In case you are looking for a rapid-fire take on the rules of playing Pitch, this article is what you are looking for. Here, I discuss the basic rules of the game, that will enable you to play it smoothly and without hassles.
This is a very popular trick-taking card game, which is also widely known by the name of 'Setback' or 'Auction Pitch'. Research has revealed that it has its origin in the post-medieval, 17th century game called 'All-Fours', which was played in England. Among the many versions that have evolved over the years, in regions around the world, here I talk about the game rules that pertain to the version played in the United States of America.
The Basic Rules
Playing cards is the best pastime when it comes to indoor party games for small groups. The beauty of a card game is that all you need to play it is one or more deck of cards and time to kill. Here are the rules, put as simply as possible in front of you.
Pitch as a card game is quite flexible and accommodating in terms of player structure. While it can be played by two or three individuals, it can also be played by two pairs of players quite easily. The objective of the game is quite straightforward. Players compete among themselves to capture as many of the four points available in a single hand as possible. Every player is dealt with six cards each. Then, through competitive bidding, players determine who among them will name the trump.
The task of choosing the first dealer is generally performed by every player drawing the cards. The dealer is the one who's card is the highest in general. Some people prefer choosing their dealer at random. Once that is done, the dealing opportunity passes towards the left, for every successive hand.
Bidding and Scoring Rules
Every player gets a chance to bid once and the bidding turn starts with the person on the immediate left of the dealer. Every player can bid up to 4 points, and the one who bids the highest, gets the right to name the trump.
The beauty of Pitch lies in the way in which points are given. The assigning of points occurs through the cards that are won during every one of the six tricks, in a played hand. Normally, a single point is assigned to the lowest and highest trump card won. Still, nobody knows which are the lowest or highest trump cards, as it is not clear as to which cards are in play at a time. The order to follow is, ace is high and 2 is low.
The rest of scoring for each trick won, has the following values for cards won:
- 10 Points for a 10
- 4 Points For an Ace
- 3 Points For a King
- 2 Points For a Queen
- 1 Point For a Jack
The play begins with the first trick, where the winner of the bidding round must start by playing a trump. After that, the winner of every trick can start with any lead card. Following the suit is a must but you always have the option of playing a trump. Every trick is won by the player whose trump card has the highest value after a trick is played. If no trumps were played, the player who plays the highest card of a particular suit, wins.
Scoring and Winning Rules
At the conclusion of every hand, scores are recorded. If the dealer won as many points as he promised, then he gets to add one more point to his total. This point cannot be awarded if there is a tie in the highest score. In a situation where a dealer does not score as many points as promised, the bidding value is deducted from his total score. In case you are playing as a team, then you can combine scores. The player or team that scores a total of 11 points, wins. In case of a tie, the one who was leading at the previous hand, wins.
Just knowing the rules of the game doesn't make you an expert at playing it. Rules spice it up. Make sure that the game is played fairly. You can create your own variation and spice up the game even more.