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The American Card Player section-1

The origin of euchre
By William Brisbane 1866, Pages 57 - 81

Last update on: Dec 21, 2016

The origin of this fascinating game is somewhat uncertain. From the fact that the word Bauer, a peasant, is pronounced similarly to the names of the two leading cards in the game, some have supposed it to be of German invention. Yet the game is unknown in Germany, except in those parts where it has been introduced by wandering Americans. Others assumed that it had a nautical origin, and was invented by some old salt - the names given the commanding cards having reference to the forward anchors of the ship. As it has been traced to the counties of Lancaster, Berks, and Lehigh, in Pennsylvania, where it first made its appearance about forty years since, it is not difficult to conjecture how it arose. Some rich German farmer's daughter, of these American-Teutonic regions, had been visiting Philadelphia in the winter. While there she had stayed at the house of some relative, whose girls spent their summers among the Lehigh hills; and she carried home a confused memory of Encarta. On her dim account, some one of her ingenious rural beaux had created the rudiments of the present game, with the name corrupted to Euchre. By additions and alterations it grew to be what it is. Conjectural as this may appear, a number of corroborative facts seem to indicate that it is the truth.


Adopting. - "Taking it up". This is the privilege of the dealer, after the others have passed, to discard an inferior card, and use instead the trump card turned up. The words used are, "I take it up".

Alone. - Playing without the assistance of your partner, when you have a hand which it is probable would take 5 tricks. The words are, "I play alone," or "Alone," or "Cards away," or "I try it".

Rule 1. - A player can only play alone when he adopts, orders up, or makes a trump, or when his partner assists, orders up, or makes a trump. He cannot, however, play alone with a trump he has passed, or with a trump, the making of which he has passed.

A player cannot play alone when he or his partner is ordered up by an opponent, or when the opposite side adopts or makes the trump. Only those can play alone who have legally taken the responsibility of the trump, and may be euchred; therefore, when one player legally elects to play alone, neither of his opponents can play alone against him.

Rule 2. - If the elder hand passes, and his partner offers to play it alone, the elder hand cannot come in and play it alone, but must turn his cards face down, and go out.

Rule 4. - A player who goes alone must announce his intention in a clear and audible way and tone, so that no doubt can be entertained of his design. If he expresses his purpose in a vague and ambiguous manner, so that it is not clearly understood by his adversaries, and he or they make a lead, he forfeits his privilege, and must play with his partner.

Assist. - If, when your partner deals and the eldest hand passes, you know by your hand alone, or by comparing it with the deck-head, that you can make three tricks, you may say to him, "I assist". This is equivalent to ordering up the trump into his hand, for he thereupon discards his poorest card, and the trump card is his to play when he needs it.

Bower. - The Jack or Knave of the trump suit, and of the suit of the same color.

Call. - The right to demand an exposed card

Rule 6. - If your right-hand adversary plays a card out of turn, or shows it, you can require him to lead it when his turn comes, or play it when his turn comes, and that suit is required, or if he would be otherwise privileged to play it, whether it be to his advantage or not.

Rule 7. - A party refusing to play an exposed card on call, forfeits two to his opponents, as in a revoke.

"Cards Away" - The same as, "I play alone

Count. - To reckon the game.

Rule 8. - An error in count can be rectified at any time before the next deal is completed.

Counters. - The trey and quatre are used in marking game. The face of the trey being up, and the face of the quatre down on it, counts one, whether one, two, or three pips are exposed; the face of the quatre being up, and the trey over it, face down, counts two, whether one, two, three, or four of the pips are shown; the face of the trey uppermost counts three; and the face of the quatre uppermost counts four. The deuce and trey are now rarely used as counters, being more liable to mistakes.

Coat-Cards. - The Bower, King, and Queen, from the fact that they are coated, or dressed.

Cross the Suit. - To make a trump of a different color from the card turned up by the dealer.

Rule 9. - If your partner turns down, and the making is passed to you, either pass or cross the suit. The exceptions to this rule are only to be learned by practice.

Cut. - To separate the shuffled pack into two parts, a right possessed by the right-hand opponent

Rule 10. - A cut must not be less than three cards removed from the top, nor must it be made so as to leave less than four cards at bottom; and the pack must be put on the table for the cut.

Deal. - To distribute the cards to which each player is entitled. You give each player five cards, in two rounds, commencing with your left-hand opponent. You begin by first dealing two cards to each, and then three.

Rule 11. - Every player cuts for the deal at the outset of the game; the highest getting the deal; and if there be a tie, the parties tied cut again.

Rule 12. - In cutting, the Ace is lowest, and the Jack the highest, the others having their regular numerical order

Rule 13. - If a party lets a card fall in cutting, that is his cut; and if he shows two, the highest is his cut

Rule 14. - In dealing, you may begin by giving first two, and then three cards round to each party, or vice versa; but you cannot begin by dealing two to one, three to the next, and so on.

Rule 15. - The cards may be shuffled by others than the dealers, but the dealer must always shuffle last. If the dealer makes a misdeal, he forfeits the deal to the eldest hand.

Rule 16. - If a card is turned or faced in dealing, a new deal may be demanded, but the right to deal is not lost.

Rule 17. - If any opponent takes up or looks at his cards before the trump card is turned up, the dealer does not lose his deal, in case of a misdeal.

Rule 18. - If a deal is made out of turn, it is good, provided it be not discovered until the trump card is turned, and one of the parties have looked at their hands.

Rule 19. - If an opponent displays a card dealt, the dealer may make a new deal, unless he or his partner has first examined his own cards.

Dealer. - One who distributes the cards.

Deck. - The same as Pack

Deck-Head. - The card turned up as trump

Discard. - Putting a card out of the dealer's hand, face down, under the pack, when he "takes it up" in lieu of the trump card on the deck.

The American Card Player

* Index *

Section - 1

Section - 2

Section - 3

Section - 4

Section - 5

Section - 6

Section - 7

Section - 8 - 2 handed euchre

Section - 9 - 3 handed euchre

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