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Pinochle is an exciting and challenging card game that takes pure concentration to win. To play pinochle you need a 48 card deck that is compiled of two each of the nines through aces in all four suits. Your points are scored by taking tricks and card combinations that are called melds.

The three classes of melds include the ace through ten of trumps, the king and queen of trumps and the king and queen of all other suits. For the ace through ten of trumps meld you will score 150 points. The king and queen of trumps is worth 40 points while the king and queen of all other suits are worth 20 points. Four aces is worth 100 points. Four kings will net a player 80 points and four queens is worth 60 points. All four jacks is worth 40 points. The nine of trumps is worth 10 points and the king and queen of each suit is worth 240 points. The queen of hearts and jack of diamonds is a pinochle.

Cards used in one kind of meld can be used in others of different classes. All the cards taken in a trick is worth points. The king is 4, queen is 3, jack is 2, the 10 is 10 and the ace is 11 points. The final trick that is won is worth an additional 10 points.

To begin playing you will need to give the other players, yourself and the kitty the same number of chips. Each player should be dealt 15 cards starting clockwise. Starting with the player that follows the dealer, each player will bid according to what they believe they can score or if they do not think their hand warrants a score they can pass. Minimum bids start at 300 and move upward in multiples of ten. The highest bidder at the table wins the bid and begins the play by making melds.

To do this the bidder will need to show their melds. When they are equal or surpass your bid you can score your bid. When the melds do not score your bid you will need to place them back in your hand and turn over the three cards left from the deal. Add them to yours or the bidders hand and choose three cards from your hand to lay face down or bury for the rest of the round. At any time when your opponents concede that you will win your bid you can score the bid. Play is not necessary. When the bidder concedes that they cannot win their bid there is no play. This is known as a single bete. In this case the bidder will pay each opponent and the kitty the value of their bid in chips. When the bid is say 300 points the bidder will pay each opponent and the kitty 340 in chips. If the bid is 350 pay 390, 400 pay 440, 450 pay 490, 500 pay 540, 550 pay 590 and so on.

When none of these short cuts are possible at the beginning of the game, the bidder should look at their hand and pick out their strongest suit, then announce a trump suit. They will then begin the play by laying down a trump card. All opponents must play a card of the same suit if possible and the highest card wins the trick. Place all of the opponents tricks that are taken in one pile. Anytime a player does not have a card of the suit that is led they can play a trump card. The highest trump card always beats any other suit. The winner of each trick leads the next card. Scores are tallied at the end of play. If the bidder makes his bid the score is his. If he fails he must pay each opponent and the kitty twice the value of his bid. Opponents then get your bid score which is subtracted from your total.