OK The Complete Win at Euchre Paperback – September 1, 2004 by Joseph D. Andrews (Author) 4.1 out of 5. My euchre experience has generally been based on online play and I can tell you that I am without question one of the best online (Pogo, Yahoo, etc). Believe me when I say that this book is strictly 'good' but NOT great. Euchre (and its variations) is the reason why modern card decks were first packaged with jokers, a card originally designed to act as the right and left 'bowers' (high trumps). Although later eclipsed by Bridge (as with so many other games of this type), Euchre is still well known in America and is an excellent social game. The Basics of Playing Euchre By Barry Rigal, Omar Sharif 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.

Click in the Euchre icon to play the game. There are 193 players. Go grab a seat and get ready to win! The Home of Nidink www.nidink.com nidink - the home of a gaming.

Euchre is popular across a wide area of Canada (from Nova Scotia to the Midwest) and in the USA (especially in the North-East and Midwest), and also in the United States Navy. It is played in some coastal areas of Britain, particularly in and near large sea ports, for example in Devon, Cornwall, Kent and the Channel Islands; also in, New Zealand, Australia and maybe other places (please let me know).

The main description below is based on the version of the game played in Cornwall, England. Some variations played there and in other places are described afterwards.

  • British Euchre
  • Variations

British Euchre

Players and Object

Euchre is a plain-trick game for four players in fixed partnerships, partners sitting opposite.

Just 5 cards are dealt to each player and the object is to win at least three of the five tricks - with an extra bonus for winning all five.

Rank of Cards

A pack of 25 cards is used consisting of A K Q J 10 9 in each of the four suits: hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades, plus a joker. If your pack of cards has no joker, the two of spades can be used as a substitute.

The trump suit has 8 cards ranking from highest to lowest as follows:

Benny, or Best Bower (the joker or two of spades)
Right Bower (the jack of the trump suit)
Left Bower (the other jack of the same colour as the trump suit)
Ace
King
Queen
Ten
Nine

The other suits have 6 or 5 cards ranking as normal: AKQ (J) 109.

Note that Benny and Left count for all purposes as belonging to the trump suit. For example if hearts are trumps, the jack of diamonds is a heart not a diamond. It can be played to a heart lead and if it is led, hearts must be followed.

The word Bower comes from the German Bauer, which means farmer or peasant and is also a word for Jack.

The Deal

The first dealer is selected at random. The turn to deal then rotates clockwise throughout the game. The dealer shuffles and the player to dealer's left may either cut or 'bump' - that is, knock the cards to indicate that they should be dealt as they are, without cutting.

Five cards are dealt to each player in two rounds. The dealer deals clockwise, giving each player a packet of two or three cards in any order - any player who was dealt two in the first round gets three in the second and vice versa.

The dealer then turns the next card in the pack face up. This up-card is used as a basis for selecting the trump suit. The remaining four cards are left face-down and are not used.

Making trump

This process determines the trump suit and which team are the makers - that is the team which undertakes to win three tricks. First each player in turn, beginning with the player to the dealer's left, has the option of accepting up-card's suit as the trump suit or passing. Specifically:

  • The player to dealer's left may either pass or say 'I order it up'
  • If the first player passes, the dealer's partner may either pass or say 'I turn it down'
  • If the first two players pass, the player to dealer's right may either pass or say 'I order it up'
  • If all three other players pass, the dealer may either take up the up-card, saying 'I take it up', or pass by saying 'over' and turning the up-card face-down.

If either of the dealer's opponents order it up or if dealer decides to take it up, the suit of the up-card becomes trump; the dealer adds the up-card to her hand and discards a card face-down. Note that (at least in this version of Euchre), the dealer's partner cannot make trumps and play with a partner. The dealer's partner can only make the turned up suit trumps by playing alone. In Britain this is done by saying 'I turn it down', in which case the dealer's cards are placed face-down on the table and dealer's partner plays alone, with the turned suit as trump.

If all four players pass, the up-card is turned face-down, and there is a second round in which players have the option to make any suit trump, other than the suit of the up-card. Again the player to dealer's left speaks first and may either pass again or name a suit. If the first player passes the second may name a suit or pass, and so on. If all four players pass a second time the cards are thrown in and the next player deals.

