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British Euchre


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A trick taking game played with two teams of two sitting directly across from each other. Variations of Euchre are played in North America, including parts of Canada and the United States. In the U.S. Euchre is played primarily in the Midwest, and in the eastern states a version of the game is known as Bacon. It is a popular game within the US Navy. It is also played in Australia and New Zealand. Play with your friends for a fast paced exciting game or a more thoughtful relaxed game.

For additional information about British Euchre visit Pagat.com.

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According to Wikipedia, “The Joker originated in the United States during the Civil War and was created as a trump card for the game of Euchre. It has since been adopted into many other card games, where it often acts as a wild card, but may have other functions such as the top trump…It is believed that the term "Joker" comes from Jucker or Juckerspiel, the original German spelling of Euchre.” Wikipedia on 05/24/20

Objective:

British Euchre is a trick taking game and the object of the game is to be first team score 11 points. The goal of each hand is to win a minimum of 3 tricks.

To Deal:

At the start of the game the dealer is randomly selected and then the deal moves around the table clock-wise. The player to the left of the dealer has first option to make trump and regardless of who makes trump plays first. The deal moves clockwise around the table.

Euchre uses a deck of 25 cards that includes the 9s through Aces (Ace high) and one joker. There is 1 each of the 9s through Aces in all four suits Spades, Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs. This is a game for four players with 2 sets of 2 partners sitting opposite of each other. and 5 cards are dealt to each player. The 5 remaining cards are placed in front of the dealer with the top card turned face up.

Game Play:

Before play begins a trump suit must be made.

The first player to the dealers left has the first option to make trump by ordering the dealer to pick up the face up card on the remaining cards or to pass. If the first player passes rather than ordering it up the option moves around the table clockwise. If the dealer’s partner wants to order up the face up card to make trump they must play alone. If the third player and the dealer passes the face up card is turned face down. If the dealer picks up the face up card, for any reason, then they must lay one card, from their hand, face down on the remaining cards. Then the option to call trump and the additional option to go “Alone” from the three remaining suits that were not turned face up, also goes around the table clockwise with the option to pass. Once a player makes trump and becomes the Maker, if they do not choose to go “Alone” then the Makers partner has the option to go “Alone” and the defenders have the option to defend the hand Alone. If none of the players calls a trump suit then the deal moves to the next player clockwise and a new hand is dealt: Option - members have the “Stick the Dealer” option which requires the dealer to make one of the 3 remaining suits trump.

If the Joker (Benny) is the face up card then the dealer makes trump prior to looking at their cards, picks up the Benny, and discards one card from their hand.

When one of the players makes trump that player is identified as the “Caller” and the team is known as the “makers” and they have to win a minimum of 3 tricks to score a point. The other team is called the “defenders” and they also try to win 3 tricks to prevent the other team from scoring and to score 2 points for themselves. If the makers do not win at least 3 tricks they are said to have been “euchred”.

The rank of the trump suit is different than the non-trump rank. The Joker is the highest trump and the jack of the trump suit is the next highest trump (right bower) and the jack of the same color as the trump suit is the second highest (left bower). The rank of the trump then moves from the Ace down to the 9.

For example if Clubs is trump:

  • Joker (Best Bower) Benny
  • Right Bower (Jack of Clubs) - Highest
  • Left Bower (Jack of Spades )
  • Ace of Clubs
  • King of Clubs
  • Queen of Clubs
  • Ten of Clubs
  • Nine of Clubs – Lowest

The Jack (Left Bower) that is the same color as the trump suit is always considered to be trump and must be played if trump is led, if it is the only trump in the player’s hand and trump must be played to the Jack (Left Bower), if it is led. This is also true for the Joker (Benny). Additionally, if clubs is trump and a spade is led, the player with the Jack of Spades (Left Bower) which is now trump cannot play it if they have other spades in their hand and are not required to play it if they do not have other spades.

If no trump is played during the hand then the highest ranking card, of the suit that was led, wins the trick (Ace highest, 9 lowest).

Alone:

The player who makes trump may choose to go “Alone”. In an “Alone” the partner of the player who chose to go “Alone” does not play. Once a player makes trump and becomes the Maker, if they do not choose to go “Alone” then the Makers partner has the option to go “Alone” and the defenders have the option to defend the hand “Alone”. In this case, the player that goes “Alone” must get 3 tricks to avoid a euchre and earn 1 point, but if they get all 5 tricks they earn 4 points. If the defending team wins 3 tricks they earn 2 points.

Once trump is made then play starts with the first player (that is playing this hand, see Alone) to the left of the dealer. They may play any card in their hand and all other players must follow suit. If they do not have a card in that suit they may play any card. Play moves around the table in a clockwise order until everyone playing the hand has played. If no trump was played then the player who played the highest card (Ace highest, 9 lowest) of the suit that was led wins the trick. If trump was played then the player who played the highest trump wins the trick.

The player that wins the trick leads to the next trick.

Scoring:

  • Makers win 3 or 4 tricks they score 1 point
  • Makers win 2 or less tricks the defenders score 2 points
  • Makers win all 5 tricks they score 2 points
  • “Alone” the maker must win 5 tricks to score 4 points
  • “Alone” the maker wins 3 or 4 tricks they score 1 point
  • “Alone” the maker wins 2 or less tricks the defenders score 2 points unless they defend “Alone” then the defenders team scores 4 points.

Winning:

The first team to reach 11 or more points wins the game.

Power Cards:

  • When a trump suit is named the trump cards are the highest cards, for example a 9 of trump beats an Ace of non-trump.
  • Joker (Best Bower) also known as the benny is the highest card
  • The Right Bowers or the Jack of the trump suit is the second highest card
  • The Left Bowers or the Jack of the suit the same color as trump, is the third highest card, and can only be beat by the joker or right bower

Modified on 10/26/16 from Wikipedia

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