How to play Two and Three Handed Euchre
Two Handed Euchre
In two handed euchre a standard deck of 24 cards are used. The cards are ranked the same as in regular Euchre. As in any euchre game they are also dealt out in groups of 2's and 3's. The difference is that an additional two cards are dealt to a dummy hand. Each player receives 5 cards. The remaining cards are placed face down in front of the dealer and the top card is turned over. No one may look this 'turn card' or at the two cards in the dummy hand until the biding is over.
The dealer's opponent has the first opportunity to name trump. If he orders the dealer to pick up the turn card, he then has the right to pick up the two cards from the dummy hand. He gets to place these two cards in his hand. The dealer also gets to pick up the turn card. The bidder must discard any two cards from the seven now in his hand. The dealer must also discard one card. Both players must only have 5 cards before play begins. If opponent passes, then the dealer may pick up the turn card. The dealer also gets to pick up the two cards from the dummy hand. As he now has 8 cards in his hand he must discard 3. If the dealer turns down the up card, his opponent then has the opportunity to name any other suit as trump. If he does name a trump he can pick up the two cards in the dummy hand. If he passes the dealer may name a suit as trump. If the rules state the game is 'Stick the dealer', then the dealer must name trump. If it is not 'Stick the dealer' the deal is passed to the opponent. Once a trump has been named, the hand is played out the same as 4 handed euchre.
The non-dealer has the first lead. As in regular euchre the bidding player must take at least 3 tricks to make his point. There are no '4 point lone hands' because every hand is a lone. However taking all 5 tricks does award the bidder with 2 points. Euchres' (taking less than three tricks) awards the non-bidding player with 2 points.
If a two handed game is played as part of a progressive tournament to balance out the tables and there is a prize is awarded for most lones, then one lone is normally awarded to the winning player at the end of the game.
Three Handed Euchre (AKA as 'Cutthroat Euchre')
Three handed euchre also uses a standard deck of 24 cards with the card ranking again staying the same. The cards are dealt out in groups of 2's and 3's. With three handed, an additional three cards are dealt to the dummy hand. No player is allowed to see this hand until bidding is over. Each player receives 5 cards. The remaining cards are placed face down in front of the dealer and the top card is turned over.
The naming of trump is done the same as it is in traditional euchre, with the option to name trump first given to the player immediately left of the dealer, and continuing clockwise. The player winning the bid gets to pick up the cards in the dummy hand. The dealer would then pick up the turn card. If the bidder is also the dealer then he gets the turn up card as well. Any player that has picked up cards must also discard so that all players hold 5 cards in their hand before play begins.
The bidder must take 3 tricks to make his point. If he takes all 5 tricks then he gets 2 points. The two non-bidding players become temporary partners for the current round only. Together they compete as a team against the bidder and try to euchre the bidder.
Getting less than 3 tricks results in a euchre and gives both defenders 2 points. Each player keeps his own score. Game is played to 10 as normal.
Going alone is still an option and occurs when the calling player opts not to pick up the dummy hand. A player wishing to go alone must state so before looking at the dummy hand. He may not look at the cards in the dummy hand. Taking 5 tricks on a lone call gives bidder 4 points. Taking three or four tricks gets one point. Getting less than 3 tricks will give both defenders 2 points.
During play no one is allowed to look at the cards in the kitty. This includes not looking at the dummy hand on a lone call.