How to Play Pinochle

Pinochle, sometimes referred to as Auction Pinochle, is a very popular trick taking card game typically played with three people. To begin playing Pinochle players will draw cards to find out the game's dealer. The player with the lowest card will be the dealer and the next lowest card holding player will be to the dealer's left; the last player will be to this player's left. The dealer will deal in groups of three cards to each player, and create a widow (discard pile) of three cards.

Bidding in Pinochle

Bidding will take place after the hand has been dealt. Bidding in Pinochle always starts at 250 at a minimum and is increased by increments of 10. If you are the first to bid, you must bid at least 250 or you may pass. If you pass, you cannot bid later. Each player will either bid higher than the last player or pass until two players pass back to back. Once two players have passed, one after the other, the bidding ends.

Trump Suit

When you bid in Pinochle, you are bidding for the opportunity to choose the Trump suit in the game. The Trump suit will hold the highest score values throughout the game. Any card from the Trump suit, regardless of its value, will trump a card from another suit. For example, if the Trump suit is Clubs, then a Jack of Clubs trumps a Queen of Hearts. The only card that can beat a card from the Trump suit is another card from the Trump suit of higher value. For example, a Jack of Clubs will beat a 10 of Clubs.

Melds And Tricks

Because your bid is not blind in Pinochle, you'll need to consider your hand before placing your bid. When reviewing your hand, you are looking for both potential melds and your potential to take tricks. Melds are combinations of cards that, when played together, yield a large amount of points at once. Tricks are the individual rounds that are won by having the highest card out of all the cards played.

To place your bid, put up the number of chips that correspond with the bid amount you would like to place. If you win the bid, you will then choose the Trump suit. Otherwise, whichever player wins the bid will choose the Trump suit.


Once bidding has commenced, yours and the other player's cards will be laid on the table and you will calculate the points for your melds. If any player's melding points are less than the subtraction of 250 from his or her bid, she or he will automatically lose the hand. For example, if your bid was 350 and your melding points are 100 or less, you will automatically lose the hand.

If no one has forfeited the game at this point, then Pinochle carries on in the fashion of all trick taking games. With each round, the highest card will win the trick. Remember that the Trump suit will beat out any other card, except a higher card in the Trump suit.


When all the tricks have been played in each round, the points are tallied and added to your and the other players' overall score. The highest score in Pinochle is 1500. Rounds continue until someone reaches this score.

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