Rules of 4 hand Double Deck Pinochle

Players and Cards:

There are four players; partners sit across from each other. The deck consists of 80 cards, containing A 10 K Q J in each of the four suits, and with four identical copies of each card. This deck can be formed by mixing together two normal Pinochle decks, having thrown out the nines, or from four regular 52 card decks from which you throw out all the numerals 2 to 9.

Object of the Game.

After the deal there is an auction in which players bid the number of points their team will try to win. Whoever bids highest has the privilege of choosing trumps and leading to the first trick. The object of the high bidder's team is to win at least as many points as the amount they bid. Points can be scored in two ways:
By declaring and showing (melding) combinations of cards held in a players hand.
By winning aces, tens and kings in tricks.

The game is won by the first partnership to achieve The game limit. If both sides reach game limit on the same hand, the highest score wins.


Deal and play are clockwise. All the cards are dealt to the players, so that everyone has 20. Dealing practice varies; common methods are 4 cards at a time, 5 cards at a time, or 2 cards to each player, and the remainder 3 at a time. Hands are arranged in each suit by the cards rank, from highest to lowest, Ace, Ten, King, Queen, Jack.

At the end of the play, each side counts the points they have taken in tricks. Each Ace, Ten and King is worth one point, and the team who wins the last trick gets an extra 2 points. Hence there are a total of 50 points available for tricks.


Points can be scored for certain combinations of cards in hand of each player. These combinations are called meld; they are displayed to the other players before the start of the trick play. Any meld can be single (just one of each card), double (two identical copies of each card), triple (three of each card) or quadruple (all four of each card).

Meld values:

Runs (A,10,K,Q,J of the same suit)
1 Run = 15
2 Runs = 150
3 Runs = 225
4 Runs = 300
Aces (1 each of different suits)
1 each = 10
2 each = 100
3 each = 150
4 each = 200
Kings (1 each of different suits)
1 each = 8
2 each = 80
3 each = 120
4 each = 160
Queens (1 each of different suits)
1 each = 6
2 each = 60
3 each = 90
4 each = 120
Jacks (1 each of different suits)
1 each = 4
2 each = 40
3 each = 60
4 each = 80
Pinochles (Jack of Diamonds and Queen of Spades)
1 each = 4
2 each = 30
3 each = 60
4 each = 90
Marriages (King and Queen same suit)
Non-trump = 2
trump = 4

Example: with hearts as trump, the following hand:
Hearts: A 10 K K K Q Q J
Diamonds: Q Q J
Spades: Q Q
Clubs: A K K Q Q J J

Scores 87 for meld: a run (15), a royal marriage (4), a double marriage in clubs (4), a pinochle (4) and double queens around (60). There is only one royal marriage as one king and one queen of hearts are already used for the run, and the remaining queen can only marry one of the remaining kings. Notice, however, that one of the queens of spades is simultaneously used in the pinochle and the around - this is allowed because these melds are all of different types.


The person to the left of the dealer bids first. The opening bid must be at least 50, but may be higher. You may bid by ones until you reach 60; bids above 60 must be multiples of 5 (65, 70, 75 etc.). Turn to bid proceeds clockwise. Each bid must be higher than the previous one, but a player who does not wish to bid can pass. Once you pass you cannot re-enter the bidding on a later turn. The bidding continues for as many rounds as necessary until three players have passed.

Whoever wins the bid (bids highest) has the right to call trump and lead.

If all players "Pass" except the dealer on the first round of bidding, the dealer is "Under" and owns the bid at 50.

Calling Trump and Melding:

The bid winner now chooses the trump suit and announces what it is. It must be a suit in which the bidder holds at least a marriage. If the bidder does not have a marriage, the hand is not played, and the bidding side automatically lose the amount of their bid. Opponents score the bid amount.

Once trump is called all of the players lay their meld face up on the table. A combination must be entirely within one player's hand to count. Note also that you can count the same card in melds of different types (for example a queen of spades could be part of a marriage, a pinochle and a set of queens), but not in more than one meld of the same type (so a king and two queens does not count as two marriages). Partners add together the scores for their meld and this is written down on the score sheet.

The Play:

The person who won the bid begins the play by leading to the first trick, and the others play in turn, clockwise. A trick consists of one card from each player and if it contains no trumps it is won by the highest card played of the suit led. If any trumps are played to the trick, then the highest trump wins, irrespective of any other cards in the trick. If there are two or more identical cards in a trick, the first of these cards which was played beats the others. The winner of a trick leads to the next.

When leading to a trick any card may be played. Each subsequent players must follow suit if they can and must crawl (this means that each player must play a card which is higher in rank than the winning card that has been played to the trick so far). A player who cannot crawl (i.e. does not have a high enough card of the suit led to beat the highest so far played to the trick) must follow suit in any case, with a card that will not win the trick.

Any player who does not have any cards of the suit that was led must trump. If someone has already trumped then later players who can follow suit may play any card of the suit led (no card of the led suit can beat a trump). If a trick has been trumped, subsequent players who do not have the led suit either must crawl in trump, that is beat the highest trump so far played. A player who cannot follow suit and cannot beat the highest trump so far played must still play a trump, even though this trump will not be high enough to win the trick. A player who has no card of the suit led and no trumps may play any card.


When all the cards have been played, each team counts the points in the tricks they have won. If the bidding side took in meld and tricks at least as many points as they bid, then both teams add the points they made to their cumulative score. Game limits can be any value from 350 up. The most common is 500.

If the bidding partnership does not "make" the bid (i.e. their meld and trick points do not equal or surpass their bid), they have been "set". In this case they score nothing for their meld and tricks, and instead the amount of their bid is subtracted from their score. The non-bidding partners get to keep their meld and trick points.

Meld Bids:

An integral part of Double Deck Pinochle is the ability to communicate to the partner via meld bids. The structure of these bids vary from one Pinochle player to the next. Make sure your partner is using the same system you are. Registered users of our double deck game are sent "Secrets of the Game" which describe the Meld Bid system used in this game.

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