By Neal Taparia - 08/30/2022
Euchre – sometimes referred to as ‘Knock Euchre’ – is a trick-taking card game traditionally played between four players with either 24, 28, or 32 cards from a standard deck.
It is similar to Hearts and Spades in that each player or team plays one card to the table in each round, with one player winning the ‘trick’ of four cards based on the value of their card or whether their suit ‘trumps’ the other cards.
Euchre is believed to have been developed in the 1800s and its origins are rooted in variations of the earlier card games Écarté and Juckerspiel.
The game’s name is also believed to have derived from ‘Uker’ – the phonetic representation of ‘Jucker’.
To play Euchre, you’ll need four players and a standard deck of playing cards.
Alternatively, you can play single-player Euchre online for free on Solitaired.com.
Set up a standard game of 24-card Euchre by removing all cards with values of two through to eight from the deck. This should leave you with just the nine, ten, jack, queen, king, and ace cards in all four suits.
Split into pairs and deal the deck of 24 cards in the following way:
The dealer passes the player to their left three cards
They deal the next person two cards
The next person is dealt three cards
The dealer receives two cards
Each player then receives the number of cards needed to complete a hand of five
The remaining four cards become the ‘kitty’ – placed in front of the dealer with just the top card face-up. Each player is asked in turn, clockwise, if they would like the suit of this top card to become the ‘trump suit’ – meaning it will beat all other suit values when played in a hand.
Players can either choose to ‘pick it up’ – taking the card, assigning the suit as the trump suit, and discarding one of their own cards – or pass the opportunity on to the next player.
If no player picks the card – including the dealer – it is placed face-down on the kitty. The kitty is then passed clockwise around the players, with each player, in turn, getting the opportunity to bid on any of the four suits to become the trump suit. If no player bids in this round, the deal is forfeited and the cards are re-dealt, with the person to the original dealer’s left becoming the new dealer.
This process repeats until a trump suit is chosen.
Euchre is a trick-taking game similar to Hearts and Spades. This means the game is split into ‘tricks’ – in which each player bids one card from their hand to the table and the winner of each trick takes the hand of four cards.
The winner of each trick is decided in the following ways:
If all four players follow the dealer’s suit – not the trump suit – the highest value card wins (aces are high)
Any card in the trump suit beats any card in a non-trump suit
If all cards played are in the trump suit, the jack card wins
The value rankings of the cards are as follows:
The jack card in the trump suit (the ‘right bower’)
The jack card in the same color but opposing suit as the trump suit (e.g., clubs, if spades are trump) – this is known as the ‘left bower’
Trump suit cards in the following order: ace, king, queen, ten, nine
Cards in the dealer’s suit in the following order: ace, king, queen, jack, ten, nine
The game continues for five rounds until each player has played all their cards.
Once the trump suit has been chosen, any player can choose to ‘go alone’ for the hand – meaning their personal score is used instead of the total score of their pair.
This makes the game more challenging for the player going alone but gives them the opportunity to win a greater number of points for their team.
Points are awarded for each round played and the winning team is the first to reach a total of 10 points.
The following factors all impact the scoring system in Euchre:
Bidding – whether or not the pair bids on the trump suit affects how many points they win for their tricks. The bidding pair receives one point for winning three or four tricks in a hand or two points for winning all five tricks.
‘Going alone’ – players that opt to go alone have the opportunity to win a greater number of points. A player that plays alone receives one point for winning three or four tricks but four points for winning all five – this is called a ‘march’.
Winning tricks – as the aim of the game is to win as many tricks as possible, this obviously comes with rewards. Aside from the bidding team, the defending team can also win points for their tricks. If the defending team wins three or more tricks in a hand, they receive two points and they are said to have ‘euchred’ the opponent.
‘Euchre’ – refers to when the bidding team fails to win three tricks in a hand – they are said to have been ‘euchred’ and the opponent scores two points.
March – when any player ‘going alone’ wins all five tricks in a hand – a march is rewarded with four points
Below is a summary of the Euchre scoring system:
Euchre is a complex game to learn, so it’s important players are aware of the rules to increase their likelihood of winning and avoiding receiving penalties.
The rules of Euchre include:
The player to the left of the dealer leads – playing the first card of the first hand, which the other players must follow in suit. The leader moves left with each new hand.
