How to Play: Euchre

Filed under: Activities: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Activities: Big Kids, Activities: Tweens, Activities: Family Time, Kids' Games

Get three "tricks" and win the game! Credit: Getty Images

What you need: You need four players and a deck of 24 standard playing cards consisting of the aces, kings, queens, jacks, 10, and 9 of each of the four suits. A standard 52-card deck can be used, omitting the cards from 2 to 8 of each suit.

How to play: The four players divide into two groups of partners. Someone is chosen to be the dealer, and deals five cards to each player. The remaining four cards are placed in a pile, and the top card is turned face up. The dealer asks each of the other players in turn if they would like the suit of the top card to be trump, which they indicate by saying "pick it up" and the top card becomes part of the dealer's hand, who then discards to return his hand to five cards. If no one "orders up" the top card, each player is given the opportunity in turn to call a different suit as trump. Once trump is declared, play starts with the person to the left of the dealer. It is his or her lead. That player chooses one of the five cards from his or her hand and plays it. Play continues to the left with each player playing a card. At the end, whoever won the trick takes the cards and now has the "lead." This continues until all five "tricks" have been played and the team that took three of the five wins the hand. Points are awarded accordingly.

The rules: Once trump is declared, the jack of trump is the highest card or "the right bower," and the second highest card is the jack of the same color as trump, or "the left bower." Value then continues from Ace to 9 of trump, then from Ace to 9 of all the other suits. The card that is led, becomes the suit of that hand, if the other players have a card of that suit, they must "follow suit" and play that; multiple cards may be chosen between. If a player does not have any of the "led" suit, that player may "trump" the trick in attempt to take it, or "lay off" and play another non-trump suit. At the end of a trick the highest trump takes the trick, or in the case of a no-trump trick, the highest card of the lead suit takes the trick.

How to win: Once all tricks have been played, whichever pair of partners has taken three tricks has "won" the hand. If the team that declared trump wins the hand by taking three or four tricks, they receive one point. Should they take all five tricks, they have "marched" and receive two points. If the team that did not declare trump takes three or more tricks, then they have "set" or "euchred" their opponents. They receive two points. If a player takes all five "alone," that team receives four points. If the player takes three or four tricks, that team gets one point. Getting euchred on a loner is still two points for the other team. The first team to amass 10 points in this fashion wins the game.

What else you need to know: Euchre has many variations and quite a complex terminology. For complete rules of variations and a glossary of Euchre terms, check out Pagat's Euchre Rules.

Related: More Kids Games

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