Note that the trump making process ends as soon as someone accepts or makes trump (rather than passing). That player's side are the makers and the other side are the defenders.

If the Benny is turned up then the dealer's team are automatically the makers - no one else gets an opportunity. The dealer must choose a trump suit without looking at her cards. She then picks up her five cards and the Benny and discards one.

Going Alone

After trump has been made, but before the first lead, any player may announce that they are playing alone. The partner of a lone player puts her cards face-down and takes no part in the play.

Either a member of the makers side or a defender may play alone. It is even possible that a maker and a defender choose to play alone, in which case there will be only two active players.

The Play

If all four players are in the game, the play begins with the player to the dealer's left leading to the first trick. If one player is playing alone, the person to that player's left leads first. If two players are playing alone, the defender leads.

Any card may be led, and each player in clockwise order must follow suit by playing a card of the same suit as the card led if possible. A player who cannot follow suit may play any card.

Remember that, for purposes of following suit, Benny and the Left Bower are considered to belong to the trump suit and not to any other suit.

The trick is won by whoever played the highest card of the suit led, unless a trump was played in which case the highest trump wins. The winner of each trick leads to the next one.

Scoring

If all four players are playing then the scores are as follows:

  • If the makers win 3 or 4 tricks they score one point.
  • If the makers win all 5 tricks they score two points.
  • If the makers take fewer than three tricks they are said to be euchred, and the defenders score two points.

If a member of the makers' team is playing alone and wins all 5 tricks, the team scores 4 points instead of 2 - otherwise the scores are as above.

If a member of the defenders' team is playing alone and succeeds in winning at least 3 tricks, thereby euchring the makers, the defenders score 4 points instead of 2 - otherwise the scores are as above.

The game is normally played to 11 points - that is, the team who first reach 11 or more points over several deals win the game. It is usual for each team to keep score using a spare 5 and 6 from the pack (as these cards are not used in the game). The cards are arranged on the table so that the number of pips showing shows the team's current score. Sometimes people play to 15 points (using a 7 and an 8 to keep score) or to 10 points.

Variant

Some play that a player who has passed in the round in which trumps were made is not allowed to play alone. This prevents a player from 'trapping' an opponent by passing with a good hand and then playing alone against them to score 4 points for a euchre.

Six Player Euchre

In Cornwall, England, this is played between two teams of three, sitting alternately. Either adds the sevens and eights to the pack, making 33 cards (the 8 and 7 are then the lowest cards of each suit, below the 9), or play with a double 25 card pack - 50 cards in all.

When playing with a double pack, if two equally high cards are played to a trick, the second to be played beats the first. If the two Bennies are red and black, the one which is the same colour as the trump suit beats the other one. If they both look the same, then the second one played beats the other, as with other cards.

If a player wants to play alone, both of the player's partners discard their hands face down, but the lone player can ask one of them for a card. The partner asked gives a card of his choice to the lone player, without consultation and without showing it to the others, and the lone player discards a card face-down in return.

The score for winning all the tricks or euchring the makers is 3 points instead of 2. If the winner is playing alone the score is 6 points instead of 4.

North American Euchre

In Canada and the USA, Euchre is played without a joker, so that there are just 24 cards in the deck, and the right bower is the highest trump. The target score is 10 points (not 11). The score is indicated by using two low cards overlapped - some use a six and a four, some use two fives, and some use a two and a three like this:

In the USA any player, including the dealer's partner, is allowed to order up the up-card and play with a partner. In other places - Australia, England and Canada - if the dealer's partner orders the card up, he/she must play alone; therefore the dealer's cards are laid face-down and the dealer does not play the hand.

Some people do not allow a defender to play alone - only the maker is allowed to play alone. Some only allow a defender to play alone against a lone maker.

In Canada it is not usual for the cards to be cut before dealing, and in many groups the cards are dealt one at a time, rather than in twos and threes.

A common method of choosing the first dealer is to deal the cards around until a black jack appears.

Stick the Dealer (also known as 'Screw the dealer'). In this variation the dealer cannot pass a second time when naming the trump suit. On the second round, if the first three players pass, the dealer must name a suit. This variation is often played when playing time is constrained.

The Super-Euchre A 'Super-Euchre' occurs when the making team takes zero tricks. Some play that the defending team then scores 4 points.

