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(pē`nŭ'kəl), card game, probably derived from beziquebezique
, card game usually played with 128 cards by two players. Bezique developed in France and England in the 1860s and originally required only 64 cards; later there were variations for three players with a 96-card pack and for four players with 128 cards.
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, that was developed in the United States in the 19th cent. Pinochle is played by two, three, or four players, with a deck of 48 cards containing two each of the aces, face cards, tens, and nines of all four suits. The cards rank (in descending order) ace, ten, king, queen, jack, and nine. In all forms of pinochle, an arbitrary point goal is often set, e.g., 1,000 points, instead of just playing for game.

Auction Pinochle

Auction pinochle, probably the most popular form of the game, is played by three persons at a time, although up to six may play in rotating units of three. Each of the three active players is dealt a hand of 15 cards, three at a time, and three are dealt face down in the center of the table, forming the "widow." Bidding starts at 300 points (lower in some cases) and progresses in rotation by minimum 10-point advances. Once a player passes he may not bid again. Two passes end the auction, and the highest bidder wins. He exposes the widow, adds it to his hand, and then melds, i.e., displays combinations of cards ranging in scoring value from ace through ten in one suit (flush), worth 150 points, to nines of the same suit, worth 10 points each. He then buries, or discards, three cards (not used in his melds) to restore his hand to 15 cards. At this point the bidder may concede defeat if he feels he cannot equal or exceed his bid with a total of melded points and points won in play. The two opponents, who play in temporary partnership, may also concede if they agree they cannot prevent the bidder from filling his contract. In play each ace counts 11 points, tens 10 points, kings 4, queens 3, jacks 2, and the last trick 10. These values are sometimes simplified to 10 points each for aces and tens, 5 each for kings and queens. In either case, the total points in play equal 240 for card values plus 10 for last trick. The suit led must be followed. If a player has no cards in that suit, he must play trump. Highest card in suit or highest trump wins the trick. The first of identical cards wins.

Other Forms

In two-handed pinochle 12 cards are dealt to each player, a card is turned up to determine trump suit, and players may meld after each trick won. Thus meld and play continue concurrently until the stock is used up—after which play continues until the last 12 cards in the hand are exhausted—and the highest combined score of meld and tricks wins. Four-hand, or partnership, pinochle may be played on an auction basis—in which case each member receives 12 cards and bids for the right to meld and name trump. After melding, the bidder joins forces with his partner in play against the other set of partners. Another form of partnership pinochle is played by opening the bottom card to determine trump. All four players meld before the opening trick is led.

References in periodicals archive ?
Somewhere around 20 I realized I was about to either graduate college or get kicked out, and I didn't know anything except pinochle.
At this point, my nostalgia for pinochle matches seems trivial.
area real estate firm, who reads, bowls and plays pinochle in his spare time, seeks a mature, focused woman who "assumes responsibility for who she is.
The movie teases us with possibilities of miracles but insists that everything happened because, during a record heat wave, young butcher Joseph Santangelo (Vincent D'Onofrio) opened his refrigerated meat locker in the middle of a pinochle game, casting a spell on Lino Falconetti (Vincent Argo).
Thus explosive growth has been fueled by choice: cable's trump card in the pinochle game of television.
The book is an astonishing mixture, everything from pinochle to megalomania, from Latin conjugations to Yiddish slang--and all charged with an outlandish humor entirely agreeable to some people and lunatic to others.
Both were in the form of letters to my parents asking how I had ever been accepted into the university in the first place, and informing them that no credit was yet being offered for my major fishing, or my minor, pinochle.
Through the 1950s, Beverly Hills was a stable suburban enclave for the Hollywood bourgeoisie, where George Burns played pinochle with the boys and Gracie went shopping with the girls at branch boutiques of famous marts in bigger cities.
You can't play pinochle comfortably; the sand makes the cards gritty.
The group plays pinochle, canasta, golf and various board games, and is looking for bridge players.
Her interests were many: she enjoyed reading, excelled as a seamstress and embroider and played a winning game of pinochle.