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The game of Euchre

By John W. Keller, 1887

Last update on: Dec 21, 2016

Rules of Euchre - CHAPTER 4

The rules of any game are very dry reading; but as no game can exist without rules, Euchre has its laws, and they must be embodied in this little book, even at the risk of repeating something that I may have already said. I shall endeavor to atone for dryness and redundancy, however, by simplicity and brevity, and such an arrangement of the rules as will make them of easy reference. In this arrangement I have not depended alone upon my own knowledge of the game, but have carefully consulted the best writers upon the subject. I place the result before the public, therefore, with a fully developed hope that it will prove satisfactory. That they may be more easily referred to, I have grouped the rules under the names of the phases of the game, to which they apply.


In cutting, the ace is lowest, the deuce next, and so on to the king, which is highest.

In beginning the game, each player must cut the cards, and those players cutting the highest two cards must oppose those players cutting the lowest two cards.

The player cutting the lowest card must deal. (Sometimes players cut for partners, and then again for the deal. But as the same rule governs both cases, it will be readily seen that cutting twice is unnecessary.)

If there should be a tie in cutting, the players making the tie must cut again.

If a player exposes more than one card in cutting, he must cut again.


Any player has the right to shuffle the cards, but the dealer may always shuffle them last if he chooses. This is his prerogative.

After being shuffled the cards must be cut by the opponent sitting on the dealer's right.

The cards must be placed on the table to be cut.

The cards must be so cut as to leave at least four cards on the table, and to remove at least four cards from the top of the pack.


In dealing, five cards must be distributed to each player.

These must be dealt from right to left; that is, the player at the left of the dealer is helped first, the dealer's partner second, etc.

The dealer may either deal two cards at a time in turn to each player, and then three, or he may deal three at a time in turn to each player, and then two. But he must always complete the deal as he begins it. He cannot deal two cards to one player, and three to the next; or three cards to one, and two to the next. The penalty of violating this rule is a new deal for the opposing side, provided they claim the deal before looking at their cards. If either of the opponents, however, has seen his hand, no misdeal can be claimed on this account.

After having given each player his complement of cards, the dealer must turn the next card face upwards on the top of the pack. This is the trump card.

A misdeal from any cause forfeits the deal.

If a card too many or a card too few be given to any player, it is a misdeal.

If the deal is made without the cards being properly shuffled or cut, it is a misdeal. In this case, however, the claim for a misdeal must be made before the trump card is turned, and before the adversaries look at their hands.

If in dealing, a card be exposed by the dealer or his partner, the adversaries may claim a new deal, provided they have not touched their cards. In the event of such a claim, a new deal must be made, but the deal is not lost.

If the dealer's partner touch his cards during the deal, the adversaries may touch their cards without impairing their right to call for a new deal, should the opportunity occur.

If an adversary displays a card, the dealer or his partner may call for a new deal if they have not seen their hands.

If a deal is made out of turn, it is good unless the mistake is discovered before the dealer has discarded and the eldest hand has led.

If a card is faced in dealing, a new deal may be called for, but the deal is not lost. Of course the facing of the trump card is exempt from this rule.

If the pack is discovered to contain more or less than thirty-two cards, the deal is void, but all the points already made must stand.

If a misdeal is caused by any interruption by the adversaries, the deal is not forfeited. (The object of this rule seems to be the protection of the dealer from the possible annoyance and interference of his opponents. So far as this goes, it is admirable; for certain players, who make a point of trying to confuse the dealer, need such restriction. On the other hand, however, some dealers will take advantage of this rule to endeavor to shoulder the blame of all their mistakes upon their adversaries. The fault with the rule is, that it gives an opportunity for quibbles and disputes. The terra "interruption" is too indefinite in its application to Euchre. What would be an interruption to one person might not be to another, and very naturally the dealer and his opponents would differ on a question involving so important a loss as the deal. It has been urged against this rule, that it favors the dealer. While this may be true in a certain sense, the rule is nevertheless justifiable, for the dealer in any game should always have every chance to deal correctly. Furthermore, no opponent has the right to do anything that he knows will interrupt the dealer, whether the opponent regards his action as a justifiable interruption or not. It is the dealer's right to preserve the deal, if he can, and he should be afforded all reasonable opportunity to do so. The application of this rule regarding interruption must depend largely upon the common sense of the players, where I think it is safe to leave it.)


If the dealer does not turn down the trump card, he must take a card from his hand and exchange it for the trump card.

