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The American Card Player section-5

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

Last update on: Dec 21, 2016


There is still another privilege allowed the fortunate holder of a good hand, and that is to play it alone. If from the fullness of your hand there is a reasonable probability that you can secure all the tricks, you "play it alone," or without the assistance of your partner, and if successful are entitled to a score of four points. There is no abridgment of the right to play "alone," except when the attempt has been anticipated by your adversary's ordering it up, which a prudent player will always do in certain positions of the game, to which we shall refer with more particularity. In playing a lone hand, the following rules are now universally adopted: if the dealer s partner assists, or makes the trump, the dealer has the privilege of playing alone, or if the eldest hand orders up or makes the trump, his partner may play alone.

For example: - A and B are partners against C and D; A deals; C orders it up, and thus prevents A or B playing alone; but either C or D may play alone, provided the latter claims the privilege before plays a card. Suppose passes, and B assists or orders it up ; neither nor D can play alone, but B or A may, provided either claims the privilege before C plays, and must not play until A has discarded. Suppose and B both pass, D may now order up and play alone, but neither of the others can. Suppose C, B, and D pass, and A takes it up - of course he can play it alone, but neither of the others can. Suppose A passes, B., turns it down, and C makes the trump; the case stands then precisely as it would have stood had he ordered up the trump first turned; and so, if C passes a second time, and B makes the trump, the case stands as it would have stood had B ordered up the turned card. If, however, C and B both pass, and D makes the trump, he may play alone, but neither of the others can. And, in like manner, if C, B, and D pass, A may make the trump, and he play alone, subject to the provision already named - that the privilege is claimed before a card is played. {See Rule 2.)

When the dealer's partner, having a right to go alone, elects to do so, the dealer has not the right to supersede him and play alone himself. In declaring to go alone when it his turn to settle the game and confirm, or make, the trump, as the case may be, the dealer's partner binds the adversaries, and consequently binds himself and his partner. It is not a question between the dealer and his partner, but between the partner and the opposing players. The partner, by confirming the trump and declaring to play alone, has settled the game and cut off the opponent's right who is third man. It follows that, as he has been allowed to do this, his action must at the same time have cut off the right of the dealer to change the game. It would be a change for him to substitute himself for the player who has declared to play alone. Whenever this declaration is made by a player who has the "say," it creates an obligation on the other side to play against a lone hand, and one on his part to play the lone hand. This obligation, his partner cannot be permitted to break.

In playing a lone hand, it is always a great advantage to have the lead. The next advantage is, to have the last play on the first trick, therefore the eldest hand and the dealer may assume the responsibility of playing alone on a weaker hand than either of the other players.

Where a player "goes it alone," and fails to take five tricks, he is only entitled to a score of one; should he fail entirely, it entitles the adverse parties to the same score as the ordinary "Euchre," to wit, two points.

In some coteries, the adverse parties claim a score of four points upon "Euchring" alone hand. We have tried to trace this principle to some authoritative source, but have failed in getting the sanction of any whose opinions are entitled to weight upon the question. We have heard of instances where both sides were permitted to play alone, and in case of the failure of the original player to make a march, the other side was allowed to score four; this is, however, only a foolish innovation, directly opposed to the axiom in Euchre, viz.: that only those can play alone who legally assume the responsibility of the trump, and incur the chance of being euchred. Besides, there can be no object in playing alone against a lone player, for a Euchre never counts more than two. If it did, one lone player might count four in taking only three tricks, while the other must get all five tricks to count four.

There is, also, an improper custom which prevails in some parts of the West, viz.: that of giving to the player of a lone hand the privilege of the lead, irrespective and without regard to his position in the game, thus debarring the eldest hand of his right to the lead. This is so manifestly unfair that it is not worth notice here.

These and other innovations and modifications, such as Set Back and Ace Euchre are entirely at variance with the established rules of the game, and are never played by those who are familiar with, and appreciate Euchre as a scientific amusement.

When your opponent is playing alone, and trumps a suit you or your partner leads, be sure and throw away all cards of that suit upon his subsequent leads, provided you do not have to follow suit.

When opposing a lone hand and your partner throws away high cards of any particular suit, you may be assured that he holds good cards in some other suit; you should therefore retain to the last the highest card you hold of the suit he throws away (if you have one) in preference to any other card, unless it be an Ace of some other suit.


If one side stands at four in the game, and the other at one, such position is called a "bridge," and the following rule should be observed; to make the theory perfectly plain, we will suppose A and B to be playing against and D, the former being four in the game and the latter but one. C having dealt, B first looks at his hand, and finds he has but one or two small trumps; in other words, a light hand. At this stage of the game, it would be his policy to "order up" the trump, and submit to being "Euchred," in order to remove the possibility of or D playing it alone; for if they should, by good fortune, happen to succeed, the score of four would give them the game; when, if it were ordered up, the most that could be done would be to get the Euchre, and that giving but a score of two, the next deal, with its percentage, would in all probability give A and B enough to make their remaining point and go out. If, however, B should have enough to prevent a lone hand, he can pass as usual, and await the result. The Eight Bower or the Left Bower guarded is sufficient to block a lone hand.

The eldest hand is the only one who should order up at the bridge, for if he passes, his partner may rest assured that he holds commanding cards sufficient to prevent the adversaries making a lone hand. If, however, the eldest hand passes, and his partner is tolerably strong in trumps, the latter may then order up the trump to make a point and go out, for by the passing of the eldest hand his partner is informed that he holds one or more commanding trumps, and may therefore safely play for the point and game.

The eldest hand should always order up at the bridge when not sure of a trick: the weaker his hand, the greater the necessity for doing so. (See Rule 25.)

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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