Euchre

The Prefect Euchre Hand Spades Trump

Euchre is a trick-tacking card game where calculation, more often than luck, determines the winner.  Euchre is played by four people in two partnerships sitting directly across from each other.  The objective of the game is  to be the first partnership to score 10 points.

The Euchre Deck

Euchre uses a deck of 24 playing cards consisting of A, K, Q, J, 10, and 9 of each of the four suits.
Ace of SpadesKing of SpadesQueen of SpadesJack of spadesTen of SpadesNine of Spades

Ace of ClubsKing of ClubsQueen of ClubsJack of ClubsTen of ClubsNine of Clubs

Ace of HeartsKing of HeartsQueen of HeartsJack of HeartsTen of HeartsNine of Hearts

Ace of DiamondsKing of DiamondsQueen of DiamondsJack of DiamondsTen of DiamondsNine of Diamonds

Trump Suit and Card Rank

The trump suit plays the most pivotal role in the game of euchre.  When a suit is named trump, any card of that suit outranks any card of a non-trump suit.  The highest ranking card in euchre is the Jack of the selected suit, referred to as the Right Bower.  The second highest card in euchre is the other Jack of the same color, referred to as the Left Bower. If spades where trump the Left Bower should be treated as a spade throughout the hand.  The remaining cards of the trump suit rank A, K, Q, 10, and 9.  The other three off-suits rank A, K, Q, J, 10, 9. Please note, if the jack is the Left Bower, it is considered part of the trump suit.  Thus, it is not a part of the off-suit. The table below shows the rank of the cards from highest to lowest if that suit is called trump.

Spades Trump
Clubs Trump
Hearts Trump
Diamonds Trump
Right Bower Jack of spades
Jack of Clubs
Jack of Hearts
Jack of Diamonds
Left Bower Jack of Clubs
Jack of spades
Jack of Diamonds
Jack of Hearts
Ace Ace of Spades
Ace of Clubs
Ace of Hearts
Ace of Diamonds
King King of Spades
King of Clubs
King of Hearts
King of Diamonds
Queen Queen of Spades
Queen of Clubs
Queen of Hearts
Queen of Diamonds
Ten Ten of Spades
Ten of Clubs
Ten of Hearts
Ten of Diamonds
Nine Nine of Spades Nine of Clubs Nine of Hearts Nine of Diamonds

The Euchre Table

Euchre is play by four people divided into two partnerships.  Partners sit directly across from each other.  In the diagram below, North and South are playing against East and West.  The first partnership to score at least 10 points wins the game. Euchre players traditionally keep score by using some of the remaining cards from the deck, typically the 6’s and 4’s.  Each pip represents a point, and one card is used to cover the other so as to expose the number of pips corresponding to the team’s score.  The score cards are placed at the corners of the table, and one partner is assigned to keep track of the score. Below, the scores are 5(spades) to 6(hearts).

North
West

Euchre Table

East
South (Dealer)

Picking a Dealer

Players may random select a person to be the first dealer, but a more equitable way is to use the rule first black jack deals. One person will deal cards face up in front of each player. The first person to receive a black jack will become the dealer for the initial hand. In subsequent hands, the deal is rotated clockwise. After shuffling the cards, the dealer must offer the player to the right an opportunity to cut the cards. If the dealer fails to offer a cut to the player, the opposing team may call a misdeal as long as the cards are still being dealt or no play on the hand has been made.

The Deal

After a dealer has been selected, five cards will be dealt face-down to each player.  The dealer will deal clockwise until all the players received their five cards.  Traditionally, the cards are dealt in pairs of two’s and three’s.  Any player who was dealt two cards in the first pass will get three cards in the second pass and vice versa.  Example:

1st Player 2nd Player 3rd Player 4th Player(Dealer)
First Pass 3 cards 2 cards 3 cards 2 cards
Second Pass 2 cards 3 cards 2 cards 3 cards

The four remaining cards will be placed face-down in front the dealer, and the top card is turned face up. The stack of cards in front of the dealer is referred to as the kitty.  The card turned face-up is called the up-card.

First Round of Bidding

After the cards have been dealt and the top card of the kitty has been turned up, play starts to the person sitting to the dealer’s left. The up-card proposes the trump suit for that deal. It only becomes trump if one of the players accepts it. Each player in turn may accept the suit of the up-card to be trump by telling the dealer to “pick it up”, or they reject that suit to be trump by telling the dealer “pass”. If a player accepts the suit of the up-card to be trump, the top card becomes part of the dealer’s hand, who then discards a card face down to return the hand to five cards. In which then, play will begin to the person sitting to the dealers left.

If all four players pass, the up-card is turned face down, and a Second Round of Bidding will begin.

Second Round of Bidding

If all four players pass in the First Round of Bidding, the up-card is turned face down, and a second round of bidding will begin.  Each player in turn has a chance to name a trump suit or pass.  The suit named to be trump must be different than the suit of the up-card.  As soon as a trump is named, play will begin to the person sitting to the dealers left.

If all players pass in the second round of bidding, then it is a misdeal, and the deal is passed clockwise.

The Play

Once trump is made, the player to the dealer’s left begins play by leading a card. Any card may be led, and each player in clockwise order must follow suit.  If a player cannot follow suit, then that player may play any card from their hand. The trick is won by the highest trump played. If no trumps are played, the trick is won by the highest card of the suit led. Please be aware, the left bower is considered a member of the trump suit and not a member of its native suit.

The player that wins the trick collects the played cards from the table and then leads the next trick.  After all five tricks have been played, the hand is scored. The player to the left of the previous dealer then deals the next hand, and the deal moves clockwise around the table until one partnership scores 10 points and wins the game.

Going Alone

The player who chooses the trump suit by either accepting the up-card or declaring the suit in the second round of bidding may call “Going Alone” in order to score more points. This means that their partner sits out of the hand and play continues with only three players.