- 4 (2 teams of 2)
- Deck of 24 standard playing cards (9, 10, J, Q, K, A of each suit)
- Score cards (Usually 5’s from the deck, 6’s and 4’s also commonly used)
- For non-trump suits: Ace high (A, K, Q, J, 10, 9)
- Trump suit: J, J of the same color, A, K, Q, 10, 9
- Trump suit is determined each round, the lowest trump card is higher than the highest card of other suits
- Winning 3 or 4 tricks in a round (as a team or alone): 1 point
- Winning all 5 tricks in a round: 2 points
- Winning all 5 tricks in a round playing alone: 4 points
- A euchre: 2 points
- Reneging: 2 points to the opposing team
- Cards are dealt face-up around the table until a black jack is turned up, the person it is dealt to deals first. The deal moves clockwise around the table.
Additional Setup Notes
- Partners should sit across the table from each other
- Score is kept by stacking the score cards facing each other, when points are scored, the top card is moved to show the corresponding number of symbols (pips) on the cards. When you reach the value of the bottom card,
- the top card is flipped face up and moved to reveal the pips underneath again.
The objective of euchre is for you and your partner to score 10 points before the other team.
Euchre is a standard tricks game where a new suit is chosen as trump each round. The trump suit also follows a different card rank.
To play, deal 5 cards to each player face down starting on their left. It is common for the deal to only go around the table twice, with the first player getting 3 cards, the next receiving 2 cards, the next receiving 3 cards, and the dealer receiving 2 cards. The next pass around the table then goes 2, 3, 2, 3 so that everyone has five cards. The remaining four cards are placed in a pile in the center of the table and the top card is flipped over.
After looking at your hand, you go around the table starting to the left of the dealer and decide whether the suit of the card face-up in the center will be the trump suit. Each player can either “order it up” or pass. If it is ordered up, the dealer will take the face-up card and discard one from their hand. The face-up card always goes to the dealer if it is ordered up. If all the players pass, including the dealer, the card in the center is turned face down and that suit can no longer be chosen as the trump suit.
Players then go around the table again and can either declare one of the three remaining suits to be trump or pass. If all the players pass again, the cards are collected, and the deal passes to the next player. At any point when a player decides the trump suit, they can choose to play the round alone. Their partner lays down their hand and play continues with three people.
When the trump suit is chosen, the rank of the cards for the round is also set. For the three non-trump suits, it is aces high. In the trump suit, however, the order is rearranged such that the jack of that suit is the highest card (called the right bower), followed by the jack of the same color (called the left bower). For example, if spades is declared trump, the highest card is the jack of spades followed by the jack of clubs, then the ace of spades and so on. Cards of the trump suit are always higher than all the cards of the non-trump suit.
The player left of the dealer goes first by playing a card from their hand. The following players must play a card of the same suit as the first one played. If a player does not have a card of the same suit, they may play a card of another suit, including the trump suit. When a player does have a card of the suit that was led, but does not play it, the player has reneged, which awards the opposing team points and ends the round.
Whoever plays the highest card of the suit that was led or the trump suit wins the trick, clears the cards, and leads the next trick. Once all the cards have been played, the team who won the majority of the tricks receives points (see Scoring). If the trump suit was decided by the team who did not win the majority of tricks, this is known as a euchre.
The first team to reach ten points wins the game. Having 9 points is usually referred to as “being in the barn”.
Euchre Variations and Alternate Rules
Cutting the Deck
After shuffling, the dealer can offer for the person to their right to cut the deck. The player can cut the deck, or decline.
“Screw the Dealer”
When deciding the trump suit, if all players pass both times they are offered a choice, instead of the round being over, the dealer is forced to call a suit to be trump of the three remaining options.
If a player has three 9’s and 10’s in their hand, they may call “Farmer’s” and replace those three cards with the three cards in the center of the table that are still face down. It is often courteous to show the cards from your hand before replacing them to avoid cheating.
In more cut-throat variations, reneging causes a forfeit instead of giving the other team points.
Stealing the Deal
Depending on who you play with, it may be permitted for other players to trick you into believing that it is their turn to deal when it is not. If it is, keep an eye on the deck!
Three Person Euchre
There are no teams in this variation. Each player receives 7 cards instead of 5, leaving three cards in the center. Trump is decided in the same way, and players must win 4 tricks to receive a point. Any other player can euchre the person who calls the trump suit.
Which suit should I call as the trump suit?
This starts to dive into the strategy of euchre, but is still important for beginners. Since the trump suit changes each round unlike spades. You will always want to have more trump in your hand, so after looking at your cards, pick the suit which you have the most of. Having higher cards in your hand will help you win tricks and points. Remember though, you are playing with a partner and may have to rely on them to help you out by winning tricks that you can’t!
Can my teammate and I strategize together?
Sadly, no. Although euchre is played in teams, you can’t communicate about what cards you have in your hands. This is table talk and it’s not permitted. This also includes secret codes or gestures.
Does the left bower count as the trump suit?
Yes! This is often the most confusing part of the game, but you should always play the left bower as if it were the trump suit. For example, if spades are the trump suit and a spade is led in the trick, the jack of clubs can be played without reneging. Alternatively, if spades are the trump suit and clubs are led, you have to play any other club you may have instead of the jack of clubs.