Euchre Game Rules

By Sophie Johnson
hearts, trump, the jack, hearts

Euchre is a card game invented by the Pennsylvania Dutch in the mid-1800s. The game is usually played by two teams of two players, but there are variations that allow for three to seven players. Euchre is a trick-taking game in which two jacks are the highest cards.

Set-up and Deal

A three-, clubs, track, score

To make a euchre deck, get rid of the cards two through the six, leaving a 32-card pack. Each team takes a three and a four out of the discarded cards to keep track of its score.

In the trump suit, the jack of trumps outranks all other cards. The second highest card is the jack of the same color. After the two jacks, in descending order the cards rank ace, king, queen, 10, 9, 8 and 7.

For the non-trump suits, the rank is ace, king, queen, jack (unless it is the same-color jack) 10, 9, 8 and 7.

Partners sit across from each other. The dealer deals five cards to each player in groups of three, then groups of two (or groups of two, then three) so that everyone has five cards.

The dealer puts the rest of the cards face-down and turns up the top card for the potential trump suit.

Choosing Trump

Starting with the player to the dealer's left, each player has a chance to accept the turned-up card as trump or pass. A player accepting the trump says, "I order it up." The dealer may keep the turned-up card, discarding another to maintain a five-card hand.

If no one orders up the card, players have the chance to name trump, starting from the dealer's left. Your side is not allowed to call trump if you try to declare out of turn or try to declare trump as the same suit that already was turned down.

The person who decides trump is the "maker." The maker's team tries to win the majority of tricks, or, if the maker is feeling confident, he can try to go it alone, in which case he announces his intention. If a maker goes it alone, one of his opponents can opt to defend alone.

Play

Play starts to the dealer's left unless there's a lone maker, in which case play starts with the player to the lone maker's left. The starting player leads by putting a card face-up in the middle of the table. Players in turn throw in a card of the same suit if they can. The player with the highest-ranking card wins the trick, collects it, turns it face-down, then leads next.

If you can't follow suit, you can play any card, including trump.

Tricks continue to be taken until everyone's hand is exhausted. The score is noted, a new dealer deals and play continues.

Scoring

The cards, score, a game, five points

When the maker's team wins three or four tricks, they score one point. Winning all five tricks achieves a "march" and scores two. If the maker played alone, a march scores four.

If the defenders win the majority of the tricks, they have "euchred" their opponents and score two. A march by a lone defender scores four.

Reaching five points wins the game, though some play to seven or 10. If you play to 10, you'll need to use a pair of fives or a six and four card to keep score.

Before a game, each team sandwiches its reserved three and four card with numbers facing in, so that sliding one card down over the other exposes a suit picture. Thus, if you have a four of clubs lying face down atop a face-up three of clubs, sliding the four down can reveal either one, two or three pictures of clubs on the bottom, face-up three card. Revealing the symbols keeps track of the score. Thus, if you win one point, you'd slide the four down to reveal one club symbol on the three-of-clubs card.

About the Author

Sophie Johnson is a freelance writer and editor of both print and film media. A freelancer for more than 20 years, Johnson has had the opportunity to cover topics ranging from construction to music to celebrity interviews.