1902 Encyclopedia > Euchre


EUCHRE, a game at cards, much played in America. Euchre is said to be a corruption of the word ecarte; the game is believed to have been first played by the French settlers in Louisiana, but at what date is uncertain. Euchre is played with thirty-two cards, the twos, threes, fours, fives, and sixes being rejected from a complete pack. The players cut for deal, and the lowest deals. The non-dealer then cuts to his opponent, who deals five cars to each, by two at a time and three at a time, or vice versa. The dealer turns up the top of the undealt cars for trumps. In suits not trumps the cards rank as at whist; in the trump suit the knave (called the right bower) is the highest trump, and the other knave of the same color, black or red, as the case may be 9called the left bower), is the next highest, this car being of course, omitted from the suit to which it would otherwise belong. The other trumps rank as already stated, the queen being next above the ten.

Two-handed Euchre.-The non-dealer looks at his hand and decides whether he will play it. If content, i.e., if he thinks he can win three tricks, he says "order it up." The dealer then puts out from his hand any card he pleases, face downwards, and is entitled to take the trump card into his hand; but the card is generally left on the pack until wanted in the course of play. If the non-dealer is not content, he says "pass.’ The dealer then has the option of taking up the trump as before, or of passing also. If the trump is ordered up or taken up the play of the hand commences; if both pass, the dealer places the trump card face upwards under the pack, called turning it down. The non-dealer has then the option of making it, i.e., of naming any suit, except the one turned up, saying, "make it spades," or any suit he prefers, and that suit becomes trumps, or of passing again, saying, "pass again." If he makes it, the play begins; if he passes again, the dealer has similarly the option of making it. If both pass a second time the hand is thrown up, and the other player deals When the turn up is red and the trump is made red it is called making it next; the name is black is made black. If the trump is made of a different color from the turn up, it is called crossing the suit. If the hand is played, the non-dealer leads; the dealer plays to the card led. He must follow suit if able, otherwise he may play any card be pleases. If the left bower is led a trump must be played to it. The highest card of the suit led wins the trick; trumps win other suits. The winner of the trick leads to the next. If the player who orders up, takes up, or makes the trump, wins five tricks, he scores two, called a march; if he makes three or four tricks he scores one, called the point. If he fails to make three tricks he is euchred, and his opponent scores two. The game is five up. by agreement, player who makes more than five may carry the surplus (called a lap) to the game. Also it is sometimes agreed that a love game (or lurch) shall count double. The game may be reckoned without references to the adverse score; to it may be played with points, that is, the winner receives from the loser as many points as he wants of game.

Three-handed or Cut-throat Euchre.- The option of playing or passing goes to each in rotation, beginning with the player to the dealer’s left. Three cards, one from each hand, constitute a trick. The player who orders up, takes up, or makes the trump plays against the other two, except at independent euchre, when each plays for himself. If the attacking player is euchred, he is set back two points. Thus if he is love, and is euchred, he has seven points to make instead of five.

Four-handed Euchre is generally played with partners, who are cut for and sit opposite each other as at whist. If the first hand passes, the second may say "I assist," which means that the dealer (his partner) is to take up the trump. The hand is then played as at whist, four cards constituting a trick. The eldest had has the next deal. If a player has a very strong hand he may play alone single-handed against the two adversaries. His partner cannot object. A player can declare to play alone when he or his partner orders up, or when his partner assists, or when he makes the trump, or (if dealer) when he takes up the trump, but not when the adversary orders up, assists, or makes the trump. If the lone player wins a march he scores four, if he wins three or four tricks he scores one; if he fails to win three tricks the opponents score two.

HINTS. – 1. The chances are that the dealer has one trump in hand; if you order up, you must expect to meet two trumps. Therefore, you should not order up unless your hand gives you a two to one chance of winning three tricks against two trumps, and your cards are such that you would have a worse chance if you made the trump. If strong in trumps and equally strong in another suit, it is always right to pass. Also, if you have the point certain, whether you make the trump or not, you should pass, in hopes the dealer may take up the trump.