In making this exchange the dealer must place the card, taken from his hand, face downwards beneath the pack. The discard is not complete until this is done. If the eldest hand makes a lead before the discard is thus complete, he cannot take back the card played, but must let it remain on the table.

The fact that the eldest hand has led a card does not affect the dealer's rights. The latter may discard some other card, if he chooses, or he may play alone. (The theory of this rule is that the eldest hand has no right to lead until the discard is complete, and he must therefore suffer the consequences of unlawful haste.)

If the dealer quits the discarded card, he cannot take it in hand again under any circumstances.

After the discard has been completed, the dealer may leave the trump card on the top of the pack, until it is necessary to play it, or he may take it in hand.

After the trump card has been taken in hand, no player has the right to demand its denomination, although any player has the right to ask what suit is trumps, and the dealer must answer correctly.

If any player should play with more than five cards in his hand, or if the dealer should fail to discard, and not declare that fact before three tricks are played, the offending party is debarred from counting any points made in that deal, and the deal is lost.

But under such circumstances, should the adverse side win, they may score all the points they make.

Exposed Cards.

Cards are said to be exposed under the following circumstances: -

When any card is dropped with its face upwards.

When two or more cards are played at once.

When a player indicates that he holds a certain card in his hand.

When any card is so exposed by accident, or otherwise, that an opponent can distinguish and name it.

All exposed cards may be called; and the offending player may be compelled to lead or play such exposed card or cards, when it is legal for him to do so.

Under no circumstances can an exposed card be called, if a revoke is thereby caused.

If any player lead out of turn, his adversaries may demand of him to withdraw his card, and compel a lead from the player whose right it is to lead.

A card improperly led must be treated as an exposed card, and may be called at any time during that deal, provided such calling causes no revoke.

If any player should lead out of turn, and all the other players should play to that lead, the trick is good and must stand.

If only the second or third player, or both, have followed a mislead, and the error is discovered before the fourth player has played, the trick is not complete, and all the cards must be taken back, and the right player must lead. In this case the only player incurring a penalty is that one making the false lead. His card must be treated as exposed, and may be called.

If any player should play out of turn, his opponents may compel him to withdraw, his card, and may consider the card thus improperly played as an exposed card, and may call it at any time during that deal, provided no revoke is caused thereby.

If any player trump a card in error, and thereby induce an opponent to play otherwise than he would have done, the latter may take up his card, without penalty, and call upon the offender to play that trump at any time during that deal.

If two cards should be played at once, an opponent may elect which of the two cards shall remain on the board, provided no revoke is caused.

If a player should play twice to the same trick, an opponent may elect which of the two cards shall remain on the board, provided no revoke is caused. But if a trick should be turned with five cards in it, the opponents may claim a fresh deal.

If a player, for any reason whatsoever, should throw his hand face upwards on the table, his opponents may call each and all of the cards so exposed, and the offender must play his cards as they are called. This rule does not apply to a lone hand. (The palpable and just reason for this rule, and the exception, is as follows: In any game of partners, and particularly in Euchre, a card turned up on the table gives valuable information to the partner of the player turning his card or cards. Such action should therefore be penalized. But if a player is playing a lone hand he has no partner to benefit, and, hence, may throw his hand face upwards on the table, and still play it as he chooses.)

If a player refuses to play an exposed card on call, his side forfeits two points to the opposing side.


As revoking is the greatest of sins in Euchre, its penalty is the severest. When a revoke occurs, the adverse party is entitled to add two points to their score.

But if the revoke is discovered before the trick is quilted, or before the party making the revoke, or his partner, has played again, the error is not penalized as a revoke, but merely as an exposed card, the offending party being compelled to rectify his error by withdrawing the misplayed card, playing correctly, and holding the misplayed card subject to a call.

If a player corrects his revoke after his partner has played, the partner cannot withdraw his card; but the opponent that has played may withdraw his card and play another if he chooses.

If a revoke is claimed against adversaries, and they mix their cards or throw up their hands, the revoke must be taken for granted, and the penalty imposed.

No party can claim a revoke after cutting for a new deal.

A revoke on both side's forfeits to neither, but a new deal must be made.

If a player makes a revoke, his side cannot count any point made in that deal.

Making the Trump.

Each player must wait until his turn to say whether or not he makes the trump.

Any player making a trump cannot change the suit after having once named it.

If a player should name the suit previously turned down, he forfeits his right to make the trump, and the privilege must pass to the next eldest hand. This rule holds good, no matter how palpable the causes of the error may be.

Playing Alone.

A player may play alone when he orders up, takes up, or makes a trump; or when his partner assists, orders up, or makes a trump.

