Pinochle with more than two players.
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Can the two-handed versions of Pinochle, Bezique and related trick-meld-draw games be adapted to three or more players? Certainly, but such efforts are rarely documented. Some arithmetic will reveal a difficulty.

In old-time two-player 48-card Pinochle, the battle is played out in 24 tricks, each player on average winning 12 of them, 6 before the stock is depleted and 6 after. This means that each player averages 6 opportunities to meld, because no melding is allowed to take place once the stock is exhausted. In East Point by contrast, melding is still permitted once the stock is empty; yet during this phase as player's hands shrink, a player is rarely able to meld more than once. A rule of thumb is that in an East Point battle, each player averages 7 realistic opportunities to meld.

If a three-player game is conducted with the 48-card pack, there will be only 16 tricks, each player winning on the average 5 1/3 of them — this contrasts to 12 in the two-player case. With hands dwindling as the battle progresses, each player will probably not have more then 3 realistic opportunities to meld. A remedy found in a few rulebooks is to deal 16 cards to each player, leaving nothing for a stock. Through the first three tricks, for instance, each player will have at least 12 cards available, so that a player who wins an early trick will have a fair chance to produce a meld.

Beziques for more than two players usually follow the trick-meld-draw pattern of two-handed Pinochle and Bezique, but employ a much larger pack (96 cards and up) which gives players many opportunities to meld. Altogether different is the typical approach among the Pinochles for more than two players, where the trick-meld-draw pattern is completely abandoned:

• Either all the cards are dealt; or nearly all are, leaving a widow of roughly three cards.
• Players in turn bid for the chance to choose a trump suit, which affects all melding and trick play.
• In partnership versions, there may be an exchange of several cards between partners.
• The high bidder is obligated to score at least as many points as he bid, or he faces a penalty. However, he gets to exchange cards with the widow (if any), possibly improving his hand.
• Each player reveals and scores for all his melds before any tricks are played.