Euchre is Not a Game, Euchre is Life
Euchre was regarded as the national card game of the US a few decades ago. But what’s more impressive about it is that Euchre is the reason why card decks were packaged with joker cards.
The joker cards would form the left and right “bowers.” While Bridge and other similar card games slowly eclipsed the popularity of this game, Euchre is still regarded as the go-to social game by many.
If you haven’t played the game before or need a refresher on how it works, this guide will help. By the end of this post, you will know why so many card game fanatics still live and die by this old-school card game.
How to Play Eucher Card Game (Easy Guide)
Four players typically enjoy Euchre, with two players going against the other two. However, the game can be played alone (without a partner, with three players total). We touch on this in later sections.
The game can be played with a standard deck of cards by stripping it down to 32 cards, comprising the Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, and 7 cards of every suit.
Alternatively, the deck can be stripped down to 28 cards (with the 7s removed) or 24 cares (7s and 8s removed). Some players prefer adding the jokers to the game, while others don’t bother with it.
There are special Euchre card decks available that the game can be enjoyed with.
The Game’s Setup
First, the 24 cards are shuffled, and the dealer deals five cards to every player. Teammates are seated across from each other. The four cards that remain in the deck are placed next to the dealer, and one card is drawn from the top of the deck and placed in the center, facing upward.
Next, the players determine what suit the trump is for that round of play. The first possible trump suit is the suit of the card that is facing upward in the center of the four players.
The player to the dealer’s left then gets the opportunity to agree with the suit or pass it to the next player. When a player agrees with the suit, the suit becomes the trump.
The dealer then picks up the face-up card, takes another card from their deck, and places it face down with the remaining cards.
If all the players pass the trump, the player to the dealer’s left can choose any suit to be the trump suit.
Finally, when a trump suit is established, the Jack of that suit becomes the highest-ranking card of the game. Also, the Jack of the other suit of the same color becomes the trump card and the second-highest ranking card.
The player on the dealer’s left plays first and can play any card from their hand. That card’s suit becomes the leading suit. The next player must then play a card from the same suit. If they don’t have the same suit card, they can play any card.
In this way, all players play one card, and the player that plays the highest card in the leading suit wins the “trick.” The winning player collects all four cards and puts them aside, facing downward.
It’s important to note that the highest card wins the trick if two or more cards from the trump suit have been played.
Next, the trick-winner plays the lead card, and the game continues.
If the player that fixes the trump suit thinks that they can win the game without needing their teammate’s cards, they can declare “alone” when making the trump. The teammate must turn their cards facing downward and not participate in that game.
The Goal of Eucher Game
The players must win “tricks” and collect points to win the game. When all the players are out of cards, the teams add their points. The team that chooses the trump suit wins:
- One point per trick if they won between three and four tricks; or
- Two points per trick if they won five tricks
On the other hand, the defending team wins:
- Two points per trick if they won between three and four tricks; or
- Four points per trick if they won five tricks
The goal for both teams is to win at least three tricks. Winning three tricks is called “euchred,” and the team gets two more points automatically if this happens. Whichever team reaches ten points first wins the game.
Winning five tricks is known as “march.”
Card Ranking in Euchre
The highest-ranking card in any trump suit is the Jack card of the suit. It is also called the right bower.
The second highest card is the Jack card from the same color suit as the trump suit, and this is called the left bower.
The ranking of the cards from both the plain and trump suits are as follows, written from highest to lowest:
If the pack has a Joker in it, it also acts as the highest trump.
Now that you understand the rules of this old-school card game, all that’s left to do is grab a deck of cards and play with friends. You could also practice playing the game online by searching for “free Euchre games” on your preferred search engine.