Contributed by: MermaidArtist1
In pinochle, the cards are in this order of value: A, 10, K, Q, J. The 10 is the second highest card in a suit.
A pinochle deck consists of 80 cards, there are 4 of each A, 10, K, Q, J in each suit. A hand has 20 cards in it.
The person bidding the highest gets to call trump. Bidding starts at a minimum of 50 and can be increased by 1 (or more) until reaching 60, where it must increase by a minimum of 5.
The first team whose score reaches 500 first wins the game.
You MUST have a marriage (K, Q) to call a suit trump.
There are two parts to the game: (1) the meld, (2) the play.
A's = 10 100
K's = 8 80
Q's = 6 60
J's = 4 40
Run = 15 150
pinochle = 4 30 triple = 45 4 of them = 300
(J of diamonds Q of spades)
marriage = 2 in trump = 4 marriages around = 24
You add up the number of points in your hand, and decide if you have a strong hand. If you have meld and not strength (not a long trump suit, not a lot of aces) you would only bid to give your partner knowledge of your meld (meld bid). I personally never bid without a marriage. If you have strong trump, consider bidding. If you have strong aces, consider bidding.
50 This is a bid to save your partner if s/he dealt, if you have a marriage, don't know if they do, you are bidding before them. If you partner didn't deal and you bid 50, usually means you have a run, but no meld, you are looking for a meld bid from your partner.
51 When bid first, it means you have aces around. If bid after someone bids 50, can either mean you have 10 meld, you have aces, or you want the bid and are trying to get it as cheaply as possible.
52 When bid first, means you have 20 meld. If bid after someone has bid 51, just means you want to call trump. Any time the bid is jumped by 2, means you have 20 meld.
53 When bid first, means you have 30 meld. This bid the majority of the time means you have a double pinochle. Anytime you want to let your partner know you have 30 meld, you jump the bid by 3 points (you can bid 50-60 in one point increments).
54 When bid first, means you have 40 meld. See above.
55 When bid first means you have 50 meld. See above.
56 When bid first means you have 60 meld. Most often associated with double queens around. See above.
57 When bid first means you have 70 meld. See above.
58 When bid first means you have 80 meld. Most often associated with double kings around. See above.
59 When bid first MEANS DOUBLE ACES AROUND. Never bid 59 first unless you have double aces around. If your partner bids 59 and you don't have a strong suit, bid again anyway if you have a marriage. Double aces are worth 100 points and they take lots of tricks, chances of going set even if you don't have an ace in your hand are very slim.
Minimum meld 20
Assumption: You can generally count on your partner for 10 points in meld.
A, 10, K = 1 point each last trick is worth 2 points = total 50
Minimum points to save your meld = 20
The amount you bid, versus the meld in you and your partner's hand, are the number of points you need to save (you must take a minimum of 20). There is a strong advantage to going first; you can pretty much count on your Aces being good.
If I don't have a lot of meld, but have a strong trump suit, I will count the number of losers in my hand (cards that aren't trump or aces) and determine whether to bid or not. I count each loser as 2 points because the opponents will put counters on their tricks. I add up my meld, add up the number of points I think I can take, and bid accordingly.
Hope this helps you.