These rules for old-time two-handed Pinochle are typical of those found in ink-and-paper books on the subject. As with most card games, there are no "official" rules, and local variations abound. A good standard description is found at Bicycle.
Here, the rules are written in the same format as those of East Point for ease of comparison.
OT1 — Players. Two, denoted East and West.
OT2 — Equipment.
A. The game uses a pack of forty-eight playing cards:
These cards can be extracted from two Poker or Bridge packs, which should have the same design printed on the back. Two 32-card Piquet or Euchre packs can also be used. Commercial Pinochle packs are fairly easy to find.
B. For keeping score are needed pencil and paper, or an electronic device.
OT3 — Object. A player scores points by collecting melds, by capturing valuable cards in tricks, and by a few miscellaneous methods. Whoever earns more points wins.
OT4 — Game.
A. A game of East Point is played out as a sequence of battles. Each player's game score is simply the sum of her battle scores. Before action begins, the players need to choose the criteria for ending the game, among the possibilities being these:
B. One player is selected by agreement as dealer of the first battle; thereafter the deal alternates.
OT5 — Battle. A battle consists of a shuffle, a deal, and enough tricks to exhaust the players' hands.
OT6 — Preliminaries.
A. Dealer shuffles, and nondealer cuts.
B. Dealer distributes twelve face-down cards to each player, in batches of three or four. The next card (the trump card) is turned face up to determine the trump suit. If it is a nine, the dealer scores 10 immediately. The 23 remaining undealt cards are placed face down crosswise on top of the trump card so that it remains partly visible.
C. Each player's 12 cards become her concealed hand, while the 24 cards which remain become the stock; these are described in the next section.
OT7 — Sites of Cards.
A. From the end of the deal to the end of the battle, each of the cards will be found in one of these locations:
B. A card can move:
C. Special movements are:
OT8 — Tricks. A trick is a contest between two cards, one from each player. In the first trick of each battle, nondealer assumes the role of leader and dealer is follower. For the remainder of the battle, the winner of one trick becomes the leader to the next. The rules differ somewhat in phase A, before the stock is exhausted, and phase B, when the stock is exhausted. Phase A is the first twelve tricks, phase B the last twelve.
In executing a trick:
A. Leader selects any card from her hand, and lays it face up near the center of table.
B. After seeing leader's card, follower selects a card from her hand and lays it face up next to the leader's card:
C. They then decide who won the trick:
D. The trick winner places both cards of the trick face down into her trick pile. In phase A, the trick winner gets an opportunity to meld, as detailed in rule OT9, but the trick loser does not get to meld. In phase B, nobody melds.
E. In phase A, the trick winner draws the top card of the stock and adds it to her concealed hand; then the trick loser draws. In phase B, there is nothing left to draw.
F. After the twelfth trick (and possible meld), the trick winner shows the card she draws to her opponent, and the trick loser inevitably draws the previously exposed trump card or its dix replacement. Also at this time, each player picks up the cards of her exposed hand and returns them to her concealed hand. This ends phase A and begins phase B.
G. They proceed to the next trick unless their hands have run out of cards. The player who takes the final trick of phase B earns 10 points.
H. Cards won in tricks earn points according to whichever of these three schedules was chosen by the players before the game began:
|points for cards|
Ordinarily, players count their trick points at the end of the battle.
OT9 — Melding.
A. This chart shows the combinations of cards which, when appearing in a player's hand, can be melded. A single meld contains one of each indicated card while a double meld has two.
|points for melds|
|A||sequence||A T K Q J of trumps||150||300|
|royal marriage||K Q of trumps||40||80|
|common marriage||K Q of same suit, not trumps||20||40|
|dix||9 of trumps||10||—|
|B||four aces||A♣ A♠ A♥ A♦||100||200|
|four kings||K♣ K♠ K♥ K♦||80||160|
|four queens||Q♣ Q♠ Q♥ Q♦||60||120|
|four jacks||J♣ J♠ J♥ J♦||40||80|
In contrast to most other melds, the score for double pinochle is not twice the score for a single pinochle.
B. To meld:
C. At least one card in each meld must come from the melder's concealed hand at the time of melding. The others may come from her concealed or exposed hands in any combination.
D. When a player wins a trick, the two cards go immediately into her trick pile — only afterwards might the player meld in that turn. (This means that, although each player is dealt 12 cards, she has exactly 11 to choose from at the moment of melding.) A key feature of Pinochle is that once a card wins a trick, it cannot be melded. However, the card identical to it retains whatever melding eligibility it already had.
E. No player is ever required to meld. If a player is willing and able to meld, she is limited to one meld per turn. Of course, it may be a double meld. Exception: a player may meld a dix and something else at the same time. (The rule books are silent on whether a player may meld both dix cards on the same turn, which is why the table above gives no point value for a double dix meld.)
F. Using a card for a meld in one class does not affect its eligibility for melds in other classes.
G. A card once used in one meld in a class cannot be reused in another meld in that class, unless the second of these two melds is of a higher point value. In particular:
H. A consequence of rule OT7B is that a card once melded may (and indeed must) eventually be played to some subsequent trick, but as soon as a card is played to a trick it becomes unavailable for any future meld.
I. Melding a dix is more complicated:
1. The rules pertaining to the dix complicate the rules considerably without adding much in the way of strategy or tactics, which is why the dix does not appear in East Point.
2. In old-time Pinochle, only a sequence in the trump suit can be melded. However, if the distribution of cards is sufficiently skewed that one player can assemble a trump sequence, then it is likely that her opponent can assemble a non-trump sequence. To hold those five cards and not be able to meld them is frustrating, so East Point recognizes the quintet in all four suits. Too, some Beziques accept the sequence in any suit, granting 250 points for a sequence in trumps, and 150 points for a sequence in any other suit.
3. Old-time Pinochle does not allow the meld of four tens, and the rationale for this prohibition is obscure or nonexistent, so East Point allows it.