How to Play Pinochle

Pinochle is a card game with complex rules, strategies, and tactics. Here’s a game overview for new players.

You will need

  • Two 24-card pinochle decks
  • Two players
  • A score sheet
  • A pen or pencil
  • Three or four players or two two-player teams

Step 1 Deal Deal 12 cards face down to each player. After a deal, the remaining cards are the “stock.”

Step 2 Name trump suit Pick the top card from the stock and turn it face up. This will be the trump suit, or the suit designated a higher rank than any other suit.

Step 3 Meld your hand Arrange your hand into melds; three or more cards of one suit in a sequence, or three or more cards of the same rank and different suits. Place melds face up on a table.

Step 4 Play lead card in trick Pick one of your cards to play as lead card in the first trick of the game. A trick is a pinochle round played one card at a time from each player’s hand.

Step 5 Win first trick Win your first trick. After the lead card is played, an opponent tries to pick a card from the hand with a higher meld value than your lead card.

Step 6 Score the game Mark card values taken in tricks on a score sheet. The last trick taken in the game is worth 10 points. Add card values together to determine the game winner.