Railroading. This is a variation in which, if your partner is going to play alone, you may pass your partner a card (your best card) face down. Before looking at this card partner must choose whether to discard a card from hand and take the card offered in exchange, or to discard the offered card.

Some people play that if the first three players pass, the dealer is only allowed to take up the turned trump if already holding at least one trump in hand. For this purpose, the left bower is not counted as a trump.

Variations

Buck Euchre (Cut-Throat Euchre)

This game for three or four players, playing as individuals, is described on a separate page.

32 card Euchre

In some places the 8s and 7s are included in the pack as the lowest cards in each suit, making a pack of 32 or 33 cards. This makes it more uncertain whether the high cards are in play. I am told that 32 card Euchre is the usual version in New Zealand. Also there are a few people in the USA who still play this way.

Six Hand Almonte Euchre

Mike Lunney contributed the following variation, which is played in Almonte, in eastern Ontario, Canada.

Rules are the same as six player Euchre above, but with the following variations:

There are 6 players (3 per team) using a 30 card deck consisting of 8-9-10-Q-K-A-J in each suit, plus three jokers, represented by the 2,3,and 4 of spades (4 is the highest trump, followed by 3, 2, right bower, left bower, A, K, Q, 10, 9).

The dealer distributes 5 cards to each of the 6 players and then turns over the last one (i.e. no hidden cards). If the card turned up is a joker, then dealer calls the trump before looking in his or her hand.

Scoring is the same as for British six player Euchre described above, but play is up to fifteen. Or in euchre leagues, players play twice around the table (i.e. 12 hands) before moving to another table.

There is a version in which, if a joker is turned up, the dealer cannot turn it over at the end of the first round of bidding, but must take it into his or her hand and become the maker, assuming the other 5 players have passed on the called trump.

A four-hand variation is played with 21 cards: the Q-K-A-J of clubs and diamonds, the 10-Q-K-A-J of hearts and spades, plus the 3 jokers; scoring is the same as in six-hand.

Bid Euchre

There are many varieties of this. See the Bid Euchre page.

Terminology and Sayings

From England

have an eye
have a score of at least one
whitewashed
beaten without score (i.e. 11-0)
dockyard play or playing policeman
opponents of dealer who do not order up with good cards, in the hope of euchring the dealer's team

From North America

Bill Le May contributed the following sayings:

Don't send a boy to the mill
said when you trump a suit trick with something like a 9 or 10 and the other opponent takes it with something higher.
Crossing the creek
when the top card is turned down and someone makes trump of the opposite color.
Dutchman's Point
is the point you win when you're holding both bowers and the ace of trump. (In the USA, where the joker is not used, these are the highest three trumps).
Bushing or Waiting in the bushes
is passing when you hold enough cards to make trump, hoping instead to euchre the opponent who picks up.
Having a dog from every county
means your five cards comprise all four suits, usually low cards.

Some sayings from Indiana, USA, contributed by Chris Carter and Chris Patterson:

to be set
to be euchred
Sweep or March
winning all the tricks
In the barn
one point away from victory (usu. 9 points)
To get cut
to lead an ace that gets trumped by the first opponent
Loner
a hand suitable for playing alone
Lay-down loner
a loner consisting of unbeatable cards (for example, if you have the first lead: right, left, trump ace, another trump, any off ace). [Of course this is not laydown if the lone player does not have the first lead. In some places, a variation is played in which if you play a loner you never get the lead. If the player to your right leads first you would need five trumps including the top three for a lay-down loner. If the player to the left of the loner leads, then five trumps including two bowers is enough.]
Walk
a low card is led and takes the trick (usually expressed in amazement or disgust: 'The ^#[email protected]&^*(@! queen walked!'
Next
After the up-card is turned down, the player to the dealer's left may call 'next' to indicate that the same-color suit as the turned-down card is to be named the trump suit.

Historical Note

Euchre was probably derived from the game Jucker which was formerly played in Alsace. Euchre reached the USA in the early nineteenth century and was the original game for which the Joker was introduced into the playing-card pack in the 1850s (to serve as the highest trump). It has already been mentioned that Euchre is popular in the US Navy, and it may be through this maritime connection that it travelled in the later nineteenth century from America to other English speaking parts of the world. Certainly in Britain it is mainly found in regions where there has been a strong Naval influence.

