Euchre is a plain trick taking games that works equally well with two, three, or four players in two fixed-partnerships. Played widely in Australia, Great Britain and North America, this popular card game has attracted something of a cult following among its avid devotees. Euchre is thought to have evolved out of an earlier German game called “Juckerspiel”, and brought to America by German immigrants where is was played widely throughout the 19th century. Over the years many variations have developed including Cut Throat, Call Ace, RailRoad Euchre and Pepper. These variations are played around the world.
As it is explained here, Euchre is plain trick taking game for four players in two fixed partnerships. Partners sit opposite each other.
Take a standard deck of playing cards, and remove all the cards 6 and down. That will give you a deck of 32 cards – A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7 in each suit. Cards rank Ace down through 7, except for the Trump suit, where the Jacks are elevated to the position right and left Bowers and rank above the Ace.
So, in the trump suit cards rank J, J*, A, K, Q, 10, 9, 8, 7 – where “J*” is the other Jack of the same colour as the trump suit.
Right and Left Bowers
In Euchre, the Jacks occupy and important position in play. When a trump suit is called, say for example Spades, the Jack of Spades now becomes the Right Bower and ranks above the Ace as the highest card. The Jack the same colour, in this case the Jack of Clubs is also recruited as a Spade and is called the Left Bower, ranking but one below the Right Bower and above the Ace. Thus, if the trump suit is black, either Clubs or Spades, the two black Jacks rise to the top while the two red Jacks rank as usual within their respective suits between Q and 10. On the other hand, if the trump suit is red, either Hearts or Diamonds, then the two red Jacks ascend to supremacy, but the two black Jacks ranks as usual below the Queen in their respective suits.
It is important to remember that the Left Bower is in all respects a member of the Trump suit. This is important as in Euchre it is vital that you follow suit to the card led. Therefore, if Spades are trumps, and a player leads the Jack of Clubs, all subsequent players must follow suit with a Spade if they have one. Similarly, if you hold the Jack of Clubs, and a Spade is led, and you have no other Spades, you must play the Left Bower. This is important because reneging carries stiff penalties in Euchre as following suit to the card led is integral to play.
The objective of the game is to win 3 or more of 5 tricks.
Deal and play are clockwise and the deal proceeds to the left after each hand. Five cards are dealt to each player in batches of two and three, with the next card turned face up and placed on top of the deck. Starting left of the dealer, the each player in turn may either reject the card by saying “pass” or order it up by saying “Pick it up!” If a player orders it up, this suit now becomes trumps. The Dealer picks up the card, discards one of his own face down and play begins.
If the dealer turns it down, then beginning with the player to the dealer’s left, each player takes it in turn to “pass” or “call”. A player may call any suit Trumps but not the suit that was turned down. For example, if the 10 of Diamonds were turned down, you can call it anything but Diamonds.
Once a player calls a suit, that suit is made Trumps and play begins. The team or player calling trumps are called the 'Makers' and the opposing side are called the 'Defenders'.
If all players pass, including the dealer, then the cards are thrown in and the deal proceeds left to the next player.
The player to the Dealer’s left leads first, and thereafter the winner of the trick leads to the next.
Standard trick taking rules apply:
Following suit is integral to the game of Euchre. This is the way you bleed your opposition of any trumps or catch people in an off suit.
The team who wins 3 or more Tricks scores points.
Traditionally, players use the unused 5's and 6's to keep score.
Euchre is played over several hand to a grand total of 11 points.
Euchre for Two Players
Euchre works just as well for two players. In such a case, however, it is best to shorten the deck to 10 and up, giving you a total of 20 cards. The non-dealer leads first, and thereafter whoever wins the trick leads to the next.
Cut Throat – Three Player Euchre
In this variation, each player plays for themselves. At each hand the two Defenders gang up together and play it out against the Maker. Points are won by the Maker or shared equally between the two Defenders.
Other Variations of Euchre
RailRoad Euchre – Four players in two fixed partnerships. Greater emphasis is place on going alone, so the scoring moves a lot faster.
L I N K S
The Ten Commandments of Euchre