How to Play Pinochle – Rules for Pinochle Card Game

Pinochle is a trick-taking card game developed in the US. It is an advanced trick-taking card game like Bridge. In this guide on How to Play Pinochle, we have covered both, the 2 player version and the 4 player version of Pinochle. So, let’s start the guide.

How to Play Pinochle with 2 Players

Important Information about Pinochle

What are the requirements to Play Pinochle?

A 48 cards pinochle deck is used in this game. A pinochle deck can be created by combining 2x(Ace (A), King (K), Queen (Q), Jack (J), 10, 9 of all four suits).

Ranks of cards in Pinochle:

The ranks of the cards from Highest to Lowest: Ace (A), 10, King (K), Queen (Q), Jack (J), 9.

The Object in Pinochle

The object in Pinochle is to be the first player to reach the score limit decided by the players, at the beginning of the game by winning tricks. Usually, the limit is 1000 points. A trick includes one card played by each player.

Determining Dealer and Dealing The Cards

There are no rules as to the determination of the dealer. The players can select the dealer randomly or a player may accept the dealership voluntarily. The dealer deals 12 cards to each player one at a time, face-down.

After dealing the cards, the dealer places the remaining cards on the table in a pile, face-down. It is called the stockpile. The dealer turns up the top card of the stockpile and places it side by side to the stockpile. The suit of that turned-up card is the Trump suit for the round.

How to Play Pinochle

The player who did not deal leads the first trick by playing a card. After that, the winner of a trick leads the next trick. The other player has to follow the suit led. However, if the player cannot follow the lead suit, he can play a card of any other suit.

During a trick, if the trump suited cards are played, then the player who played the highest-ranking trump suited card wins the trick. If the trump suited cards are not played during a trick, then the player who played the highest-ranking card of the suit led wins the trick.


After a trick is finished, the winner can lay down a meld he had formed, on the table, face-up. Once a meld is laid down by the player, he scores some points depending upon the meld formed. The player can still play the cards of that meld in the following tricks.

Also, the player can use the cards of a meld previously formed to form a new meld. But the new meld must have at least one new card from the hand, and the new meld formed should be of higher points than the previous meld. A player can lay down only one meld after winning a trick.

The valid melds and their points are as follows:

A, 10, K, Q, J of Trump suit (Sequence)150 Points
King and Queen of Trump (Royal Marriage)40 Points
King and Queen (Marriage)20 Points
9 of Trump10 Points
Four Aces (A) of Different Suits100 Points
Four Kings (K) of Different Suits80 Points
Four Queens (Q) of Different Suits60 Points
Four Jacks (J) of Different Suits40 Points
Queen of Spades and Jack of Diamonds (Pinochle)40 Points
2 x Queen of Spades and Jack of Diamonds (Double Pinochle)300 Points

After laying down a meld, or if a player does not have a meld to be laid down then after winning the trick, both the players have to draw a card from the stockpile to get back their hands to 12 cards. The winner of the trick draws the top card of the stockpile and the loser draws the next card.

The game continues in this way until the stockpile has only one card left. The winner of the last trick gets that last card and the loser gets the faced-up trump suited card.

After that, the last 12 tricks are played without drawing a card. The winner of the last trick wins 10 points. As soon as the last trick finishes, the round ends, and the scores of both the players are counted.

The players note their scores on the scoreboard or on a paper and after that, start the next round. The first player to reach the decided score wins the game. If both the players reach the decided score in the same round then the player with the highest score wins the game.

How to Play Pinochle with 4 Players

All the above rules are the same for the four-player version of Pinochle except for a few changes. The changes are as follows:

The Bidding

After dealing, all the players take a look at their cards. Then, the player on the left of the dealer starts the bidding, and turn to bid moves in a clockwise manner. Each player bids the number of points that he is ready to sacrifice to win the bid.

The bid starts from 20 points and each bid should be higher than the previous bid. If a player does not want to bid, he can pass. The bidding continues until all the players have passed except one. The last player standing wins the bid.

The bid winner has the right to select the Trump suit and lead the first trick. At the end of the round, while counting the score of the players, the number of points bid by the bid winner is deducted from his score.

In the four-player version of Pinochle, only 12 tricks are played during a round because there is no stockpile in this version, so the players cannot draw the cards.

All other rules are the same as Two player version of Pinochle.

This is How to Play Pinochle. Play with your friends and family and enjoy.

Thank you.

1 thought on “How to Play Pinochle – Rules for Pinochle Card Game”

  1. We’re playing partners, 4 handed and I’m the dealer. We’ve gone around the table and everyone has passed. Thus, I’ve have been stuck with the bid. I’m weak and won’t make the minimum bid. Consequently, I want to cut my losses and throw the hand in. Can I cut my losses by throwing it in and take the hit on the “stuck bid”; which in our case, is -20 and deny my opponents their meld and corresponding counter tricks if we were to play it out?


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