NINE CARD PITCH



OBJECTIVE OF NINE CARD PITCH: The objective of Nine Card Pitch is to reach a score of 0.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 Players

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

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game

AUDIENCE: Adult


OVERVIEW OF NINE CARD PITCH

Nine Card Pitch is a trick-taking card game for 4 players. The goal is for your team to reach a score of 0 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.

SETUP

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 9 card hands and the remaining cards are placed to the side for later.

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. The cards that score points are the jack of trumps, and 5 of trumps. These all score the team who wins them in a trick 1 point each.

There is also scoring for high, low, game, and high Spade. 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 high spade point is awarded to the team that wins the highest spade in a trick. There is a total of 6 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.

BIDDING

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 3 and the maximum bid is 6. If all other players pass the dealer must bid 3. 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 6 is made. The winning bidder, also known as the pitcher, will then declare a trump suit for the round.

Each player may now discard up to four cards from their hand and redraw from the remaining deck.

GAMEPLAY

The pitcher will lead to the first trick. They may lead any card. The following player may follow suit or play a trump. If they cannot follow suit, they may play a trump or any other card from their 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 9 tricks are played.

SCORING

Scoring happens after each round. Each team starts the game with a score of 21.

The pitcher will determine if they were successful in completing their bid. If they were successful, they subtract the number of points earned from their score (this may be more than they bid). if they were not successful, then the number bid is added to their score. The opposing team subtracts any points earned from their score as well.

You can only win on a round where your team successfully completes a bid, or your opponent’s fails a bid. if your score would go to 0 or below it and you did not either complete a bid or your opponents failed your score only goes to 1.

END OF GAME

The game is played until a team reaches a score of 0. This team wins.  

Amber Crook
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