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In October of 2015, I began my campaign to seek consultation regarding the development of an official Pinochle Notation.

My email to nearly 300 people of whom most were Power Pinochle or NPA members.  While I did find a few diamonds in the rough, my plea for help mostly fell flat.  I boil this down to the fact that players are not invested in Pinochle enough to assist me in such a revolutionary project.

Here is content of the email:

Quote:Dear Pinochle Enthusiast,

Please forgive this mass email, I don't plan to ever do this again; I have collected every pinochle related email that I could find (~275 actually) on the internet so that I could largely distribute my plea for support.

First, allow me to explain who I am.
My name is Mick Harner, I am a US citizen permanently residing in Australia.  I go by the online handle of "mickmackusa".  I am a Systems Analyst for a small IT firm based in Los Angeles, a father of two school-aged children, volunteer Web Developer for PowerPinochle.com, and have loved the game of Pinochle for over 25 years.  (Oh, and I am not a member of any official pinochle clubs or associations.)

Now, why am I bothering you with this email?
I have recently elected myself to champion an ambitious and convoluted task which has never been done before.
I require the creation of an official "Portable Pinochle Notation".  If you have never heard of anything like that, I can inform you that board games (Chess, Checkers/Draughts) and card games (Bridge) have their own notation language specifically developed to express their game data.
Creating a notation for the previously mentioned games is relatively straight-forward because game variations don't stray too far from the mainstream.
But PINOCHLE?!? oh, boy, have we got some seriously divergent variants to the game.  Players in a given variant may range from 2 to 8; number of decks (with and without 9's) range from 1 to 3; team-vs-team & cutthroat competitions, inclusion of Passing & Kitties/Discards and more.  Even with all of the ubiquitous knowledge of the internet some variants are misunderstood or even unheard of.
While I have played several different variants of Pinochle, I can't possibly know all the rules and intricacies of them all.
I require the valuable knowledge of other experienced pinochle enthusiasts to support me in drafting a base version of a pinochle notation.

Enough background... About the mission I personally plan to undertake...
1. Create a PPN that serves a maximum number of sensible, known Pinochle variants.
2. Create parsing software which can read the game data and animate it with card imagery in a card-table-like setting.
3. Create an archive of all annotated games so that statisticians, analysts, authors, and more can freely access these public records.
4. Create annotation software to ease the process of annotating offline games (home games and tournaments).

Have I lost you yet?
Don't worry I have "proof of concept", and seeing is believing.  Go to http://www.powerpinochle.com/forum/handanimator.php and click the Submit button.  After the card images load, center the playing area on your screen, and click on the Step button.  You will see that the sample game data is being parsed by my software and the first round of bidding is displayed.  Continue to click (not too fast) on the Step button and the Hand Animator software will walk you through a full game of Double-deck Partnership Pinochle.
*Now let me just say that this is an early attempt at notation and animation.  Power Pinochle Notation has flaws that I wish to eradicate when developing the new notation.  I also have plans to improve the functionality of the Animator program.

How exactly can you help?
There are a few ways you can support me in advancing pinochle.
  • Proofread and Criticize my existing draft of the PPN specifications.  http://www.powerpinochle.com/forum/PPN.php  This is a large body of text and will need much refining to become a concise, coherent document.  I encourage you to cross-reference my draft with other existing game notations: PGNPDNPBN.  Please inform me of all portions that are unclear, incomplete, and/or just generally need editing.  I am very willing and open-minded about the development of PPN when suggestioned are backed by logic.  You will also find that I have a distaste for reasoning that sounds like "We always did it this way in the past, so we should do it this way in the future."
  • Trial my notation by attempting to annotate a real or staged game of pinochle in any variant that you know.  This will serve to expose any flaws in the notation.  If you need a new tag to be created or an existing tag to be modified so that you can accurately express your variant, I want to know about it.
  • Share my concept of pinochle notation with everyone whom may be interested in using it or supporting it.  Whether you are in a club or association, you are a tournament director, or you only play with family and friends, please discuss this with your members, participants, friends, and family to see if they would like to contribute in any fashion.

