Normally I post games that I am confident still have a strong following, but despite being an outstanding game, I have yet to meet anyone who still plays Two Player Pinochle. I hope this post will help kickstart a Two Player Pinochle revival as well as find players who are already enjoying it.
A single pinochle deck or two traditional decks with 2-8 removed
Paper and pencil for score keeping
How To Play
The cards are ranked highest to lowest as shown below, as is the values of the card when taken in a trick.
ace 11 points
Each ten 10 points
Each king 4 points
Each queen 3 points
Each jack 2 points
Nines 0 points
The last trick taken earns 10 points
The values of the melds are:
A, K, Q, J, 10 of the trump suit (flush, or sequence) 150 points
K, Q of trump (royal marriage) 40 points
K, Q of any other suit (marriage) 20 points
Dix (lowest trump; pronounced “deece”) 10 points
A♠, A♥, A♦, A♣ (100 aces) 100 points
K♠, K♥, K♦, K♣ (80 kings) 80 points
Q♠, Q♥, Q♦, Q♣ (60 queens) 60 points
J♠, J♥, J♦, J♣ (40 jacks) 40 points
Q♠, J♦ (pinochle) 40
(The dix is the nine of trumps)
The dealers Deals 12 cards to each player three or four cards at a time. The next card is turned up and placed on the table; it is the trump card and every card of that suit is a trump. The remainder of the pack forms the stock and is placed face down
Each trick consists of a lead and a play. The non-dealer leads the first trick , then the winner of each trick leads next. When a trump is led, it wins the trick unless the opponent plays a higher trump. When any other suit is led, the card led wins unless the opponent plays a higher card of the same suit or a trump. The leader may lead any card, and the opponent may play any card. It is not necessary to follow suit.
After each trick, the players draw a card from the top of the stock to restore their hand to 12 cards; the winner of the trick draws first.
After winning a trick, but before drawing from the stock, a player may meld any one of the combinations that have value, as described above. A player makes a meld by placing the cards face up on the table, where they remain until the player wishes to play them, or until the stock is exhausted.
Melding is subject to the following restrictions:
1) Only one meld may be made in a turn.
2) For each meld, at least one card must be taken from the hand and placed on the table.
3) A card once melded may be melded again, only in a different class, or in a higher-scoring meld of the same class.
Once a card has been melded and placed on the table, it may be played to a trick as though it were in the holder’s hand; however, after it has been played, it may no longer be used to form a new meld.
Melding the dix. If the dealer turns a dix (pronounced “deece”) as the trump card, they score 10 points immediately. Thereafter, a player holding a dix may count it merely by showing it upon winning a trick. They may count the dix and make another meld in the same turn. The holder of the dix has the right to exchange it, upon winning a trick, for the trump card.
When the stock is exhausted the rules for playing tricks changes. The winner of the twelfth trick may meld if possible, and then must draw the last face-down card of the stock. They show this card to their opponent, who draws the trump card (or the dix, if the exchange has been made). The winner of the preceding trick now leads, and the rules of the play are as follows: each player must follow suit to the card led if possible, and must try to win when a trump is led (by playing a higher trump). A player who cannot follow suit must trump if they have a trump. In this manner the last 12 tricks are played, after which the players count and score the points they have won in their tricks and melds.
When keeping score melds are scored when they are made. Scores for cards taken in tricks are added after the play is complete and the cards are counted.
A game can be played to 1,000 points, playing a series of deals. When one player has scored 1,000 or more, and the other player less than 1,000, the former wins the game. If at the end of the play of any hand each player has 1,000 or more, play continues for a game of 1,250, even if one player has, for example, 1,130, while the other has only 1,000. If both players go over 1,250 at the end of the hand, the play continues for a 1,500-point game, and so on.
Declaring Out. At any time during the play, a player may “declare out.” At that point, play stops and his tricks are counted. If, in fact, the player has 1000 points or more, he wins the game – even if the opponent has more. If the claimant has fewer than 1,000 points, he loses the game. If the game has been increased to 1,250 points, 1,500 points, or a higher score, a player may declare out at that figure.
Some players play every deal is a single game. The player who scores the most points wins.