How to Play Euchre

Four Parts:Printable Rule and Strategy SheetsGetting OrganizedThe RulesPlaying the Game

Euchre is a fast-paced, trick-taking card game that requires teamwork and strategy to win. Gameplay may seem confusing to the uninitiated, but it’s easy to pick up once you understand the basics. You only need four people (two teams of two) and a deck of cards to get started, so round up a few friends and follow the steps below to begin enjoying this classic game.

Printable Rule and Strategy Sheets

Euchre Rule Sheet

Sample Euchre Strategies

Part 1
Getting Organized

  1. Image titled Play Euchre Step 1
    Gather four people and then divide into two teams of two. Partners may be chosen by any method agreed upon by the group.
    • Teammates should sit in alternating positions so that each person is seated diagonally from their partner.
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    Create a Euchre deck. Euchre is played with 24 cards consisting of the 9, 10, J, Q, K, and A cards from a standard 52-card deck. Although the remaining cards are not used during the game, set aside the 4 and 6 cards of a black suit as well as the 4 and 6 cards of a red suit to use for keeping score.
    • Each team should use one of the sets of 4 and 6 cards to keep score by hiding/revealing one suit symbol for each point scored (Euchre goes to 10). For example: to show a score of five, the 6 card should be face up and the 4 card be face down, covering one of the suit symbols on the 6 card so that five suit symbols are showing.
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    Determine which player deals first. Shuffle the deck and then continuously deal one card face up to each player until someone receives one of the black jacks. This person is the first dealer.
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    Deal counterclockwise following these guidelines:
    • Dealing must take place over exactly two rounds
    • The dealer must deal two or three cards at a time to each player, including themselves
    • The exact pattern of card distribution does not matter, but the most common is 2-3-2-3 for the first round, followed by 3-2-3-2 for the second round.
    • Players can look at their cards once they are dealt, but they cannot discuss them with anyone, including their teammate.
    • After each player has five cards, the dealer should confirm that there are four remaining cards (these cards are known as the kitty). Once confirmed, the dealer places the remaining cards face down in the center of the table, and then flips over the top card to begin the hand.

Part 2
The Rules

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    Understand the concept of a trump suit. Trump is the dominant suit in Euchre. Any trump card beats any non-trump card. If a player leads off with the trump suit, the highest trump card wins the trick. In the trump suit and only the trump suit, rankings are a bit different.
    • The order in trump cards goes as so (for explanatory purposes assume trump is spades): Right Bower (jack of spades), Left Bower (jack of clubs), Ace (spades), King (spades), Queen (spades), ten (spades), and nine (spades). The jack of the same color but not the same suit as trump is the left bower. The order of the non-trump cards is sequential, nine being lowest and ace being highest in rank.
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    Know how to keep score. The unit of Euchre is a "trick." There are five tricks (or rounds) in a hand of Euchre. The first pair to win 10 points is the winner of Euchre.
    • If a team chooses the trump suit and then proceeds to win at least three tricks, they get 1 point. If they get all five tricks (sweeping the hand), they score 2 points.
    • If the team that chose the trump suit does not get at least three tricks, the opposing team gets 2 points. They have successfully euchred the other team.
    • If you choose to go solo (when you have a really good hand) and make all five tricks your team gets a whopping 4 points.
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    Think about your partner's cards. Avoid playing good cards when your partner has already laid down a winner; your team will probably take that trick without your help. Start by playing a good card so your teammate doesn't waste potential winning cards unnecessarily. If you have a bunch of good cards, however, consider "going alone."
    • If one partner decides their hand is very valuable and they are confident they can win all 5 tricks, this player can "go alone." (This usually only happens when that player has both trump Jacks, as well as an Ace and another trump suited card in their hand. This gives you extremely good odds of winning the trick.) This means that their partner sits out for one trick. Once the first card of the trick is flipped and the players are calling to pass or pick it up, when your turn comes you announce you are "going alone." Play proceeds as usual, but if the player going alone wins all 5 tricks, then that team wins 4 points. If the player wins 4-1 or 3-2, then they only get one point.

Part 3
Playing the Game

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    Deal the cards. As discussed earlier, sit in team formation and designate a dealer. Grab your Euchre deck and have the dealer give each player 5 cards and assemble the kitty.
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    Turn the top card of the kitty face up, for all players to see. Starting to the person left of the dealer, rotating clockwise, ask each player whether or not he wishes to declare the suit that is showing as trump until someone does (or a new cycle begins).
    • If he does wish to declare this suit trump, he says "pick it up."
    • If he does not want to declare this suit trump, he says "pass," or declares a pass by knocking on the table.
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    Have the dealer pick up the card. He/She then discards one of their other cards (usually a low card of the non-trump suit). If a rotation of the circle is completed without anyone telling the dealer to "pick it up," the card is turned face down and another rotation ensues. During this rotation, a player can call trump of any suit other than the one that was originally turned up. If the rotation completes without anyone calling trump, the deal is forfeited and passed clockwise to the next person in the circle.
    • It's generally wise to only call a trump suit if you have a good hand. Otherwise, stay mum.
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    Have the player to the left of the dealer lead. Each player must follow suit -- meaning if a player has a card of the same suit as was led, he must play it on that trick. If a player does not have a card of that suit, he can trump the trick, or simply throw a card off suit. The highest card of the suit that was led takes the trick, unless a trump card is played. The highest card of trump will win any hand.
    • If you lay a card that does not follow suit but you do have a card that does, this is called a "renege." If another player calls you out on what you've done, they receive 2 points. If you are going alone, however, the penalty is 4 points (for whichever side is guilty).
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    Go for strategy. Because each game of Euchre is so short, it's a little easier to memorize the cards. Think about what cards you believe your opponents are holding to determine how to lead off and what to throw away. For example, if the dealer adds the original trump card to his hand, don't forget it.
    • If you are leading and have two or more trump cards, go with those. Always lead a high trump if your partner called it; it'll help them locate the missing cards. Otherwise, work in a sequence. Say diamonds are trump -- lead with the Ace of Spades or Clubs to try to win it.
    • Don't hold onto your good cards. Euchre goes fast -- if you act slowly, you'll miss your opportunity to use them. When opportunity knocks, answer the door.
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    Know when you're "in the barn." Once one team gets to 9 points, this means they are "in the barn." You must announce this with great enthusiasm, since it typically indicates that you are about to win the game.
    • If you really want to have fun with it, have one partner interlock their fingers together, and flip upside down with the thumbs making "udders" and let the other partner "milk" them.
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    Tally up the final score. The five tricks of Euchre can go by pretty fast, so it's best to keep score as you go. Use the 6 and 4 cards to keep tabs.
    • Once a team reaches ten, you'll probably want to play again. Switch teams if skill sets are better suited in different combinations.


  • Some variations include the joker. This is the highest card -- it beats everything.


  • When playing with Michiganders you should always use 5s to keep score and you should NEVER refer to having 9 points as "being in the barn."
  • When playing for money, wages are typically announced as $5-$1-$1 or $10-$2-$2 and upwards. The first number is the wager per person on the outcome of the game. The second number is for loaners and the team will win $1 from each opponent. The third number is for euchres and the team will win $1 from each opponent.

Things You'll Need

  • Standard 52-card deck
  • 4 players
  • Table or other flat surface

Article Info

Categories: Card Games