What is Euchre?
Euchre is a classic trick-taking card game originating from the Pennsylvanian settlements in the United States. This game is commonly cited as the reason for the existence of Joker cards in modern sets. One might find similarities with the French card game of Écarté in Euchre. Other common ways of spelling the name are: Yuker, Uker, and Euker.
How to Play Euchre?
Euchre is designed to be played by 4 players split into 2 teams of two. All you need to play Euchre is a standard 52-card deck. To form the standard Euchre deck, all cards of rank 2-8 are removed, leaving the 24 cards of ranks 9 to Aces.
Dealing and Shuffling
Each team’s players sit opposite to each other.
The dealer will deal 5 cards to each player in clockwise order. The remaining 4 cards are set aside, and the top card of the remaining 4 is flipped over, revealing the card’s rank and suit.
Turn order then begins with the player to the left of the dealer, proceeding in clockwise order.
Determining Trump Suit
Before the main game begins, the trump suit is determined. Following turn order, each player gets to call the revealed top card’s suit as the trump suit.
For example, if the revealed top card is 9♣, the trump suit is ♣ if called.
Each player can either call or pass the revealed suit. Once a player calls the trump suit, the game begins. The dealer then takes the revealed top card and replaces one card from their hand with the top card.
If all players pass on the revealed top card’s suit, the top card is removed from the game, and each player can choose to call a suit of their choosing as the trump suit. At this stage, the card replacement phase is skipped.
If all players pass, the dealer, last in turn order, must choose a trump suit.
The team calling the trump suit then becomes the attackers, whereas the other team becomes the defenders for the round.
Card ranks in the Euchre card game for all suits follow standard ranks, with Aces being the highest card and 9s being the lowest card.
For the trump suit, the Jack becomes the highest ranked card, and the off-suit Jack (Jack of the same color as the trump suit) becomes the second highest ranked card.
For example, if the trump suit is ♣, the ♣ suit’s card rankings are: J ♣, J ♤, A ♣, K ♣, Q ♣, 10 ♣, 9 ♣.
Note that for the round, the J ♤ is considered to be a ♣-suited card.
The game begins with the player to the left of the dealer leading the first trick. Each player must follow suit if possible, and can only play cards from other suits (including cards from the trump suit) if they are unable to follow suit.
If no cards of the trump suit are played, the player with the highest ranked card wins the trick.
If a trump suited cards are played, the player with the highest trump suited card wins the trick.
An example of a trick is shown in the Example Plays section of the guide.
The player who wins each trick leads the next.
How to Win?
Each round ends when 5 tricks have been played out. This is called a “march.” The goal is to win as many tricks as possible, or at least three. Failing to get three tricks is also know as being “euchred.” The first team to reach 10 points wins the game.
Scoring is visualized more precisely in the scoring section of the guide.
Euchre Going Under
When a player calls the trump suit before the round begins, they can choose to play the round without his/her partner by going under.
The round plays out as usual, but with 3 players instead. Going alone results in a potential point increase if the team manages to win all tricks despite the disadvantage.
If a player gets a hand consisting solely of 9s and 10s, they can show their hand. This forces a reshuffling of the deck as a misdeal.
The Euchre rules and instructions are:
- Each player is dealt 5 cards each, the remaining 4 cards are set aside and the top card is flipped up.
- Trump suits are determined to either be the top card or a suit of the players’ choosing.
- The team calling the trump suit becomes the attackers, and the other team becomes the defenders for the round.
- The player to the left of the dealer leads the first trick. The player winning each trick leads the next.
- Each player must follow the lead suit if possible during tricks.
- Each round ends once all 5 tricks are played out.
Scoring Point System
Euchre scoring is based on the number of tricks taken and on the team’s status. The Euchre point system is shown in the table below:
|3-4 Tricks Won||5 Tricks Won|
|Attackers (Going Under)||1||4|
|Defenders (Going Under)||2||4|
The following is an example round of Euchre, with Players A and C being the attackers, and Players B and D being the defenders.
In this round, Hearts are trump. Player A leads the trick.
Player A: J♥ 10♥ Q♦ 9♦
Player B: K♥ J♦ 10♣ 9♣
Player C: 9♥ K♦ 10♦ J♣
Player D: J♤ 10♦ 9♦ Q♣
Player A obviously wants to win the trick, so he plays the J♥.
Player B must follow suit, and plays the K♥.
Player C must follow suit, and plays 9♥.
Player D cannot follow suit, and plays 9♦.
Player A wins the trick, and leads the next trick with 10♥.
Player B must follow suit, and plays the off-trump-suit J♦.
Player C cannot follow suit, and plays the 10♦.
Player D cannot follow suit, and plays the 10♦.
Player B wins the trick and leads the next.
Strategy & Tips
The following are some Euchre strategy tips:
- Control the attacker/defender title.
- Calling a trump suit is risky if you can’t judge your teammate’s cards.
- Going Under is very risky, and is rarely done during play.
- Play low cards when possible if your teammate has the guaranteed win.
- Remember that tricks taken are counted as a team.
- Play low cards if you know you can’t win the round.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does go under mean in Euchre?
Going under means the attackers play with only 1 team member, potentially getting a higher score if they win all tricks.
Where does Euchre originate from?
Euchre originates from the German settlers in Pennsylvania in the late 1800s.
Can you play Euchre online for free?
Yes. There are online simulators for Euchre, available for PC, Android and iOS, and allow for play with other people across the globe.
Can you play the game with 3 people?
Euchre cannot be played with 3 people except when the attackers go alone. If you want to play a related card game with three, Skat could be a good alternative.