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Official Pitch (Blind All Fours) Rules

Pitch (also called Blind All Fours) is a classic trick-taking card game with a twist – players bid on how many points they think they can win in a hand. Here's a breakdown of the rules:

Players and Objective

Number of Players:

Pitch can be enjoyed by 3 to 7 players, although playing with 4 players (partnerships) is the most common setup.


What you'll need:

  • Standard deck of 52 playing cards

  • Chips or tokens for keeping score (optional)


Card Values (High to Low):

  • Ten (10 points)

  • Ace (4 points)

  • King (3 points)

  • Queen (2 points)

  • Jack (1 point)

  • Nine through Two (no points)


Objective:

The goal of Pitch is to be the first team (partnership) or individual player (depending on the variation) to reach a predetermined score (usually 31 points).  You score points by winning tricks that contain high-value cards.  However, there's a strategic element – you also need to fulfill your bid, or you'll be penalized.

Setup

Dealing:

  • The dealer shuffles the deck and deals a specific number of cards face down to each player depending on the number of players:3 Players: Each player receives 17 cards.
    4 Players (Partnerships): Each player receives 6 cards. Partners sit opposite each other.
    5-7 Players: Each player receives a variable number of cards (consult specific rules for details).

  • The dealer leaves the remaining deck face down in the center of the table as a draw pile.

Gameplay

1. Bidding:

  • Bidding begins with the player to the left of the dealer and continues clockwise.

  • Players can choose to:

    • Bid: Announce a number between "blind" (no tricks) and the total points value of all cards in their hand (66 points in a standard 4-player game). This is the number of points they believe they can win in tricks during the hand.

    • Pass:  Decline to bid and wait for the next player.

  • Bidding continues until all players have either placed a bid or passed.  The highest bidder becomes the "pitcher" and chooses the trump suit (a suit that outranks all other suits in a trick).

3. Discards (Optional - Some Variations):

  • In some variations, after the bidding is complete, players are allowed to discard a certain number of cards (usually two or three) from their hand and draw replacements from the draw pile.

4. Playing Tricks:

  • The pitcher leads the first trick by playing any card face up to the table.

  • Subsequent players, including the pitcher's partner (if playing partnerships), must follow suit if possible (play a card of the same suit led).

  • If unable to follow suit, a player can:

    • Trump: Play a card of the trump suit.

    • Play Any Card: If they have no cards of the led suit or trump, they can play any card in their hand.

  • The highest card of the led suit, or the highest trump card played, wins the trick.

  • The winner of the trick collects the played cards and leads the next trick.

5. Scoring:

  • Winning Tricks:  Each trick won by the bidder or their team (partnership) is worth one point, regardless of the card values in the trick.

  • Fulfilling the Bid:  If the bidder (and their partner in partnership play) wins exactly the number of tricks they bid on, they score all the points from those tricks.

  • Underbidding: If the bidder (and their partner) wins fewer tricks than they bid on, they are "set back" the difference between their bid and the number of tricks they won.  Their score is deducted by that amount.

  • Overbidding: If the bidder (and their partner) wins more tricks than they bid on, they receive no points for that hand.  Their score remains the same.

6. End of the Round:

  • After all the tricks have been played and points are scored, the dealer shuffles the deck again (including any discarded cards) to prepare for the next round.

  • The deal and bidding move clockwise to the next player.

Winning the Game

The game continues with players bidding, playing tricks, and scoring points. The first team (partnership) or individual player (depending on the variation) to reach the predetermined score (usually 31 points) wins the game!

Notes/Variations

  • Four-Point Pitch:

    • The game is often played to 4 points instead of 21, with points awarded only for High, Low, Jack, and Game.

  • Partnership Pitch:

    • In this version, teammates' points are combined, and the game is usually played to 11 points.

  • Individual Pitch:

    • When playing with 3 or 5 players, the game can be played individually rather than in partnerships.

Pitch is a versatile and engaging card game that combines elements of strategy, bidding, and trick-taking. Its flexibility in the number of players and variations makes it a popular choice for different group sizes and skill levels.

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