The rules of three-handed pinochle require a 48-card deck composed of two copies of each suit from the nine through the ace cards. Each of the three players is dealt 15 cards with the extra three cards, or the window, placed face down in the center.
The first step is the auction where players pass or place a bid based on the potential points in the hand dealt. If the player passes, he cannot make another bid. The player who makes the highest bid declares the trump suit, or the game's highest scoring suit.
Play begins with the player who wins the auction. Each turn is called a meld, where each player displays card sets called arounds, flushes, marriages or pinochles. Arounds consist of four cards of a single rank, or a face card, from each suit. The higher the card, the more points the player earns. A flush is five of the highest ranking cards in a trump suit, or the 10 through ace, and earns 150 points.
A marriage is the king and queen of the same suit. This hand earns more points if it is from the trump suit. A pinochle is the jack of diamonds and the queen of spades. Once the melds are exhausted, the trick portion of the game begins where each player plays a single card to win. The 10 of each suit trumps every other card except the ace or the trump suit, and the first player to 1,000 points wins.