Updated 2011-01-11 03:00


Learn the basics of how to play the card game euchre. Read the paragraphs and click the "start learning" buttons under each table. If you're new to the game, try clicking 'multiple choice' for an easier learning mode.


Overview of the game

Euchre is usually played with four people, divided into two teams. All cards 2 through 8 are removed from the deck, and are never used. A game consists of playing "hands" until one team wins by getting 10 points or more. A hand consists of players being dealt 5 cards each, and then playing each card, in turn, until no cards remain.


Question Answer
How many people play in a standard euchre game?4
How many people per team?2
Which cards are used?A single deck, but having only the 9, 10, J, Q, K, and A of all 4 suits (so 24 cards total)
How many points does it take to win?10
Hom many cards is each player dealt?5, In two passes (2 cards, then 3 cards, 2 cards, etc.)
What is a "hand"?Each player is dealt 5 cards, and, going around the table, each player plays a card until none are left

Naming Trump

At the beginning of each hand, one of the suits (hearts, diamonds, spades, or clubs) is designated as "trump". The trump suit is the most powerful suit. After the dealer deals, he turns the first undealt card face-up.


Each player (beginning with the player to the dealer's left and ending with the dealer himself) has a chance to tell the dealer to "pick up" this card. If this happens, the suit of this card becomes "trump" for the remainder of the hand. The dealer then puts this card into his hand and discards another.


If the card was not picked up by the dealer, each player (beginning with the player to the dealer's left and ending with the dealer himself) has a chance to name one of the suits as trump.


Question Answer
What does "trump" meanOne of the 4 suits is named "trump", making all cards of that suit more powerful
What does the dealer do?Deals 5 cards to every person, then lays the remaining 4 down, with the top one face-up
What happens when the deal is finished?The person to his left can say "pick it up" (then the other 3 players can, in turn)
Can more than one person say "pick it up"?No, trump is named when the first person says it
What happens to the card that is picked up?It's suit becomes trump for that hand, and it goes into the dealer's hand
When would you say "pick it up"?When your hand has a lot of cards of that suit


Question Answer
What do you say when you don't want the dealer to pick it up?"pass"
What happens if no one tells the dealer to pick it up?the dealer either decides to pick it up, or flips the card over
What must the dealer do after picking up the card?Discard (usually discarding a low non-trump card)
What happens when the dealer flips the card over?Each player, in turn, gets a chance to choose a suit as trump
What happens if no one chooses a suit as trump?The hand ends early, without being played
When will trump be chosen again?At the beginning of the next hand

Playing, and following suit

After trump is chosen, the person to the left of the dealer plays a card. Then all other players must play a card of the same suit, if they have one, or of any other suit if they don't. This is called "following suit".


Generally speaking, the higher a card, the more powerful it is. If first player plays a K of hearts, the second player must play a heart (unless he has none). An Ace of hearts is more powerful than a K of hearts, so the second player should play it if he has it. If the second player plays a lower heart, it is less powerful than the K. If the second player plays another card that is not trump, it will be less powerful, even if it is higher. If the second player plays a trump card it will be more powerful.


The remaining two players play a card, in turn, and the team whose player has played the most powerful card "wins the trick". There are 5 tricks per hand (since there are 5 cards per hand and you play 1 card for each trick).


Question Answer
In the first hand, who plays first?the person to the left of the dealer
What is "following suit"?playing a card of the suit played by the first player
Who must follow suit?everyone who has a card of that suit
Which card is more powerful: a Q of spades or a 10 of spades?Q (it's higher)
Which suit "was lead"?that's another way of asking which suit the first player played
What is "taking the trick?"playing a card more powerful those played by the other 3 players


Question Answer
In subsequent hands, who plays first?the person who took the last trick
When can you play a trump card?when you don't have a card of the suit that was lead
If the Q of diamonds was lead, should you play your K of diamonds or your J of diamonds?K (it's higher)
If you don't have a card of the suit that was lead and you don't have a trumpall of your cards are less powerful
How many tricks are there per hand?5
How many hands are there per gome?between 3 and 10


Whereas normally the higher a card is the more powerful it is, trump cards deviate from this somewhat. The highest trump card is the jack of the trump suit. The second highest trump card is the Jack of the other suit of the same color, which can be confusing to those learning euchre. That is, if clubs are trump, the J of clubs is the most powerful trump card, and the J of spades is the second most powerful trump card. The third is the A of clubs, and then all the lower clubs in turn.


The jack of the trump suit is called the "Right Bower" and the jack of the other same-colored suit is called the "Left Bower".


Question Answer
What is a "bower"?A jack of the trump suit, or the other suit of the same color
If diamonds are trump, what is the right bowerJ of diamonds
If diamonds are trump, what is the left bowerJ of hearts
What is a common mistake with bowers?Forgetting that the left bower is trump
If hearts are trump, what suit is the J of diamonds considered to behearts (the left bower changes suit)
If spades are trump and a J of clubs is lead, what must you play to follow suit?spades


The team who calls trump gets 2 points if they take all 5 tricks, or 1 point if they take 3 or 4 tricks. If they take 2 or fewer tricks, the other team has "euchred" them and wins 2 points. If a player's hand is really good when they name trump, they can "go alone". This means their partner doesn't play for that hand. When going alone, if you get all 5 tricks, you get 4 points.


Question Answer
If the team who names trump takes 5 tricksthey get 2 points
If the team who names trump takes 4 tricksthey get 1 point
If the team who names trump takes 3 tricksthey get 1 point
If the team who names trump takes 2 tricksthe other team gets 2 points
If the person going alone wins 5 trickstheir team gets 4 points

Terms and synonyms

"calling trump"Choosing which card is trump
"ordering up" the cardtelling the dealer to "pick it up"
the kittythe name of the 4 cards not dealt
bid euchreA different, more complex variant of euchre

About dealing

Question Answer
You should deal by passing outgroups of 2 or 3 cards at a time (so that each person gets 5 cards total)
Players sit at the table so thatthey are opposite their partners
Who deals first?pass out cards to each person until someone is given a black jack, who becomes the dealer
Who deals subsequent times?the person to the left of the previous dealer


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