How to Play Pinochle

Pinochle is a game of rounds, in which there are stages of playing that continue until one team reaches 1500 points. This version of Pinochle involves four players, two on each team, and a 48-card deck. This deck is composed of nines, tens, jacks, queens, kings, and aces from two regular decks, so that you end up with eight of each type in total.


  1. Image titled Play Pinochle Step 1
    Sit down directly across from whoever your partner is. Shuffle and deal out all the cards so that every player has twelve.
  2. Image titled Play Pinochle Step 2
    Begin to bid. Bidding is simply deciding how many points you wish to offer up, typically depending on the value of the cards you have. The minimum bid is 250 points and bidding is done in multiples of 10. Whoever makes the highest bid declares the trump suit, which is whatever pattern declared to be worth the most by whoever wins the bid.
  3. Image titled Play Pinochle Step 3
    Begin to meld. Melding is to lay down combinations of cards to score you points. Pinochle has five different types of melding:
    • A pinochle is the jack of diamonds and the queen of spades. You can also get a double pinochle by having both jacks of diamonds and both queens of spades.
    • An around is a set of four cards of the same level (e.g. all aces) in four different suits (diamond, club, heart, space). You can also get a double around (all eight cards of the same level) for 10 times the points. However, arounds and double arounds are only worth points if you have them in aces, kings, queens, or jacks. Tens arounds and nines arounds around do not count for anything.
    • A marriage is a king and a queen of the same suit (e.g. both clubs). A marriage is worth twice as much in the trump suit (mentioned above).
    • A run is an ace, ten, king, queen, and jack all in the trump suit. If you have an extra king or queen (or both) in trump, it's worth even more points. But playing a run that's not in the trump suit is worth nothing.
    • A dix is a nine of the trump suit. A dix is worth 10 points, and gets its name from that fact ("dix" is French for "ten"). DOUBLE DECK
  4. Image titled Play Pinochle Step 4
    Here's a guide to scoring for each meld: SINGLE DECK:
    • Pinochle: 40 points Pinochle 4
    • Double pinochle: 300 points Double Pinochle 30
    • Aces around: 100 points Aces Around 10
    • Double aces around: 1000 points Double Aces 100
    • Kings around: 80 points Kings Around 8
    • Double kings around: 800 points Double Kings Around 80
    • Queens around: 60 points Queens Around 6
    • Double queens Around: 600 points Double Queens Around 60
    • Jacks around: 40 points Jacks Around 4
    • Double jacks around: 400 points Double Jacks Around 40
    • Marriage: 20 points
    • Trump marriage: 40 points
    • Run: 150 points
    • Run with an extra king: 190 points
    • Run with an extra queen: 190 points
    • Run with an extra king and and extra queen: 230 points
    • Double run (both aces, tens, kings, queens and jacks in trump): 1500 points
    • Dix: 10 points
    • When melding, remember that you can have a single card that's part of more than one meld, but that when you lay down the melds you can't have a card that's part of two of the same type. For example, you can have a queen that's part of a marriage and also part of a pinochle, but not part of two marriages or two pinochles at once.
  5. Image titled Play Pinochle Step 5
    Figure out if the person who won the bid can make their total with the addition of trick-taking points. If their score so far is more than 250 points less than what they bid, they should forfeit, which is called going set. This means that your bid amount is subtracted from the points you've gotten in previous rounds. Going set will make it harder for your team to win, but it is still a better option than going ahead and giving extra points to the opposing team.
  6. Image titled Play Pinochle Step 6
    Now, with your leftover cards, you begin the process of trick-taking. Trick-taking is putting down one of your remaining cards at a time to determine who gets the rest of the points. Each person plays a card, starting with the bid winner, and you must play the same suit as the person before you. If you cannot, you should play a card in the trump suit, and if you have neither of those suits you just play whatever you'd like to get rid of. This continues until all the cards are gone. You will receive 10 points or zero points, depending on what you put down.
    • The ace, ten, and king are worth 10 points each while the queen, jack, and nine are worth zero. However, a card in the trump suit is always worth more than a card not in trump. So if one person plays a nine in trump and the other three all play aces, the first person wins but nobody gets any points; that's just how it works.
    • Whoever wins the first trick is the first one to play for the next trick. The winner of that trick will start off the next trick, and so on.
    • There are 240 potential points to be scored in the trick-taking phase, since in each Pinochle deck there are 24 aces, tens, and kings. Also, whichever team wins the last trick gets an extra 10 points, for a grand total of 250.
  7. Image titled Play Pinochle Step 7
    Combine your points with your partner's and you've finished your first round of Pinochle. Shuffle the cards and begin again at step 1 until one team reaches 1500 points. This is also the time to trade in players if you have more than four people, or to play different teams if you have multiple games of Pinochle going on in the room.


  • There are lots and lots of ways to play Pinochle, and the basics laid out here are by no means set in stone. Go ahead and improvise as you're playing, and come up with specialized rules to suit your group. Having a good time, after all, is the most important part of a card game!

Things You'll Need

  • 48-card Pinochle deck
  • Table

Article Info

Categories: Card Games