Hidden Valley Ranch


Played on Thurdays

1:00 PM in the Recreation Hall.

4 Players play the game as two sets of partners. The partners play opposite each other at the table.

Pinochle is played with a deck of 48 cards. The four traditional suits of Spades, Diamonds, Clubs and Hearts are represented with 2 each of the following cards in each of the four suits.


The ACE is the Highest ranking card followed by the TEN, etc., to the NINE, the lowest card in the deck.

———————— The Deal

It is typical for each player to draw a card from the deck to determine the first dealer of the game. Highest card drawn wins the deal.

After shuffling, dealer must offer the player on the right a chance to cut the deal. The cut is not mandatory. Player on the right can decline the cut.

Each player receives 12 cards. The dealer has the option to deal the cards 1, 2 or 3 at a time, starting with the player on his left in a clockwise rotation until all hands are dealt. The dealer cannot change the starting number of cards dealt per player once established. i.e., start with one card to player on left, all players get 1 card at a time until the deck is dealt. Start with 3 cards at a time, all players get 3 cards at a time until the deck is dealt.

Each player should arrange their hand according to suit and rank of cards within the suit. (It is helpful to alternate the suits black, red, black, red for easy identification in your hand. I like to start with Spades, Diamonds, Clubs and then Hearts. This is only to arrange your hand in an easily recognized order and has nothing to do with the rules of the game.)

———————— The Bid

Bidding (some times referred to as the auction) begins with the player to the left of the dealer. Traditionally the bidding would start with the minimum bid allowed, 100 and must be raised in increments of 10. This system was abandoned years ago by most players. The common system used today is to drop the zero from the end of ALL bids and establish the minimum bid as 15. Subsequent bids are then raised by 1 or more points. The bids are made in a clockwise rotation around the table until only one bidder remains and the other three players have passed.

Players determine how high to bid their hand by estimating the combined total of how many points they think they can make during the meld and the total counters they think can take during the play of the hands. Failure to make their bid at the end of the hand results in a SET. When a SET occurs the bid is deducted from their teams points and all points made during the hand are lost. This is the most difficult part of the game for most players. Obviously, it is to your advantage to take the bid for as low a figure as possible.


The last remaining bidder owns the bid and declares a Trump suit. This is the strongest suit in their hand. Strength being measured by which suit will not only produce the most meld but also capture the most tricks during play of the hands.

———————– The Pass

The Bid Winner’s PARTNER now selects 4 cards from their hand and passes them, face down, across the table to the Bid Winner. The Bid Winner inserts these cards into his/her hand. This pass is referred to as “Help” for the Bid Winner and as a general rule contains any Trump and/or Aces the PARTNER has in their hand.

The Bid Winner must now select 4 cards to pass back to his PARTNER. This pass is also made face down, across the table and the PARTNER returns these cards to their hand. This pass is generally cards that the Bid Winner cannot use in either a meld or lack the potential to take a trick during play of the hands.

Passing of cards is done only between the Bid Winner and his/her Partner. Both hands must now contain 12 cards each.

———————– The Meld

After the passes have been made all players may now lay down and count their meld. Like bidding, it is the common practice to drop the zero from the end. Years ago a double pinochle was some times referred to as “300 pinochle”. Under the old system the point value for this meld was 300 points. Today we count it as 30 (dropping the zero on the end).

Legal melds that can be made by any player are as follows:

RUN: = 15
ACE, TEN, KING, QUEEN, JACK of the suit declared as Trump.

2 each of the cards listed under RUN. Suit must all be Trump.


2 of each, JACK of DIAMONDS and QUEEN of SPADES

1 ACE from every suit, 4 in total

2 ACES from every suit, 8 in total

1 KING from every suit, 4 in total

2 KINGS from every suit, 8 in total

1 QUEEN from every suit, 4 in total

2 QUEENS from every suit, 8 in total

1 JACK from every suit, 4 in total

2 JACKS from every suit, 8 in total

1 KING and 1 QUEEN of the same suit, Non-Trump suits only

1 KING and 1 QUEEN of Trump
(This meld is not counted if any of the cards are used to make a RUN) Extra marriages in trump can be meld if not used to make a RUN

NINE of TRUMP: = 1
For each NINE of Trump melded

1 MARRIAGE in every suit. This is a convenient way to add the sums of KINGS and QUEENS around plus the values of the MARRIAGES.

Each player removes the meld from their hand and lays it face up on the table directly in front of them. Each of the partners add their individual meld together and the player keeping the score records the team totals on the score pad. (Partners are not allowed to pool their cards together.) Once the totals are recorded each player returns the cards they melded to their hand.

———————– The Play

The Bid Winner “Owns the Lead” and starts play of the hand by placing a “lead” card in the center of the table. The player to the left of the Bid Winner plays 1 card on the “lead” and in a clockwise rotation the other players also play 1 card on the “lead”. NO player is allowed to play “out of turn”. The 4 cards played are called a “Trick”.

RULES of PLAY are as follows:

Players must Follow the Suit of the “lead” card, if they can.

If they can Follow suit:
They must try to beat the highest card played thus far in the “lead” suit of this Trick. If they cannot beat the highest card played in the “lead” suit, they may play any lesser card of the “lead” suit.

If they can’t Follow suit but have Trump:
They must Trump the Trick, if they hold Trump in their hand. They must beat any other Trump card played in this Trick, if they can. If they can’t beat the highest Trump card played, they must play a lesser trump card.

If they can’t Follow suit OR Trump:
They may play any card

The player who plays the highest card in the “lead” suit takes the Trick, if it was NOT Trumped … OR ….If the Trick was Trumped, the player who plays the highest Trump card takes the Trick.

In the case of duplicate winners the first card played takes the trick.

Each team collects their own tricks and stacks them face down on the table out of the way of remaining plays.

The player who took the last Trick becomes the Leader of the next round of play and continues as before starting with the player on the new Leaders left.

Play continues until all cards have been played.

———————– The Count

When play of the hand is finished, each team counts the number of “counters” taken in their Tricks. “Counters” are any ACE, TEN or KING. All other cards count nothing. There is a total of 24 points in the deck. 1 extra point is awarded the team that takes the last Trick making a total possible points of 25.

The score keeper adds the count of each team to their meld and the result is their TOTAL.

Bid Winners Team:
If their TOTAL meets or exceeds their Bid, their TOTAL is added to their score by the score keeper.

If their TOTAL is less than their bid, they are declared SET and the amount of their Bid is deducted from the score they held at the beginning of the hand. All meld and count are discarded.

If they failed to take at least 1 counter during play, they do not save their meld and SET. Score the same as previously outlined.

Opponents Team:
Opponents team must take at least 1 counter during play to save their meld. If this was accomplished their TOTAL is added to the score they held at the beginning of the hand.

———————– New Hand

The new dealer is the player to the left of the last dealer.

Continue the game until a score of 250 points is reached by one team. If both teams go over 250 in the same hand, the team with the highest score wins the game.

———————– Shoot the Moon

The Winner of the bid may at his/her option declare that they intend to “Shoot the Moon”. This declaration must be made after all melds have been counted and BEFORE the first card of the hand is led during play.

Making this declaration means the Bid Winner intends to take ALL the Tricks. If he/she succeeds, a bonus of 25 points is awarded the team at the conclusion of the hand. If he/she fails to take all the Tricks, SET is declared. Their team loses all points accumulated in the hand and deduct their bid plus 25 points from the score they held at the beginning of the hand.


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