How to Shoot the Moon in Pinochle

By Contributor ; Updated April 12, 2017
Being elusive is a key to success at cards.

Pinochle is a card game played with a special 48-card deck that only has the nine through the Ace of each suit, but has two of each card. The cards rank from the nine up to the Ace. Each player starts with 12 cards and works with a partner to earn a certain number of points, from different meld combinations of cards as well as from winning tricks. If a player feels confident about catching all of the tricks, he can "shoot the moon."

Deal 12 cards out to each player. The dealer may deal one, two or three cards at a time to each player but must remain consistent throughout the entire deal.

Figure out your bid based on the number of tricks you can win and the amount of meld in your hand. During trick play, there are 25 points available (24 "counters," or Aces, 10's or Kings that you can win, plus a bonus point for winning the final trick). Meld combinations range from the four-point "Jacks Around" (a Jack from every suit) to the 150-point "Double Run" (both copies of the Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10 from the trump suit). Place your bid (minimum is 15).

Raise your bids as appropriate. The bidding will go around the table clockwise; the winning bidder will get to declare trump for the hand.

Declare your intention to "shoot the moon" if you are the winning bidder and if you think you and your partner can catch every trick. You'll get a bonus of 25 points at the end if you make it. If you do not win each trick, you will be "set," which means you lose any points from melds or counters, as well as 50 points from your score from the previous hand.

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