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Pitch Basics

Pitch is fast-paced, partnership, trick-taking game with a variety of popular rule options. The game is also known as Auction Pitch or Setback. Unlike some other trick-taking games, the goal in Pitch is to capture cards representing at least the number of points you bid.

Trickster Pitch currently supports 4-, 5-, 6-, 7-, 9-, 10-, 11-, and 13-point versions. Described below are the two most popular played in automatch Play games: 4-point and 10-point. See the Variations and Options sections for a discussion of all the available versions.

4-point Pitch

Our 4-point variation is played with a standard 52-card deck with Ace high. Six cards are dealt to each player resulting in 24 out of 52 cards in play per hand. Points are awarded for being dealt the lowest-rank trump in play, for taking the highest-rank trump in play and the Jack of trump (if in play), and a game point awarded for taking the most game-point points (see Scoring, below).

10-point Pitch

Our 10-point variation is played with a 54-card deck, the standard 52 plus two Jokers—red and black (Trickster Pitch designates Jokers with a ★). The two Jokers are ranked between the 10 and Jack with the red Joker ranked higher than the black Joker. Trump consists of all the cards of the called suit plus the off-Jack (Jack of the other suit the same color of trump), and the two Jokers for 16 trump cards. One point is awarded for taking the Ace, Jack, off-Jack, high Joker, low Joker, and 10 of trump. Three points are awarded for taking the 3 of trump. One point is awarded to the player who is dealt the 2 of trump.

Players are initially dealt nine cards. Following a single round of bidding, the player with the highest point bid (called the “pitcher”) chooses trump. (If all players pass, the hand is redealt.) Once trump is set, starting with the player on the pitcher’s left, the non-trump cards are discarded and the hands refilled to six from the undealt cards (if a player held more than 6 trump, the lowest-value trump cards are discarded as well). After the other three hands are refilled, the pitcher gets all the remaining cards and discards back to six. All of the discarding and refilling is handled automatically in Trickster Pitch.

Math Moment: We start with a 54-card deck and deal 36 cards, 9 to each of 4 players. That leaves 18 cards undealt to be used to refill hands after the discard. In the extremely unusual case that none of the non-pitchers held trump, all of 18 undealt cards would be used to refill their hands. In that case, the pitcher would get no more cards but would still have to discard 3 to get back to 6.

Bidding

After the cards are dealt, starting with the player to the dealer’s left, players bid the number of points they and their partner expect take. In 4-point pitch, there’s a maximum of 4 points unless the Jack of trump is not in play, in which case there’s only 3. In 10-point pitch, there are 10 points available and the opening bid must be at least 5. The highest point bid becomes the pitcher and earns the right to choose trump.

If the first three bidders pass, the last bidder (the dealer) must bid. This is typically referred to as “Stick the Dealer” or “Force Bid.”

Play

Following bidding and the setting of trump (and discard/refill in 10-point), the pitcher leads the first trick. In our 10-point game, you may only play trump. When you are out of trump, your hand is folded. In our 4-point game, you must either follow the led suit or play trump. You may play trump at any time in our standard 4-point rules.

Play continues until all the playable cards are played.

Scoring 4-, 5-, 6- and 9-Point

Points are awarded to the pitching team only if they make their bid. Points earned by the defenders are always awarded.

Up to four, five, six or nine points are awarded as follows:

Card

Points

Taking the highest trump card in play

1

Taking the Jack of trump, if in play

1

Taking or holding the lowest trump card in play

1

Taking the Off-Jack of trump (5- & 6-point only)

1

Taking the Joker (6-point only)

1

Taking the 5 of trump (9-point only)

5

Game point (see below)

1

The game point is awarded to the team which has taken cards worth the most points according to the table below. Points are assigned by rank independent of suit. Trump doesn’t matter here. If both teams amass the same number of points, no game point is awarded.

Rank

Points

Ace

4

King

3

Queen

2

Jack

1

Ten

10

You can view the breakdown of game point by clicking on the highlighted word “Game” in the hand score summary displayed in the scorecard at the end of each hand. Here’s an example game point breakdown:

Us

Them

♣K ♦K ♥K

9 0

♠Q

2 0

♣J ♦J

2

♠J

1
0

♥10

10

Total

13

Total

11

The first team to 11 total points wins the game. In the event of a tie, the pitching team wins.

Scoring 7-, 10-, 11- and 13-Point

Points are awarded to the pitching team only if they make their bid. Points earned by the defenders are always awarded.

Seven to thirteen points are awarded as follows:

Card

Points

Taking the Ace of trump

1

Taking the Off-Ace of trump (11-point only)

1

Taking the Jack of trump

1

Taking the Off-Jack of trump

1

Taking the Red (High) Joker

1

Taking the Black (Low) Joker

1

Taking the 10 of trump

1

Taking the 3 of trump (not in 7-point)

3

Taking the Off-3 of trump (13-point only)

3

Taking or holding the 2 of trump

1

The first team to 32 total points wins. In the event of a tie, the pitching team wins.

Variations

The following top-level variations of Pitch are available.

