Card Game: 7-Point Cut-Throat Pitch

This is another variation of the Pitch card game, playable with 5 players.

Equipment

  • Standard deck of 52 cards with two distinguishable jokers – one considered “high” and one considered “low”.
  • Five (5) people
  • Something to keep score (paper and pen)

Short Version

The short version is take the rules for 7-Point Partnership Pitch and keep score for each player individually.

“Teams” are formed on a hand-by-hand basis. The player dealt the high of trump is partnered with the person dealt the low of trump; all other players are on the other team. Until you’ve seen the ace and deuce of trump, you won’t know who is teamed with whom until the last card is played. If the same person has both the high and low of trump, they are a team unto themselves.

All people on the team with the high bidder are responsible for the bid. If the team does not take the required number of points, everyone on the team goes down by the number of points bid. (Bidding 7 just to take as many people down with you as you can is considered poor sportsmanship and is something I discovered that my kids really hate. Not that I’ve done this. Recently anyway).

As in 7-Point Partnership, play continues until someone reaches 21 or more points. In case more than one player goes over 21 then if the bidder was one of the players, they win. If the bidder did not go over 21 then whoever has the highest score wins. If two or more people are tied as the highest over 21 and the bidder did not go over 21, play proceeds until a winner is found (and it may not be one of the people that originally tied).

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.

Teams

“Teams” are formed on a hand-by-hand basis. The player dealt the high of trump is partnered with the person dealt the low of trump; all other players are on the other team. Until you’ve seen the ace and deuce of trump, you won’t know who is teamed with whom until the last card is played. If the same person has both the high and low of trump, they are a team unto themselves.

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 team can take if they get to choose the trump suit.

The amount bid 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 – effectively if a jack or joker is led then the trump suit must be announced).

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

Hand scoring is done on a team basis with game scoring being conducted on an individual player basis. In other words, at the end of the hand you calculate the teams’ score and then apply that score to each individual on the team (since the next hand may have a different team combination).

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)

If the team that bid the highest does not score their bid or more then they go down (lose) the same number of points as they bid. E.g., if team A has 10 points and bids 3 but only takes 2 points then they have 7 points (10 – 3 = 7).

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 a person scores 21 or more points. If more than one person scores 21 or more and one of them is bidder from the hand just completed, the bidder wins. Failing that, whoever scored the highest wins. If there was a tie for highest and the bidder is not 21 or higher, play continues until someone is the clear winner (which could be anyone).

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