How to Play Pinochle

By eHow Hobbies, Games & Toys Editor

Pinochle is a card game played with 48 cards rather than the standard 52. You have eight 9s, 10s, Jacks, Queens, Kings, and Aces--two for each suit. The order of the cards is the same except a 10 is the second highest card right after the Ace. Some people argue that there are no official rules for pinochle, so this is a great version for four people.

Shuffle and deal the cards. The person on the left of the dealer gets the first four cards and deal continues until each person has 16 cards. You will want to place them in your hand from Ace, 10 down to 9.

Know what constitutes meld in order to bid your hand. A run is an Ace, Ten, King, Queen, Jack and is worth 15 points. If you have a nine it is an additional point. Four Aces is 10, four Kings 8, four Queens 6 and 4 Jacks 4. A nine in the trump suit is always worth 1, A marriage (King and Queen of the same suit) is 2, unless it is the trump suit, then it is worth 4. Finally, a Jack of Diamonds and Queen of Spades is worth 4.

Bid your hand. You will probably be playing with a partner which is usually the person sitting opposite you. The person on the left of the dealer starts the bid. They can pass or start the bid with 15. The next person can raises the bid or pass. If no one bids the dealer is then left with the bid.

Name a trump. This is easy if you have a run, but if you don't then you want to name the suit where you have the most meld or the best playing hand. If you had two Aces of Diamond, and two tens and a nine this may be a good trump because you will be able to take most of the tricks in this suit. Or you may want to make spades your trump because you have 2 Kings and 2 Queens which will give you 8 in meld.

Put down your meld. Everyone gets to meld. Whether it is a marriage, 4 of a kind or simply a nine of the trump suit put it down on the table and the meld will be added up (what you and your partner have together) and entered on a score pad. The other team's meld will also be entered.

Play a card. You must lead with the trump and each person has to beat the card you play (only when playing trump) or if they can't beat it then they can play any card in the trump suit. If they don't have any trump then they can play any card in their hand. During the hand you must play a card in the suit that is played unless you don't have one, then you must play trump unless you don't have any and lastly you can play any card.

Determine who gets the trick by seeing which is the highest card with one exception. If there is a 9, King and Ace of spades when diamonds are trump and you don't have a spade then you could take the trick by playing any diamond. Otherwise the person who played the Ace of spade wins the trick. The hand continues until all the cards are played. You or your partner must take a trick in order to keep your meld.

Keeping score. Certain cards are counted in the score. Aces, Tens and Kings are given the value of one. The other cards don't count. Whoever takes the last trick is given 1 bonus point, making a total of 25 points. So when playing the game try to take tricks with the cards that count or give them to your partner so you get credit for the card. If you do not make your bid you lose the amount of points you bid, if you do then the total amount is added to your score. For example, if you bid 25 and you made 30, then 30 would go into your column, but if you bid 25 and you only made 20 you would have a minus 25.

Continue the game until one team reaches the target you have set, usually 500 points. The game can also be played with a double deck of cards and with more or less people.