OBJECTIVE OF PITCH: To be the player that scores the most points by winning tricks during hands.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 – 4, more can play, but it’s best to have even numbers of players.
NUMBER OF CARDS: 52
RANK OF CARDS: Ace, K, Q, J, Jick, High Joker, Low Joker 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.
TYPE OF GAME: Trick-taking
AUDIENCE: Teens and up, families.
PITCH – HOW TO DEAL
The dealer will deal clockwise starting to their left. They should deal three cards at a time to each player. Each player should have nine cards.
HOW TO BID:
Starting with the player who is on the left of the dealer, each player must state their bid which is the equivalent to how many hands they think they can win in that round.
Once a bid has been made the next player to follow must bid higher or pass. The player to state the highest bid is the winner and gets to determine the trump suit.
All players except for the player that won the bid must give the dealer all the cards in their hand that do NOT match the trump suit. They are then dealt new cards until they have a total of six total cards in their hand.
Once players have six cards in their hand the remaing deck is given to the bid winner and they take all the remaing trump cards in the deck and add it to their hand and discard any remaining non-trump suited cards. If they have more than six trump cards in hand then they must discard non-point cards face up for others to see until they have only six cards in hand. Once this is done play can begin.
HOW TO PLAY PITCH
Once the bids have been made, it’s time to commence gameplay. The player that won the bid is the first to play. Only trump suited cards can be played. Following the suit selected by the winner of the bid, a player has two choices: Follow suit or, if the player cannot follow the suit then they must flip their hand over and are done playing for that round.
The player that plays a card which is the highest card of the suit chosen wins the “trick” and starts the next round. There is one exception, the player that plays the two of the trump suit gets to keep that point card even if they don’t win the round. Remember that only the trump suit can be played and the ranking is as follows from high to low – Ace, K, Q, J, Jick, High Joker, Low Joker 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.
The Jick is the jack of the matching suit color and is also considered a trump card. For example, if the Trump suit is Spades, then Jack of Spades as well as the Jack of Clubs will both be considered trumps and the jack of clubs is called the “Jick”
There are six rounds (or “tricks”) in total, hence the six cards that are dealt to players at the beginning of the game. Players should keep a count of how many rounds they win.
At the end of each round, players’ cards are scored like this:
- One point for each point card with the exception of the three, the three is worth three points.
- A team must win the number of tricks they bid otherwise they will get negative the amount of tricks that they bid. For example if team A bid four and only won two then they will get (-4) points for that game.
- Game is played to 52 points or whatever number is set by the players before the start of the game.
HOW TO WIN
The first team to reach 52 points (or whatever number set at the beginning of the game) is the winner. The number of points that is possible to win varies, depending on how many rounds the players want to keep going for.
If a player bids 10 points (known as shooting the moon) and they win all 10 points then that team automatically wins the game as long as they were not negative points beforehand. Being negative on the score sheet is known as being “in the hole”.
STRATEGIES FOR WINNING
Only bid once you’ve seen the cards in your hand and considered how to play them. If you have weak cards, do not bid a high number. If you have an Ace, bid a 2 or a 3. If you have an Ace and a King of the same suit, bid a 4.
Try not to bid based on any Jack cards that you hold in your hand. You may not be playing the same suit.
If you’re looking for other Trick-Taking card games, you might try one of these:
Euchre – a simple game played with 24 cards, where your goal is to be the first player to reach the points goal by grabbing tricks during rounds.
Spades – a popular and classic card game where you estimate how many tricks you can take during a round based on the cards you’ve been given by the dealer.
Hearts – a game where your aim is to lose tricks rather than gain them.