Trump Your Partner’s Ace

A very common expression is “never trump your Partner’s Ace”. In fact, it is the Third Commandment in Euchre. But in this lesson, I will teach you an exception to the rule, where in fact you should trump your partner’s Ace.

Let’s look at an example of when you use this rule breaking strategy.

North

Up-Card 10

West

 K J
 void
A
 K Q

Euchre Table

East 

 Q
 10 J A
 void
 9

South (Dealer)

 A 9
 K 9
 void
 J

 

After the cards were dealt, West, North, and East passed. South examines his hand, and he sees that he will have 4 trump after he picks up the 10.  He is only two cards away from 4 points. South decides to go alone, and discards the 9.

West leads with A, and East shocks the table by throwing down the Q, trumping his partner’s Ace.

One could only imagine what is going through South’s mind, if never saw this scenario before. Many questions are going through his head like “why would you knowingly waste an Ace and a trump? Does East know how to play Euchre?” South takes the trick with A.

South then plays the J, forcing him to know the location of the Right Bower. West plays Right and East lays off with the 9.

West, keeping track of which trump cards that have been played, plays the K. East plays the 10 and South follows suit with the 9.

West then plays Q, East his J, and South Trumps in with his 10. The score is 2-2.

South plays his last card, the K, and it does not hold since East has the A. South is Euchred.

Since East trumped his partner’s Ace, South was forced to play a card he couldn’t afford, the left bower and A. By disrupting South’s hand, it was impossible for him to win three tricks.

Could have South played better?

The simple answer is no. South was Euchred when East trumped his partner’s Ace.

Even if South gave up all hope of earning 4 points and played the K instead of A, he still could be Euchred. East would likely play his A, and South would play one of his trump cards.

If South trumped with the  9 or 10, West would easily win the trick with his K, and then Euchre South by playing the J.

If South trumped with J or A, West could secure the 2 points, by playing K or Q. Playing one of these cards is not easy to find over the table, but it is not impossible to either.

If South led with 9 or 10, West would easily with the trick with his K, then Euchre South by playing the J.

If South led with left bower, West would trump with right bower, and Euchre South by playing the K. In all cases, South is Euchred with best play.

Conclusion

You should trump your partner’s Ace on two conditions.

1. your opponent goes alone

2. you should only trump with the Queen, King, Ace, or Left Bower.

If you trump your partner’s Ace with the Right Bower, 9 or 10, you won’t likely change the outcome of the hand. Therefore, you should play another card.

This Euchre strategy looks illogical, but if you play this lesson several times at home with a deck of cards, you will quickly learn that East played the only card that allowed his partnership to win.

 

Continue Reading

Keeping Score in Euchre

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.

Another popular method is to use the 2’s and 3’s to keep score.  Scores zero through 5 are rather self-explanatory. Point tallies for five or greater will be placed in the form of a “V” to represent the Roman numeral five. In any case, it doesn’t really matter how the scores are kept, as long as they are visible for everyone to see.

Six and Four Two and Three
0 Points 0 points 0 points
1 Point 1 point 1 Point
2 Points 2 points 2 Points
3 Points 3 Points 3 Points
4 Points 4 Points 4 Points
5 Points 5 Points 5 Points
6 Points 6 Points 6 Points
7 Points 7 Points 7 Points
8 Points 8 Points 8 Points
9 Points 9 Points 9 Points
10 Points 10 Points 10 Points
Continue Reading

Scoring in Euchre

The team that makes trump must take at least three tricks to earn points. Failure to take at least three tricks is known as a Euchre, which earns points for the defendiers.  The first partnership to score 10 points wins the game.

Scoring in Euchre Points
Trump Makers in partnership wins 3 or 4 tricks 1
Trump Makers in partnership wins 5 tricks 2
Trump Maker goes alone and wins 5 tricks 4
Trump Maker goes alone and wins 3 or 4 tricks 1
Defenders in partnership wins 3 or 4 tricks 2
Lone Defender wins 3 or more tricks 4
Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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)
Continue Reading