Similar to card games like Spades or Euchre, Five-Point Pitch is a game in which players bid on the number of tricks they win during a hand. Unique to Five-Point Pitch, though, is that it is not enough to only win a trick, you also must win tricks that contain specific cards to fulfill your bid.
Five-Point Pitch is played with four players and a standard deck of 52 playing cards. Players form two teams with teammates sitting opposite one another. Choose one player to act as the first dealer. He deals out six cards, three at a time, to the players starting with the player on his left. Place the leftover cards to the side.
Start with the player directly to the dealer's left. He can call out a bid of between two to five, or pass on the bid. The remaining players can either pass or call out a bid higher than the previous bid. For example, if the first player bids three, the next player must either pass or place a bid of four or five. If no bids have been made before the dealer, he must bid two. The dealer can also bid the same amount as the highest bidder and steal his bid. The highest bidder becomes the pitcher and it is up to his teammate and him to make good on the bid. The other team attempts to prevent this from happening. The pitcher calls the trump suit.
Calling out a bid corresponds with one of four points that can be gained. Winning the High is done by winning the trick that contains the highest dealt trump card. Winning the Low is done by winning the trick with the lowest dealt trump card. The Jack is won by winning the trick that contains the Jack of the trump card, which may not be dealt in which case you cannot win this point. The Game point is won by achieving the highest total card value. Cards are valued as follows: Tens are worth 10 points, Jacks are worth one point, Queens are worth two points, Kings are three three points and Aces are four points. All cards below a 10 have no value. If you call out a bid of five, you must fulfill all four requirements and win all six tricks.
The First Trick
The pitcher plays the first card. He selects one of the cards from the trump suit and places it on the table. Each player in a clockwise rotation places a card of the same suit if they have one or a trump card onto the table. You can play a trump card even if you have a card of the same suit in your hand. If you do not have a trump or card of the same suit, you can play any card. The winner of the trick is the player who places the highest trump card or highest card of the leading suit if no trumps were played.
End of the Round
The winner of the trick starts the next trick with any card of his choice. Play continues until all six tricks have been played. At this point, each team counts up their card value total as well as any of the other trick points needed for a successful bid.
The pitcher's team gains one point for each successful bid as long as they meet their minimum bid. For example, if the pitcher's bid was two, and the team won the High, Low and Jack, then they earn three points. If the pitcher's bid does not make their minimum bid, they lose the points equal to their bid, for example, bidding three and only gaining two points means you lose three points. The opposing team gains points for any of the four points achieved. The fifth point can only be gained on a bid of five points.
Gather all of the cards and hand them to the player to the left of the dealer who will become the new dealer for the round. Shuffle and deal the cards and play again. Continue the game until one team reaches 21 points during a round in which they are the pitcher. This means that if you reach 21 points but were not the pitching team, you do not win the game.
Dan Chruscinski has written pieces for both business and entertainment venues. His work has appeared in "Screen Magazine" as well as websites such as Starpulse.com. Chruscinski graduated in 2006 with a degree in English literature from Illinois State University.