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The American Card Player section-6

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

Last update on: Dec 21, 2016


When the dealer takes the trump up before the play begins, it is his duty to "discard " or reject a card from his hand, in lieu of the one taken up. We will suppose the Ten of Hearts to be turned, and the dealer holds the King and Eight Bower, with the Ace and nine spot of Clubs and King of Diamonds: the proper card to reject would be the King of Diamonds, for there would be no absolute certainty of its taking a trick. The Ace might be held by the opponents, and by retaining the Ace and Nine spot of Clubs, the whole suit of Clubs might be exhausted by the Ace, and then the nine spot might be good; or, if the trump should be one of the red suits, and the dealer held three trumps and a Seven of Spades and Seven of Hearts, it would be better to discard the Spade, for, as the dealer's strength was in the red suit, the probabilities would be that the other side would be correspondingly weak, and therefore the Heart would be better than the Spade. Where you have two of one suit and one of another to discard from, always discard the suit in which you have one card, for then you may have an opportunity to "ruff."


We have seen that the game is opened by the eldest hand leading, and much depends upon this feature of the game. Where a dealer has been assisted, it is a common practice to lead through the assisting hand, and frequently results favorably; for, in the event of the dealer having but the trump turned, a single lead of trump, exhausts his strength, and places him at the mercy of a strong suit of lay cards. It is not, however, always advisable to "Swing" a trump, for if the eldest hand holds a tenace, his duty is to maneuver so as to secure two tricks; but this is only an exceptional case. The proper method of determining the nature of the lead is indicated by the quality of the hand and the purpose to be accomplished. The eldest hand, holding two Aces and a King, with two small trumps, of course would lead trump through assisting hand, for the reason that the only hope of securing a "Euchre" would be dependent upon the success of the lay suits, and they only can be made available after the trumps have been exhausted.

Where the dealer takes the trump voluntarily, the eldest hand is of course upon the defensive, and to lead trump under such circumstances would be disastrous.

Should your partner have the Right Bower turned, lead a small trump; by so doing, you will be sure to weaken your adversary's hand

When your partner makes the trump, or orders it up, lead him the best trump you hold. Do this in any case.

When you hold the commanding cards, they should be led, to make the march; but if you are only strong enough to secure your point, side cards should be used; put the lowest on your partner's lead, if it be a commanding card; the highest on your adversary's.

When opposed to a lone hand, always lead the best card you have of a lay suit, so that the possibility of your partner's retaining a card of the same suit with yourself may be averted; particularly if it is a card of opposite color from the trump, for, if a red card should be trump, and an opponent played it alone, there would be more probability of his not having five red cards than of his holding that number, and the further chance, that if he did hold five red cards, it would, in like proportion, reduce the probability of your partner having one of the same suit, and give him an opportunity to weaken your opponent's hand by trumping it.

The exception to the above rule is, when you hold two or three cards of a suit, including Ace and King, and two small cards in other suits; in this case your best play would be to lead one of the latter and save your strong suit, for the reason that your partner may hold commanding cards in your weak suits, and thus you give him a chance to make a trick with them; and if this does not occur, you have your own strong suit as a reserve, and may secure a trick with it.

When playing to make a lone hand, always lead your commanding trump cards first, reserving your numerical trumps and lay suit for the closing leads. When you have exhausted your commanding trumps, having secured two tricks, and retain in your hand a numerical trump and two cards of a lay suit, lead the highest of the lay suit to make the third trick, then your trump. For instance, suppose Hearts are trumps, and you hold the Right and Left Bowers and Ten of trumps, and Ace and King of Spades; lead your Bowers, then the Ace of Spades, following with the Ten of trumps and your lay Nine. The reason for playing thus is obvious. You may not exhaust your adversaries' trumps by the first two leads, and if either of them were to retain a trump card superior to your Ten, by leading the latter you would, in all probability, suffer the mortification of being euchred on a lone hand. For example - we will suppose one of your opponents holds the Queen, Seven, and Eight of trumps, with a small Diamond and Club, or two of either suit: he would play the two small trumps on your Bowers, and if you led the Ten of trumps, he would capture it with his Queen, and lead you a suit you could not take. Your chance of escape from such a dilemma would be very small. On the other hand, if, on your third lead, you were to lead the lay Ace, you would force your adversary to play his remaining trump, and allow you to win the point.

When you hold three small trumps and good lay cards, and desire to Euchre your opponents, lead a trump, for when trumps are exhausted you may possibly make your commanding lay cards win.

When you make the trump next in suit, always lead a trump, unless you hold the tenace of Eight Bower and Ace, and even then it would be good policy to lead the Bower, if you hold strong lay cards

When you hold two trumps, two lay cards of the same suit, and a single lay card, lead one of the two lay cards, for you may win a trick by trumping the suit of which you hold none, and then, by leading your second lay card, you may force your opponents to trump, and thus weaken them. With such a hand it would not be good play to lead the single lay card, for you might have the good fortune to throw it away on your partner's trick, and ruff the same suit when led by your opponents.

"When your partner has made or adopted the trump, it is bad play to win the lead, unless you are the fortunate possessor of a hand sufficiently strong to play for a march.

If your partner assist you, and has played a trump, and you have won a trick and the lead, do not lead him a trump unless you hold commanding cards, and are pretty certain of making the odd trick or a march, for your partner may have assisted on two trumps only, in which case such a lead would draw his remaining trump, and, in all probability, prove fatal to his most cherished plans.

When you have lost the first two tricks, and secured the third, if you hold a trump and a lay card play the former, for, in this position of the game, it is your only chance to make or save a Euchre. There are only two exceptions to this rule, viz.: when you have assisted your partner, or when he has adopted the trump and still retains the trump card in his hand. In the former instance, you should lead the lay card, trusting to your partner to trump it; in the latter case, you should also lead the lay card, unless your trump is superior to your partner's, and your lay card is an Ace or a King, in which case you should play trump, and trust to the lay card to win the fifth trick. The reason for this play is very manifest: if your opponents hold a better trump than you, it is impossible to prevent them winning the odd trick, and, therefore, the Euchre or point; but if they hold a smaller trump, your lead exhausts it, and you may win the last trick with your lay card. This position frequently occurs in the game, and we recommend it to the attention of the novice.

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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