48 playing cards. The usual four suits: clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades. Two cards per suit: ace, ten, king, queen, jack, nine. A pinochle is a queen of spades with a jack of diamonds.
Whether four-handed (playing with a partner) or three-handed (you’re on your own), pinochle is family fun. It is about being together, telling stories, sharing laughter, and occasionally holding really good cards.
When “family rules” are in effect – and they are always in effect – pinochle is also about grace. A few examples:
- Players new to the game get assistance, often in the form of an experienced player looking over their shoulder to help bid or to offer advice on what card to lead.
- Young players are allowed an occasional hand signal when bidding – especially when bidding for 300 pinochle (was that two legs or three?).
- Players of every age and experience are allowed to pull back a card just played when they realized they’ve played the wrong card.
- When a game goes too long or ceases to be fun or it’s time for a nap or a meal, the cards are put away.
Goodwill. Second chances. Much love. All signs of grace.