Other Euchre Web Sites

  • Archive copy of Matt Schemmel and Erin O'Neil's Semi-Official Euchre Home Page with rules, advice and printable tournament scorecards.
  • Harvey Lapp's Euchrelinks.com site has rules of the American game, tips for improving you play, advice on protecting yourself from players who cheat, and a shop for Euchre equipment.
  • Archive copy of John Hay's Euchre page
  • Alan Gilfoy's Euchre page
  • Rules of Euchre are available on the Card Game Heaven site.
  • Ralph Sprovier's Euchre Info website has a collection of recommended documents and links on Euchre strategy and terminology.
  • The Euchre page of the White Knuckle Playing Cards site, which describes the Australian game with 32 cards.
  • Archive copy of Dave Barker's former Euchre page
  • Brad Wilson's Card Games pages include several Euchre and Bid Euchre variants.
  • Achive copies of Bram Kivenko's pages on Euchre probabilities, strategies and a glossary.
  • On the island of Guernsey, in the English Channel, Euchre (played with 33 cards including a joker) is the national game. This archive copy of the Guernsey United Euchre League site had details of league rules, matches and results.
  • Perry's Euchre Universe Blog discusses Euchre strategy and other Euchre-related topics.
  • The EuchreFun blog features printable rotations and score sheets for tournaments, information on Euchre events in the in the Metro Detroit Area (USA) and other Euchre related posts.
  • Natty Bumppo has invented a Euchre Solitaire game.
  • Joe Chellman has published a page on Euchre for Two Players.

Euchre tournaments, books and equipment

Natty Bumppo's Columbus Book of Euchre gives not only rules but also plenty of discussion of tactics, local traditions and sayings from Columbus, Indiana, USA. Online casino first deposit bonus. On the web site you can see extracts from the book, and an appendix containing additional material. There are also Reviews of other books on Euchre. You can order The Columbus Book of Euchre from amazon.com.

The book The Complete Win at Euchre by Joe Andrews is available from amazon.com.

Ohio Euchre provides a collection of Euchre resources, including information about Euchre tournaments in Ohio, USA, and a forum for Euchre discussions.

At the Euchre Pad site you can print score cards for Euchre tournaments of various sizes played either as teams (keep partner and play each game against a different team) or progressive (change partner for each game). The service is free but donations are welcome.

The CardsTourney website by Duke Euker provides a tournament scheduling service: you enter the names of up to 40 players a printable score card for each player showing partner and opponenmts for each round.

Josh Falter's Euchre Tournament is a free, open source program that can be used to help organise a Euchre tournament. It keeps score, calculates player ranking and can be used to print scorecards for each player that tell who their partner is, what table they play at, and who their opponents are each round. It currently supports tournaments of 4, 8, 12 or 16 players.

The Semi-Official Euchre Tournament Page (archive copy) had seating arrangements and scorecards for Euchre tournaments for various numbers of players.

Euchre-Playing Software and Online Servers

A shareware Windows program for playing both two-handed Euchre and Écarté against your computer or an online opponent can be downloaded from MeggieSoft Games.

With DreamQuest Software's Championship Euchre Pro you can play against computer opponents. Available for Windows, Palm OS and Pocket PC.

Malcolm Bain's Simply Euchre program for Windows is available from Card Games Galore.

Playok Euchre

The collection HOYLE Card Games for Windows or Mac OS X includes a Euchre program.

3D Euchre is an Android app for A-star Software with which you can play Euchre against AI opponents or live players.

Here is Terry Burlison's page about his Ultimate Euchre program.

Hardwood Euchre from Silver Creek Entertainment is available on iOS (iphone, ipod, ipad) Android, Kindle, Windows and Mac.

Special K Software has developed software to play the card game of Euchre. This software is available at www.specialksoftware.com.

Games4All has published a free Euchre app for the Android platform.

Mike's Cards includes a Euchre program for Macintosh and Windows computers.

