Many in the USA learned to play Euchre card game as a child, while others picked it up in their teens and later years. Those who haven’t learned to play tend to have a minimal understanding of the game since it’s passed down generations and is a common household time-kill for some.
Historians trace the introduction of the game to the USA back to the 1800s when groups of German settlers found their home in Pennsylvania. However, the true origin of the game still remains unclear.
If you want to play Euchre, here are six things you should know:
#1 What You Need to Play
You need a standard deck of cards and four players to play Euchre. However, the entirety of the deck is not used. Cards from 2 and 8 must be removed from every suit to form a 24-card deck before play begins.
Some variants of the game involve playing with 25- and 32-card decks. Some variants also allow three or six players to play the game. For beginners, it’s best to start with playing the conventional 24-card version of the game.
#2 Euchre Terms
Understanding the terms used around the table will ensure you stay in the game and don’t get confused. The most important terms you need to know include:
- Trick: A “trick” is a round of playing cards. The four cards on the table are also referred to as a “trick,” and the player that wins the trick collects all the cards, stacks them, and places it near them to indicate how many tricks they’ve won. Since players get five cards each in traditional Euchre, every hand has five tricks.
- Leading Player: This player plays a card first for a trick. It’s usually the player sitting to the left of the dealer. After a trick is won, the winning player becomes the leading player for the next trick.
- Following Suit: In Euchre, players must “follow suit” by playing cards of the same suit as the leading player. Put simply, to follow suit is to play cards in the same suit as the player leading the trick.
- Euchre: When the players that do not call the trump (defenders) take five tricks, it is said that the defenders have “Euchred” the other players (the makers). Since every hand has five tricks, the defenders need to win three tricks to win. Euchring the makers gives the defenders two points.
#3 Deciding Trump
After the cards are in the player’s hands, bidding begins, and the players must decide which suit should be trump. It begins with the player sitting to the dealer’s left deciding whether the face-up card should be trump.
Players can “pass” picking the trump, and the next player will need to decide whether the suit of the face-up card should be trump. If all players pass, the face-up card is flipped over, and the dealer must decide which of the three other suits becomes the trump suit for the game.
Generally speaking, players with more than three cards in the face-up card’s suit should declare the suit as trump.
#4 The Order of Play
All players play their cards starting from the leading player, and all players are required to follow suit. The leading player must start with a high non-trump card since it increases the odds of the player winning the trick.
Winning tricks from the get-go is a necessity since there are only five tricks per hand.
#5 Overtrumping and Avoiding It
Overtrumping is the act of trumping a player that played a winning card. While it’s a nice idea to overtrump an opponent, it is also possible to overtrump your teammate. It wastes a card and loses the team points in the long run.
#6 Euchre Tips
Some essential Euchre tips to know include:
- Call trump if you have more than three cards in the face-up card’s suit.
- Don’t depend on your partner to save a trick when you need it. While Euchre only involves 24 cards, there’s no way to tell whether your partner has a strong hand or not. Expecting your partner to help is not the right way to go.
- Keep track of the high cards that the players play to understand which of your cards can win you tricks.
- Leading big is a great way to catch your opponents off guard and win tricks. If you have an off-suit Ace and no other cards from the suit, leading with it is an excellent way to take a trick.
Picking up playing Euchre can help you kill time, but it only gets more rewarding as you learn to play and win more games.