4-Point

Game to 11 with High, Low, Jack and Game

5-Point

Game to 11 with High, Low, Jack, Off-Jack and Game

6-Point

Game to 11 with High, Low, Jack, Off-Jack, Joker and Game

7-Point

Game to 21 with High, Low, Jack, Off-Jack, both Jokers and 10

9-Point

Game to 31 with High, Low, Jack, 5, and Game

10-Point

Game to 32 with High, Low, Jack, Off-Jack, both Jokers, 10 and 3

11-Point

Game to 52 with High, Low, Jack, Off-Jack, both Jokers, 10, 3 and Off-Ace

13-Point

Game to 52 with High, Low, Jack, Off-Jack, both Jokers, 10, 3 and Off-3

Pitch House Rules Options

Except where noted, the following options are available to customize each point variation of Pitch.

When

“Now” creates a new game that starts immediately. Other options schedule a game for a time in the next 24 hours. Compete and Join games only.

Winnings

Three levels of winnings based on the buy-in level—30, 110, or 275 Trickster Chips. Compete games only.

Play to

In Play and Compete games, you may set the game over score based on variation. In Practice and Join games, you may set the game over score to any value between 5 and 100.

Players

“2”, “3”, “4”, or “5” (call your partner) plays an individual (solo) game with that many players “2v2” is a partnership (team) game as is “2v2v2”. “2” and “3” available only in 4-, 5-, and 6-point. “5” and “2v2v2” available only in 7-, 10-, 11-, and 13-point.

Deck

“2-A” for a standard 52-card deck. “5-A” for a deck with all 2s, 3s, and 4s removed. “9-A” removes all 2-8s. “2,9-A” keeps the 2 and removes all 3-8s. Available only in 4-, 5-, and 6-point.

Kitty

“Yes” to give additional cards to the pitcher after which they discard down to 6. In 4-, 5-, 6-, and 9-point games this is a 3-card kitty. In 7-, 10-, 11-, and 13-point games this is all cards remaining in the deck and is always “Yes” unless playing with 5 or more players. “No” means the pitcher does not get additional cards.

Bidding

Minimum bid

Sets the lowest available bid. Ranges from 1-3 in 4-, 5-, and 6-point or from 1-5 in 7-, 9-, 10-, and 13-point.

Offer shoot bid

“Yes” adds an option to “Shoot” when bidding. “No” does not. When shooting you automatically win the game if you take all points (unless your score is negative in which case it will be reset to zero). Failing to take all points subtracts the game-over score from your current score.

Dealer may steal

“Yes” allows the dealer to become the pitcher by matching the highest bid. “No” requires the dealer to beat the highest bid.

Draw after bid

“Yes” allows players to discard non-trump and refill their hand from the deck after bidding completes. “No” requires players to keep the cards they were dealt. Available only in 4-, 5-, and 6-point; always “yes” in 9-point.

Play

Play with

“All Suits” allows cards from any suit to be played during the hand. “Trump Only” means you only trump cards are played. Available only in 7-, 10-, and 13-point (4-, 5-, 6- and 9-point always play “All Suits”).

Trump in

“If Void” only allows playing trump if you do not hold any cards in the led suit. “Anytime” allows playing trump even if you still have cards in the led suit.

Trump opens

“Yes” requires the pitcher to lead trump on the first trick. “No” allows the pitcher to lead any suit on the first trick. Available only in 4-, 5-, 6- and 9-point (7-, 10-, and 13-point always play “Yes”).

Scoring

Low goes to

“Taker” means the point for the low trump card goes to the team that captures it. “Holder” means low goes to the team that was dealt it.

One point for

“Game” awards one point for capturing the most game points. “10 of Trump” awards one point for capturing the 10 of the trump suit. Available only in 7-, 10-, and 13-point (4-, 5-, 6-, and 9-point always play “Game”).

−2x for 2x bid

“Yes” deducts twice your bid from your score if you take points totaling exactly twice your bid. For example, if you bid 5 but take 10, you will have 10 points taken away. “No” awards whatever points you earn.

Score only bid

“Yes” means that the pitching team only earns points equal to their bid. This helps encourage accurate bidding. “No” credits you all the points you take.

Must bid to score

“Yes” means you only earn points when you are the pitching team. “No” means that both teams get the points they take.

Must bid to win

“Yes” requires being the pitching team and making you bid to win. “No” allows you to win simply by going over the game over score, even if the other team was pitching.

Limits

Must be invited:

“Yes” hides this game from other players until they’ve been explicitly invited using the “Invite Friends” form. “No” allows all friends of players in this game to see it. Join games only.

Allow suggestions:

“Yes” to allow players to see bid and card play suggestions, depending on their personal setting. “No” prevents all players from seeing suggestions. Always “Yes” in Play games; “No” in Compete games.

Chat during game:

“None” disables all chat during the game. “Preset” allows only the built-in chat messages to be used. “Text” allows full chat. Full chat is also always available before and after games.

Time to bid:

Specifies an optional time limit for a player to bid. “Off” means there are no time limits on bidding. “7s,” “15s,”, “30s” & “60s” sets a limit to bid of 7, 15, 30 or 60 seconds, respectively. Automatically set in Play games.

Time to play:

Specifies an optional time limit for a player to play a card. “Off” means there are no time limits on card play. “7s,” “15s,”, “30s” & “60s” sets a limit to play a card of 7, 15, 30 or 60 seconds, respectively. Automatically set in Play games.