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Card game Pinochle

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Basics

This program is fully Windows compatible which means that you can easily switch to other Windows applications and then back again, apply all of the knowledge you've gained using other Windows applications to this one, and use all of the generic Windows commands to modify this environment so that it suits your taste. For example, you can resize this window by moving the mouse so that the cursor rests on the corner of the window then press and drag the mouse to stretch the window. You can move any Window by clicking on, and dragging, the title bar of the window. Any window, including the main window, can be closed by double-clicking on the bar in the left upper corner of the window. 

The main menu of this program is always available for you to change options and perform procedures except when the program needs to inform you of some important information through a temporary message window. These windows require you to press a button like "OK" or "CANCEL" before doing anything else. At certain times the program waits so you can see all the bids that were made or all the cards that were played. To continue, just click the mouse anywhere in the main window. To return to the game from this Help system just double-click on the bar in the upper left corner of this window.

Rules of Pinochle

Pinochle is a game played by four people, paired into two partnerships, with those players sitting opposite each other being partners. The partnerships are often referred to as North-South and East-West. One person starts as dealer and evenly deals all of the cards in a special 48 card deck (some people like to play with a double deck consisting of 80 cards), one at a time, starting with the player to his left and proceeding clockwise. The special Pinochle deck consists of the typical four suits (Spades, Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs) with two Aces, two Tens, two Kings, two Queens, two Jacks and two Nines in each suit. A double deck has four Aces, four Tens, four Kings, four Queens and four Jacks in each of the same four suits. During the play of the cards the Ten ranks higher than the King.

After the deal of the cards the player to the left of the dealer starts the bidding and the bidding continues clockwise until three successive players have passed. Each bid is either a pass or a number which declares the amount of points that the bidder believes his team can take in the current deal. For more details on bidding see Bidding Rules. 

When three successive players have passed the bid the bidding is complete. The last bid made (not pass) is known as the contract, and the team which bid the contract is the contracting team for the remainder of the current deal. The contracting team must acquire a number of points equal to, or greater than, the value of the contract or else the contract will be set (defeated). 

The winner of the bid must name a trump suit. Trump is a special suit that beats all other suits in a trick, independent of what suit was led. Trump can be played by the leading player anytime, or by a following player if he is out of the suit that was led.

Each team acquires points from meld and from point cards taken during the play of the cards. Meld points are acquired for special combinations of cards in each hand. For more details on meld points see the section titled Meld Points.

Some people like to have a kitty dealt that goes to the person who wins the bid. This capability is provided as an option in Power Pinochle which allows higher meld points and more powerful hands. Immediately after naming trump, the winner of the bid shows the cards in the kitty to all the other players and then adds the kitty cards to his hand. Then he must discard the same number of cards that were in the kitty. For more details on this option see the section titled Deal a Kitty.

Some people like to have the contracting team pass cards to each other immediately after the bidding and the naming of trump. This capability is provided as an option in Power Pinochle which allows higher meld points and more powerful hands. For more details on this option see the section titled Pass Cards.

The play of the cards begins with the winner of the bid and proceeds clockwise until all players have laid a card on the table. The winner of each trick leads to the next trick until all cards have been played. For more details on the playing of cards see Playing Rules. 

When all cards have been played the point cards are counted to see if the contracting team made the contract. If the contract was made then the contracting team gets points but if the contract was not made then the contracting team loses points. For more details see Scoring. Hands are dealt and played until one team accumulates enough points to win the match. The dealer advances clockwise with each hand.

Bidding Rules

The game of Pinochle starts with the deal of the cards followed by the bidding process. The player to the left of the dealer starts the bidding by stating his bid. Each bid is either a pass or a number which declares the amount of points that the bidder believes his team can take in the current deal. Any player may pass when it is his turn. The very first bid which is not a pass is known as the opening bid and must be greater than or equal to 21 (51 when using a double deck). The one exception to this minimum opening bid occurs when the first three bidders pass and the dealer gets stuck with the bid at 20 (50 when using a double deck). The bidding continues clockwise until three successive players have passed. 

Whenever a player passes he is merely deferring to the next bidder. He may or may not have another opportunity to bid again after passing. A player may pass at any of his bidding turns. 

When a player makes a bid, the value of that bid must be higher than any previous bid. If the value is higher than all previous bids then it is a legal bid. If the value is less than or equal to the value of the last bid (other than pass) then the bid is illegal. The program will have you re-enter the bid until you enter a legal bid.

When three successive players have passed the bid the bidding is complete. The last bid made (not pass) is known as the contract. The team which bid the contract is the contracting team for the remainder of the hand. The contracting team must acquire an amount of points equal to, or greater than the value of the contract, or else the contract will be set (defeated). The winner of the bid chooses the trump suit after the bidding is complete.

If you have the option enabled which deals a kitty, then the kitty cards are added to the bid winner's hand before the naming of a trump suit. The bid winner must then select the cards that he wishes to discard. Both the kitty cards and the discards are shown to all players. For more details on this option see the section titled Deal a Kitty.

