Introduction: How to Play Euchre
If you are interested in learning how to play Euchre, here are some step-by-step instructions to help you learn. Below are some basic terms you will need to be able to understand to play the game.
1. Deck of Playing Cards
2. 4 Players
1. Kitty: The four remaining cards after the dealer has dealt out the players’ hands. It is placed face down and the top card is flipped face up.
2. Trump: The suit that outranks all other cards for a round of Euchre.
3. Right Bower (“The Right”): The highest ranking card in a round; the jack of the trump suit.
4. Left Bower (“The Left”): The second highest ranking card in a round; the jack of the same color as trump.
5. Off-Suit Card: Any card that is not part of the trump suit.
6. Going Alone (“Loner Hand”): When a player chooses to play without his or her partner.
7. Euchre (“Getting Set”): When the team that did not make trump takes the majority of the tricks.
8. Reneging: When a player does not follow suit, and it is revealed later that they could have. Consequences vary depending on individual rules, normally the hand is forfeited and points are awarded to the opposing team.
9. Table Talk: Talking or indicating to your partner in such a way that it would influence their decision to call trump or pass. Severity of consequences depends on individual rules.
10. Lay-Down Hand (“Perfect Hand”): A hand that will take every trick. It is laid down after trump is called, and before normal game play begins. This follows normal scoring.
11. Pips: Suit symbols on a card.
Step 1: Game Setup
1. Form two teams of two; each person should sit directly across from their team member as shown in the picture above.
2. Take the deck of cards and set aside 2 – 8 of each suit. Only 9 – Kings and the Aces are used to play Euchre.
3. Remove the 4 and 6 of Spades and the 4 and 6 of Hearts from the cards that won’t be used for play. These cards will be used for scoring. Each team should choose a team member to be in charge of score. See SCORING for information on how to score.
4. Choose a dealer. The dealer shuffles the cards 9 – King and Aces and deals them out to the players, starting with the player to the dealer’s immediate left. The cards are generally dealt in a 3 – 2 – 3 – 2 patterns, then in a 2 – 3 – 2 – 3 pattern, as shown in the picture above.
5. The remaining four cards (called the kitty) are placed face down by the dealer. The dealer then flips the top card of the kitty face up.
Step 2: Calling Trump
1. The face-up card on the kitty is the first option to be chosen as trump.
2. The dealer gives each player a chance to choose the face-up card as trump, starting with the player to the left of the dealer.
a. If a player decides he or she wants to make the face-up card trump, the dealer must pick up the card (usually by saying “pick it up”).
i. The dealer then picks up the card and replaces it face down with a card of his or her choosing from his or her hand.
b. If a player decides he or she does not want to call the face-up card as trump, he or she passes, and the player to the left of that player gets a chance to call trump.
i. If no one calls trump, and the choice reaches the dealer, the dealer has the option to either pick up the card or turn it face down.
3. If the dealer picks up the card, he or she replaces it with a card from his or her hand.
4. If the dealer chooses not to pick up the face-up card, he or she turns it face down.
a. If the dealer chooses not to call trump, the player to the left of the dealer may choose trump to be any suit as long as it is not the same suit as the card from the kitty that was turned down.
i. If the player to the left of the dealer does not want to call trump, he or she may pass.
ii. If every player passes, and the choice gets back to the dealer a second time, the dealer may pass, and give up his or her deal.
5. If the dealer does not call trump at this point, the cards are collected and the person to the left of the dealer becomes the new dealer.
6. After trump has been called, a player may declare his or intent to go alone before gameplay begins.
Step 3: Trump
1. Trump is the player-selected suit that outranks all other suits for the duration of a round of Euchre.
2. When Trump is selected, the hierarchy of Trump cards is as followed:
a. Jack of trump suit (also known as the right bower, or the right)
b. Jack of same color (also known as the left bower, or the left)
i. The jack of the same color is considered part of the trump suit for the duration of the round.
c. Ace through 9 of trump in descending order
3. For example, if trump is hearts, then the Jack of diamonds is considered a heart for that round.
4. All off-suit (non-trump) are outranked by any trump card.
5. Off-suit cards hierarchy is Ace – 9 in descending order.
a. If trump is not played in a round, the highest suit is the suit of the first card played.
b. All cards of the first-played suit outrank all other suits aside from trump.
Step 4: Game Play
1. After trump has been called, the player to the left of the dealer leads the round by playing the first card.
2. Each player takes his or her turn in order.
3. If a player has a card that is the same suit as the card that was led, the player must follow suit and play that card.
a. Even if that player has a trump card that could win the trick, they must follow suit.
4. The player with the highest card takes the trick.
5. At the end of the round, the team who took the most tricks is awarded a number of points. SEE SCORING.
6. At the end of each round, all of the cards are gathered and passed to the left of the dealer. This player becomes the dealer for the next round.
7. The first team to reach ten points wins.
Step 5: Scoring
1. 1 Point:
a. The team that calls trump takes the majority of the tricks, but not all of them.
b. A player goes alone and takes the majority, but not all of the tricks.
2. 2 Points:
a. The team that calls trumps takes all five of the tricks in a round.
b. The team that did not call trump takes the majority of the tricks.
c. A team sets or "euchres" a player who went alone.
3. 4 Points:
a. A player goes alone and takes all five tricks.
Step 6: Keeping Score
1. Each team places its six scoring card face up, and then places the matching four scoring card face down on top of the six.
2. When a team scores a point or points, the four card is slid over to reveal the number of suit symbols that is equal to the amount scored.
3. When the score reaches six points, the four card is placed face up, and only two of the six suit symbols are revealed underneath it.
4. When the first team reaches ten points, they reveal all of the suit symbols, and have won the game.
Step 7: Optional Play
1. Screw the Dealer (Stick the Dealer): After every player has turned down the chance to call trump twice, the dealer must call trump, and the deal cannot be passed to the next player.
2. Ace no Face: A player who has a hand that consists of 9’s and 10’s and one Ace may ask for a re-deal.
3. Bottoms: A player may ask to trade in three of their cards for the three cards that are face down in the kitty. This is usually done when a player has three 9’s or 10’s, and must be done before game play begins.
4. 9 – 10 Re-Deal: If a player has all 9’s and 10’s, and no trump, he or she may call a re-deal. This must be done before game play begins.
5. Point Loss for Reneging: Four points are subtracted from the team who reneged.
6. Point Gain for Reneging: Two points are awarded to the team who did not renege.
7. Partner’s Best: When a player goes alone, he or she may choose to discard one card from his or her hand and receive a card of his or her partner’s choosing.