There is no trick, no catch, and no cost in this project.  (Except for my time and the webhosting costs for Power Pinochle's founder Rick Keller Jr.)  I won't be asking for anyone's credit card details.... ever.  If you are content with the road that pinochle is on, that's fine, this probably not a project for you.  If you would like to see more people learning pinochle and more players improving their game, offer me your thoughts.

The PPN is an initiative that has the full support of worldofcardsgames.com and the conditional support of playok.com.  I hope to grow the pool of interested and supporting parties.

Beyond the PPN and its associated software, PowerPinochle.com is a place to learn, teach, and promote pinochle using our forum software and my custom online tools.  I encourage you to become a member if you are not already and make full use or our totally free site.  New players enjoy my Meld Calculator program and more seasoned players love (and hate) the challenge of the Meld Test (membership required) program.  Come and have a look around.

I would also like to add that I am very proud of the condition of the forum.  The forum has thousands of posts and zero rubbish.  Spam and rudeness is swiftly removed by our administrative team.  Advertisements of pinochle clubs, tournaments, sites, merchandise, partners, etc are all welcome.

Please feel free to contact me through PowerPinochle.com channels or via this email account.

All the best, 

Mick Harner
Power Pinochle Web Support & Development

Learning from my mistake, I have searched the nooks and crannies of the internet in search of better qualified, more invested Pinochle enthusiasts.  These people are: Tournament/Game Hosts, Authors, Champions/Notables, Software Developers, Statisticians, Pinochle Teachers, Bloggers, and Pinochle players that have relevant professional/technological skills.
The following is my second email blast on February 29th 2016:

Quote:Greetings,

1.) Who are you?
I am contacting you because you are a supporter of pinochle - evidenced by your involvement in discussion, software, or publication.
You are an author, a software developer, a game host, a statistician, an expert, an enthusiast with IT skills, and/or a combination of the preceding.
If the above doesn't represent you, the following message may or may not be of any interest.
Regardless, if you know anyone who is a pinochle enthusiast/supporter please forward this email to them.

2.) Who am I?

My name is Mick Harner (aka "mickmackusa").  I am a Systems Analyst professionally and the volunteer Web Developer for Power Pinochle.  Power Pinochle is owned by Rick Keller (aka "rakbeater") who started the site to promote his unfinished pinochle book.  I have played, taught, and loved pinochle across a range of variants since 1989.  I am overflowing with discontent for the current level, volume, and distribution of pinochle knowledge.  It is with great conviction, despite my shortage of time, that I will develop pinochle-specific tools that bridge information gaps, extend strategies and analyses, and clarify rules and scoring.

3.) What can I offer you?
A.) Promotion - Regardless of your cooperation with my plans, you are welcome to advertise your pinochle related work(s) on the Power Pinochle Forum.
  1. As a member, you may simply provide hyperlinks in the signature and website fields of your profile to improve your web presence / SEO.
  2. As a member, you may post a new thread in the [url=http://www.powerpinochle.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?fid=13"]Introduce Yourself![/url] subforum where you can fully express who you are and your contributions (further improving your web presence / SEO).

B.) Support - Providing support to your audience can be time consuming.  Directing your audience to our forum provides a moderated, academic, spam-free safe haven for discussions to take place.  Our community can typically handle questions about game play, but tackling software bugs or player disputes are better handled privately with owners.  In either case, providing public access to questions and answers will serve to lighten your load.
  1. You may request a dedicated subforum for you work, so that specific questions can be appropriately answered and searched.
  2. You may invite your players to seek playing partners in the Pinochle Partners subforum.

C.) Innovation - I have begun to roll out some free online tools that educate players of Double-Deck Four-Handed Partnership Pinochle.  Because these tools don't serve the entire pinochle community, I plan to overhaul the programs and deliver more robust/versatile programs in the future.  In the meantime, if you wish to direct your audience to these tools, visit powerpinochle.com and browse the site.  Bear in mind, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

4.) What can you offer me?
Many games have a means to review what has occurred, to list a few: Poker, Bridge, Checkers/Draughts, and Chess.  High level analysis simply cannot be accomplished without a language to capture the game.  An official Pinochle Notation is long over due!  I have developed a few prototypes to date, but they are not fully cooked.  Put bluntly, they lack understanding of many variants. I will publish a Pinochle Notation, but its quality will be relative to the amount of feedback I receive from the global pinochle community.
I humbly request:
  1. your scrutiny and feedback of my notation specifications.  Please review my working draft at the Pinochle Notation specs page.  Please post your thoughts in the thread dedicated to Pinochle Notation development: Pinochle Notation Thread
  2. screen-captured video of online games or useful video of off-device games in any variant.  Upon receiving these forms of media, I can attempt to annotate the real games and consider their impact on notation development.  For best comprehension of a variants rules and procedures, please offer a spectrum of conditional plays, occurrences, and outcomes (Sets/Saves/Reneges/Player Changes/Bot Use/Chat/Narration/etc).