2. If you pass and the dealer turns if down, you should not make the trump unless you have a two to one chance of winning three tricks against one trump.

3. If you hold good cards in two suits of different colors, and you make the trump, you should make it next. For, the dealer having turned it down in one color, is less likely to hold a bower of that color than of the other. At the four-handed game the non dealer and his partner should also avoid crossing the suit. But if the dealer’s partners makes the trump, he should not hesitate to cross the suit, as the dealer, having turned it down, has probably no bower in that suit.

4. At four-handed euchre, the eldest hand should be very strong to order it up; but the second player should assist if he has something more than one trick, e.g., an ace and a trump, or two aces. If, however, he is strong in the non-trump suits, he should not assist unless he can be pretty sure of making two tricks. The third hand should be cautious of ordering up, as his partner, having passed, must be weak. This applies with still more force to taking up by the dealer, as his partner, not having assisted, must be very weak. To take up the dealer should be pretty sure of two tricks, and have a chance of a third.

5. If the dealer takes up the trump he should keep two cards of a suit, unless his single card is an ace. Thus, with queen, seven of one suit and king single of another, the king should be discarded.

6. Lead from a guarded unless in fear of losing a march. When lead your highest single card. Lead from a sequence of three trumps. At four-handed euchre always a trump with three. Also lead a trump if you have made it next; if you left hand adversary has assisted (unless a bower is turned up); and if your partner orders up, assists, takes up, or makes the trump. Further, lead a trump if you have lost two tricks and won the third, unless your partner has dealt and still has the turn up in hand.

7. As a rue make tricks when able. Passing or finessing is seldom good play.

8. If your partner orders up, assists, take sup, or makes the trump, trump the trick whenever you can.

9. In discarding during the play, as a rule, keep a guarded card in preference to a single one, except a single ace.

10. If the adversary is at three do not order up unless you have very good cards. If the adversary is at four take up the trump on a light hand.

11. At four-handed euchre, if the dealer is one or two, and the eldest hand four, he should order up, unless he has one certain trick, in order to prevent the opponent from playing alone. This position is called the bridge.

12. At four-all, if the eldest hand or third hand has a trick and the chance of a seconds, and such cards that he would be no better off it he made the trump, he should order it up.

13. The eldest hand, and next to him the dealer, may play alone on weaker hands than the other players. The leader, with a lone hand, should lead his winning trumps; if two tricks are thus made, and the leader has a losing trump, he should then lead his best card out of trumps. When playing against a lone hand, lead an ace. If you have not one, lead your highest card out of trumps, except with a guarded king and another suit, when lead the latter. Also, keep cards of the suits your partner discards, but do not throw an ace, even if your partner keeps your ace suit.

LAWS OF EUCHRE. – Dealing. – 1 If the dealer gives too many or too few cards to any player, or if he turns up two cards, it is a misdeal, and the next player deals. 2. If the dealer exposes a card, or if there is a faced card in the pack, there must be a fresh deal. Playing. – 3. Any one playing with the wrong number of cards can score nothing that hand. The same if, when the trump is ordered up, the dealer omits to discard before he or his partner plays. 4. When more than two play, exposed cards can be called. Also a card let out of turn may be called, or a suit from the side offending at their next lead. 5. A player not following suit when able may correct his mistake before the trick is turned and quitted or he or his partner plays to the next trick, the curd played in error being an exposed card. if the error is not corrected a revoke is established. A player revoking is euchred, and cannot score anything that hand. 6. A player making the trump must abide by the suit first named. 7. If, after the trump is turned, a player reminds his partner that they are at the point of the bridge, the latter loses the right to order up. 8 Each player has a right to see the last trick. (H. J.)

The above article was written by Henry Jones ("Cavendish"), M.R.C.S.; author of The Laws and Principles of Whist by "Cavendish"; and of guides to croquet, bézique, eucre, and other games.

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