Designed by Mark S. Ball
Haus Pitch is a cut-throat five point variation of the game intentionally created to be as vicious as possible. The addition of the jick, stealing the bid, the gift, and the draw phase gives players plenty of opportunity to stick it to their opponents.
You will need a 52 card deck and a way to keep score.
Cut the deck to determine the first dealer. Whoever cuts the lowest card deals first. Each player is dealt six cards. The rest of the deck, called the stock, is placed face down near the dealer.
Bidding begins with the person sitting left of the dealer. When bidding, players state how many points they think they will capture if they get to name the trump suit. The minimum bid a player may make is two and the maximum is five. Whoever bids highest is the bid-winner. The bid-winner is given a gift of three cards from the stock and pitches the trump suit for the round.
If a player chooses to bid, they say the number of points they will capture. If they do not want to bid, they say pass. Once a player bids, the next player must bid higher or pass.
The dealer is not allowed to pass. They must bid the minimum of two if everyone else has passed.
STEAL THE BID
The dealer is allowed to match the highest bid rather than beat it. For example, if the highest bid is three, the dealer does not have to bid four or five. They can simply steal the bid of three to become the bid-winner.
If a player thinks they can capture all five points, they may bid moon. A moon bid cannot be stolen by the dealer.
The dealer gives the bid-winner a gift of three cards from the stock.
PITCH & DRAW
After receiving the gift, the bid-winner names the suit that will be trump for the round. This is called pitching trump.
The jack that is the same color as the trump suit becomes the jick. It joins the trump suit and sits between the 10 and the jack. For example, if hearts is trump, the J♦ becomes the jick. It is considered a heart for the round and must be played as one.
From low to high, the trump suit becomes:
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Jick Jack Queen King Ace
After trump has been pitched, the player left of the dealer begins the draw phase. They may choose up to six cards from their hand to discard. The dealer gives them the same number of cards from the stock. Players can pass if they do not wish to discard and draw.
The bid-winner is required to discard at least three cards. If they discard more than three, the dealer gives them enough cards to bring their hand back up to six.
THE FIRST TRICK
The bid-winner must lead the first trick with a trump-suited card. Continuing around the table, each player must follow suit if they can. It they cannot, they may play any card.
Whoever plays the highest trump card wins the trick. The trick-winner collects the cards.
THE SECOND TRICK AND BEYOND
The trick-winner may lead the next trick with any card from their hand. From this point on, players must follow suit or play a trump card.
If a player cannot follow suit, they may play any card.
The highest card in the lead suit or the highest trump card wins the trick. The trick-winner collects the cards and leads.
This continues until all six tricks have been completed. After the sixth trick is collected, it’s time to tally up the score.
Five points can be available each round including the highest trump card in play, the lowest trump card in play, the trump suited jack, the jick, and the game-point.
Earn the game-point by capturing the most point cards. If there is a tie for game-point, no one earns it.
Aces = 4 points
Kings = 3 points
Queens = 2 points
Jacks = 1 point
10’s = 10 points
If the bid-winner meets or exceeds their bid, they add the points they capture to their score. If they do not capture enough points, they subtract their bid from their score. It is possible for a player to have a negative score.
The remaining players, called defenders, earn any points they capture.
If a player bids moon and captures all five points, they add 11 points to their score. If they fail the moon bid, they subtract 11 points from their score.
Once the score has been tallied, collect the cards and pass the deal one player to the left. The first player to earn 11 points or more wins.
If more than one player would win, points are awarded in order: high, low, jack, jick, game. The first to earn 11 wins immediately.
Enjoy the game? Consider buying the designer a cup of coffee.