Pinochle is a fast paced trick-taking game that can be played by two to four individuals using a 48-card deck. The game is also sometimes known by its alternative names such as Binocle, Penuchle or Pinocle. The game has evolved from the popular card game known as Bezique. In this game, the points are scored by trick-taking as well as by combining the cards to form melds. It is often categorized as a "trick-and-meld" game, much like the French game of Belote. Each hand of Pinochle involves the three stages of bidding, melds, and tricks. The "partnership auction pinochle" is the most standard version of the game that is played today.

How to play the Pinochle game

The deck

A pinochle deck comprises of 48 cards which are made up of the ace card, king, queen, jack, 10 and 9 cards of all the four suits. Each card is present twice. The Aces are the highest cards. The cards in Pinochle are arranged in a nonstandard order. The order of cards from the highest to the lowest is represented in the following way: A, 10, K, Q, J, 9. Standard ranking of cards can also be used to play this game; this will only involve a change in the scoring process.

Dealing the cards

At first, the dealer distributes 15 cards to each of the players. Traditionally, cards are dealt in bundles of three, or a bundle of three that is followed by bundles of four.


The bidding starts with the player seated at the dealer’s left and each player bids for points. The bid starts with 250 points as the lowest mark and increases by ten points after that. A player cannot enter the bidding process once he or she passes but the bidders can carry on raising the auction. The auction comes to a close after two of the players have passed. A player aims to score as many points as he or she has bidden.

The player winning the bid now becomes the bidder. The bidder adds the three widow cards to his or her hand by facing them up.


Melding involves displaying specific card combinations to all of the other players. This is normally done by placing all the cards face up on the gaming surface and giving everybody a chance to examine them. All the players have to meld after the winner of the bid displays his or her meld first. The various forms of melds include pinochles, marriages, arounds and flushes.

After the players display their melds, the points are calculated and the teams determine their team score by adding the individual scores. The standard meld scores are determined in the following way:

Thousand Aces: 1000
Hundred Aces: 100
Eight Hundred Kings: 800
Eighty Kings: 80
Six Hundred Queens: 600
Sixty Queens: 60
Four Hundred Jacks: 400
Forty Jacks: 40
Double Run in Trump: 1500
Run in Trump: 150
Dix in Trump: 10
Marriage in Trump: 40
Marriage in Non-Trump: 20
Double Pinochle: 300
Pinochle: 40