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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.

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References in periodicals archive ?
Whether preparing a pot of his famous spaghetti or hosting a night of Pinochle, his greatest pleasure was derived from sharing those moments with family, friends and especially his grandchildren.
Well, I did have a week off for spring break, and I admit my own curiosity was also a bit piqued, so I consented to spending five days in the hospital's neuropsychology unit, sitting around reading novels and playing pinochle in one of their observation rooms.
12 afternoon session, with 61 members present, are: high score Rich Wille, 621; low score Sherry Mark, 344; high round Ed Bien and Earl Mueller, 166; double pinochle Bob Kelly and Ronnie Marchese; all tricks: Micki Wiecek, Dave Haraburda, Rich Wille and Bob Kelly; and round house: Rich Wille.
She loved playing card games, especially pinochle. Bingo was another passion.
5 afternoon session, with 60 members present, are: high score Tony Barruzza, 654; low score Jean Sierzega, 432; high round Anthony Catalano and Annie Schoenfisch, 182; double pinochle Marge Wagner, Alice Stuckmeyer, Eileen Smith, Bud Curtis, F.
The Boston Tea Party, for example, with a bunch of people sitting around playing pinochle and drinking English breakfast tea, rather than arguing over tariffs.
Pinochle: The results from the July 29 morning session, with 35 members present, are: high score Al Foerster, 593; low score, Joe Soukal, 377; high round Tony Barruzza and Rich Heidorn, 147; double pinochle Susan Sennot and Art Ryden.
Stephen's other hobbies included gardening, playing pinochle, horseshoes (once enjoying a 30% ringer average in league play), solving crossword puzzles, hosting any and all guests at his home, marching with fellow veterans in local parades and corresponding with his many friends and acquaintances.
She enjoys playing bridge and pinochle and sharing stories of her travels.
Berthiaume enjoyed playing pinochle, and played with the same group on Wednesday nights for 30 years.
Activity: Pinochle, 9 a.m.; Bingo, 10 a.m.; Nickel Bingo after lunch.
She enjoyed games especially Pinochle, and doing crossword puzzles daily.