OBJECTIVE OF FISH PITCH: The objective of Fish Pitch is to reach a score of 21.


MATERIALS: A Standard 52-card deck, a way to keep score, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game



Fish Pitch is a trick-taking card game for 4 players. The goal is for your team to reach a score of 21 before your opponents.

This game is played with partnerships. Teammates will sit across from each other and share a score for the game.

This game is a variation of traditional Pitch, but I will discuss all the relevant rules below. For games similar please check out the rules for Pitch on our site.


The first dealer is chosen at random and passes to the left for each new deal.

This deck is shuffled and dealt out each player receiving 12 cards. 6 of these cards will be facedown on the table in front of the player, and may not be looked at. The other 6 are in the player’s hands.

Card Rankings and Point Values

The suits are ranked Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 (low).

For bidding, there are points awarded to players who win certain cards or meet certain criteria during the game

There is scoring for high, low, game, and jack. High means the team that wins in a trick with the highest trump in play scores 1 point. Low means the team that wins in a trick the lowest trump in play scores 1 point. The game point is awarded to whichever team scores the most points (discussed more below). Finally, the jack point is awarded to the team that wins the jack of trumps in a trick. There is a total of 4 possible points to be won in a round.

For the game, point players tally their score based on the cards they won in tricks. Each ace is worth 4 points, each king is worth 3, each queen is worth 2, each jack is worth 1, and each 10 is worth 10 points.


Once all players have received their hands the round of bidding can begin. The player on the dealer’s left will start and in turn, each player will bid higher than the previous or pass. Players bid on how many of the above points they must win in a round.

The minimum bid is 2 and the maximum bid is a bid of Smudge (or 5). Smudge requires that all four points above are won along with all 12 tricks as well.

If all other players pass the dealer must bid 2. The dealer may also steal the high bid by bidding the same as the highest current bid.

The bidding ends once all but one player passes, or a bid of smudge is made.


For the first trick, all players must play from their hands only. After the first trick, players may choose to play from hand or from one of their unrevealed 6 cards. The pitcher will lead to the first trick, and the suit of the card led will determine trump for the round. The following players may follow suit or play a trump. If they cannot follow suit, they may play a trump or any other card from their hand. 

After the first trick, a player may always play from their unrevealed cards, whether they can follow suit or have trumps in hand.

The trick is won by the highest-ranked trump, or if no trumps were played, the highest card of the suit led. The winner collects the cards from the trick and leads to the next trick a card of their choosing.

The round ends once all 12 tricks are played.


Scoring happens after each round.

The pitcher will determine if they were successful in completing their bid. If they were successful, they score the number of points earned during the round (this may be more than they bid). If they were not successful, then the number bid is subtracted from their score. It is possible to have a negative score. The opposing team scores any points earned to their score as well.


The game is played until a team reaches a score of 21 or more. This team wins.  

Amber Crook
Latest posts by Amber Crook (see all)