How To Play Euchre

Euchre is a Dutch game dating back to the 1800s.  It is popular in Canada and New England.  The type of euchre that will be explained below is the four hand game, which involves two sets of two partners (four players).

  1. From the deck, the dealer should discard all cards from twos to sixes, leaving 32 cards in the deck.
  2. Cards:  The highest card is the jack of the trump suit, which is called the right bower.  The other jack of the same color is the second highest, called the left bower.  The value of cards from here begins highest at the trump suit, which is ranked A, K, Q, 10, 9, 8, 7.  The nontrump suits rank:  A, K, Q, J (if not left bower), 10, 9, 8, 7.
  3. The dealer should deal around the table clockwise, giving each player five cards in total.  The dealer should give three consecutive cards off the deck to each person, and then, starting back at the beginning, two consecutive cards off the deck to each person (or, as some say, deal in batches of 3-2).  The dealer must deal one extra card to himself and lay it face up.  This card determines the trump suit for the round (if it is accepted).  Choice of acceptance passes around the table to the dealer's left.  Each player is allowed to accept or decline the face up card as trump suit (if it has not been accepted before him).  Officially, the opponent of the dealer must say "I order it up," the partner of the dealer must say "I assist," and the dealer must say "I take it up" if any of them want to accept the card as trump suit.  If the card is accepted, the dealer has the opportunity to take the card for his hand, discarding any other card face down.  The trump card remains on the table (rather than in the dealer's hands) until the dealer wishes to use it on his turn.
  4. If none of the players wish to accept the card as trump suit, the dealer rejects it by saying "I turn it down" and the card is turned face down.  Then, starting at the dealer's left, each player has a turn to name a trump suit (other than the one offered on the dealer's last card) or pass (this progression stops, obviously, when a player has decided to name trump suit).
  5. Whoever chooses trump (by accepting the dealer's card or naming trump) becomes the "maker."  The maker can say "I play alone" at this time, causing his partner to have to discard his hand and refrain from that deal.  Either opponent of the maker can choose to say "I defend alone," causing his partner to refrain also.  The maker does not have to play alone for an opponent to decide to play alone.
  6. If the maker plays alone, the opening lead is made by the opponent on his left.  Otherwise, the player on the dealer's left leads.   "Leading" is done by simply playing a card.
  7. The game is played in five tricks (a trick consists of a chance for each player [in order] to play one card).  When a player can match the suit of the lead, he must; otherwise he can play any card.  The highest trump in a trick wins; if there is no trump, the highest card of the suit which led wins.  The winner of a trick leads the next.
  8. The side that wins three or more tricks wins the hand and scores.  The majority scores for nothing if it is not more than three tricks.  If a side makes all of the tricks in a hand (five), it is called march.  When the side that is not making wins the majority of tricks, it is called euchre (the making side is "euchred").
  9. Scoring:  When both players on the making side are in play, they score 1 point for three or four tricks, and 2 points for five (march).  A maker playing by himself makes 1 point for three or four tricks, and 4 for march.
  10. When both opponents of the making side are in play, they score 2 points for euchre.  When only one opponent is playing, he scores 2 points for three or four trick euchre, and 4 points for march.
  11. Traditionally, the first side to 5 points wins the game, but this total is also sometimes set as high as 10.

 

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