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Pinochle is a card game played with a 48-card deck of 9s, 10s, jacks, queens, kings and aces. The game consists of a repeating sequence of bidding (for the right to name the trump suit and to pass cards), melding, and trick-taking. Players score points by melding various card combinations and by taking tricks.
In this version, one human player (South) plays with a computer partner (North) and two computer opponents (West and East).
(Confusingly, the word "hand" has two meanings in pinochle: each player's cards are called his hand; and each repeating sequence of bidding, melding and trick-taking is called a hand.)
BIDDING: Each player bids the number of points she thinks she can make with her hand. Player to the dealer's left is in for 250 points, and bidding proceeds to the left. Players who pass are out of the bidding for that hand. A typical high bid is 350 to 400 points. High bidder names the trump suit for the hand and exchanges four cards with her partner.
MELDING: Players get points by showing various card combinations. A run (or straight) in the trump suit is worth 150 points. Aces in all four suits is 100 points. Pinochle (queen of spades and jack of diamonds) is 40 points, or 300 points for double pinochle (two of each).
(Note that the word "pinochle" refers to either the game itself, or it refers to the card combination in one's hand of queen of spades and jack of diamonds.)
TRICKS: Play begins with the high bidder, and proceeds around the table to the left, four cards per trick. Each trick has a winner, who gets 10 points per ace, ten or king.
SCORING: If the high bidder fails to make the bid (his team's total meld plus trick points is less than the bid), the bid amount is subtracted from the team score. Play continues until one team's total score reaches 1500.
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