What Are the Rules for Pinochle?


Quick Answer

Pinochle traditionally requires two players, but variations exist that allow for four individual players or two two-player teams. Each player receives 12 cards, with the remainder of the deck designated as stock. Players attempt to form sets, or melds, and then gain further cards and points by winning subsequent tricks.

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What Are the Rules for Pinochle?
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Full Answer

Pinochle requires specific card decks suited to the game, which may come in a single 48-card pack or two 24-card packs. Players may draw cards to see who deals, with the non-dealer cutting the deck once shuffled. After the initial 12 cards go to each player, the remaining cards rest in the center of the table, face down with the top card flipped. That card's suit becomes trump.

Each player forms whatever melds she can from her hand, including runs of cards, such as ace, king, queen, jack, 10, or sets of the same type of card in different suits. Each type of meld carries its own point value. For example, ace, king, queen, jack and 10 of trump yields 150 points, whereas four aces yield 100 points. Number 9 cards traditionally have no value. After presenting the first melds, players can win tricks consisting of leads and plays. The non-dealer leads first, throwing any card, and the other player follows. Players win tricks by producing the higher card or trumping another suit. Each player then sees if she can form an additional meld, and then playing resumes with these steps continuing until the players exhaust the stock. The player with the most point ultimately wins.

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