Hello Lecteurs! (French for readers- trying to class this up a bit)
Another Wednesday in the bag.....Spring has sprung!
Tonight we played three-handed with a "kitty" and four-handed with a "kitty". This is mucho fun, kind of like; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfjFY5f-r_s&feature=related ! See we both had fun!
The rules for each are very similar. Starting with three-handed, you deal three cards to each player, putting one card in the middle face down for each of the first three times around. After you have three in the middle you deal the remainder, three at a time to each player. Bidding is the same, twice around starting at 15. The person who wins the bid wins the three cards in the middle and turns them over one at a time. Looking at the three cards in conjunction with their hand, the player declares trump then melds, using the three cards as meld with cards in their hand if possible. Once meld is counted, the player must discard three cards from their hand and then pick up the three cards they have won and incorporate them into their hand. You cannot discard meld and you hold onto the three cards you discard, keeping them face down in front of you. Play then proceeds normally, leading with trump and playing out the hand.
BUT.......... there are some things to add a little spice to the game. The three cards that the player discarded prior to beginning play count when the player counts up their points! So you need to use your noggin here. It is advisable to try and discard some point cards (A, K, 10) to help your total point value when the hand is finished. Example, during play tonight, the player to my right won the bid, melded, discarded three from his hand (two 10's and a 9) before picking up the three extra cards and then won the first trick with the ace of trump. He already had four points after the first trick! This version is great because it can change the complexion of the game. You may feel you have a killer hand, but if you lose the bid and another player gets the three bonus cards, they may suddenly have the killer hand. Or, you may gamble on the three cards in the middle, bidding a little higher and then be rewarded by getting nothing in return, so your feelings about your chances can change on a dime http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5x2JFRFZWg I guess my point is to be careful!
Four-handed with a kitty http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUuYgaltZe4&feature=related (sorry, had to throw that in there) is played pretty much the same way. First, four players (obviously) you deal the cards three to each player with one in the middle until you get down to nine cards left, then two to each player and the last one in the middle making four. Bid, winner turns cards over, bid losers see the cards and are usually sad http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJYA0fjrAJE&feature=related then play continues as normal. One more difference however, in four-handed you play as partners with the person across from you. This is a whole different dynamic as you need to support each others bidding and then cards to win the maximum number of tricks to take the hand. This is something I'll go into in a summary blog after we finish the classes. or you could hit the link on blog number two to connect to the rules of Pinochle and read all about this topic.
Well gang, enough for tonight. Play, play, play, it will only make you better. See you next Wednesday.
TIP SEVEN: It became obvious tonight that when counting your meld and figuring trump, it is important to count the trump in your hand, remembering any trump that may have been turned over with the bonus cards BEFORE you bid, especially if your aim is to win the bid and control the first trick. It is equally important to count all trump played in order to save trump in your hand and take the last trick or tricks.
RECIPE SEVEN: Get a pound of fresh medium sized shrimp and have the seafood guy steam them with a little Old Bay Seasoning for no more than four minutes. They will carry over cook in the bag and be prefect when you need them. Also get two or three large cucumbers, one eight ounce package of cream cheese and a bunch of fresh dill. Chill shrimp for at least two hours. While chilling shrimp, bring cream cheese to room temp and mix with a little fresh lemon juice (about a tablespoon, no more) and some Franks hot sauce (hot sauce to taste) but be careful not to make the mixture too thin. Completely peel and devein shrimp (no shell left at all). Slice cucumbers in 1/4 inch rounds and arrange on a platter. Spoon or pipe a little cream cheese mixture on each cucumber slice and top with a shrimp, then top each shrimp with a little chopped fresh dill. Serve and enjoy! Pretty much any drink goes with this snack, but I would recommend cold white wine, lager beer (no heavy beers) or straight liquor (Bourbon or Irish whiskey).
NEXT WEEK: Last class, but not the last post, some explanations and a cheesy yummo snack!