Some more sites where you can play Euchre on-line against live opponents:

  • Mystic Island organises tournaments, leagues and ladders
  • Robert Schultz's World of Card Games offers an online Euchre game.
  • PlayOK (formerly known as Kurnik)
  • AOL games (formerly games.com / Masque publishing)
  • American Euchre and British Euchre can be played at TrapApps.
  • Mana Battery publishes online games for the Microsoft Xbox 360, Windows Phone, IOS and Android.
  • Case's Ladder organises online leagues and operates a tournament ranking system.

Euchre: The Ultimate Guide

Summary

If you’ve never heard of the game before, you might be surprised to learn that Euchre is one of the world’s oldest and most popular card games with roots dating back to 18th century Europe. Unlike other popular card games where individual players compete against each other to win, euchre is a team sport that focuses more on interpersonal communication and social strategies, skills which may be found lacking in a typical game of poker. This social aspect of the game, perhaps, is part of the reason why Euchre is more likely to be played in quaint, small-town bars and tournaments at pubs and taverns, local community gatherings, and small, intimate kitchen table get-togethers amongst friends.

Whether you’re not familiar with the game or are a seasoned expert, this ultimate guide to Euchre will explain everything you need to know about the game—including its history and background, how to play Euchre, important variations to the rules, and more. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about this classic card game that’s been passed down for generations by Euchre lovers all over the world, and why it’s an enjoyable pastime, perfect for playing with family and friends.

Euchre

How To Play Euchre

Euchre is a very social game considered to belong to the “trick-taking” genre, along with hearts and spades. The goal of the game is to win the trick by playing the high card in each round, and to win more tricks than the other team. If a team scores ten points first in a round, that team wins the game. Under normal circumstances, one round of Euchre should take approximately half an hour or less to complete.

*NOTE: Rules for Euchre will vary according to region, and the house rules of the establishment where the game is being played. In this article, we’ve chosen one of the most common versions of Euchre played in the United States, though it should be noted that there are other ways of playing the game. Other variations to the game, including a common method where the Joker is also included in the modified Euchre deck, can be found in the variations section.You’ll Need:
  • Four players (split into two teams)
  • A Standard Deck of 52 Playing Cards*
  • Pencil and paper (to keep track of points)
*Euchre uses only 24 cards from a regular 52-card deck. To create the deck, simply separate the nines, tens, jacks, queens, kings, and aces from each suit.Setting Up the Game

Euchre is played with four players split evenly into two teams. Each player sits opposite his or her partner at the table. Euchre decks can be purchased in stores or through online marketplace websites like Amazon, however, Euchre decks can be easily made from a standard 52-card deck using just 24 cards (the Nine, Ten, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace cards of each of the four suits). The rest of the cards in the deck are unused in Euchre.

Before the game begins, the players agree on the Trump suit, or the suit with the highest-value of the game, The selected Trump suit can any of the suits in the card deck: Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, or Clubs. The cards of each suit are ranked in the following order, from highest to lowest:

  1. Right Bower: The Jack card from the selected Trump suit, and the best bower. The word “bower” is from the German “bauer”, which means “farmer”, which is represented by the Jack of Clubs, Jack of Spades, Jack of Hearts, and Jack of Diamonds.
  2. Left Bower: The Jack of the same color as the Trump suit, but from a different suit
  3. Ace: The Ace card from the Trump suit
  4. King: The King card from the Trump suit
  5. Queen: The Queen card from the Trump suit
  6. Ten: The ten card from the Trump suit
  7. Nine: The nine card from the Trump suit

All other suits, except for the cards of the Trump suit, or the Jack of the same color as the Trump suit), have the following ranking, from highest to lowest:

  1. Ace
  2. King
  3. Queen
  4. Jack
  5. Ten
  6. Nine
How to Play

The first dealer of the game is randomly selected from the four players, and afterwards, will rotate in a clockwise direction throughout the game. Once chosen, the dealer then shuffles the cards and offers the player to the left with the choice to cut the deck, or to play it as is.

The dealer then deals out five cards to each player in two clockwise rotations around the table, which means two or three cards per round. If one player was dealt two cards in the first rotation, the dealer will then give him or her three cards in the next, or three in the first, and two in the next. The order may be different from player to player.

