What Are the Official Rules of Pinochle?

In the official rules of pinochle, four players are divided into teams of two and use a 48-card deck with two copies of the cards from 9 to ace from each suit. Each player is dealt 12 cards by a dealer who deals one, two or three cards at a time. Play begins with each team bidding on how many points they predict are achievable based on the hand they are dealt.

The first dealer is determined by a high card draw. Dealers rotate clockwise from the first dealer chosen. The minimum bid allowed for a hand is 15 and it can be raised in increments of one point. Points are determined by meld combinations and counters taken during play. Bidding starts with the person to the left of the dealer and rotates clockwise around the table.

Once a bid is won, a trump suit is chosen by the winner and he and his partner exchange four cards. The winner then leads play by placing a card in the center of the table, and each player plays the same suit, if possible. The highest card in the suit or in the trump suit wins the trick and leads the next play. Once all cards are played, each team counts the number of aces, kings and 10 cards they won, which are worth one point each. The last trick winner also earn an extra point, and the first team to reach 250 points wins the game.