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The Law and Practice of the Game of Euchre (1862)

Last update on: Dec 21, 2016


"They know not when to play, where to play, nor what to play."

The game of Euchre, which consists of five points only, is played by four persons, who cut for partners. It is the practice in some circles for the players to determine among themselves who shall be associated together as partners, and then to throw round, one card at a time to each player, for the first Knave, which gives the deal to the player to whom it is thrown; but the more approved method is to cut for partners, the two highest becoming partners against the two lowest. He who cuts the lowest card wins the deal; and, in cutting, the Ace is accounted the lowest.

When the game is formed, and the players seated at the table, partners opposite to each other, so that each player is between his two adversaries, the player who has won the deal shuffles the pack and presents it to his right hand adversary to cut. The dealer then places the cards lilted off by the cut at the bottom of the pack and distributes twenty cards, by giving five of them in two rounds, of two and three, or by three and two, to each player, beginning with his left-hand adversary, and then turns up the twenty-first card, which he places on the top of the talon, for the tramp,

The remaining cards of the pack, called the talon, or stock, he places on the table to his right. The deal passes in rotation as long as the parties continue to play.

The dealer's left-hand adversary, who is termed the eldest -hand, then examines the cards dealt to him, and if he is of opinion that he can win three of the five tricks at the suit turned up for trumps, he says, "I order it up" and the card turned up by the dealer then becomes the trump. But, if he thinks he cannot win three of the tricks, he simply says, "I pass."

If he passes, the dealer's partner then examines his cards, and if he believes that himself and partner can win three tricks at the suit turned up, he says, "I will assist," and the turn-up card then also indicates the trump suit. But if he believes that himself and partner cannot win three tricks, he also says, "I pass." The third player, after looking at his cards, for the same reason that influenced his partner, either says, " I order it up," or, "I pass."

If all the players have passed, the dealer then examines his hand, and if he is confident of winning three tricks by playing with his partner, he says, "I take it up." He then discards the card of lowest value in his hand, and places it, face downwards, under the talon, and the turn-up card belongs to him in lieu of the one discarded. The dealer is always entitled to discard one card and take the turn-up, or trump card, into his hand, whether it is ordered up by his antagonists, or he is assisted by his partner, or takes it up himself Should the dealer be doubtful of winning three tricks at the suit turned for trump, he Bays, "I turn it down," and immediately places the turn-up card, face down, on the talon.

If all the players, including the dealer, decline to play at the suit turned up, the eldest hand then has the privilege of making a trump, and, should his hand be sufficiently Strong to win three tricks, he says, "I make it ----' naming the suit he prefers, which then becomes the trump suit. If his cards are not strong enough to win three tricks, he Bays, "I pass the making." The second and third player in rotation, have the same privilege of naming a trump suit, and, after them, the dealer. But if all the players, including the dealer, pass the making, the deal is forfeited, and belongs to the last dealer's left-hand adversary, who immediately gathers the cards for dealing.

But, when the deal is completed, if the eldest-hand, on first looking at his cards, believes that his hand is strong enough to win three tricks if the suit turned up is trumps, he orders it up, which makes that the trump suit, and it must be played accordingly. The dealer then discards, and the play commences. The eldest-hand opens the game by leading in any suit he chooses, and all the other players follow to it, in regular order; and whoever plays the highest card wins the trick, which entitles him to the next lead. A player must always play a card of the suit led, if he holds one, on penalty of giving his adversaries two points for the revoke. But, if he has no card of the suit led, he can trump or not at his option. The player who has won the first trick then leads, and the play continues, in like manner, until the five cards in each hand are all played out. The trump, as at all other games, is the commanding suit, the lowest trump winning the highest cards of either of the other three suits.

If the eldest-hand passed and the dealer's partner assisted, or if the partner passed and the partner of the eldest-has ordered it up, or if the latter having passed the dealer takes up the trump, the mode play is the same.

If the player, who orders it up, and his partner, win three of the five tricks - the point trick, as it is termed - they score one point towards the game. If they win four of the five tricks they are also entitled to count one point only. But if they gain all five of the tricks, which is termed making a march, they score two points towards game.

But if a trump is ordered up, or is taking up; or, if a trump is made by either player and such player and his partner fail to win three tricks, they are Euchred, as it is term which entitles their antagonists to add two points to the score of their game. And if one party win all five tricks when their opponents adopt or make a trump, which rarely occur, except when the trump-card ordered up for the Bridge, the winning party are only entitled to two points.

The eldest-hand, in leading, should place his card on the table immediately before him, and each player, in rotation, should observe the same method -a practice which prevents any misunderstanding about the ownership of cards; and, as no player has a right to ask who played any particular card, this practice also serves to designate each player's card by its position on the board.

The tricks belonging to either party may be turned and collected by the player who wins the first trick, on either side; but the better mode is to agree, at the commencement of the game, that one of the partners of opposite sides shall gather all the tricks won by himself and partner, and shall also keep the score of the game.

The five points constituting game are counted with the tray and deuce of the refuse cards, termed counters, which are placed at two diagonal corners of the table, and in such a manner as always to be in view, for no player should ask how the score of the game stands, or calls his partner's attention to it

The game is scored

by placing the tray of the two counters, crosswise, with the face down, upon one half the face of the deuce, leaving only one of its pips exposed, for one point. To count two, the deuce is withdrawn from beneath the tray, upon which it is placed back to back. For three, both cards arc turned over, exposing the face of the tray. Four is counted by removing the deuce from below the tray, and replacing it, lengthwise, half covered, with the face up. This arrangement of the position of the counters should always be adopted, for then no mistake in the count can occur -except, only, at the score of one - should the counters by accident be displaced on the table.

The number of games won by each party may be reckoned with an ordinary four bladed penknife, in this manner; a blade one-quarter open for one game; half open for two games; three-quarters open for three games; fully opened, for four games. The second blade can reckon four more games, which will be eight - when you count them - and the entire four blades open will reckon as many as sixteen games. "Cut and come again." The knife may then be closed, if the players are lucky or skillful enough to continue its use; and sixteen more, or forty-eight, or ad infinitum games may be reckoned op it. If this simple practice will not suit the fastidious, we will connive at any other method.

The mode of playing is, at times, varied by one of the players announcing that he will Play Alone - a variation of such great interest and amusement - and peculiar, in many respects, to this game - that we respectfully beg leave to be permitted to treat the modus operandi somewhat at length in the ensuing Chapter.

Chapter 1 - Preliminary

Chapter 2 - Mode of Playing

Chapter 3 - On Playing Alone

Chapter 4 - Lap, Slam, Jambone, and Jamboree

Chapter 5 - Technicalities

Chapter 6 - Laws

Chapter 7 - Hints to Tyros (Novice)

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