Euchre is an offshoot of Juckerspiel, a game that became widely popular throughout Europe during the Napoleonic era. In the 1800s, it became one of the most popular card games in America and Australia.

How to play: Euchre

Euchre (and its variations) is the reason why modern card decks were first packaged with jokers, a card originally designed to act as the right and left "bowers" (high trumps). Although later eclipsed by Bridge (as with so many other games of this type), Euchre is still well known in America and is an excellent social game.

The game is best for four participants, playing two against two as partners. Therefore, the rules for the four-hand version are given first.

The Pack

Special Euchre decks are available, or the standard 52-card pack can be stripped to make a deck of 32 cards (A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7 of each suit), 28 cards (7s omitted), or 24 cards (7s and 8s omitted). In some games, a joker is added.

Object of the Game

The goal is to win at least three tricks. If the side that fixed the trump fails to get three tricks, it is said to be "euchred." Winning all five tricks is called a "march."

Rank of Cards

The highest trump is the jack of the trump suit, called the "right bower." The second-highest trump is the jack of the other suit of the same color called the "left bower." (Example: If diamonds are trumps, the right bower is J♦ and left bower is J♥.) The remaining trumps, and also the plain suits, rank as follows: A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7. If a joker has been added to the pack, it acts as the highest trump.

Card Values/Scoring

The following shows all scoring situations:

Partnership making trump wins 3 or 4 tricks – 1 point
Partnership making trump wins 5 tricks – 2 points
Lone hand wins 3 or 4 tricks – 1 point
Lone hand wins 5 tricks – 4 points
Partnership or lone hand is euchred, opponents score 2 points

The first player or partnership to score 5, 7 or 10 points, as agreed beforehand, wins the game. In the 5-point game, a side is said to be "at the bridge" when it has scored 4 and the opponents have scored 2 or less.

Keeping Score with Low Card Markers

An elegant and widespread method of keeping score is with cards lower than those used in play. When game is 5 points, each side uses a three-spot and a four-spot as markers. To indicate a score of 1, the four is placed face down on the three, with one pip left exposed. For a score of 2, the three is placed face down on the four, with two pips left exposed. For a score of 3, the three is placed face up on the four. For a score of 4, the four is placed face up on the three.


Many Euchre games are scored by rubber points, as in Whist. The first side to win two games wins the rubber. Each game counts for the side winning; 3 rubber points if the losers' score in that game was 0 or fewer, 2 rubber points if the losers' score was 1 or 2, and 1 rubber point if the losers scored 3 or more. The winners' margin in the rubber is 2 points bonus, plus the winners' rubber points, minus the losers' rubber points.

The Draw

From the shuffled pack spread face down, the players draw cards for partners and first deal. The two players with the two lowest cards play against the two players with the two highest cards. The player with the lowest card deals first. For drawing, the cards rank: K (high), Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, A. Players drawing equal cards must draw again. Partners sit opposite each other.

The Shuffle and Cut

The dealer has the right to shuffle last. The pack is cut by the player to the dealer's right. The cut must not leave less than four cards in each packet.

The Deal

The cards are dealt clockwise, to the left, beginning with the player to the left of the dealer. Each player receives five cards. The dealer may give a round of three at a time, then a round of two at a time, or may give two, then three; but the dealer must adhere to whichever distribution plan he begins with. After the first deal, the deal passes to the player on the dealer's left.

On completing the deal, the dealer places the rest of the pack in the center of the table and turns the top card face up. Should the card turned up be accepted as trump by any player, the dealer has the right to exchange the turned up card for another card in his hand. In practice, the dealer does not take the turned up card into his hand, but leaves it on the pack until it is played; the dealer signifies this exchange by placing his discard face down underneath the pack.

Making the Trump

Beginning with the player to the left of the dealer, each player passes or accepts the turn-up as trump. An opponent of the dealer accepts by saying "I order it up." The partner of the dealer accepts by saying, "I assist." The dealer accepts by making his discard, called "taking it up."

The dealer signifies refusal of the turn-up by removing the card from the top and placing it (face up) partially underneath the pack; this is called "turning it down."

If all four players pass in the first round, each player in turn, starting with the player to the dealer's left, has the option of passing again or of naming the trump suit. The rejected suit may not be named. Declaring the other suit of the same color as the reject is called "making it next"; declaring a suit of opposite color is called "crossing it."

If all four players pass in the second round, the cards are gathered and shuffled, and the next dealer deals. Once the trump is fixed, either by acceptance of the turn-up or by the naming of another suit, the turn-up is rejected, the bidding ends and play begins.

Playing Alone

If the player who fixes the trump suit believes it will be to his side's advantage to play without the help of his partner's cards, the player exercises this option by declaring "alone" distinctly at the time of making the trump. This player's partner then turns his cards face down and does not participate in the play.

The Play

The opening lead is made by the player to the dealer's left, or if this player's partner is playing alone, it is made by the player across from the dealer. If he can, each player must follow suit to a lead. If unable to follow suit, the player may trump or discard any card. A trick is won by the highest card of the suit led, or, if it contains trumps, by the highest trump. The winner of a trick leads next.

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  • Question: Is it true that you cannot make a suit trump unless you have at least one card of that suit in your hand?

  • I have a question. Can you open a round with a trump card? I’ve always played that you never open with Trump.

  • The dealer also takes the turned up card into his hand and discards one card. Everyone knows what it is anyway so I don’t see why you would leave it on the deck.

  • "Canadian Loner" and "Stick the Dealer" is how it is played in Australia as well.

  • When trump is played do you have to up it when it is your turn?

  • When a suit is lead do you have to up it when you play your card?

    • No, you are only required to follow suit. The object of each hand is for you and your partner to win at least three tricks, and whether you lay a higher ranked card or not will depend on what strategy you believe will get your team those three tricks. I will say though that this might make for a very interesting house rule!

    • No, you’re never required to trump–unless, of course, all you have is trump.

  • If a jack of clubs is face up on the pile, are you allowed to treat it as a spade when ordering it up? Or are Jacks fixed suit until the moment trump is chosen?

    • If a jack of clubs is showing and you order it up, you’re declaring trump to be clubs. The only time you can treat it as a spade is *after* clubs have been declared trump.

  • Yes, I am from Canada and was introduced to Canadian Loner, which is when someone orders up trump to their partner, they must go alone. A variation I play is called Stick the Dealer, which is when the dealer must choose trump if another suit is not selected in the second round.

  • Hi, after recently purchasing the bicycle Euchre set and opening it I was wondering what the counter cards are used for.

  • |Brendon Murphy
    May 27, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    How the hell do you get to actually play a game of euchre on this site?????

  • Marie-Lyne Ménard
    February 20, 2016 at 12:08 am

    Euchre game
    I’m from Ontario Canada and started playing Euchre 10 years ago. Since I’ve been playing, the rule has always been that if the dealer is ordered up by his/her partner, that partner must go alone. I know of some people who play other variations but every time I’ve played house games, that’s how we’ve played. I find that this way makes it more fun and challenging. There are a lot less 2 and 4 points therefore makes the game more interesting and competitive. I played STD and under on Apps, but it’s not the same fun. 🙂

    • The variation you are talking about is called the “Canadian Loner” (legit not joking about where you live)

    • Marie-Lyne,

      That sounds like a really challenging way to play! There are many different house rules and versions that people play – it certainly makes the games interesting when people have different ways of playing.

      – The Bicycle Team

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