Pinochle is trick talking card game played by 2-4 players with a single deck consisting of 48 cards. It is derived from bezique, where points are scored by forming melds and trick talking. Two Handed pinochle and cut throat pinochle are the two most played common variations. It is similar to games like Hearts, Spades, Euchre, and Bridges which are also trick talking.

Number of Players

It was designed for two players but up to four players can play Pinochle.

Deck Used

Pinochle cards are used to play that are 48 in number.

Rank and Pack of Cards

The decks consist of two copies of all Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 9 and 10 of all the four suits making 48 cards.

6 cards * 2 copies of each card (Red and Black) * 4 different suits = 48.

It can be played by more than 4 players at a time with two pinochle decks. The average scoring, hand sizes are doubled when Double Deck is used.

Rank of Cards – Ace, 10, King, Queen, Jack, Nine

The Shuffle and the Cut

There is 1 dealer out of four players. Each player draws a card from shuffled deck. Player with highest hand would deal first or player who picked the cards first would deal first. Dealer would offer cut to the players starting from the right and then hand out cards. Dealing can be made through many ways but it is usually done by the dealer in clockwise direction starting with the player on dealers left, dealing three or four cards from Pinochle Deck and dealing ends on dealer. House rule variation is also played in which player can declare a deal as Misdeal if their hand has too many nines.

The Deal

Traditionally, 3-4 cards are dealt to each player at a time and 12 cards in total to every player if there are 4 players. 12 cards can be dealt once at a time or 3 cards at a time or 4 cards at a time. It does not affect the game as each player receives twelve cards. (16 cards would be dealt to each player if 64 cards Pinochle Deck are used.)


The object is to win tricks.

The Bid

The next step is bidding. The player who win bid has three rights:

1. Proclaim the Trump

2. He or She can take cards from his teammate

3. It is his choice whether he wants take charge of 1st lead.

Bidding means how many points team wishes to offer. The minimum bidding score is 250 points and it is raised in the multiples of 10. Bid consists of number only. When a player has to bit, he has four options:

1.Increase the bid by 10 points than the previous bid. This bid is known as normal bid.

2.Proclaim a Jump Bid by soaring up at least 20 points in comparison to any last bid.

3.Player can “Pass” the bid if he does not want to make any bid. He will not make any bid for this round

If only 1 player does not make “Pass”, he will win the bid and proclaimed as declarer. The bid amount is taken on paper which is used as a score board. Winner name the trump suit. Another teammate of the winner would select exactly four cards, form a stack and place them face down in front of the table.

The bidder pick then pick these four cards, sort it out and make good hand which can include some or all the cards just received. Then the bidder have to chose four cards which would be sent back in the same process as received.

Commence to Meld

Meld means to make combination of cards placed face up to score points. All players have the opportunity to examine the meld after the bidder place the first meld. Melds are placed under the heading, so a card which is already melded can be utilized again under different headings but not for the same heading. Melds are classified into marriages, pinochle, flushes and around.

Meld Type 1

This group consists of same face cards, all belonging to the different suits (King, Queen, Ace and Jack).

Arounds Description Points
Jacks Around All the four Jack are of different suits 4 or 40 Points
Queens around All the four Queen are of different suits 6 or 60 points
Kings Around All the four Kings are of different suits 8 or 80 points
Aces Around All the four Aces are of different suits 10 or 100 Points

Meld Type 2 (Double Around)

If player has all the eight aces it is called double aces. Same is with the King, Queen and Jack.

Double Arounds Points
Jacks Arounds 40 or 400 Points
Kings Around 60 or 600 Points
Queens Around 80 or 800 Points
Aces Around 100 or 1000 Points

Meld Type 3

Runs (Non-Trump cards do not count as it is must for them to be in trump)
Run Type Combinations Points
Double Run A, A, K, K, Q, Q,T, T, J, J 1500
Extra Marriage Run A, K, K, Q, Q, T, J 230
Extra Queen Run A, K, Q, Q, T, J 190
Extra King Run A, K, K, Q, T, J 190
Simple Run A, K, Q, J, T 150

Marriages and Flushes

Marriages and Flushes Description Points
1.Marriages K and Q – suit other than trump 2 or 20 Points( Single Around), 4 or 40 Points (Double Around)
2. Trump Marriage K and Q – trump suit 4 or 40 Points( Single Around), 8 or 80 Points (Double Around)
3. Book, Run, Flush, Family, Rope Ace, 10, King, Queen, Jack – Only Trump suit 15 or 150 Points( Single Around), 150 or 1500 Points (Double Around)

Playing Tricks

The declarer will play first trick once all the players take their melded cards. Each player from the left of declarer will play a card on this trick. After all the 4 players have played trick on card, the card with highest rank of trump, in case of no trump suit with highest rank would win the trick. In case of tie, whosoever played the equivalent rank first will win. Player who won the last trick will play first for the next trick and the game proceeds till all the twelve cards have been played. Some rules are made regarding cards to be played on tricks. These are as follows:

  1. Player should play the matching suit as lead card if he posses or if he holds a card having higher rank than the card which controls the trick, he must play it.
  2. Player can play the trump card if he do not hold card of same suit led. He would be “Trump the Trick”. Player can beat the trick with high rank trump if there is already a trump in the trick.
  3. Player do not have same suit led and trump, than he can play card of any other rank he holds.
    Other Instructions:

    • Out of two identical cards, the first card beats the second.
    • If the currently winning card is of your teammate, even than you are obliged to beat it.
    • You have to play a trump, if you do not have any card in your suit and even when it has low rank than the current trump if played. It is only permitted to play card of other than suit led and non-trump card, if a player does not have any of the following sets.
  4. You are obliged to play a card of high rank only if you can beat the current winning trick. You are permit to play any card from the suit led or trump in case you are not able to beat the trick.The winner would be decided once all the four cards have been played. The winning team would take the trick from the center of the table or a teammate is assigned to take the tricks. It is usually non-declarer if declaring team collects. They are collected and shown to the teammate before turning them face down.

Counting Points

Both teams count their counters (Kings, Queens, Aces, Tens and Jacks) after all the 12 cards have been played. Each counter carries 10 points. The last trick also concludes 10 points. Thus, it makes 250 in total, 240 for the 24 counters in addition to the final trick (10 points).

In case the declarer team make bid, the points would be added to the declaring team preceding score. The preceding score would be reduced by the bid amount if they do not score any points by tricks or melding.

In case non-declaring team does not make points while taking tricks, they would fail to score any points while melding. It means they were not able to save the meld. If they score Nine of Trumps they would save themselves. If they are able to score tricks, the points earned through melds would be added to their preceding score.

Declaring Out

At any point of the game, a player can proclaim “Declare Out”. In that case, the tricks of that particular player would be counted. If he is able to score 1000 points, he wins the game regardless of the opponent score. If there are less than 1000 points, he would lose regardless of his opponent has more or less points.


1. Before proclaiming, a player should win trick before cards are counted. If the opponent also does the same, the winner would be declared who has his cards counted depending on the score of the trick.

2. It is same as above with the only difference being the player who claims, his cards are not counted unless he score a trick from his own cards.

Some play that no extra points are scored for a single extra king or queen added to a run. This is probably more usual than the way of scoring meld described in the main account. A-T-K-K-Q-Q-J of trumps would score 190 for a run plus a marriage in trumps.

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