Choosing the Trump Suit

When the dealer finishes passing out cards, he or she will turn the next card in the remaining cards (called the kitty) over and set it down, face-up. The player to the left of the dealer will then decide whether he or she accepts the up-card suit as the Trump suit, or would prefer to turn it down, or pass. This process determines the trump suit, which team are the makers (the ones that accept a trump card or offer another) and the defenders (the team that doesn’t).

First, each player in turn, beginning with the player to the dealer’s left, has the option of accepting the up-card’s suit as the trump suit, or passing. If he or she decides to pass, the dealer’s partner will then have the choice of passing or saying “I assist”. If both players pass, the player to the right of the dealer will decide to pass or say “I order it up”. If all players pass the card, the dealer will then pick up the card saying “I take it up”, or pass on the card, flipping it over face-down and remarking, “over” and the end of the turn.

If one the dealer or one of the dealer’s opponents takes up the card, the suit on the up-card becomes the Trump suit. If this happens, then the dealer will add the up-card to his or her hand while removing another card, face-down. If the dealer’s partner says “I turn it down”, that player will play alone and their partner, the dealer, must place his or her cards down on the table. If no one speaks up for the card and all players pass, the dealer will place the up-card face-down and turn a new card over from the kitty.

In this second round, the player to the left will pass, or name a suit. If that player passes, the next player will also choose to pass or name a suit, continuing on until someone names a suit or all players pass. If all players pass again, the players throw in their cards and a new player is the dealer (chosen clockwise from the last dealer). The new dealer will shuffle the cards again and give each player a new hand to start the process over again.

Playing Alone

If any player from the maker or defender side feels as though he or she has a particularly strong hand, they can decide to play alone to win more points. This can be done once the trump suit is selected, but before the play begins. In some cases, one player from the maker side and one player from the defender side will both simultaneously decide to play alone.

Playing the Game

Vip Euchre Game

The player that leads first depends on how many players are active in the game. There are three scenarios that might take place to determine who leads with the first card.

  • If all of the four players are active, then the player to the left of the dealer begins the gameplay by leading with any card from his or her hand.
  • If one player of the four has decided to play a lone hand, the player to the left of the solo player will go first.
  • If two players have decided to go alone, the player whose team did not choose the trump suit goes first.
  • The first player to put down a card can lead with any card of their choosing. In a clockwise rotation, each player must follow suit by placing down a card of the same suit as the card led. If he or she cannot follow suit, they will play any card of their choice. The player that wins the trick will have played the highest card of the suit led, or in case a player put down a trump card, the highest trump card wins. The winning player will lead the next round.
Scoring Points in Euchre

The scoring system in Euchre is complicated, where points are weighted depending on how many players play, which team wins (the makers or the defenders), and how many tricks are taken in total.

The scoring system is as follows:

  • One point is scored for every three or four tricks taken, when all four players are playing in a round.
  • Two points are scored if the either the makers or the defenders sweep all five tricks, when all four players are playing in a round.
  • If a lone player wins three or four tricks, their team wins one point.
  • If a player plays alone and wins all five tricks, the team will score four points.
  • If a player is caught failing to follow suit when he or she could have done so, this is called a “renege”. If another player catches a renege, that team can decide to add two points to their score, or to take away two points to the guilty team’s score as a penalty.
  • If the renege is committed and caught by a team going against a solo opponent, the penalty is four points added to the innocent team’s score, or taken away from the guilty team’s score (to be decided on by the team that identified the renege).
  • If the makers fail to take the trick at least three out of the five rounds, the defenders score two points and the makers are considered “euchred”.

How to Win at Euchre: Top Tips and Expert Strategies

The best advice any Euchre player will give to a beginner is to play often. Euchre is a fast-paced game with plenty of rules that may seem confusing at first, but once you’ve gotten the hang of the pace and structure of the game, developing an instinct for winning strategies will come naturally.

It’s often said that Euchre is a game of strategy and luck, just like poker. While players may not have much control over the cards they’re dealt, they do have control over the decisions they make—like knowing whether to bid or to pass, and when to play alone, and how to read an opponent, that affect not only their personal outcome, but that of their partner’s as well.

While practice will certainly improve your abilities at Euchre, learning some of the more popular strategies can also help you get better at the game. Here are a few very basic tips to get you started with developing your own Euchre methodology:

Keep an Eye Out for Cheaters!