Follow suit – players are expected to play a card in the leading suit unless they do not have a card in the leading suit.
Reneging – if a player goes against the leading suit when they have a card in that suit available to them, this is called ‘reneging’. If a player on the opposing team correctly calls this out later in the game, they are awarded two points, or the offending team is docked two points. If the offender is going alone, they are deducted four points.
Going alone – if a player wishes to go alone, they must call this at the same time as the bidder confirms the trump suit.
No talking – in-person games of Euchre ban all talking at the table. This is so that players cannot provide hints or strategies to their partners during the game.
Euchre is a game of strategy that can be won and lost at every stage of the game – from bidding to gameplay.
These are Solitaired’s top tips on how to win at Euchre:
Bid with low-value cards – if you have multiple lower-value cards in a single suit, bid on that suit to become the trump. These cards are more valuable as trump cards than if they are off-suit.
Take tricks early – don’t save your highest-value cards, play them early to win tricks and take the pressure off.
Work as a team – Euchre is played in pairs and each pair’s total score is used to decide the winner. So, players should consider the best strategy for their team and avoid trumping their partner’s card. For example, if your partner plays a high-value card, consider playing your lowest-value card to allow the partner to take the trick.
Memorize which cards have been played – by following which cards have been played in the game, a player can play cards later in the game with greater confidence that they are likely to win the trick.
Lose strategically – this means discarding the cards that have no chance of winning a trick – like low-value, off-suit cards – early in the game, giving you a greater chance of winning tricks with your most valuable cards later.
Bid on the same color suit – if the first trump suit is not called, consider bidding on the other suit of the same color next. The fact no other player bid on the original suit means they are unlikely to have the left bower, in which case you may be able to win more tricks.
Euchre is a trick-taking game, meaning players compete to win or lose hands. Similar trick-taking games include:
Other games that are similar to Euchre in their strategy requirements include:
At Solitaired, we provide over 500 games free to play online.
Euchre can be a complex game to learn – compared with other card games – due to the specific rules and terminology around the game. However, it is a very popular game and can provide hours of fun for players willing to learn the rules.
The best way to learn how to play Euchre is through practice. At Solitaired, players can play unlimited games of Euchre for free, anytime.
Euchre is played with a standard deck of playing cards, however, some cards are removed from the deck for the gameplay.
The game is traditionally played with 24 cards – the nine, ten, jack, queen, king, and ace of each of the four suits. In some variations of the game, the joker is also featured.
Euchre is typically played with 24 cards, with each hand consisting of five cards. This means the dealer provides each of the four players with five cards each, with the remaining four cards going into the ‘kitty’.
If all four players neglect to bid on the first trump card in the kitty, they are then given chance to call the trump suit of their choice. This begins with the player next to the dealer and moves clockwise around the four players.
Yes, Euchre is a game of strategy and skill, as well as luck. While each player is limited to the cards they are dealt, they can still use these cards strategically to take tricks.
This may include strategically losing tricks to their partner or bidding trump on the suit of their lowest-value cards to make them more valuable.
The best way to learn how to play Euchre is to read the rules and key terminology, before practicing games. This means understanding the value rankings of the cards and understanding the different steps of the game from bidding to the most effective time to play each card.
At Solitaired, players can get to grips with the rules of the game in our in-depth guide to Euchre, as well as playing unlimited games of online Euchre to practice and improve their gameplay.
Below is a list of the key terms used in Euchre that you may come across in this guide or while playing the game. We’ve even included a definition of each term to help you better understand the game and improve your gameplay:
Bower – refers to the highest-value cards in Euchre.
Right Bower – the single highest-value card that trumps all other cards in the game. This is the jack card in the trump suit.
Left Bower – the second-highest value card in Euchre, that trumps every card other than the right bower. This is the jack card in the same color as the trump suit but opposing suit (e.g., clubs, if spades are trump)
Going alone – when a player chooses to use their personal score in a hand, instead of totaling their score with their partner. If a player wins all five tricks while ‘going alone’ they receive the maximum four-point score.
March – when a player wins all five tricks while ‘going alone’.
Off-suit – any suit that isn’t the trump suit.
Point – the scoring system used in Euchre. The winning team is the first to reach 10 points.
Trick – the name given to the four cards played in each round that are ultimately won by the player with the most valuable card.
Trump – the suit chosen by the bidder that out-ranks every other suit in a hand.
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