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California Jack

Game Type:
Age:  Teens, Adults
Players:  2
Deck: Standard, Jumbo Index Pinochle deck, 80 cards

This game is a variation on the All Fours theme with the following twist: players replenish their hands from the stock after each trick, and the stock, unlike virtually all other card games, is always face up instead of face down.

Number of Players. The game is designed for two players.

The Pack. The standard 52-card pack is used.

Rank of Cards. A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.

The Shuffle and Cut. From a shuffled pack spread face down, each player draws a card. High card deals. The dealer shuffles the cards, and the opponent cuts.

The Deal. The dealer completes the cut and distributes the cards either one or three at a time, beginning with his opponent, until each player has six cards. The remaining cards are squared and turned face up in the center of the table, serving as a stock. The top card is the trump suit for that deal.

The Play. The player on the dealer's left leads. The card led loses the trick to a higher card of the same suit or to a trump, but wins the trick otherwise. The winner of each trick leads next. The second player to each trick must either follow suit or trump, if possible. If unable to follow suit or trump, he may play any card.

The winner of each trick draws the top card of the stock, and the loser takes the next card. Since the top card of the stock is always exposed, an object of play frequently is to win or lose a trick depending on whether the player wishes to draw the top card of the stock or take a chance on what the next card will be. When the stock is exhausted, the last six cards of each player's hand are played out until all cards have been played.

Scoring. One point each is scored for taking the tricks that contain: High (ace of trumps), Low (deuce of trumps), Jack of trumps, and Game (the greatest number of points in counting cards, each ten counting 10 points, each ace 4, each king 3, each queen 2, each jack 1).

The first player to score 10 points wins the game. If both players reach 10 in the same hand, the points count in order: High, Low, Jack, Game.