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I started playing pinochle in 1966, 47 years ago. Since then, the game has continued through the Vietnam War, through the Iraqi conflict and every war in between. There have been nine different Presidents since the game started, but there has not been a successful 50 bid in the pinochle game, until now.

Following a glorious Founder's Day celebration on March 23, 2013, the pinochle game resumed at 11:00 pm. Four legendary pinochle players had gathered: Richard Myers, Paul Zaentz, Joel Catania, and Morty Cohen (aka "Big Mort", aka Warren Fishfry, aka "No Meld Cohen").

For the previous 47 years, I have stretched the boundaries of disbelief by failing to produce meld. But that reputation was about to end. After consecutive "pass" bids by Meyers, Zaentz, Catania, the bidding came around to me. After a moment's hesitation, I announced, "I'm going to bid. The only question is how high."

Staring me in the face was a run in spades (A,10,K,Q,J) and aces in every suit. In addition I had a pinochle (J of diamonds with Q of spades). I began to think: Can I reach 50? Earlier in the evening, Nick Chimicles appeared for Founders Day. Nick was the driving force and author behind an unsuccessful attempt to make a 50 bid in the early days of the game when we played at the old house at 3900 Locust Street.The courage and determination that he displayed those many years ago was a true inspiration. There's a special connotation to a 50 bid. Just bidding 50 is a memorable experience. I knew this chance was unlikely to ever happen again. I told my partner, Zaentz, "I'm going to need a little help from you", and the I said it. "50."

An astonished Zaentz (he had been thinking I was deciding between taking it for 20 or going after high bid with 25) laid down on a marriage for two meld. That was enough.

Following a ferocious defense by Myers and Catania, the hand played out. Zaentz failed to take a trick. All points in play for us were out of my hand. The total for meld and play was 51. Success! A moment I will never forget. God bless you all and thank you for giving me this chance to memorialize this blessed event.

Morty Cohen '65

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