Pitch

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Pitch Overview

There are hundreds of thousands of games in the card game world to choose from. Whether you are a seasoned player or a beginner, you will perhaps find a game that will suit your interest. If you’re looking for something that is popular, then we have a wide selection for you, and Pitch card game is just one of them. In this section of our website, you will get to know the rules on how to play it. We have made our tutorial simple and straightforward, such that it is easier for beginners to follow and apply them in real life in the end. To do so, we follow the below guidelines:

  • Introduction
  • Game objective
  • Equipment
  • Game setup
  • Bidding process
  • Trump selection
  • Dealing and bidding
  • Gameplay
  • Scoring
  • Winning the game
  • Conclusion

Let’s roll up our sleeves and learn to play this immensely interesting card game!

 

Introduction

Pitch (also known as High Low Jack, Setback, or Auction Pitch) is one of the popular trick-taking card game immensely played in the recent past in America, but these days it is enjoyed across the world. The game is believed to be a descendant of an English game of All Fours or Seven Up because it involves setting back and bidding phase. Whereas All Fours began as a two-player card game, Pitch is typically famous for between three and five players. In the case of four players, the game can either be played as a team of two or individually.
Five-player Pitch card game

Game objective

The primary goal of Pitch card game is to be the player or team to score the highest points possible by winning tricks.

Equipment

To play this game, you will require a standard deck of 52 playing cards, which are ranked from high to low, with Ace being the highest card while a Two being the lowest.

Game setup

Before playing Pitch game, some few setups have to be done, and it includes sitting arrangement. In our tutorial, we are looking at a game of four players, which means the game is played as a team of two players on each side. Partners sit diagonally across the table.

Besides that, a dealer is chosen at random, who proceeds to shuffle all the cards and deal six to each player. Typically, cards are dealt to players three at a time.

Dealing six cards to four players

Bidding process

As soon as all the players have received six cards, the next players seated on the left of the dealer will the first the make a bid. Pass, One, Two, Three, or Four are the only legal bids to make. After the first player is done bidding, it is now the turn of the next player, moving in a clockwise direction. It is essential to note that if a player bids either Two, Three, or Four, the next player has the option of bidding higher the current bid. The rule is exceptional for the dealer though, and he/she is the last person to make a bid. The dealing player has the option of submitting a bid at the level of the current bid. In this case, the dealer’s chances of winning the bid are incredibly higher.

Trump selection

As soon as bidding is over and the highest bidder established, that player (leading bidder) is required to choose a suit that will be the trump suit for the entire game. Typically, the trump suit is that suit that will have the highest significance over all other suit(s) for that game, which is determined by the very first card the highest bidder (also known as the ‘Pitcher) throws. Assuming the bid leader chooses a Diamond of Four, as shown below.

Bid winner choosing a Diamond-four suit

Gameplay

The gameplay in the Pitch card game consists of making up to six tricks. During each particular trick, every player is required to select one card in hand to play in sequence beginning from the trick winner. Of course, the trick leader is the winning bidder determined in the bidding process. However, upon completion of the first trick, the new trick leader is whoever won the previous trick. The player that wins the current trick will have the power of possessing all the cards thrown for that particular trick, and the cards are kept face down except the very first card of the first trick.

Validity of cards during a trick

The Pitcher is the first player legally allowed to throw the first card based on his/her chosen suit. After that, all other players have to throw theirs, but with some restrictions. Indeed, if the first card thrown by the trick leader is a trump suit, then each player is required to follow the suit as much as possible. However, if they cannot, they may throw any other card. Nonetheless, if the first card thrown by the bid leader is not a trump suit card, then other players may decide to throw a trump suit card or any other card that matches the lead suit of the first thrown card. Again, if a player does not have cards in the lead suit, they may throw any other card. It is important to note that trump card can be thrown at any time. When all the six tricks have been completed, the game ends, and the scores are determined to establish the winner.

other players following bid leader suit

Scoring

At the end of the six tricks, scores are calculated from the cards won by each player, and four points are possible to be awarded as shown below:

  • Winning the highest trump card earns one point
  • Winning the lowest trump card earn one point
  • Winning Jack trump card earn one point
  • Winning the most trick points earn one point

Trick points are established as follows:

  • A Ten is worth ten trick points
  • A Jack is worth one trick point
  • A Queen is worth two trick points
  • A King is worth three trick points
  • The worth of an Ace is four trick points

It is essential to note that there are some conditions when it comes to calculation of points. Indeed, the point for Jack of trump may not be earned if no player has won that card. Besides that, there no point awarded if there is a tie for the high trick points. Points are often tracked on a piece of paper or using poker chips.

Winning the game

The team (in this case, a game of four players) that did not win their bid is only assigned the points it won during the game. Intuitively, the winning team must have earned enough points during the six rounds to either exceed or equal their original bid to be eligible to earn points for that game. However, if the winning bidder doesn’t win its bid, points are subtracted in the amount equal to the original bid. After calculation, the first team to reach at least seven points of a hand wins the game. Some game variations play up to 11, 15, or even up to 21 points.

If the game is to continue, of course after calculation of points and determination of the winner, the player seated on the left of the dealer of the previous game becomes the dealer of the next game. He deals the cards as previously explained.

  • Pitch Rating

Summary

That is the Pitch card game and its rules in a nutshell! Pitch is one of the easiest games to learn, and there is no doubt that it is one of the most satisfying. Of all the games we have reviewed and tried playing, this one is second to none, and it is perhaps the greatest card game of all. It provides immense challenge, enjoyment, and fun for the rest of your life. We hope that after reading through the game rules, you are probably enjoying and playing this great game now!

4.8