Pedro, Pidro, or Cinch – are three names for a single trick-taking game popular mainly in North America. These Pedro card game rules will teach you how it’s played.
The game trains and tests your focus and allows you to try some tactics, but at the same time remains simple and clear. That’s why I like to play it with youngsters or beginners.
Pedro is typically played by four players forming firm partnerships. The game’s name refers to the five of the trump suit, a card associated with the highest score value in the game.
This Pedro card game rules guide will cover the following:
- What is Pedro?
- What you’ll need to play Pedro
- Pedro card game rules
- How to play Pedro (video tutorial)
- Other similar games to Pedro (our guides)
Full instructions on how to play Pedro await you below.
What is Pedro?
In Pedro, two teams compete to collect points by taking not only as many tricks as possible but also ‘the right tricks’ with valuable cards.
Number of Players: 4 players (2 teams of two)
Length of Play: approximately20 minutes
Category: Trick-taking card game
Main Objective: Help your team amass more points than your opponents by winning the tricks.
Why We Love It: Pedro will satisfy anyone who likes classic trick-taking card games. It is also original enough for seasoned players to stay amused.
What You’ll Need to Play Pedro
Pedro is played with a standard 52-card deck.
Opinions vary on whether Pedro should be played with Jokers or without them. I have never played the game with Jokers, though, so my rules guide also considers them unnecessary.
Pedro Card Game Rules and Gameplay
Pedro was invented in the late 19th century and quickly became a hit across entire North America. Later, it also spread to Europe and other parts of the world.
This led to the creation of various versions of the game with a wide range of alternative or optional rules, so getting to the very core of the game’s basics is a bit of a challenge.
The following instructions will introduce you to what I consider the most widespread and easiest-to-comprehend version of Pedro.
Still, be advised that your opponents may be familiar with a different version of this game, so it’s wise to discuss and agree on standard rules before you start playing.
Starting the Game
First, the Pedro players must form two teams that will stay the same for the entire gameplay. Sit opposite your teammate (across the table).
Now let’s discuss the unique card ranks and trump selection in Pedro.
Card Ranks & Points & Trumps
This game ranks cards from the lowest Twos to the highest Aces. However, all the cards are dominated by the Trump suit and its Five in particular. This card is called Pedro.
Strangely, the Trump suit in this game also includes another Five of the same color (e.g., if the Trump suit is hearts, then the diamonds Five will also be considered Trump).
This off-Trump Five ranks between the Trump Four and Trump Five (Pedro).
When it comes to point collection (which is what the players genuinely aim at in this game), only six out of fourteen trump cards have any worth:
- Ace, Jack, Ten, and Two = 1 point each
- Five, Off-Trump Five = 5 points each
But how do you know which suit qualifies as a Trump suit in the first place?
This is decided through the following process of bidding:
- First, the dealer for the round is determined by cutting the deck (the player with the highest-ranking card becomes the dealer). The dealer’s role will rotate clockwise.
- The dealer deals nine cards (in batches of three) to each player.
- The players check their cards, and each bid for the right to decide the trump suit, starting with the player to the dealer’s left.
- A bid says how many points the bidder undertakes to win in the upcoming deal. The minimum bid is 7, and the maximum is 14. If everyone passes, the dealer must bid 7.
- Each player must make a higher bid than all the previous ones. Alternatively, the player can also pass and lose the challenge.
- The highest bidder announces the trump suit, and the game can begin.
How to Play Pedro
First, each player discards at least three (or more) cards facing up to the center of the table. The dealer will replenish their hands up to 6 cards if needed.
The dealer has the privilege to choose his cards freely from the remaining stock, and he must also discard any remaining trumps from the stock.
Any points-worth trumps discarded by the players are counted towards the highest bidding party, which also leads to the first trick using any card.
Players now take turns playing cards in an attempt to win each trick.
However, unlike in many other trick-taking card games, they are not obliged to follow the leading suit. They can play Trump instead, even if they have other suitable cards.
A trick is won by the highest card of the leading suit or by the highest trump card played. The winner of the trick leads new trick.
Players (teams) keep track of the points they earn with each trick (see the cards’ point value above).
If the bidding party wins as many points as they bid in the beginning, any opponent winning more points scores only the difference in their points.
If the bidding party does not keep the contract, all the opponents score their own value of points PLUS the bid’s value.
The team that collects 62 points first wins the game.
How to Play Pedro – Video Tutorial
Pedro Frequently Asked Questions
Can more people play Pedro?
Two teams of two players typically play Pedro, but it can be adapted for three groups of three.
Is High Five the same as Pedro?
High Five is another alternative name for the classic Pedro game version described in this rules guide.
What does the “bidder goes out” phrase means in Pedro?
If both parties have 55+ points (7 or fewer from 62), it is clear that one of them will win the game in the next round since 7 is the minimum bid. This is called “bidder goes out.”
Other Similar Games to Pedro (Our Guides)
Once you know how to play Pedro, check our guides to its most popular alternatives below: