Pinochle, the Sport of Kings. Or Queens and Jacks, anyway.
Game/skill/habit acquired by Nick at his grandparents’ while young, and later taught to certain others. Acquired by Andrew under the dual influence of Nick and Rachel Puda, with two fairly conflicting and highly local rule-sets.
h2. Basic structure
h3. Deck
A pinochle deck consists of two regular decks from which all cards below the nine have been removed. The rank of cards is A 10 K Q J 9.
h3. Meld
There are several varieties of “meld”, combinations of cards that are worth points at different parts of the game.
h4. Class I
100 Aces/Aces Around - One ace of each suit, (100 points)
80 Kings/Kings Around -
One king of each suit, (80 points)
60 Queens/Queens Around - One queen of each suit, (60 points)
40 Jacks/Jacks Around -
One jack of each suit, (40 points)
h4. Class II
Run/Flush - A10KQJ of trump (150 points)
Royal marriage -
KQ of trump (40 points)
Common marriage - KQ of non-trump suit (20 points)
Dix -
9 of trump (10 points)
h4. Class III
Pinochle - J♦Q♠ (40 points)
Double pinochle -
J♦Q♠ J♦Q♠ (300 points)
h3. Notes
You can re-use cards in forming new meld, with the caveat that each new meld added must involve a new card placed on the table. For example, a player possessing both 80 kings and 60 queens will not be able to capitalize on all possible combinations—one marriage will have to be sacrificed. This rule has been disputed by UGPfolk at various times.
h3. Tricks
When taking tricks, each player (starting with the bid-winner or the non-dealer and moving to its left) lays down a card. In order to win the trick, one must either play a higher card in the same suit as the first card played or the highest trump played. Except during phase one of two-hand pinochle, one may only trump when one has exhausted the first suit led.
There are varying degrees of determinism in the trick-taking rules according to region. In Nick’s ruleset, one can play any card one chooses as long as one does not trump improperly. For Rachel Puda, however, one must always beat a card led if possible and one must always trump if possible. Obviously Rachel’s rules are retarded.
h3. Bidding
In all the good versions of pinochle, play opens with players inspecting their hands and guessing how many points they can take in both tricks and meld. The highest bidder chooses trump and starts the play, and thus gains a considerable advantage. Various versions of the game require a minimum bid of this or that; UGP rules do not. Bidding is, in many ways, the most demanding part of the game, particularly when one is using more-deterministic rule sets for trick taking.
Specific bids are often used to signal ones partner to what one has or wants. (for example, a bid ending in “60” or “6” can suggest queens)
h2. Variants
h3. Partnership auction pinochle
Four players form two partnerships. All cards are dealt. Each player bids sequentially on how many points they believe their partnership can take in a hand if they take the bid. The highest bidder then names trump, and, in any non-ass version of the game, exchanges three or four cards with its partner. All parties meld, earnings corresponding points. Then, players play tricks, with the strongest card in the suit lead beating all cards except trump.
Passing is the most interesting and characteristic part of this version of pinochle. The partner is generally advised to pass aces and trump to its partner, though it is not always perfectly clear which cards are going to be most important.
h3. Three-hand pinochle
The deck is divided between three players and a three-card widow. Players bid, and highest bidder gets the widow, and replaces it with three cards of its choosing. Meld and tricks follow. Three-hand pinochle requires greater skill and sensitivity than the other games, because the margin of error during bidding is much smaller, and because temporary alliances shift as the score shifts.
h3. Two-hand pinochle
This game mixes the melding and trick-playing stages together; twelve cards are dealt to each player, leaving a considerable reserve. The top card is turned up and set aside. Its suit becomes the trump suit. If it is a dix, the dealer scores ten points; if it is any other card, then either player may trade it for a nine of trump after winning a trick.
h2. Extra-Quotes
  • TOBY Kill them all. Yeah.

    BOY 1 All the Islamic Extremists?

    TOBY No, no. I mean everyone. You’re all bothering me. I want to be left alone. Clearly, the only
    way that’s gonna happen is to be alone. So I’m sorry, but I’m gonna have to let you all go.
    [pause] Except the Yankees and the Knicks… and the Yankees and the Knicks are gonna need
    someone to play, so keep the Red Sox and the Lakers… and the Laker girls, and The Palm,
    and we’ll need to keep the people who work at The Palm. That’s it though. The Yankees, the
    Red Sox, the Knicks, the Lakers, the Laker girls, and anyone who works at The Palm. Sports,
    Laker girls, and a well-prepared steak. That’s all I need… Sometimes, I like to mix it up
    with Italian… and Chinese. All right, you can all stay, but don’t bug me. You’re on
    probation. Don’t forget. I was this close to banishing you.

    JOSH This is Toby Ziegler, and actually, he’s in charge of crafting our message to the public.

    TOBY And today, that message is?

    BOY 1 Don’t bug me?

    TOBY That’s right.

    GIRL 1 Nice beard.

    TOBY My choice, sister. And by the way, there’s nothing wrong with a religion whose laws say a man’s got to wear a beard or cover his head or wear a collar. It’s when violation of these laws become a crime against the State and not your parents that we’re talking about lack of choice. [looks at the visual aid, reads] “Islamic Extremists is to Islamic as KKK is to Christianity.” That’s… that’s about right. That’s a good religious analogy. What’s the
    political analogy? What’s an analogy using governments?

    BOY 1 They don’t have a government.
    BOY 2
    They have the Taliban. They have the government of Afghanistan.

    TOBY The Taliban is not the recognized government of Afghanistan. The Taliban took over the recognized government of Afghanistan. And there’s your political analogy.

    BOY 2 What do you mean?

    TOBY When you think of Afghanistan, think of Poland. When you think of the Taliban, think of the Nazis. When you think of the citizens of Afghanistan, think of the Jews in concentration camps. A friend of my dad’s was at one of the camps. He used to come over to the house, and he and my dad used to shoot some pinochle. He said he once saw a guy at the camp kneeling and praying.
    He said, “What are you doing?” The guy said he was thanking God. And my dad’s friend said, “What could you possibly be thanking God for?” He said, “I’m thanking God for not making me like them.” Bad people can’t be recognized on sight. There’s no point in trying.

    JOSH Actually, we already covered that.

    TOBY It’s worth covering twice, don’t you agree?

    JOSH I do.

    A girl raises her hand to get Toby’s attention.

    TOBY Yeah.

    GIRL 2 Pinochle’s a card game?

    TOBY [pause] Yeah, I’ve changed my mind again. Kill them all.
  • Fluble
  • Charmed
    • What were you doing when you got hit with the energy ball?
    • Paige: I was playing pinochle.
  • John Dunning, The Bookman’s Wake, pp.113-114
    • Bookscouting gives you the same kind of thrills as gambling. You flirt with the Lady in much the same way. You get hot and the books won’t stop coming: you get cold and you m ight as well be playing pinochle with your mother-in-law.