Pitty Pat is the national card game of Belize. It is played by from two to four players with a standard 52 card pack. Though it may not be apparent at first sight, Pitty Pat is essentially a rummy game with a similar mechanism to Conquian / Cooncan, in which the objective is to make three pairs starting from a five card hand. This is not a complex game and is probably something that younger children could learn and excel at.
Players: 2 to 4 players.
Cards: One standard 52 card deck, with no jokers.
The Deal: Cards are dealt to each player one at a time, starting with the player on the dealer's left, until each player has been dealt 5 cards. The rest of the card deck is placed in the center of the table with one additional card dealt face up to start the discard pile.
Objective: The goal of Pitty Pat is to be the first to discard all of the cards in your hand. You accomplish this by matching the cards in your hand with the top card of the discard pile.
Play commences with the player to the left of the dealer taking a turn and continues clockwise until the hand ends.
Players do the following actions when it is their turn:
- If they have a card in their hand that matches the top card of the discard pile, then they can discard their card plus a second card. That second card then becomes the top card of the discard pile and it is the next player's turn.
- If the player does not have a match then they draw the top card of the stock pile and place it on the discard pile. If the player has a match for that card then they can discard that card plus one more, just like the above, and it is the next player's turn.
- If, after the draw from the stock pile, the player still does not have a match then they pass their turn to the next player without having made any discards.
Players who were dealt matching pairs win after they discard all non-matching cards in their hand.
If the stock pile is depleted and the current player is unable to use the top card of the discard pile, then the discard pile can be shuffled and flipped over to be the new stock pile. The top card of the new stock is the flipped over to be the start of the new discard pile.
End of Hand
The game is won by the player who first runs out of cards by forming 3 pairs.
There is no scoring of melds or points still held in other players hands in Pitty Pat. Instead players may opt to use chips or other tokens to "pay" the winning player, with the players who run out of chips withdrawing from the game, and with the last player with any remaining chips being declared the winner.
Another option would be to just count the number of games won in the session with the overall winner being the player with the most hands won at the end of a period of time, or after some maximum number of hands has been played.
Some players of Pitty Pat will lay down their matched pairs on the table in front of them instead of placing their card on the discard pile. This gives the advantage of allowing players to see the cards that have been matched and may use that to help decide which cards to hold on to or to discard. This is also more "Rummy-like" and may be easier for younger players to understand.