Pinochle is a high bidding, melding, and trick taking game played in three phases. Each player bids, usually with a minimum bid of 150 points, and the highest bidder chooses the trump suit for the game, and gets the ‘kitty.’ Score is taken at the end of each phase, and recorded in the score sheet. The Pinochle Score Sheets are used to track, and compute the cumulative score for Pinochle during game play.
There are as many variations to Pinochle as there are players, and major differences are more noticeable depending on the region where it is played. During the first phase of play, each player either bids or passes. Once a player has passed, that player can no longer bid. If no player bids for points either the dealer, or the player to the immediate left of the dealer is automatically bid 150 points which this player is now responsible for. If the high bidder or the automatic bidder fails to reach their bid, those points are deducted at the end of play. The highest bidder chooses the trump suit, which is noted on the Pinochle Score Sheet at this point in the game by the score keeper.
During the meld phase of the game, each player may meld their cards in any of the variations worth points. These variations include a Run in the trump suit worth 150 points, of which 9’s are not required but add 10 points each if included; Marriage in the trump suit worth 40 points; Marriage out of trump suit worth 20 points; Aces, Kings, Queens, and Jacks in every suit worth a variety of points; A Pinochle which is a Jack of Diamonds and a Queen of Spades, is worth 40 points; a Double Pinochle is worth 300 points; collections of all eight Aces, Kings, Queens, or Jacks are worth 400 to 1000 points; Double runs, of which 9’s are not required, are worth 1500 points; and finally 9’s and 10’s of the trump suit are worth points, but not 9’s and 10’s of all suits.
After melding, the bid winner discards three cards back to the kitty. If the bid winner does not have three cards, this player must retrieve the cards from the meld display, and those points cannot be counted. At this point, the game goes into the trick taking phase. The cards are picked up and played. The 10’s are worth more than any other card in-suit except for the Aces. The leading card sets the suit which must be followed. If a player cannot follow suit, the player must trump if the player has any trump cards in their hand. Also, players must beat the highest cards played if they can. At the end of the trick taking phase, the Aces, 10’s, and Kings are scored at 10 points each. The player who picks up the last trick receives 10 additional points. If a player takes no tricks, then the player loses their meld points. The three cards discarded back to the kitty by the bid winner do not count as a trick, and if the bid winner fails to meet bid points, the points are deducted from the players score.
Sample of Pinochle Score Sheets
Pinochle Cheat Sheet Format
Pinochle Score Sheets Sample
Pinochle Score Sheets Alternate
Points, bids, and trump selection are noted on the Pinochle Score Sheet, which can be downloaded here, at each phase of the game and then computed at the end of the trick taking phase.