Introduction: Polish Euchre 101
We will develop instructions to a twist on a classic Midwestern card game called Euchre. Our version is called Polish Euchre, and it resembles the overall style and rules of regular Euchre. This game is recommended for any player over the age of 10 years old. Polish Euchre is played by anyone who likes cards and ranges from playing at family functions to playing with your college buddies.
Step 1: Set Up
Setting up the deck
The first thing to do when setting up the deck would be to remove all jokers and cards from 2-8. These cards will not be used in polish euchre since the game only uses cards 9-ace of each suit. Also, to keep score use 2 pairs of the cards 4 and the 6 of the same suit. For example, the 4 of spades and the 6 of spades, and the other team could use the 4 of hearts and the 6 of hearts.
The game is played with 4 players, and each player sits 90 degrees from each other. Partners sit directly across from each other and work together to win tricks. One of the partners is responsible for keeping score.
Step 2: Dealing
To determine who would deal at the start of the game, shuffle the cards. Pass out the cards face up and clockwise to the players; the first person who receives any Black Jack (spade or club) gets the first deal.
The process of dealing requires the dealer to shuffle the cards and pass out the cards in pairs of 2’s and 3’s so that each player ends up with 5 cards each. For example, the dealer will give Player 1- 3 cards, Player 2- 3 cards, Players 3- 3 cards, Deal him/herself- 3 cards, then pass out 2 cards the same way till everyone has 5 total. Note: Make sure you, the dealer, have 4 cards (known as the kitty ) left; this will verify if you have passed out the cards correctly. Next, while still keeping the kitty face down, flip up the top card and lay the stack of dealt cards face down onto the table. In the next step we will talk about declaring trump.
Once you have your five cards, pick up your hand and face the cards away from you so the other players can see your cards, but not you.
After the hand is played, the player to the left of the dealer would become the dealer for the next hand.
Step 3: Trump
The explanation of the trump suit is a key concept in playing Polish Euchre. The Jack of the trump suit is called the right bower . The Jack of the same color, but other suit, is called the left bower . For example, if Diamond is trump the Jack of Diamonds is the right bower and the Jack of Hearts would be the left bower. Same goes for Clubs and Spades. As card rankings go, from highest to lowest suit: Right Bower, Left Bower, Ace, King, Queen, Ten, and Nine. Remember that Jack of same color means that it is a bower.
However, if no trump is played regular rules apply for ranking. Highest to lowest: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten, Nine.
Step 4: Declaring Trump
The player to the left of the dealer has the option of either passing (not declaring trump) or telling ONLY the dealer to pick up the card. If Player 1 passes then Player 2 has the same options. Same goes for Player 3. When it is the Dealer’s turn he can either turn down the card OR pick it up into his/her own hand. If the dealer is told to pick up the presented card he has to choose 1 card to discard, maintaining that he/she has a total of 5 cards in his/her hand. However, if the dealer decides to pass Player 1 has the option of calling a trump suit depending on what his/her partner’s hand looks like. If all three players still pass a second time and it becomes the dealer’s turn again, the dealer MUST call a suit. The dealer cannot call trump to what was turned over from the first round. This concept is known as screw the dealer .
This is where some skill is needed to know what to call. If a player is to call trump it is based on what he/she sees in the other players hands. They will want to call a suit that is based on the strengths of their partners hand, since they can not see their own cards, and the weaknesses of their opponents hands.
Step 5: When to Call/Pass Trump
This part of the game is essential to winning. Looking at your partner’s hand, and your opponent’s, you will know whether or not you want the flipped up card to become trump.
For example, let’s say that after all the cards are dealt out, an ace of spades is flipped up from the kitty and your partner is the dealer. Looking at your partner’s hand first, you see that he /she has the Jack of spades, Queen of spades, 9 of spades, ace of diamonds, and a 10 of clubs. After looking at their hand you will want to see what your opponents hands look like. If you call spades trump you see that one opponent has the 10 of spades and the other opponent has the Jack of clubs (which would become the left bower).
If opponent 1 (1st person clockwise of dealer) passes and it becomes your turn to either pass or tell the dealer to pick up the ace of spades, you will want to tell the dealer to pick it up.
Likewise, if you see that your partner is not strong in possible trump then you will want to pass. This example was rigged and calling trump can be somewhat tricky at times. This is where experience from playing helps out.
Step 6: Playing a Trick
Once the cards are dealt and trump is declared, it is time to begin play. The player to the left of the dealer throws the first card. Each player follows going in the clockwise direction. Since the players can not see their own cards, it is completely random which card is thrown. Once all four cards are thrown, the trick goes to the winner and he/she then collects the trick.
There are multiple ways to win a trick. The first is having the highest trump card. If more than one person throws a trump card, the highest ranked card is the winner of the trick. (The card rankings of the trump suit have been previously explained.) If there is only one card thrown that is of the trump suit, the player who threw that card automatically wins. If there are no cards thrown that are of trump suit, the winner is the highest card, with one stipulation; the winner must be the same as the suit thrown by the leading player. For example, if the leading player throws a spade (which is not trump), then the winner of the trick is the highest spade if no trump cards are thrown. Take note, a higher card of a different suit will not win the trick. Once one trick has been played, the winner of that trick throws the first card to lead the next round. After all five tricks have been won, the team that wins the round adds the points gained to their total. A team has the possibility of winning either 1 or 2 points in a round, which will be explained in the scoring section.
The picture is showing how you could win using the left bower if hearts were trump. The top player has the highest card, thus winning the trick.
More example hands can be found in the video link found in the conclusion.
Step 7: Scoring
The game of Polish Euchre is played until one of the teams reaches 10 points. One person on each team is in charge of keeping track of their score by using the same suited “4” and “6” cards from the deck. This is done by covering/uncovering the different suit icons on each of the cards. The number of icons visible or uncovered is the total score for the team. There are three different ways of scoring:
First is by winning the majority of the tricks in one round. Since there are five tricks in a round, if a team wins three or four then they win the round. This is worth one point.
Second, if a team wins all five tricks in one round, they receive 2 points.
Finally, the third way of scoring is known as a Euchre . This way of scoring reverts back to the decision of trump. A Euchre is when trump is called by a team and they lose the majority of the tricks in that round. This is also worth 2 points.
Step 8: Conclusion
We hope our instructions have been helpful in learning how to play Polish Euchre. Remember that practice and experience is the ultimate way to master this quirky game. GO PLAY!!!
Below is a link to a video we produced to better understand the game. Enjoy.