinochle is a popular card game that uses a special deck of 48 cards (two each of the aces, face cards, tens, and nines of all four suits), and may be played as a two-handed, three-handed, or partnership game. The main object of the game is to form melds of three or more cards. Pinochle is the American version of "Bezique", and is a popular game for both casual and tournament play.
The Basics of Pinochle
A Pinochle deck is made up of 48 cards – two 9's, two jacks, two queens, two kings, two tens, and two aces, in each of the four standard suits. Ace is high, followed by 10-K-Q-J-9. If you don't have access to a pinochle deck, you can create one out of two standard decks. The version described here is the 4-player, single-deck partnership game. The game is played to 1000 points.
Pinochle is a trump game, meaning that one suit is declared at trump and ranks higher than the others. During the bidding phase of a hand, you bid for the number of points you think your team is going to take. The highest bidder has the opportunity to set the trump suit.
After bidding is complete, the melding phase begins, in which points are awarded for melds created by partners during play:
- Flush (A-10-K-Q-J of trumps): 150 points
- Royal Marriage (K-Q of trumps): 40 points
- Plain Marriage (K-Q of any other suit): 20 points
- Pinochle (♠Q-♦J): 40 points
- Aces Around (four Aces of different suits: ♠A-♥A-♣A-♦A): 100 points
- Kings Around (four Kings of different suits: ♠K-♥K-♣K-♦K): 80 points
- Queens Around (four Queens of different suits: ♠Q-♥Q-♣Q-♦Q): 60 points
- Jacks Around (four Jacks of different suits: ♠J-♥J-♣J-♦J): 40 points
- Dix ("deece") (9 of trumps): 10 points
- Double Flush (two runs of A-10-K-Q-J of trumps): 1500 points
- Double Pinochle (two of ♠Q-♦J): 300 points
- Roundhouse (Four Marriages, one of each suit: ♠K-♠Q, ♥K-♥Q, ♣K-♣Q, ♦K-♦Q): 240 points
- Run with Extra Marriage (A, T, K, K, Q, Q, J of same suit): 230 points
- Run with Extra King (A, T, K, K, Q, J of same suit): 190 points
- Run with Extra Queen (A, T, K, Q, Q, J of same suit): 190 points
- Run (A, T, K, Q, J of same suit): 150 points
- Grand Pinochle (♠K-♠Q-♦J): 300 points
In addition, cards taken in on tricks during play are counted thus: A = 11 points, 10 = 10 points, K = 4 points, Q = 3 points, J = 2 points. The team who takes the last hand also gets a 10-point bonus.
If a partnership makes bid, then the total of the meld points and the trick points is added to their score, otherwise they "go set", score no points for melds or tricks, and the amount of their bid is deducted from their score.
For more detailed rules and strategy tips, refer to the links below...
Pinochle Rule Links
The following sites provide authoritative rules to play Pinochle card games:
- HowStuffWorks Pinochle
Rules, tips, and guidelines for playing Auction Pinochle.
- Pagat: Double Deck Pinochle
Rules for a four-player partnership Pinochle game, using two decks of cards.
- Pagat: Single Deck Partnership Pinochle
Rules for a four-player partnership Pinochle game, using one deck of cards.
- Pagat: Three Player Pinochle
Rules for a three-player, single-deck version of Auction Pinochle.
- Pagat: Two-Player Pinochle
Rules for a two-player Pinochle game, using a single deck of cards.
Strategies and tutorials for playing the card game Pinochle.
- PlayCardGames.org Pinochle
Rules and strategies for Auction Pinochle.
- Playing Pinochle
The rules and bidding conventions for the game of Pinochle as played at the Marlborough, Massachusetts offices of Sun Microsystems.