Euchre (pronounced 'you-ker') is a trump-based, trick-taking card game that has been played in the U.S. since the early 1800's. Although the early games were played using 32-card deck, created by removing the 2's through 6's from a standard 52-card deck, today the standard euchre deck has 24 cards as the 7's and 8's are also removed. This leaves the ace through nine of each suit. Each player is dealt five cards, with four cards remaining undealt. The goal in this addictive game is to defeat your opponents by being the first team to reach 10 points. Points are made by taking at least three out of five possible tricks in a hand.
Euchre is enjoyed by millions of people throughout the world. In some social circles it is considered the only card game. Whether you play casually among friends or seriously in the many tournaments held around the country, you will find it to be a fascinating and challenging game. It is also an ideal way to meet people and make new friends.
Although the rank of the cards is somewhat difficult to understand at first, euchre is a fairly easy game to learn. The more you play, the more you realize the challenging nuances. As your skill level gradually increases, the game becomes even more intriguing.
I've been playing competitive euchre for the last few years and have met many wonderful people from all over North America. I have always been one that tries to share my knowledge with others, and it is from my love of this game and my desire to help others improve their game that I present this series of lessons. Each lesson builds on the previous one. Some of the strategies and plays presented here may contradict what you have been told in the past. Some may even seem like they cannot possibly work. Whatever your reaction to these concepts may be, I ask only that you try them. All of them have been proven to increase your chances of winning. The overall aim is to increase your ability to read the cards and other players, and become a better player yourself. By the end of this course you will have a much better understanding of the game, and will also be able to compete with players at any level, and have a much better chance of winning.
To get the most out of this course you should pick a quiet time of the day when you are able to focus on the information given. Most people find it best to do only one lesson every other day. Re-reading the prior lesson before starting the next is also helpful. It may also help to read a lesson before going out and playing in live games. By practicing these principles you will gain insight into better methods of play. As the lessons progress,it may also be helpful to have a euchre deck handy so that you can lay out the hands.
At the end of each lesson there is a set of multiple choice questions to help reinforce what you have learned.
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At the bottom of each lesson is a section where you can ask questions. All questions and their answers will be available for everyone to see and benefit from. Please ask questions whenever there is something you don't understand, or anything you may need a little more help with.
A while back I was involved in what was almost a 'heated discussion' regarding euchre. An old time euchre player (with 50 years experience) was trying to tell the group that a suited Ace - King - Queen are all equal and it makes no difference which one you lead. Well, viewing the three cards from his hand I would agree it makes no difference. But to their partner, a Queen lead means the Ace and King are out there somewhere. They (correctly) think they should trump the Queen to save it from being overtaken by the Ace or King. A King lead would have the same meaning. The correct play is always to lead an ace.
In this same conversation he informed us of the correct way to signal his partner on what suit to lead back. (on a trick where he could not follow suit) He suggested that the correct play is to throw off the King to tell partner he has the Ace. The trouble here is that this leaves the partner having to guess whether the King is the only one in his hand, if it came from an Ace-King set, or if came from a King-Queen set. The partner has a 1 in 3 chance of guessing right. If, however, the old-timer throws off the Ace, to his partner it could only mean he has the King or he can trump that suit.
Most euchre players learned the game from their elders, who only played within a small circle of people. In today's world of high-speed internet, on-line euchre games and nationwide euchre tournaments, much has changed. Euchre players are exposed to a much wider group. Collectively this large group has advanced the play of the game considerably. There are methods of play used today that many old-timers would never think of. Among these are going are "alone at 8 points" and "donating or blocking to protect a lead". There are other plays such as "the end play", "leading through the bidder" and many more that we will talk about.
In the following lessons we will cover these new methods.
It is my hope that you will enjoy these lessons, maybe learn a few new tricks, and most importantly have fun beating you opponents.