Collecting as many tricks as you bid is key. There are penalties for not collecting enough tricks. With practice it gets easier to predict how many tricks you think you can win.
Hands in the game of Pitch are known as tricks. There are six tricks to a round; as some people call it. Play continues until a player or team has reached 11 points.
Dealer shuffles and deals a total of six cards to each player. The cards may be dealt one or two at a time to each player. Some people even allow the cards to be dealt in groups of three.
The player on the left is first when it comes to bidding. Everyone gets one chance, and one chance only, to bid. Once a bid has been made, there can be no retractions. You can pass or bid 2, 3 or 4.
If everyone passes, cards are turned in, re-shuffled and there is another deal. One possible rule on bidding is that if everyone passes, the dealer must bid 2. Decide at the start of the game if this is the way you want to play it. Don't change the rules in the middle of the game.
The player who bid the highest starts the trick and play continues to the left. When the lead player plays his first card, that suit is then trump for the remainder of that trick or hand of play.
When a trump suit has been led, players who have trump suits must play a trump. If a player does not have a trump suit in their hand, they may play any card. Now, when a non-trump card is led and a player has a trump card; even if they have the suit that is being led, they may play their trump card.
For example; Let's say Hearts are trump for this scenario. Someone leads with a diamond after a few hands. If you have the two of hearts and you are the last player to lay down, by all means, lay down the two of hearts. Congratulations - you have just captured the "low" for that round.
Once all the cards have been played for one trick or hand; it is scoring time.
Four points can be scored in each trick or hand. They are the low trump, the high trump and the Jack trump. The remaining point goes to the player or team that has what is called, "game". Game is the high total of certain cards.
As stated before, Ace is high and deuce is low. Now, those cards may not have shown up in the game. In that case, you would score the highest and lowest trump cards played.
1 point for the highest trump card played
1 point for the lowest trump card played
1 point for the trump Jack played (may not have been any)
1 point for game (described below - separate counting needs to be done)
Calculating points for Game:
10 points for each 10
4 points for each Ace
3 points for each King
2 points for each Queen
1 point for each Jack
Cards 2 - 9 do not count for game total. Whatever player or team has the highest total for game gets to count that 1 point for game. Should anyone tie for game, there are no points awarded for that hand.
If you bid 4 tricks and only took 3, your score would be minus four (-4). It is possible to have a negative score.
The first player or team to reach 11 points is the winner. Scoring can be done with chips or on paper. It is usually more clear to do the scoring on paper.
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