How to Play Cinch and Strategies and Conventions of the game.

In addition to the rules you might find it helpful to read how to play and some strategies and conventions of play. Remember that you will quickly pick up the following from joining with others and actually playing.

After 4 players are organized into two partnerships where partners sit facing each other a player from each partnership cuts part of the deck. The player with the higher card is declared to have first deal. He shuffles the cards and the player to his right cuts the cards.

The dealer deals 6 cards to each player, dealing three cards at a time to each player in two rounds clockwise rounds of the table.

The dealer then places the balance of the cards face down next to the player on his left who will be the dealer for the next hand (this placement helps players to remember who deals the next hand). Players take turns dealing after each hand, going clockwise.

Players are recommended to organize their cards into alternating suits and colours, for example diamonds, clubs, hearts, spades, this making it easier to make bids and play, and reduce risk of making errors.

Bidding is a contest to get the highest bid, for that gives that player control over which suit is trump. The risk of that however is that if the partnership with the highest bid fails to make their bid then their score is reduced by the bid amount and are assessed one Cinch penalty. The higher the bid the more likely the bidder will determine trump suit, hopefully to their advantage, but also the higher the penalty if they fail to make the bid.

Each player gets one bid. The player to the dealer's left has the first bid so must decide if he has any strong cards in a particular suit. Often if an experienced player has two sure points in his hand he will bid three, counting on his partner to help score another. It doesn't always work but often will. Here are examples of some hands and what the appropriate bid might be. Card with no rank and game value will be mentioned here for the sake of simplicity, though if they are of the trump suit can be prove to be useful if the player's partner gets the bid and leads in the same suit for they may take game points.

The Four Points you can bid to win in a hand: High of Trump, Jack of Trump, Low of Trump and Game points
The strongest possible and ideal cards are Ace, King, Queen, Jack,10 and deuce of any one suit. This is definitely a Four bid at least, actually being a good Money bid. The Ace and deuce would be a sure 2 points, being high and low. The Jack, subject to capture in this case would be a sure third point for you have the Ace, King and Queen, the only cards that can capture the Jack of trump, so it is safe from the opposition. The only challenge, though small, is to ensure most game points are collected. Playing the deuce first would draw out some of the other trump cards.
Ace, King, Queen and deuce of any one suit and two more high cards (Aces or Kings) or two more low cards of the same suite. This would be a Three bid. Ace and deuce would be high and low of trump. You have two opportunities to capture the Jack of trump and have a good chance of catching game points and it is even possible to score 4 if lucky.
Ace, King or Queen, deuce of any one suit and two more high cards (Aces or Kings). This would be a sure two bid but a three bid is a fairly good bid. Ace and deuce are two sure points, and with the King you have two opportunities  to catch the Jack. The two non-trump high cards may prove adequate to catch game points.
Ace and 3 of any one suit. This would be a two bid, perhaps a three bid. You'd have one sure point with the Ace and if the deuce isn't in play a second point from the 3 being low.
 King & deuce of any one suit. This would be a two bid, perhaps a three bid. You'd have one sure point with the deuce and if the Ace isn't in play a second point from the King being high.

So here is a typical play. The first player has only low cards, ranging from 3-9 in various suits, this a poor hand, he would pass and say "Pass".

The next player to his left has the next bid and having the King and deuce of Spades would bid "Two", thinking he has the High if the Ace of Spades isnít in play. He has a sure point with deuce being the low.

The third player has the Ace and three of Hearts and 4 other low cards in other suits, also a two bid, but since he would have to bid higher to get control, not wanting to risk a Cinch, would pass.

The fourth player, the dealer of the hand, has an Ace, King, Queen and the deuce of one Diamonds so would bid "Three".

So the player who made the highest bid, in this case the Three bid, is the successful bidder and has earned the right to pick the trump suit and plays his first card. This first card played determines trump suit. He leads with the Ace of Diamonds, hoping to capture the Jack of Diamonds.

The play goes clockwise from the bidder, the other players required to play cards in the same suit if they have it. If a player cannot follow suit he can play any other card. If is his partner's card is the highest ranking card he would try to feed a card of non-trump suit with high game value to his partner, ideally a 10 or failing that and Aces, King, Queen or Jack

When each player has played one card the trick is taken by the partnership that won it. The highest ranking card played takes the trick, and trump suit outranks all cards of the other three suits.

Three of the four cards go into possession of the winning partnership, placed face down. The lowest card of trump remains in possession of the partnership that played it and is placed face up, should this card prove to be low of trump (of course deuce is the lowest). If a lower card of trump suit comes out in subsequent play it then becomes the low and the previous low is flipped face down and if necessary is handed over to the partnership that earlier won it.

The player who played the winning card leads the next trick. He can lead with any card of his choosing, trump or non-trump. If he has two high cards he would lead high again, to try and capture the Jack. Other players must follow suit if they can and if they cannot follow suit can play any card.

A player can choose to play a trump suit card ANYTIME, even if a non-trump suit card was led. For example the deuce of trump will outrank the Ace of any non-trump suit. This is often useful for winning good game point cards (10s and face cards).

When all 6 cards have been played the hand is over and points are counted and scored on the score board. If the bidding partnership has scored all or more of their bid, in this example 3, they score that. If the other partnership has scored any they score that.

If the bidding partnership has failed to score their bid they lose the equivalent number of points from their existing score on their board, for example if they already had 5 points and only scored 2 points they move their leading peg back to 3 points. Furthermore any time a bidding partnership fails to make their bid they are also assessed a penalty of one cinch, this being recorded with the third peg on the scoreboard, in the shorter section of the scoreboard.

The next hand is dealt by the player to the left of the first dealer and the game continues as before and ends when one partnership scores 11 or more points or at the conclusion of a Money Bid.

If both partnership attain a score of 11 or more in the same hand it is the partnership that made the leading bid the pegs first, thereby winning the game


Cinch Rules and How to Play.pdf


Last Edit Date: Wednesday September 19, 2012

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