5.) Who benefits?
  • Authors can use notation to explain their strategies, bidding systems, and more.
  • Teachers can use notation to show beginners how each phase of pinochle works (with assistance of an animating program).
  • Teachers can use notation to script hypothetical scenarios which ask enthusiasts to take an action (with assistance of a testing-type program not yet developed).
  • Game hosts can use notation to provide a feature - an exportable record - for players to review.
  • Game hosts can use notation to debug their game functionality and develop better bots / programmed players.
  • Statisticians can use notation by querying a large collection of real game data and crunching the numbers (Power Pinochle plans to accumulate hand histories from all game hosts that are willing to contribute).
  • Players can use notation to offer feedback or report a situation to a game host, forum, or author.
  • Beginners can use notation to accurately and fully ask questions in a forum discussion.

WorldofCardGames.com has already adopted an early notation that I developed and is providing exportable hand history to pinochle players.  Owner/Developer, Marya, has found the hand histories highly valuable for debugging her game software and refining her bots.

Here is my little un-ordered collection of contacts sourced from exhaustive searching via Google, LinkedIn, YouTube, StackExchange, and more:

games.com
Malcolm Bain malcolm-bain.software.informer.com
Larry Whitish sac-irca.com
http://www.bufton.org/meggiesoft
Dave Barber http://tamivox.org/xovimat/pinochle/index.html
novelgames.com
choilieng.com -- KARMAN Games Pinochle & joshsgames.cutthroat
Larry W. Nicholas Pinochle97
Christopher Chapman DoubleDeck.com
David S. Peterson fishdog.net & mypinochle.com
Joe Binder [no email found]
Thomas F. Herrmann 
Kim Gaspar
Ronald Knox
Karl Wilson
Clarence Briscoe Jr [no email found]
Bill Barton
Saverio "Sam" J Marasco
Steven Weinreich [no email found]
Webfoot
Trivial Technology
Eric G. Conger Yoeric
Susan G. Conger Yoeric
standalone.com
Bobby Steele Steele Game Studios
bytesequencing.com
Travis Bader Pinochle Pro
threerings.net
Nidink Games
Dmitry Karymov [no email found]
http://www.singaporemahjong.com/pin/pin.html - 13 Wonders Entertainment
bicyclecards.com
Randy thehouseofcards.com
Pokah mysticisland.net
canasis.com
Lester McCray
Anthony Collins [no email found]
L. Roy Ram The Complete Guide to Double Deck Pinochle [no email found]
Joe Andrews http://www.grab.com & grandprixtournaments.com
Tobor Leigh (Todd Hesh) (Todd Brugman)
James "Bernie" Walker
James F. Love
David Parlett
Shiveta Singh [no email found]
Dutta Promeet [no email found]
William L. Hosch [no email found]
catsatcards.com
playpin.org [no email found]
Steve Birnbaum Comprehensive Pinochle Documentation
rjay http://www.vbforums.com/showthread.php?7...ty-(again) [no email found]
Fizziii SolidWorks tech support
Lenggries http://www.vbforums.com/showthread.php?7...ty-(again) [no email found]
safeharborgames.com
Dave Howell howell.seattle.wa.us
BJ Herbison
Marya World of Card Games
Chad Berg lebor.net
John McLeod pagat.com
Walter Gibson (deceased) Pinochle is the Name of the Game [no email found]
David Grappo Pinochle Strategy Manual: For the 4-card pass game [no email found]
Rufus Perry How to Win at Pinochle [no email found]
John Scarne (deceased) Scarne on Cards: Complete Rules / How to Spot Cheaters [no email found]
Hal P. Sims (deceased) Pinochle Pointers [no email found]
Dennis W Allman One Hand Pinochle: A Solitaire Game Based on the Game [no email found]
Walter Brown Gibson (deceased) Pinochle, how to play, how to win [no email found]
