Euchre was once the national card game of the US, and while its popularity got overshadowed by other games, it’s still played a lot in the Midwest.
If you’ve never got the chance to play Euchre before or want a refresher on how to play, we’ve got you covered. This post breaks down everything you need to know about Euchre:
Traditionally, Euchre involves 24 cards. To play, you take a standard deck of cards and remove all the cards from 2 to 8 from all the suits. The trump card game is played between four players – two going against two.
Choosing a Partner
If you go into the game knowing who your partner is, move on to the next section.
If the players don’t have a planned partnership, you can cut the deck and decide who pairs with whom. The logic is simple: the two players with the highest-ranking cards pair up, and the remaining two players team up.
Bear in mind that partners must sit across from each other since the game requires each turn to alternate between the teams. Also, note that “table talk” is considered cheating in Euchre.
Dealing the Hands
While the dealer can be selected at random, if you prefer having a sophisticated way to decide, draw the cards, and the one with the lowest card will deal first.
Alternatively, you could flip a coin or ask the youngest or oldest person to deal.
In Euchre, before the cards are dealt, the dealer may offer the player on their right to cut the deck. To accept, the player knocks on the deck, and they can knock on the table if they refuse.
Next, the dealer deals five cards to every player and must do this in two rounds, going from left to right. Three and two cards are dealt to alternate players, respectively, starting from the player on the dealer’s left.
Then, in the second round of dealing, the first player gets two, the second gets three, the third two, and the dealer three.
But the game doesn’t start just yet.
Deciding the Trump Suit
The “trump” is the suit that outranks all cards. Four cards will remain in the deck. These must be placed in the centre of the table, face down. This is the “kitty.”
Next, the dealer must flip over the first card in the kitty.
After the card is turned face up, the players get the opportunity to “order up trump,” or in other words, choose the suit of the face-up card as the trump for the game.
The player to the dealer’s left gets the opportunity to choose first, but they can declare “pass” and give the opportunity to the player on their left.
When a player chooses the trump, the dealer adds the card to their hand and discards one card from their deck, and puts it into the kitty.
If all players pass on choosing the trump, the dealer must turn the card face down. Next, the second round of bidding begins, and one of the players must pick one of the three other suits as trump.
The team that chooses the trump suit is called the “makers.” The other team is referred to as the “defenders.”
Naming the trump asserts that your team wants to win the hand, and hence, the makers’ team must take at least three of five tricks, and if you don’t, you’re Euchred, and the defenders win two extra points.
Card Rankings in Euchre
The rankings in Euchre are simple:
- The trump suit’s Jack is the top-ranking card (it’s called the “right bower”)
- The Jack of the same color as the trump suit is the second-highest-ranking card (it’s called the “left bower”)
- The remaining cards of the trump suit come next in ranking
- The other cards of the suit with the same color as the trump suit come next
- The remaining cards retain their normal values, with the Ace being the highest and the 9 being the lowest
The player on the dealer’s left leads with a card, and every player in the game must then try to play the card of the same suit if possible.
The idea is that the player that plays the highest card in the round takes the trick. The player that takes the trick collects the cards that all the players played, turns them face down, and places them close to them. The winning player also gets the advantage of starting the next round.
If a player that chooses the trump suit has an excellent hand, they can declare “alone.” The player must then attempt to win the game themselves and essentially push their partner out of the game.
How the Winner is Decided
- If the trump-choosing team takes three tricks, they get a point.
- If the trump-choosing team takes all five tricks (a “march”), they get two points.
- If the opposing team takes three tricks, they get two points.
- If a player going alone takes three tricks, the team gets a point.
- If a player going alone takes five tricks, the team gets four points.
The team that first wins ten points wins.
Now that you’ve learned the rules, you can start playing Euchre.
You don’t need a group of friends to play Euchre – you can also play Euchre online by yourself with other players or with computer players. All you have to do is search “play Euchre online” on your preferred search engine.