Rules for Pinochle the Card Game

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Pinochle is a trick-taking and melding card game for two, with many variations. To take tricks, players show cards one at a time, with the highest-ranking card winning the trick. To meld, you collect and lay down certain card combinations.

Basics

  • Pinochle uses a 48-card deck containing, from highest to lowest, cards ranked ace, 10, king, queen, jack and 9. When duplicate cards are played, the first-played card wins.

    Players receive 12 cards dealt in groups of three. The remaining cards become the stock. The top card of the stock is turned over to reveal the trump suit.

Scoring

  • In the first stage, players receive points for melding cards. The melds and their point values are as follows:

    Royal marriage (king- and queen of trump)--40 points
    Simple marriage (non-trump king and queen of the same suit)--20 points
    Flush (ace through 10 of trump)--150 points
    Four aces--100 points
    Four kings--80 points
    Four queens--60 points
    Four jacks--40 points
    Pinochle (queen of spades and jack of diamonds)--40 points
    Dix (9 of trumps)--10 points

    After the second stage, each card won in tricks earns points:

    Ace--11 points
    10--10 points
    King--4 points
    Queen--3 points
    Jack--2 points

    Also, taking the last trick usually earns 10 points.

Play: Stage 1

  • The non-dealer leads a card to start the first trick. His opponent likewise plays a card, and isn't required to follow suit. A trump card or the highest card of the suit led wins the trick. Players keep their own cards in front of them face up.

    The winner of the trick melds one of the scoring combinations, if desired, then draws. The other player draws afterward. The winner of a trick leads the next trick, with play proceeding as before, until the stock is exhausted.

    To make a meld, players must use at least one card from the hand, which they can add to cards already on the table. Thus, a card can be used in more than one meld--as long as melds occur after different tricks and are of different kinds. The only exception is for a flush: the king and queen can't be pulled out of the flush to form a royal marriage. However, if you meld the marriage first, you can later use it for a flush. If a card can be used for two melds simultaneously, choose only one. Melded cards taken from the hand can still be used during tricks.

    Exchange the dix for the turned-up stock card that initially named trump. The player making the exchange scores 10 points for dix, and may still meld once more before drawing.

Play: Stage 2

  • Twelve tricks are played in Stage 1, each player having 11 cards in hand just after the last trick is played. Two stock cards are left at that point, including the face-up card initially turned over to establish trump or the dix if it was exchanged.

    When the twelfth trick's winner draws the face-down stock card, he shows it to his opponent before adding it to his hand. The opponent takes the last stock card and all the cards on the table are gathered and put aside.

    Players again play rounds of tricks, this time, without melds, following suit or, if unable, playing available trumps. When trump is led, the opponent must try to win the trick. Afterward, the cards taken in tricks are scored are added to Stage 1's points.

Ending

  • The game can be played to 1,000 points. If both players reach 1,000 on the same deal, play continues to 1,250, 1,500, 1750 and beyond.

    A player can claim she has reached 1,000 at any time. This ends play and triggers the final scoring. If the player has reached 1,000, she wins, even if she actually has fewer points.

References

  • Hoyle's Rules of Games; Albert H. Morehead and Geoffrey Mott-Smith; 2001
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