Mickey MacDougall (deceased) MacDougall On Pinochle [no email found]
Edwin Silberstang Play Pinochle Tonight [no email found]
Lloyd Edwin / Walter J. Zarse / Smith How To Play Pinochle The Simple, Easy Way to Learn [no email found]
Phillip M Duse Sr. New Short Stories and Three Hand Pinochle
Lewis Levy The Pinochle Primer a Complete Manual and Recognized… [no email found]
Charles Warren Jr. Pinochle Instructions for the Knuck-Ol-O-Gist and score… [no email found]
Wilfrid Jonson (deceased) [no email found]
William "Papa Bill" E. Ballew The Unbeatable Pinochle System
Samuel Resnicoff Corners: Commuters' Pinochle [no email found]
Morton Wild Check Pinochle: Official Rules and Conventions [no email found]
R. F. Foster How to Win at Pinochle: Containing Through Instructions [no email found]
George Sturgis Coffin (deceased) A Pocket Guide to Pinochle [no email found]
Heines House The Skillful Play of Pinochle [no email found]
Denexa - Playing Card Packs
Michael Keller World Game Review
Apps of Treasure
http://pinochlescoring.azurewebsites.net/
Jeffrey D. Fulmer Joe Dog Software
http://double-deck-pinochle.soft32.com/
Dr. Jamie Fettig http://www.beinghealthynaturally.com/
Tom Plick amecy.com
Jacqueline Wroughton http://www.amstat.org/publications/jse/v...ughton.pdf
Joseph Nolan http://www.amstat.org/publications/jse/v...ughton.pdf
Brad Wilson http://bradwilson.io/
Clyde Oliver [no email found]
Judson "lordjabez" Neer https://github.com/lordjabez/pinochle-scoresheet/
tttppp @ boardgames.stackexchange.com [no email found]
jerry harris @ boardgames.stackexchange.com [no email found]
Erik @ boardgames.stackexchange.com [no email found]
Joe W @ boardgames.stackexchange.com [no email found]
4playerspinochle.com
pinochlelasvegas.com
West Fargo VFW - Pinochle Tournament
David Dailey google groups
Roland Patton http://sirtwain.org/Pinochle.html
Jerry Morrow http://sirtwain.org/Pinochle.html
Bert Kronnick http://sirtwain.org/Pinochle.html
Robert Morrison http://sirtwain.org/Pinochle.html
Carolyn Taylor eccpn.com
Wayne Carey eccpn.com
Wayne Blum http://www.kcsclub.com/
Petra Garton http://www.kcsclub.com/
Amy Downing http://www.kcsclub.com/
Michael Cardoni http://www.kcsclub.com/
NorthStar Solutions
Charles L. Baily ST Pinochle [no email found]
Rick Leinecker http://www.rickleinecker.com
Pogo
Marek Futrega PlayOK

There are a few of the above that I don't have email address for, but I'll try to get them in time.

Fingers crossed this time!
For the record, the following emails failed:

cardsfun@malcnoo.bizland.com Malcolm Bain
nicholas@silcom.com Larry W. Nicholas
chapman@kagi.com Christopher Chapman
bill.barton@engilitycorp.com Bill Barton
info@webfootgames.com
consumerrelations@usplayingcard.com
randy@thehouseofcards.com Randy
contact@grandprixtournaments.com Joe Andrews
love4470@bellsouth.net James F. Love
pinochle@tournament.ha
compass@aa.net David Dailey

If anyone has a means to contact these people on my behalf, I would be grateful for your help.
If you, otherwise, can offer me their valid email addresses, I would be equally grateful.

Please help me to rally support for this project.
The sooner the PN is finalized, the sooner I can redevelop the Animator program and urge people to supplement their work with an official notation.

To reiterate the ways to support my development:
1. Study and criticize my Pinochle Notation Specifications page.
2. Provide some sort of video recording of an online or live pinochle game in any variant you can.
3. Submit your own version of a notation, so I can compare the two.

I'm not building sand castles, I want my works to last for a long time!