Double Pinochle

Number of Players: 4 playing as partners

Object: To be the first team to reach 500 points

Deck: An 80 card deck made up of four of every card 10 and above, including aces.  (e.g. Four 10 of Hearts, four Queen of Spades, etc.)

Preliminaries: Partners are seated non-adjacently

Deal: All 80 cards are dealt our evenly so that each player receives 20 cards.  The deal proceeds clockwise.

Beginning begins with the player left of the dealer and continuing clockwise around the table each player bids.  Each player may pass or bid at their turn.  The minimum bid is 50.  If a player bids they bust bid a higher amount than the highest previous bid.  Once a player has passed, they may not bid again during that hand.  Bids only have to be increased by a minimum of one until the bidding reaches 60.  Any bid above 59 must be a multiple of five.  The bidding ends when all but one player has passed.  This player is the Declarer.  The Declarer names a suit to be used as trump during the hand.

Any bid in the 50s that is not the lowest allowable bid at the time is considered a signal to the player’s partner that they do not wish to name trump but they have meld should the partner name trump.  The partner can assume they have 10 points in meld for each one point the skip in bidding. (For example, if a player makes the very first bid of 54 they have skipped 50, 51, 52 and 53 so they are indicating they have 40 points or more in meld.  If the highest previous bid was 52 and a player bids 55 that would indicate 20 points in meld since they skipped 53 and 54.)

If after the deal, the first three players all pass, the dealer becomes the Declarer with an automatic bid of 50. All other rules concerning meld required and a marriage for trumps still apply.

The Meld:
When bidding is finished, the Declarer names a trump suit.  The Declarer must have a marriage in the suit they name trump.  If the Declarer does not have a marriage in their hand, the hand is not played and the Declarer’s team’s score is reduced by the amount of their final bid.  Each player then places face up on the table any meld that they have provided that the team can meld at least 20 points.

After trump have been named players may tell their partners how many points in meld they have so they can determine if they have the required 20 points.  If the Declarer’s team does not have 20 points in meld, the hand is not played and the Declaring team’s score is reduced by the amount of their final bid.  (If the Declarer has a marriage, they must still name trump, the opposing team lays down their meld, provided they have at least 20, and the meld is added to their score.)

Combinations that a player may meld and their point values are:

  • Run:  A, K, Q, J, 10 in trump =15 points (2 runs = 150, 3 = 225 and 4 = 300)
  • Royal Marriage:  K, Q in trump = 4 points (2 RM’s = 8, 3 = 12, and 4 = 16)
  • Marriage: K, Q –not trump = 2 points (2 Marriages = 4, 3 = 6 and 4 = 8)
  • Aces Around:  1 ace in each suit = 10 points (2 Aces Around = 100, 3 =150 and 4 = 200)
  • Kings Around:  8 points (Double Kings = 80, 3 = 120 and 4 = 160)
  • Queens Around: 6 points (Double Queens = 60, 3 = 90 and 4 = 120)
  • Jacks Around:   4 points (Double Jacks = 40, 3 = 60 and 4 = 80)
  • Pinochle: Jack of Diamonds and Queen of Spades = 4 points (2 Ps = 30, 3 = 60 and 4 = 90)

A run is 115 points.  Do not count an additional 4 points for the Royal Marriage it contains.

A ‘round house’ is a marriage in each suit.  It is worth 24 points.  This is simply the total of all the marriages, kings around and queens around.  Some people do play that a round house with a run is 39 points (as opposed to 35).  Also, some people play that a double round house is worth 240 points.

A card may be used in more than one meld but may not be used in more than one meld of the same type.  For example, a single Jack of Diamonds could be used in a Pinochle and Jacks Around but a single Jack of Diamonds could not be paired with two Queen of Spades for two Pinochles.

After all meld has been laid down, count each players meld points, adding the two players on a team points together.  Write this total below each team’s score on the score sheet.  Each player then picks up their meld and places it back in their hand for play.

The Play of the Hand:
The Declarer leads to the table any card they choose from their hand.  Each player in turn clockwise than plays a card to the trick.  The player who plays the highest trump (or if not trumps are played, then the highest card of the suit led) places the cards in the trick face down in front of them and then leads to the next trick.  Play continues until all cards have been played.  When playing to a trick, there are very strict rules as to what cards may be played.

These rules are listed in order of precedence (highest precedence first).

  • A player must play a card of the suit led if possible.
  • A player must play a card that will beat the highest card played if possible.
  • If a player does not have any cards in the suit led, they must ply trump if possible.
  • If a player plays trump, they must play a card higher than the highest trump played if possible.
  • If a player has no cards in the suit led and no trump, they may play any card.

Clarification: If a player has a higher card in the suit led, but trump has already been played, they may play any card in the suit led.

The last trick of the hand counts as two points for the team capturing it.  Each Ace, 10 and King counts one point for the team capturing it.  The points the Declaring team takes during play plus the amount of the meld for the hand must add up to at least the amount of their final bid.  The Declaring team must take a minimum of 20 points during the play of the hand.

If the Declaring team fails to meet either one of these conditions, they are ‘set’ and their score is reduced by the amount of their final bid (their meld for the hand the points taken in play are disregarded).  If the Declaring team meets both conditions their meld plus the points they took in play is added to their score.

If the defending team fails to take 20 points during play, they receive no points for the hand (their meld is disregarded).  If the defending team takes 20 or more points during play of the hand, then the points they took during play and the amount of their meld is added to their score.
The first team to score a total of 500 points is the winner.

If both teams are over 500 points at the completion of a hand, the declaring team for the last hand wins the game regardless of which team had more total points.

It could be discovered after the Declaring team has laid down their meld that they would be required to take more than 50 points in order to make their bid.  If this happens, the hand is still played to completion to determine the defending team’s score for the hand.

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