Card Game: 7-Point Partnership Pitch

There are more variations of Pitch than I care to think about. Everyone I know who knows this version was ultimately taught by my wife who learned it from some people in the mid-west.

Equipment

  • Standard deck of 52 cards with two distinguishable jokers – one considered “high” and one considered “low”.
  • Four (4) people
  • Something to keep score (paper and pen)


Dealing

Pick a person at random to deal. Dealership proceeds clockwise after each hand.

Lightly shuffle the cards and deal three (3) at a time to each player until each player has six (6) cards.

Bidding

Bidding starts with the person left of dealer and proceeds clockwise until everyone has had one chance to bid or pass.

When it is a person’s turn to bid, they must either pass or bid higher than the previous high bid. The minimum bid allowed is two (2). The person is basically bidding how many points they believe their side can take if they get to choose the trump suit.

The amount bid (and by whose side) is recorded for scoring at the end of the hand.

The Play

Whoever has the high bid leads first and they must lead trump to the first trick. If the trump suit is not obvious by the card lead, the person announces the trump suit (see trump suit ranking below).

Play proceeds clockwise until all players have played to the trick. At a person’s turn, if they have the suit led, they must follow suit or play trump. If they do not have the suit led, they are free to play any card left in their hand that they wish to play.

Whoever played the highest trump card takes the trick. If no trump cards were played on the trick then whoever played the highest card of the suit led takes the trick (it’s best to gather up the cards played to the trick and turn them face down in front of the player who took the trick for later scoring). Whoever takes the trick leads to the next trick (rinse, lather, repeat).

Trump Suit Ranking

The trump suit ranking is as follows: ace, king, queen, jack of suit, jack of color, high joker, low joker, ten, nine, eight, … two. Note that the jack of color is considered a trump card just below the jack of suit. The jack of suit is the jack of the trump suit. The jack of color is the jack of the same color as trump and is considered to be a member of the trump suit for the hand (and not a member of it’s “normal” suit).

For example, assume spades (black) is trump then the jack of clubs (also black) is considered trump and ranks just below the jack of spades. If someone leads clubs and the only club in a person’s hand is the jack of clubs, the person is free to play any card from their hand that they want (since the jack of clubs is considered a spade for the hand).

Scoring

After the last trick has been played to the hand, the hand is scored. One point is awarded for each of the following:

  1. high of trump (awarded to whoever captured the card)
  2. low of trump (awarded to whoever it was dealt to)
  3. jack of suit (awarded to whoever captured the card)
  4. jack of color (awarded to whoever captured the card)
  5. high joker (awarded to whoever captured the card)
  6. low joker (awarded to whoever captured the card)
  7. game (discussed below)

Note that the only two points that are guaranteed to be out are high trump and low trump (since the full deck isn’t used, there is a chance that no jacks or jokers are out and the two teams may tie on the game point).

Scoring the “Game Point”

The winner of the game point is determined by adding up the value of the cards that each team captures. For each ace capture, add 4; king, 3; queen, 2; jack 1; ten, 10; and zero for all other cards. Which ever team has the most captured value, they win the game point. In the event of a tie then no game point is awarded for the hand.

Winning

Play proceeds until one team reaches 21 or more points. If a team goes over twenty-one points when the score is calculated at the end of the hand, they win. In the even that both teams go over 21 at the end of the same deal, the team that won the bid on the last hand wins even if they have less points than the other team.

Variation

7-point Partnership Pitch can also be played with six players.

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