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Cinch

Cinch emerged in the western United States at the beginning of the 20th century as a variation of Pitch, rivalling Whist as America’s favourite card game. The game has also been called "High Five" and "Double Pedro".

Cinch is a trick taking game played with four players in two fixed-partnerships.

The Cards

Use a standard deck of 52 cards. Cards rank as usual A, K, Q, J, 10 ... 2.

In Cinch, the 5s play a special role. The right and left “Pedro” are the 5 of trumps and the other 5 of the same colour. The 5s rank as they always do, between 6 and 4, the Left Pedro ranking lower than the Right. However, the cards carry special value if they are captured in tricks.

The Deal

Play and deal are clockwise, and the deal proceeds to the left after each hand. Players cut to deal, and nine cards are dealt to each player in batches of 3.

Bidding

Starting left of the dealer, each player now takes it in turn to bid by announcing how many points they think they can win. It is not necessary to name a suit at this time, just the number of points you think you can win. The maximum bid is 14. Each bid must be higher than the previous, and any player who does not wish to bid may pass, but in so doing cannot re-enter the bidding process.

Once the auction is finalized, the highest bidder, now the 'Maker', calls trumps by naming a suit.

At this point, all players, except the dealer, discard all non-trumps from their hands, and beginning left of the dealer, their hands are replenished with as many cards as it takes to restore their hand to 6 cards.

The Dealer then discards all of his/her non-trumps, and then announces how many he/she needs to restore their hand to 6 cards. The dealer then fans through the deck, choosing from whatever trumps can be found. If there are not enough trumps, the dealer may then choose whatever cards he/she sees and likes.

The Play

The “Maker” leads first, and thereafter, the winner of the trick leads to the next.

Objective

To win tricks with valuable cards in them. The cards are valued as follows:

  • High Trump = 1
  • Low Trump = 1
  • Jack of Trumps = 1
  • Game Trump, the 10 = 1
  • Right Pedro = 5
  • Left Pedro = 5

In all, there are a total of 14 points to win

Rules

In Cinch, like all games of the All Fours family, it is always legal to play a trump. So the rules go like this;

  • If a Trump is played you must follow suit, if possible.
  • If a plain suit is led, you may either choose to follow suit or play a trump.
  • If you can't follow suit, you can play any card.
  • The trick is won by the highest trump played to it. If no trumps are played, by the highest card of the suit led.

In effect it means that you follow suit, but you also have the choice of trumping in if you feel like it. If you are not going to trump in, or you don't have a trump to play, then you must follow suit.

"If you can't follow suit, you can play any card" means that you are not required to trump in. It is at the player's discretion which is what makes Cinch a dangerous and exciting game.

Scoring

If the "Making Team" fulfills their contract, i.e. scores at least as many points declared as its bid, then whichever side took the highest number of points scores the difference between the two totals. This implies that the "Makers" can fulfil their contract bid, and yet still lose. Yes, this is correct.

If the Makers don't fulfill their contract, the opposition make 14 points, plus the number of points that the "Makers" fell short.

Cinch is played over a number of hands to a grand total of 51.


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