If a player fails to follow suit when he or she could have done so, the player must identify the renege before the round is completed and the winner takes the trick. Paying attention to the cards played on both sides will help players catch reneges before it’s too late to correct them and win the points.

Learn to Memorize the Cards Played

Unlike games played with all 52 cards, Euchre decks are made up of just 24 cards, meaning that there are less cards to consider. Memorizing which cards have been played already, which cards the dealer added to his or her own hand, and other details will help you to make more strategic decisions throughout the game—like when to toss cards and when to lead with them.

Be a Good Leader

If you’re putting down the first card, consider whether your partner called the trump suit or not. If so, your partner needs to know where the trump cards are, so if you hold the right or left bower, you may want to lead with them to alert your partner as to where they are.

If you are on the defender’s side, try and lead with a singleton Ace (an ace with no other cards in that suit). Your next best bet will be a doubleton Ace, as long as it’s not the same color as the trump suit. This will increase the odds that your opponents will have to play that suit (and you’ll win the trick with the highest value card).

If you do have other cards from the same off-suit, don’t risk playing that hand. Remember that there are only six cards of each suit in the deck. Chances may not be in your favor that your opponents will have the remaining cards to follow suit, and will be able to win the trick with a higher-value card. Likewise, don’t lead with the suit that was turned down. The likeliest reason that your opponents turned down the suit, after all, is because they didn’t have those cards in the first place.

Know When It’s Time to Make the Trump, and When It’s Not

There are certain times in the game where ordering the trump suit or picking it up, if you’re the dealer, will benefit your team more than when passing the card. One of those times is when your team is at The Bridge, which refers to the breaking point where your score is at 9 points. If the opposing team is within reach of a win with a four-point score (through a solo player win), becoming the maker team will prevent the opposite team from being able to do so.

Pay Attention to the Cards that are Turned Down

It’s safe to assume that if the dealing team turns down a card of a certain suit, neither of them have those suit cards, or the left bower card (or any side aces of that color to help, for that matter). In this case, leading with the opposite suit of the same color is mathematically probably choice for you or your partner winning the trick—a tactic referred to as “next”.

Euchre Terms and Definitions

At the Bridge: When a team has nine points and is one point away from winning the game.

Bowers: The highest cards in each suit are the Jack cards, known as the bowers, where the right bower is the highest and the left bower is the second highest card in the round. The right bower and the left bower change according to the trump suit selected and are at the top of the hierarchy in the entire deck.

Right Bower: The jack of the trump suit.

Left Bower: The jack of the suit that represents the same color as the trump suit.

Makers: The partnership that orders up the trump is called the “maker” team.

Defenders: The partnership that did not order up the trump suit.

Declare Trump/Order Up: Declaring trump or ordering up refers to the act of ordering the trump.

Eldest Hand: Also known as the “first seat”, the eldest hand refers to the player to the left of the dealer.

Euchre/Euchred: When the team that orders up the trump suit fails to take three or four tricks, they are “euchred”, and the defenders score two additional points.

Hand: In euchre, a hand consists of five tricks.

Kitty: The kitty refers to the four extra cards (or five, depending on the game variation) after the cards have been dealt.

Pone (also known as the Third Seat): The pone, or the third seat, refers to the player sitting at the right of the dealer.

Round: One round signifies one rotation in which each player in the game has played one card.

Round of Bidding: One rotation where each player has the opportunity to bid or pass on the trump suit, and ends after someone has declared the trump. There can a second round of bidding after the first if the first trump suit is passed by all of the players.

Renege: When a player has refused to follow suit despite having been able to do so.

Side Ace: Any Ace card that does not belong to the trump suit.

Side Suit: A card in a suit that does not represent the trump suit.

Stick the Dealer: If the second round of bidding passes without a player ordering up (or making trump), the players can force the dealer to declare the trump suit in an action called “stick the dealer”.

Trick: When a trump suit is chosen and the first card is led, each player lays one card down. The set of four cards together are known as the “trick”.

Trump: Also known as the “boss suit”, the trump suit outranks all other suits in the deck.

Trumping: Also known in some versions of the game as “ruffing”, Trumping simply means to play a trump suit card on a trick.

