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Players: 4, as 2 teams
Pinochle doesn’t use the standard deck of cards. It uses all four suits, but each suit contains two Aces, two Tens, two Kings, two Queens, two Jacks and two Nines.
Tens are the second highest trump card in Pinochle, behind the Ace.
All cards are dealt, giving each player a hand of 12 cards. The players are paired and sit opposite their partner.
The players take turns in naming their bid, starting from the dealer and going clockwise.
The minimum opening bid is 250 points. A player can raise the bid by 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 points at a time. A player can also pass, in which case they do not place a bid and are out of the bidding for that round.
Bidding ends when three players have passed.
Whoever bids the most will get to decide which suit is the trump suit for the round. The winning bid is called the contract and the player who won the bid is called the declarer. The trump suit and the contract are displayed in the top right corner, along with each pair’s current total points.
The declarer and their partner then get the opportunity to exchange 4cards. The number passed can also be set in the Options menu to 3 or this stage can be disabled.
Before play starts, players score points from having certain combinations of cards in their hands. These combinations are called ‘melds’. Melds are displayed by all players before being returned to their owner’s hand. A card can be reused in multiple melds, provided each meld is a different type. At Cardzmania, melds will be calculated for you, but for reference, here’s all the melds are as follows:
Type 1 - Runs and Marriages
Runs (All cards must be the trump suit)
Nine of Trump Suit - 10 points
Marriages (King and Queen of same suit)
Type 2 - Pinochle
One Jack of Diamonds and one Queen of Spades - 40
Two Jacks of Diamonds and two Queens of Spades - 300
Type 3 - Arounds
A set of one card of each suit
Both cards of each suit
After the points for the melds have been calculated, the declarer gets a chance to choose whether to ‘throw in’ or ‘play’ the round. There are at most 250 points available during play, so if the declarer needs more than 250 points to equal their contract after counting their points from the melds, then they cannot possibly meet their contract and must throw in. If the declarer chooses to throw in, the round ends and the declarer’s team loses points equal to their contract, while the opposing pair keep their points from the meld.
If the declarer chooses to play, the round proceeds to playing 12 tricks.
Pinochle does not follow standard trick play rules, instead it has must-win trick play. Which means in any trick a player must always play a card that wins the current trick if he is able.
In the first round, the declarer leads first and every other player must play a higher card of the same suit, if able.
If a player does not have a card of the leading suit, but has cards of the trump suit, they must play the trump, because they must play a winning card.
If a player does not have a card of the leading suit or the trump suit, they may play any card from their hand.
If trump cards have been played in the trick, then the highest value trump card played wins the trick. Otherwise, the highest value card of the correct suit wins. If there are two matching winning cards, then whichever was played first wins.
At the end of each trick, the winner takes all the cards from the trick and scores points based on those cards. Whoever wins the trick also plays the first card in the next trick.
Once all 12 tricks have been played, the round ends and bidding begins for the next round.
There are three different scoring methods available. Players score points based on the cards in the tricks they won.
In all cases, winning the last trick is worth an extra 10 points (or 20 points with double deck).
The game ends when one pair has reached the 1500 points. The target points can also be set to 1000, 2000 or 2500.
The game can also be set to end after a certain number of rounds. This can be set in the Options menu. This can be three, five or ten rounds.
The number of cards a player can pass to their partner after calling trumps can be set to 3 or 4, or passing cards can be disabled entirely.
Extra Trump KQ
Extra points are awarded for additional Kings and Queens in the trumps run
Three scoring systems are available:
Shoot The Moon
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