If any player has passed a trump he cannot play alone with that trump.

If any player has passed the making of a trump, he cannot play alone when the trump is made.

No player can play alone after a lead has been made by himself or by his opponents.

No player can play alone when he or his partner is ordered up by an opponent.

No player can play alone when the opposing side adopts or makes the trump.

That the application of these rules may be made clearer, suppose that A and B are partners against C and D. A deals and C orders it up. This prevents A or B from playing alone; but either C or D may play alone, provided either of them claims the privilege before C plays a card. If C passes, and B assists, or orders it up, neither C nor D can play alone. But A or B may play alone, provided either claims the privilege before C leads; and it must be borne in mind that C cannot legally lead until A has discarded. This point regarding the discard should always be well remembered by the holder of the eldest hand, or else he may find himself with an exposed card. But to continue the illustration: if B and C pass, D may order up the trump and play it alone; but none of the others can, for' B and C have passed, and A is D's opponent. If B, C, and D pass, and A takes up the trump, A can play alone, but none of the others can. If A turns down the trump, and C makes it, then either C or D may play alone, but A or B cannot. If C passes the making, and B makes the trump, then A or B may play alone, but C and D cannot. If C makes the trump he may play alone, but none of the others can. If A makes the trump he may play alone, but none of the others can. Of course the choice to play alone, in all these cases, must be made before a card is played. Thus it will be seen that the rules govern in the making of the trump just as they do in the adoption of the trump turned up.

If a player having the right to play alone, declares to do so, his partner cannot supersede him and play alone. (The theory of this rule is that a player in declaring to play alone binds his adversaries to play against his lone hand, and thus settles the game. After this there can be no change. Therefore, the player who has declared to play alone cannot be superseded by his partner; that is, this partner cannot break the obligation incurred by the player declaring to play alone.)

When a player declares to play alone, his partner must place his hand face downwards on the table, and leave it there until the hands are played out.

If in placing his hand face downwards on the table, the partner of the player playing alone should expose any of his cards, whether by accident or design, his opponents have the option to compel him to play with his partner or not.

In declaring to play alone, a player must announce his intention clearly and unmistakably. If he makes this announcement in indistinct or ambiguous terms, or in any way so that his adversaries cannot understand him, and if a lead has been made before the declaration is fully understood, he forfeits his privilege, and must play with his partner.


The game consists of five points.

If the side adopting or making the trump takes five tricks, it is entitled to score two points.

If it takes three tricks, it is entitled to score one point.

If it takes four tricks, it is entitled to score but one point, four tricks counting no more than three.

If the side adopting or making the trump fails to take at least three tricks, it is euchred, and the opposing side is entitled to score two points.

If a player playing alone takes five tricks, he is entitled to score four points.

If he takes three or four tricks, he is entitled to score one point.

If he fails to take at least three tricks, he is euchred, and the opposing side is entitled to score two points. (Some Euchre players hold that when a player playing alone is euchred, the opposing side should be entitled to score four points. This is not fair on its face, for the player playing alone must take five tricks in order to score four points, whereas it requires only three tricks for the combined strength of his adversaries to euchre him. Moreover, if the lone player takes three or four tricks, he can count but one point, while the same number of tricks gives to his opponent's two points. It would be unfair, and against the chances of the game, to allow the opponents to count four for euchring a player playing alone.

The penalty for a revoke takes precedence of all other scores.

An error in scoring may be rectified at any time previous to the completion of the next deal. If it is not completed by that time, however, it must stand.


If a player intimates to his partner, in any way, what card the latter shall play, the opposing side is entitled to score one point. It matters not whether this intimation be in sign or word, this rule holds good. The only legal remarks in euchre are these, or such as are analogous to them: "What are trumps?" "Can you not follow suit?" "I think there is a revoke," "discard," and these may be used only by the person whose turn it is to play.

If a player, when his side is at a bridge, call the attention of his partner to the fact so that the latter orders up, the latter forfeits the right to order up, and either of the opponents may play alone if he chooses.

No player has the right to look at any trick but the last one turned.

Chapter 1 - Origin of Euchre

Chapter 2 - description

Chapter 3 - Technical Terms

Chapter 4 - Rules of Euchre

Chapter 5 - Laps, Slams, Jambone, Jamboree

Chapter 6 - Railroad Euchre

Chapter 7 - Two and Three-Handed Euchre

Chapter 8 - Progressive Euchre

Chapter 9 - Miscellaneous Variations

Chapter 10 - Points

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