OBJECTIVE OF PITS: Be the player with the highest score after ten rounds 


NUMBER OF CARDS: 54 playing cards

RANK OF CARDS: (low) 3 – Ace (high), 2’s and Jokers wild

TYPE OF GAME: Hand shedding



Pits is a 5 player hand shedding game that, according to Steve Bailey, is often played at regional Go tournaments in between matches.  In this game, players are trying to get rid of all their cards as quickly as possible.  Cards can be played individually, in sets, or in runs.  Players can also play runs made up of sets. 


 To play Pits, a 52 card deck as well as two Jokers are needed.  All of the cards are dealt out with the dealer receiving 10 cards and the other four players receiving 11 cards.

Deal will pass left each round.



The dealer leads the first trick with any meld from their hand.  Any following player who wants to play to the trick must play the same type of meld with the same amount of cards, but it must be of higher value.  For example, if the dealer leads with a pair of Jacks, the next player would need to play a pair of Queens, Kings, or Aces.  If the player is unable to do so, they pass.  The trick continues until everyone passes.  The last player to add to the trick captures it and starts a new one.


Play continues until there is only one player remaining with cards in their hand.  Melds that do not contain any wilds are considered natural and are more powerful than a similar meld containing wilds.  For example, if a player leads a trick with a J/Joker/K, a J/Q/K would be considered a more powerful trick.  

It should also be noted that melds composed of cards all in the same suit are more powerful than mixed melds.


The dealer leads with a run of single cards: 5,6,7 all of Spades.  Player 2 adds a mixed run of 6,7,8.  Player 3 passes.  Player 4 passes.  Player 5 plays a mixed 8,Joker,10 to the trick.  Players 1 – 4 proceed to pass.  Player 5 wins the trick.  They collect it and lead.

JOKERS & 2’s 

Both Jokers and 2’s are wild.  They may be used to represent any card needed, but must represent the highest card or cards in the meld.  More than one wild can be used in a meld.  2’s cannot be used as a 2 in a meld, and they cannot be used in runs of single cards.  3,2,5 is not a legal meld for example.  Jokers do not have to follow the previously mentioned rule and can be used as any card as long as they represent the highest card or cards in the meld.


The first player to get rid of all their cards earns 2 points.  The second player to do so earns 1 point.  The third player becomes the dealer for the next round.  

The fourth and fifth place players must reveal their highest card in the next round.  The first place player from the previous round chooses which card they want first.  The second place player takes the other one.  The first and second place player then discard one card from their hand revealing them simultaneously.  The fourth place player chooses which card they want first.  The fifth place player takes the other card.


The player with the highest score at the end of the tenth round wins.
For more details about the game including frequently asked questions and example melds, see Steve Bailey’s site here: https://www.stocton.org/pits.htm

Mark Ball
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