“Do you want that card?” Sr. Kelby Bosma asks to his three peers sitting around the table at the end of the year in discrete math. In turn they each pass. Bosma picks up the top card and discards another, keeping his card total at five. Clubs has just been declared trump.
His partner across the table, Sr. Emma VanHoltz, has never played Euchre before and holds the jack of spades, the left bower, in her hand. She forgets that this is trump and plays it out of turn. VanHoltz has just committed a crime in Euchre called reneging. Two points are awarded to the other team and Bosma, a veteran Euchre player, holds his face in his hands.
Euchre is a classic four player card game. It uses only the 9-Ace cards in each of the four suits, where jacks become the highest card depending on the trump of that round. Euchre is believed to have originated from other card games in Europe such as Juckerspiel and Écarté, which are German and French respectively. Euchre made its way to America when German settlers arrived in Pennsylvania. From Pennsylvania the game spread across the United States. In the 19th century Euchre died out, but despite the overall decline in playing, it has kept a prominent Midwestern interest, especially in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
Below are tips and tricks for players who are just learning as well as veteran Euchre players.
First let’s take a look at some of the problems first timers or new learners of Euchre struggle with, as cited by Instructor Meyer’s discrete math class that played a Euchre tournament at the end of the year.
Three problems with first time or new learners of Euchre
- Forgetting that the left bower is trump
- Trumping your partner’s ace when you are the last person to lay down
- Ordering up a card that you don’t have any trump of
Forgetting that the left bower is trump is the biggest problem with first time Euchre players. This twist in the game makes Euchre unique. However, because no other games are like this many forget about the left bower. “This is definitely the rule most struggled with by new time Euchre players. They forget that the jack is also trump,” Instructor Shanna Meyer said.
“I had a hard time remembering what trump was and that the jacks became the highest cards. It took me way too long to figure that out,” Sr. Kasidy Kuzmanko said.
Three tips for first time or new learners of Euchre
- Pay attention
- Lead with an offsuit ace and if you don’t have one, throw your lowest offsuit card and hope your partner beats it.
- Try to think beyond what is in your hand. Ask yourself “What might my partner be holding?”
“It’s really just a game that if you pay attention the whole time you’ll be in good shape and have a good chance at winning the round. If you’re not paying attention you can really fall behind and mess things up,” Meyer said.
Three subtle hints or tricks to look for as an advanced Euchre player
- If your partner cannot follow suit and throws trash and you win that trick, lead the suit that your partner just played as he is likely short suiting himself and will be able to trump whatever is played.
- If you are the dealer and the card in front of you is called up, short suit yourself by putting down a suit that you only have one of, even if that means putting an ace down. This allows you the opportunity to trump a trick if that suit is led.
- If a bower is turned down and you have a decent hand in the color that was turned down, order the other suit of the same color because you know the left is buried.
Euchre is a game loved by many. As the school year ends and classes wind down, more free time is given in class and Euchre is a great way to fill that time. Easy to set up and play on the fly, Euchre makes for a perfect time filler. If you don’t know how to play, learn.