Pedro (pronounced with a long "e", like "peedro") is a trick-based card game which consists of a bidding round to determine the right to call trump for the hand, followed by playing out the hand in order to win points. The goal of the game is to be the first team to score 100 points. You and your partner are trying to take point cards in order to score points.
In Pedro only specific cards are worth points, and their values vary. The most valuable cards are the 5 of trump and the 5 of the same color as trump (EG: Clubs for Spades, Diamonds for Hearts, and vice-versa) which is known as the "offsuit pede" or just the "pedro". In typical California Pedro, which is the default setting for this version, there are 16 total points possible per hand, broken down as follows:
- A - 1 point
- J - 3 points
- 10 - 1 point
- 5, 5 [of the same color] - 5 points each
- 2 - 1 point (always won by the player who played it, regardless of the highest card in the trick)
Note the special rule for the 2... it always goes to the person who played it, it can't be taken by another card!
Players get one chance to bid for the ability to choose trump for the hand. Players are each dealt nine cards after which bidding begins to the right of the dealer with the lowest possible bid being 6, and a maximum of 16 (the sum total of all the point cards possible for the hand). If a player does not wish to bid, they "pass" the bid onto the next player. You cannot bid the same amount as a previous bidder, you must either outbid an existing bid, or pass. Bidding always ends with the dealer having the final option to bid. If no team has placed a bid the dealer must place a bid of at least 6. Once the winning bid has been determined, the winning bidder calls trump for the hand. All players then discard any non-trump cards and the dealer proceeds to fill out all hands with 6 cards to play with. As a special benefit, the dealer also looks through the remainder of the deck and adds any remaining trump to their hand. Note, it is possible for a player to end up with more than 6 trump in their hand - if this happens they must play 2 cards at a time (only one of which may be a point card) until they have returned to the normal hand size for the round.
Play begins with the winning bidder. The first trick must begin with a trump card. Each player plays a card to the table and the highest trump card (in normal deck order) wins the trick. After the first trick any card may be lead to begin a trick. If trump is lead, then other players must follow suit. If a player can't follow suit then they must discard their remaining cards and are out of play for the remainder of the hand. If a non-trump "offsuit" card is lead, then any card may be played. However, in offsuit situations, trump cards still take precedence over non-trump cards in order to determine who wins the trick. Also, the trump 5 is always considered slightly higher than the offsuit (same color) 5, which can be thought of as the "4 1/2" of trump when determining who won the trick.
Ending the Hand
Once all point cards have been taken the hand is over and all remaining cards are discarded. The non-bidding team always scores whatever points they won during the play. The bidding team only scores points if they have made their bid. If the bidding team does not make their bid they have "gone set" and their point total is negatively affected by the bid amount. If the bidding team makes their bid then they score as many points as they took for the hand. In addition, if the bidding team bids 16 then they receive a special bonus of double the points if they take all 16 point cards - for 32 points in total. However, bidding "16/32" in this manner also comes with double the penalty for not making the bid, so be sure you have at least the A and the 2 of trump since those cards always go to the player who plays them!
Ending the Game
The game ends when one team reaches or exceeds 100 points. If two teams both cross over 100 points in the same hand, the bidding team is considered to be the winner for taking the risk of bidding on the last hand.