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Eliters Newsletter
Issue Number 74
April 2009
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Are Pinochle Players Playing with a Full Deck?

No, they play with four decks of cards but only 10 and higher from them decks!

The history of pinochle started before the 1900.  Pinochle (sometimes called pinocle or penuchle) is a trick taking game.  In the double deck variety that we play on Yahoo we used two decks from the 10 to the Ace for a total of 80 cards. Each hand of pinochle has three phases:  bidding, melds, and tricks.

Pinochle comes from the game bezique, which is virtually identical to the original two-hand type of pinochle.  The word is possibly derived from the French word, “binage”, for the combination of cards “binocle”.  The German speakers would adopt this pronunciation of the game.  German immigrants brought the game to American, where it was pronounced and misspelled “Pinochle.”

During World War I, the city of Syracuse, New York outlawed the playing of pinochle in a fit of anti German sentiment.  Pinochle was the favorite card game of American Jews and Irish Immigrants, while skat was the preferred game of a majority of German.

Interesting fact in pinochle is that you do not have to shuffle; it is the dealer’s choice.  Play is similar to regular Pinochle; except 20 cards are dealt to each person and minimum bid is increased to 50 points. In some variations, bids are made in increments of 1 or more points until 60 is reached, then by 5 points. This version often features "meld bidding", a bid to your partner letting them know what you have in your hand. This can be any numerical bid, and it is advised that you talk to your partner before the game so you have a better understanding of what their bids mean. For instance, a bid of "51" after an opening bid of "50" by the first bidder could signal "aces around" (but ONLY in this specific bid sequence). Alternatively, this could mean that the bidder is asking for meld from their partner (anytime a player bids 1 more than the player before them). A bid raise of 2 or more is to let your partner know what you have in your hand. Remember, it is best for all to talk to your partner before the game begins. You may not use a passing bid of "by me" to signal ten points held. The only communication during bidding should be a numerical number or "pass". Any other way of communicating is called "talking across the table" and is forbidden.

Most pinochle players learned the game with their families.  I learned the game while in college.

There are several pinochle clubs nation wide.  The oldest I could find was the “Pinochle Bug Social and Civic Club” started in 1946 in Roanoke, Virginia, and now has 27 chapters.

Darkangel110, HA of Pinoy

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