Euchre is an excellent social
card game, simple in concept but with a high degree of subtlety
in the play. To play Euchre, you need the following:
players: Two teams, two players to a team.
standard deck of 52 cards: Take out the ace through the
9 in each suit, making a deck of 24 cards for the game.
Each player receives five cards,
and you play one card at a time; the player who lays the highest
card in the suit of the first card played ó unless someone
contributes a trump, in which case it is whoever lays the
highest trump card ó collects all four cards together and
stacks them in front of him, thus taking the trick.
In Euchre, you win a hand and
score points for taking the majority of the tricks in a hand,
which means winning three or more of the five tricks available.
You get more points if you take all five tricks. The first to a
specified total of points, generally 10, wins the match.
You play the game with partners,
but under special circumstances, one member of a partnership can
elect to go solo, if he thinks that going alone is worthwhile.
You play Euchre with two teams of
two players, either with prearranged partnerships or with
partners selected by cutting the deck. If you cut the deck for
partners, the two highest cards take on the two lowest cards.
Make sure the partners sit
opposite each other. In partnership games, you almost always sit
across from your partner, probably to keep you off each
Determining the trump suit
After the deal is complete, the
dealer turns over the top card of the four remaining cards. This
is called the upcard, and it determines what the trump suit
is for the current hand. The remaining three cards play no part
in the current hand.
The trump suit
represents the boss suit, meaning that a trump card beats any
card in any other suit. In Euchre, you have to follow the
suit that the first player leads (play a card in the same suit),
but if you canít follow suit, you can play a trump card and
win the trick (unless someone plays a higher trump card).
The card rankings in euchre
The standard ranking order
applies ó within each suit, the ace is high, and the values
descend to the lowly 9.
The only exception to the normal
ranking rules lies in the trump suit, which ranks as follows:
highest trump card is the jack of the trump suit, often
referred to as the right bower. (In England, you play
the game with a joker, which ranks as the master trump. The
joker is known as the Benny, or the Best Bower.)
second-highest trump card is the other jack of the
same-color suit, often called the left bower. The
jack deserts its own suit and becomes a trump card for the
hand; for example, the Jack of Spades ceases to be a spade
when clubs are the trump suit ó it becomes a club.
remaining five cards in the trump suit are the ace, king,
queen, 10, and 9, ranking from highest to lowest in that
For example, if clubs are the
trump suit, the cards rank in the order shown in this figure.
Diamonds and hearts rank from the ace through 9 in the normal
Card ranks when clubs are the
Tallying your score
The team that chooses the trump
suit and then wins three or four tricks scores 1 point. If the
side that makes trump gets all five tricks, it marches or
sweeps the hand, and the team scores 2 points.
If the makers fail to fulfill the
trick obligation, the defenders score 2 points (whether they get
three, four, or five tricks) ó they have euchred the
makers. However, the biggest score comes if you go solo and make
all five tricks: 4 points.
Serious Euchre players often use
a 6 and 4 card to keep their totals. To indicate one point, you
turn up the 6 and put the 4 face-down to cover all but one spot,
and move the cards as you score points.
After the opening lead is made,
the play goes clockwise around the table. You must follow
suit (play a card in the suit led) if you can, but if you
canít, throw off any card or play a trump card as you see fit.
Whoever plays the highest card of the suit led, or the highest
trump card if one or more trumps have been played on the trick,
wins that trick.
Failure to follow suit when you
can do so is called a renege. You must correct a renege
before the winner gathers the trick. If another player
identifies a renege, the innocent side may add 2 points to its
score or deduct 2 points from the guilty side. If your side is
going alone and one of the opponents reneges, the penalty is 4
Part of the game lies in
memorizing the cards played. You have to think about who may
have what cards left to determine what to lead and what to throw
away, when you have a choice. For example, the original trump
card is one that you want to remember; if the dealer adds it to
his hand, donít forget it.
If you have the opening lead and
you have two or more trump cards, consider leading them. You
should certainly lead a high trump if your partner called the
trump suit because it helps your partner locate the missing
cards. Otherwise, lead from a sequence if you have one. Start
with high cards to help out your partner so that he doesnít
waste his high cards unnecessarily. For example, if hearts are
trump, you could lead the Ace of Spades or Ace of Clubs to try
to win a trick.
some other card games, saving a winner for a rainy day in Euchre
generally has no advantage. Take your tricks when you can, or
you may never get them.