If you have the option enabled which allows the passing of cards between the bid winner and his partner, then the bid winner must select the cards to pass to his partner just after the naming of trump (or after the discard if a kitty has been dealt). While the passed cards remain face down, the bid winner's partner must select the cards to pass to the bid winner. Each of the players (the bid winner and his partner) then picks up the passed cards and incorporates them into their respective hands. For more details on this option see the section titled Pass Cards.

Meld Points

The concept of meld gives some learning players a little trouble, but it is really quite simple once you learn a small list of meld patterns and their values. The following is a long and complete list of patterns of cards which are worth points as meld:


NAME DESCRIPTION VALUE
Nine of Trump 9 of Trump - 1
Marriage K, Q of same suit (not trump) - 2
Trump Marriage K, Q of Trump - 4
Pinochle QSpades, JDiamonds - 4
Jacks Around JSpades, JHearts, JDiamonds, JClubs - 4
Queens Around QSpades, QHearts, QDiamonds, QClubs - 6

Kings Around KSpades, KHearts, KDiamonds, KClubs - 8
Aces Around ASpades, AHearts, ADiamonds, AClubs - 10
Run in Trump A, 10, K, Q, and J in Trump - 15
Double Pinochle Q, QSpades, J, JDiamonds - 30
Double Jacks J, J in each suit - 40

Double Queens Q, Q in each suit - 60
Double Kings K, K in each suit - 80
Double Aces A, A in each suit - 100
Double Run A,A,10,10,K,K,Q,Q,J,J in Trump - 150
Triple Pinochle Q, Q, QSpades, J, J, JDiamonds - 45
Triple Jacks J, J, J in each suit - 60
Triple Queens Q, Q, Q in each suit - 90

Triple Kings K, K, K in each suit - 120
Triple Aces A, A, A in each suit - 150
Triple Run Three runs in Trump - 300

For beginners it is usually enough to remember the patterns of cards and their corresponding values for all meld up to a Run in Trump. Above the Run you should just remember that multiples of the same meld are usually worth a lot. Meld patterns must be completely contained within a single hand. That is, a run does not count if it is distributed between partners such as A, 10, K in my hand and Q, J in partner's hand.

Meld points are tallied just before the beginning of the play of cards. While you are bidding you obviously don't know which suit will become trump, however, you probably know which suit you would name if you win the bid. You can see from the table of meld points that the selection of trump can drastically affect the amount of meld points you have. After the bidding is over, the bid winner names the trump suit. If you are playing with the Deal a Kitty option enabled, the bid winner may improve his meld points by the cards in the kitty. Likewise, if you are playing with the Pass Cards option enabled, the team which wins the bid may improve their meld points through the passing of cards. 

After the bidding, kitty pickup, discarding and passing are completed, the meld points are counted but are not earned by either team until they take at least one trick. The contracting team must not only take a trick to earn their meld, but must also fulfill their contract. If the contracting team is set, then they lose their meld points.

Playing Rules

The play of the cards begins just after the meld cards are shown, recorded and picked up. The bid winner (determined by the bidding) leads the first card and play proceeds clockwise until all players have played a card on the trick. A trick consists of four cards, one from each player. The winner of the first trick leads to the second trick, and so on, until all cards have been played.

A player who has the lead may choose any of his cards to play. All players after the leader of the trick must follow suit (play a card of the same suit) if they can. If a player can not follow suit, he must play a trump card if he has any. If a player can not follow suit and has no trump then he may play any card in his hand. Whenever trump is led, all players must, if able, play a trump card higher than any other trump card in the trick. The winner of a trick is determined by the highest card in the suit that was led, unless there was trump played in the trick, in which case the winner is determined by the highest trump card in the trick. The ranking of cards within a suit is A (high), 10, K, Q, J, 9. In Pinochle there are multiple cards of identical suit and value. Whenever two identical cards are eligible to win a trick, the first of the two identical cards is the winner.

The object of the play of cards is to win as many point cards as possible. The point cards are A, 10, and K. When all cards have been played, the point cards are tallied for each team. See the section titled Scoring for details on how game points apply to the overall score.

Scoring

Points are earned by partnerships as hands are played. At the end of each hand a game score is tallied and added to the ongoing match score. The game score consists of game points and meld points. At the end of each hand the game points are counted in the trick piles of each partnership. The game points are all those cards which are either A, 10, or K. One point is awarded for each game point card, and an additional point is awarded to the team which took the last trick (two points are awarded for the last trick in double deck Pinochle). The total amount of possible game points is, therefore, 25 (in double deck there are 50 possible game points). 

For each team the meld points are also added to the game score provided the team has taken at least one trick. Whenever a team takes its first trick of the hand they have earned their meld. The contracting team (bid winners) must have a game score which equals or exceeds their bid, or else they lose an amount of points from their match score equal to their bid. If the contracting team makes their bid, their game points and meld points are added to their match score. The defending team (the team that lost the bid) always adds their game points and meld points to their match points. The match continues until either team exceeds 100 points (500 points for double deck), at which time the team with the higher score wins the match.

Distributive size: 129.206 Windows-95,98,ME,2000,XP,NT

Free download card game Pinochle

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