Friday, December 5, 2008

How to play 4 handed Euchre

  • Use the ace, king, queen, jack, ten and nine of all 4 suits.
  • There are 2 teams of two players each. The partners sit across from each other.
  • A trick is when each player lays their cards on the table and the highest card takes the "trick".
  • A hand is when all players have played all of their cards. The team with the most tricks wins the hand.
  • The game is when one team wins 10 hands.
  • The rank of the cards: In the trump suit, the highest card is the jack, called the "right bower." The second highest card is the jack from the suit that is the same color (black or red as the trump suit, called the "left bower". The third highest is the ace, followed by the kind on down to the nine of trump. It goes like this: Right Bower, Left Bower, Ace, King, Queen, 10, 9. The non-trump suits are ranked ace high down to the nine: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9. One suit will be without a jack as this card will become the left bower.
  • To deal: 5 cards are dealt to each player. The 4 un-dealt cards are placed face down on the table. The top card of this pile is turned face up.
  • Beginning with the player to the dealer's left and proceeding clockwise, each player in turn has an opportunity to accept the suit of the upcard as trump, or to decline by saying "Pass." If the upcard is accepted as trump by any player, that player tells the dealer to "pick it up." If it is the dealer he will just pick it up.
  • The dealer then takes the upcard into his own hand and discards one face-down.
  • If all 4 players decline, the upcard is turned down and each player in turn, beginning to the dealers left, may name any suit except the former upcards suit as trump or pass. If everyone passes, the deal is thrown in and the next dealer deals.
  • The player who chooses the trump suit, either by accepting the upcard's suit as trump, or by naming a different suit, may announce "alone" in which case his partner places his hand face down and does not participate in the play.
  • To play: The player to the left of the dealer leads any card by placing it face up on the table. Each player in turn, moving clockwise around the table, must play a card of the same suit that was led if able. If unable to follow suit, a player may play any card. When all four players have played a card, the trick is complete. The trick is won by the player who played the highest trump, or if no trumps we4re thrown, by the one who played the highest card of the suit originally led.
  • The player who named the trump must try to win at least 3 of the 5 tricks. Taking three tricks or more will score points, while failing to add points to the opponents score instead.
  • The partnership scores 1 point for taking 3 or 4 tricks or 2 points if they manage to take all 5 tricks. If they take fewer than 3 tricks they are euchred and score nothing and the other side scores 2 points. If a player opts to play alone and takes all 5 tricks can score 4 points. If the lone player takes 3 or 4 tricks they score 1 point. If the lone player scores 2 or less tricks the other teams score 2 points.
  • When a player fails to play a card of the suit led and they in fact have one they are said to renege. Two points are automatically awarded to the opponents of the guilty party and the hand is ended immediately upon discovery. If the guilty team is defending against a lone hand attempt, the team attempting the lone hand are awarded 4 points.

How to play 6 handed Euchre

  • Follow general rules described in how to play 4 handed Euchre.
  • Use a double deck of Euchre cards. This consists of the cards 9, 10, jack, queen, king and ace.
  • Deal out all cards.
  • There are three people on each team, every other person at the table is on a team.
  • Each player bids on how many tricks they can get.

How to play 5 handed Euchre

  • Use a double deck of Euchre cards. This consists of the cards 9, 10, jack, queen, king and ace.
  • Deal 8 cards to each player; there will be 3 left out.
  • Going clockwise around the table, each player will bid according to how many tricks they think they can take. The highest bidder chooses the suit.
  • You get 3 cards and discards.
  • Play low card and ask for first right bower.
  • Both people get points.

What the heck is Euchre?

I grew up in the "thumb" of Michigan. I also went to a one room country school. My family is German and Polish. Recesses at the country school (in the 70's) consisted of softball when it was nice out and Euchre when it was cold out. When my family would get together for holidays at my grandparents farm for birthdays or reunions, the card tables would come out and the 4 handed Euchre games would begin.

My uncles were fun to watch play. Uncle Donny would get really upset if his partner made a mistake which cost them a trick. My uncle Bruce had this great giggle that he used while playing. I call it his "poker" giggle because it could mean he had a really great hand or a really crappy hand; the trick was figuring out which. My Uncle Leonard lost one hand in a farming accident; he had a metal hook on that hand and played one handed by standing his cards up in a waxed paper box. His wife, my Auntie Anna was my Godmother and she always loved to play cards and I remember that she was really competitive and would "whoo hoo" loudly when she won.

Towards the end of the afternoon, the adults would need to take breaks, eat or take care of young kids, so they would allow us older kids to sit in for them. That was always a special treat and a great way to learn the game. I remember learning how to shuffle cards, pass by tapping the table and slam my fist down on the table when I knew my card would take a trick.

I seems that Euchre is a Michigan game. When I was in the Army, it was only the Michigan soldiers who knew how to play Euchre. Coincidental, it was also only the Michigan soldiers who ordered a "shell" of beer from the bartender.

My grandmother, Dorothy, loves playing Euchre and this past Thanksgiving my husband decided to get the rules for 5 and 6 handed Euchre. We don't play 5 or 6 handed very often so whenever we want to play it we always had to give her a call. I am posting the rules for Euchre on this blog as a reference to anyone who loves to play cards.