How to Play Euchre

  • Rank of Cards

    A pack of 24 cards is used consisting of A K Q J 10 9 in each of the four suits: hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades.
    The trump suit has 7 cards ranking from highest to lowest as follows:

    jack hearts Right Bower, the Jack of the Trump suit

    jack diamonds
    Left Bower, the other Jack of the same colour as the Trump suit
    ace hearts Ace, third highest card in Trump, High Card in all off suits
     king hearts King, fourth highest card in Trump, Second highest in all off suits
    queen hearts Queen, fifth highest card in Trump, Third highest in all off suits
    ten hearts Ten, second lowest card in Trump and all off suits
    nine hearts Nine, lowest card in Trump and all off suits

    The other suits have 6 or 5 cards ranking as normal: A K Q (J) 10 9.

    Left Bower counts for all purposes as belonging to the trump suit. For example if hearts are trumps, the jack of diamonds is a heart not a diamond. It can be played to a heart lead and if it is led, hearts must be followed.

    The word Bower comes from the German "Bauer", which means farmer or peasant and is also a word for Jack.

  • The Deal

    The first dealer is selected by dealing one card at a time face up to each player until a JACK comes up and that player deals first.

    The turn to deal then rotates clockwise throughout the game. The dealer shuffles and the player to dealer's left may either cut or "bump" - that is, knock the cards to indicate that they should be dealt as they are, without cutting.

    Five cards are dealt to each player “One at a Time”. The dealer then turns the next card in the pack face up.

    This up-card is used as a basis for selecting the trump suit. The remaining three cards are left face-down and are not used.

  • The Play

    The play begins with the player to the dealer's left leading to the first trick.

    Any card may be led, and each player in clockwise order must follow suit by playing a card of the same suit as the card led if possible.

    A player who cannot follow suit may play any card. Remember that, for purposes of following suit, the Left Bower is considered to belong to the trump suit and not to any other suit.

    The trick is won by whoever played the highest card of the suit led, unless a trump was played in which case the highest trump wins.

    The winner of each trick leads to the next one.

  • Scoring

    If all four players are playing then the scores are as follows:
    If a member of the makers' team is playing alone and wins all 5 tricks, the team scores 4 points instead of 2 - otherwise the scores are as above.
    If a member of the defenders' team is playing alone and succeeds in winning at least 3 tricks, thereby euchring the makers, the defenders score 2 points - otherwise the scores are as above.

    Score Keeping

    Tournament Play: The game consists of 12 hands being played and scored on special score cards (Sample below).

    The game is normally played to 10 points - that is, the team who first reach 10 or more points over several deals win the game. It is usual for each team to keep score using a spare 5 and 6 from the pack (as these cards are not used in the game). The cards are arranged on the table so that the number of pips showing shows the team's current score. Sometimes people play to 15 points (using a 7 and an 8 to keep score) or to 10 points.

  • Making Trump

    This process determines the trump suit and which team are the makers - that is the team which undertakes to win three tricks.

    First each player in turn, beginning with the player to the dealer's left, has the option of accepting up-card's suit as the trump suit or passing.


    • If the player to dealer's left may either pass or say "I order it up"
    • If the first player passes, the dealer's partner may either pass or say "I order it up"
    • If the first two players pass, the player to dealer's right may either pass or say "I order it up"
    • If all three other players pass, the dealer may either take up the up-card, saying "I take it up", or pass by saying "over" and turning the up-card face-down.
    • If either of the dealer's opponents order it up or if dealer decides to take it up, the suit of the up-card becomes trump; the dealer adds the up-card to her hand and discards a card face-down.    If the makers win 3 or 4 tricks they score one point.
    • Note that (at least in this version of Euchre), the dealer's partner cannot make trumps and play with a partner. The dealer's partner can only make the turned up suit trumps by playing alone.
    • If the makers win all 5 tricks they score two points.
    • The declarer must have a natural trump in hand to make trump. The left bowere is not a natural trump.
    • No Ace, No Face, No Trump rule applies. The deal moves to the left.

    If the makers take fewer than three tricks they are said to be euchred, and the defenders score two points.

    If all four players pass, the up-card is turned face-down, and there is a second round in which players have the option to make any suit trump, other than the suit of the up-card. Again the player to dealer's left speaks first and may either pass again or name a suit.

    If the first player passes the second may name a suit or pass, and so on. If all four players pass a second time the cards are thrown in and the next player deals.

    Note that the trump making process ends as soon as someone accepts or makes trump (rather than passing). That player's side are the makers and the other side are the defenders.

    Going Alone

    After trump has been made, but before the first lead, the player may announce that he/she are playing alone. The partner of a lone player puts his/her cards face-down and takes no part in the play. Other than take the tricks in for his/her partner.

  • Three Handed Euchre

    Three handed euchre also uses a standard deck of 24 cards with the card ranking again staying the same. The cards are dealt out one at a time. With three handed, you still deal 4 hands, the fourth hand being the dummy hand (it is a dead hand). Each player receives 5 cards. The remaining cards are placed face down in front of the dealer and the top card is turned over (the same as with four players).

    The naming of trump is done the same as it is in traditional euchre, with the option to name trump first given to the player immediately left of the dealer, and continuing clockwise.

    The bidder must take 3 tricks to make his point. If he takes all 5 tricks, then he/she gets 4 points. The two non-bidding players become temporary partners for the current round only. Together they compete as a team against the bidder and try to euchre the bidder.

    Getting less than 3 tricks results in a euchre and gives both defenders 2 points. Each player keeps his own score. Game is played the 12 hands as normal.

    During play no one is allowed to look at the cards in the kitty or the dummy hand.

    Optional Rules

    1. You can player “Stick the Dealer”, were the dealer has to make trump if it comes back to him/her the second time.
    2. The second choice is; the deal can pass to the next player. (This makes for a slower game; you may have 1-10 hands passed on)
    3. Our game consists of 12 hands per game not 0-10. Each player deals 3 times per game, unless the deal passed on during the game.

cribbage logo