Tips for Playing Pinochle

Pinochle can be fun – and also very tricky – if one is not familiar with the ins and outs of the game. A player needs to know what to bid, how to bid and what the house rules are before starting the game.

What About the Ace?
In pinochle, when a player makes a bid without having the ace of the suit they are calling trump, it is sometimes called bidding without the bullet. Most players of pinochle assume that bidders would not call trump in a certain suit unless they have the ace. However, the ace, ten, queen, king and jack are just as easily purchased from the kitty or a partner, and all of these cards are necessary for a winning hand.

Decide on the Bid
A player should keep in mind that they are part of a team, and it's important to pay attention to each others signals and bids. A bid needs to be determined by how much meld is in the hand and how many tricks are thought to be taken in the hand. It is important for a player to pass if their partner overbids them. That means they have a really good hand.

When One Partner Calls Trump What Should Their Partner Pass Them?
When one partner calls trump and the other partner does not have any good cards to pass, that partner should move on to the aces of other suits only when they have played any trump cards they have. If there is really nothing to pass, a ten or king in the same suit played would be helpful.

When Should the Trump Ace be Played?
The most powerful card during the play is the trump ace. Some players may lead with it and others like it to save it. It's important to play this card when it's thought to make the most damage in the play of the hand. Some players will guard this card as long as possible to get others players to work to get it played.

Pay Attention to Which Cards are Already Played
Paying attention to pinochle cards that are already played will allow a player to figure out what suit their partner is either void or strong in. It also allows a player to strategize what card they want to play because they can mentally cross off the trump cards that have already been played in the hand allowing them to figure out the next strongest card to be played.

Source by Jeremy P Stanfords