Pinochle Glossary

Pinochle Glossary

Aces Around
A meld combination consisting of one ace from each of the four suits; worth 10 points. Also called Aces.

Arounds
Refers to having a card rank in every suit. Aces around, Kings around, Queens around, and Jacks around are worth points. Tens around are worth nothing, and seem to occur infuriatingly often. Sometimes called Rounds.

Bare Run
When all you have in a suit is the 5 cards necessary to make it a run.

Bid
To offer a point value as the target to be reached, combining points from melding and pulling in counters in tricks; also, the amoun offered.

Bid Up (or “Run Up the Bid”)
To continue bidding against an opponent even though your hand is not worth the amount you are bidding, generally for the sole purpose of inflating the bid in an effort to better the chance of setting the other team. Caution: use of this tactic can result in the bid being dumped on you.

By
A By-Me bid that indicates Aces around in the player’s hand.

By-Me
A Pass bid that indicates a small, but potentially useful (8 to 14 points) of meld in the passer’s hand. A player with less meld should say pass instead.

Counters
The cards which score points when pulled during the trick taking phase of the round (Aces, Tens, and Kings).

Deal
The process by which the 80 cards are evenly distributed to the four players. Often done five cards at a time, or alternatively, four cards at a a time. Deal passes clockwise with subsequent rounds.

Double Run
A meld combination consisting of two Aces, two Tens, Two Kings, Two Queens, and two Jacks of trump; worth 150 points (very rare).

Dump
To force the winning bid onto the dealer because all other players passed in the first round of bidding. Sometimes also used when a player offers a meld bid and then all remaining players pass. Can also happen if one player is running up the bid, and the person they are running it up against backs out. In all cases, an unwilling player is forced to win the bid, and may not be in a position to make a good hand of it.

Follow Suit
To play a card of the suit led to the trick. Each player is required to do this if able. If unable, they must play trump. Only when out of the suit led and trump may a player play anything they choose.

Get Set
The team that won the bid failed to earn enough points to make the bid. Getting set results in a loss of points equal to the bid, and should be avoided.

Hand
The twenty cards dealt to an individual player. Sometimes used to mean a round of play (You play out the hand; all twenty cards).

Jacks Around
A meld combination consisting of one Jack from each of the four suits; worth 4 points. Also called Jacks.

Kings Around
A meld combination consisting of one King from each of the four suits; worth 8 points. Also called Kings.

Lead
To play the first card to a trick. Also, the first card played to a trick, or the right to play the first card to a trick (as in “Whose lead is it?”).

Lone Ace
An Ace in a hand which contains no other cards of the same suit; such a card is liable to be pulled if another Ace of that suit is led.

Loser
A card which is not likely to win a trick. Generally, a non-Ace outside of trump is considered likely to be a loser.

Make the Bid
To earn enough combined points from meld and counters to meet or exceed the amount of the winning bid. The team that wins the bid is required to make the bid.

Marriage
A King and Queen of the same suit. Usually refers to a pairing not in trump. Worth 2 points. Also called a Common Marriage.

Marriage in Trump
A King and Queen of the same suit, when that suit has been named trump. Worth 4 points. Also called a Royal Marriage.

Meld
Combinations of cards which score points after the Bidding and before the trick taking portion of play (the Meld phase). Also a verb, meaning “to display and disclose meld”. Sometimes used in ‘Meld Bid’ in reference to a bid that communicates information about the bidders meld.

Pass
Said when the right to bid comes to a player to indicate that the player forfeits the right to bid on this and all subsequant rounds of bidding for the hand.

Pinochle
A Queen of Spades and a Jack of Diamonds (:Qs :Jd). The only unintuitive meld combination, it is the source of the game’s name. Worth 4 points. Double (two pinochles) is worth 30 points.

Queens Around
A meld combination consisting of one Queen from each of the four suits; worth 8 points. Also called Queens.

Roundhouse
Shorthand to refer to the meld combination of having a king and a queen in every suit. Worth 24 points (Kings Around + Queen’s Around + One Marriage in Trump + Three Marriages).

Run
A meld combination made up of one card of each rank in the same suit (Ace, Ten, King, Queen, Jack). Sometimes called a Run in Trump, because it has no value if it is not in the suit called as trump. When in trump, it is worth 16 points. A Run contains a marriage, so the marriage is not scored outside of the run.

Run and a Roundhouse
A meld combination of a Run and a Roundhouse. Worth 36 points (Run + Kings Around + Queens Around + Three Marriages).

Save
Indicates a conditional pass. This is exactly the same as a pass, unless the player’s partner has the bid dumped on them, in which case the partner can hand it back to the passer. An emergency case only, and the bid taker should only hand it back to the passer if they have no marriages. Save also increases the bid to the next increment.

Trick
A single turn of play where each player plays one card into the center, clockwise from the person who starts the trick. In almost all trick-taking games, the highest card played wins the trick (the player takes the cards and puts them into a scoring pile), and the player of that card then leads the next trick. In games with Trump, cards in the trump suit supercede all other suits, even if they are of a lower rank than the highest card played.

Trump
A suit chosen by the player that wins the bid. In normal legal play, it can only be played as the lead to a trick, or when someone cannot follow suit.

Twenty-Pounder
A meld combination consisting of a Run, with a King and Queen in the same suit, not already part of the Run. Worth 20 points. A 10 K K Q Q J is a Twenty-Pounder.

Win the Bid
Term used to indicate making the successful bid in the bidding auction phase. The person who wins the bid has the right to declare the trump suit for that hand, and the right to lead the first trick.

Please see the Rules page and the Advanced Strategy page for more information.