Up-Card: Also known as a “turn-card”, the up-card is the top card from the kitty that the dealer turns face-up after dealing out the cards to each player. The up-card is offered to the players as the trump suit during the first round of bidding. If the up-card is chosen by a player, the dealer replaces the up-card with one of his or her cards from their hand.

Euchre Game Variations

There are many variations of euchre that range from simple twists to total adaptations of the game. Learning the different variations can be a fun way to change up the game and to keep it exciting—though many long-time players scoff at some of the adaptations made to the game and would prefer to stick to their original versions.

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Here are just a few of some of the ways euchre is played differently in other parts of the world:

25 and 32-Card Deck Variations

One of the most notable variants of the game of euchre has to do with the number of cards played in the deck. While many US and Canadian versions of Euchre primarily use 24 cards in the deck, other versions use 25—usually in British versions of Euchre. In this variation, the Joker card, referred to as the “Benny” is utilized and has the highest value in the deck—followed by the right bower and left bower, and the Ace, etc. In other versions, player use 32 card decks, where the 7 and 8 cards are included. This can make the game significantly harder as it creates more confusion as to which players hold trump cards and which do not.

Cutthroat (Three-Handed Euchre)

In this popular version of euchre, there are only three players that play on their own. The first player to reach ten points wins the game.

Smitty

In this version of euchre, the player to the left of the dealer makes a guess as to the suit of the trump card before the dealer deals the cards to the players or turns over the up-card. If the player guessed correctly, the suit is automatically the trump suit and the player to the left of the dealer that predicted the suit correctly gets the card (and must discard one of his or her own cards from their hand). If a player calls trump correctly, he or she can then decide to play solo—but cannot change their mind after seeing his or her hand.

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If the player guesses incorrectly, then the remaining players will have the choice of making trump or passing the bid. Euchre scoring in Smitty can vary and there is the option of going alone if you’ve called the trump, which is called “calling for the game”. In this case, if a player wins all five tricks, ten points are granted to that team and they win the entire game.

McEvoy

A McEvoy hand is a hand that is made up of 9s and 10s, in other words, the lowest cards in the deck. In some variants of euchre, the dealer will re-deal the cards if a McEvoy hand is declared by a player. If a player wants to declare his or her McEvoy hand, it must be done immediately after the cards are dealt and before the round of bidding begins. Players are allowed just one McEvoy call per player, per game.

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Chuck

In euchre, “Chuck” is a variation of “Stick the Dealer”. In this case, the dealer can decide to order up the trump, keep just one card from the hand, and trade the remaining four cards for those that remain in the kitty. This move can also include the up-card that was turned over.

Dirty Clubs

Also known as “Club Euchre”, this version says that when the up-card from the kitty is clubs, the dealer must declare it as the trump suit and play with his or her partner on the makers side.

Aces High, No Trump

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Just as the name says, this American version of the game states that a player can bid “no trump” after the first round of bidding has passed. This would make Aces the highest cards rank in the deck.

Haters

In this version, all suits may become trump suits except for hearts.

History of Euchre

Euchre is said to be derived from a blend of three ancient European trick-taking card games: Juckerspiel, a popular German card game from the 18th century, Écarté, an old French casino game, and Triomphe, which originated in Spain in the early 15th century.

The game made its way to the United States in the 19th century, where it was introduced, most likely, by German and French settlers in Pennsylvania and Louisiana, and by sailors crisscrossing the Atlantic between the United States and England. It spread very quickly along the East Coast, the Southern states (especially in New Orleans), and across Canada, becoming one of the most popular card games in both countries, and the number one card game in the United States for a long time.

While Euchre has lost much of its popularity over the last century, the game still enjoys a strong following in hot spots located all over the world. There are tournaments and official clubs where players meet on a regular basis to play, most notably in the Midwestern “Euchre belt” of the United States (Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin), in parts of Canada (particularly Ottawa and Nova Scotia territories), large, coastal, English port cities in Great Britain like Cornwall and the Channel Islands, and in New Zealand and Australia. The rise of the internet has also sparked renewed interest in Euchre, with online tournaments and competitions connecting old and new players from around the world that share the same passion for the game.

Learn By Watching

I know some people (myself included) are visual learners. If that is the case, feel free to watch the video below on how to play Euchre with real life examples. Let us know if you have any questions or feedback on the Contact Page!

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