JUCKER & THE JOKER

Ask questions, discuss and debate your strategies, euchre polls and more
Post Reply
irishwolf
Posts: 127
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:33 pm

JUCKER & THE JOKER

Post by irishwolf » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:27 am

There is some erroneous and misleading stuff about the Joker and the word Jucker. It is true that David Parlett, an English card historian, published that the origin of "Euchre - Eucre" (1990 & 1991 books) came from an Alsatian game called Juckerspiel (French providence with a German culture - our Jack was called a 'Bauer' we changed it to Bower as we know it today). Every card game comes from some 'parent' game, historically. That may not be true today, but was true almost without exception pre-1900. The parent game of Euchre and Juckerspiel appears to be a very old game called Triomphe, also called French Ruff (I won't give the details of this game in this forum.)

There never has been published how the game call Juckerspiel was played. So the game was introduced by Hessian soldiers (prisoners) who had some of these Alsatians among their ranks. Over 5000 of the Hessian soldiers, as prisoners, deserters, etc. never went back to Europe at the end of the Revolutionary War. The Americans took the game, Jucker sounds like how we would pronounce Euchre. But the first spelling was without the "H", spelled Eucre. I have documentation of the early spelling.

As our game moved on variations of the standard game were introduced. The "Joker" card, originally just a "blank card" without any chacter notations printed and it was called the Imperial card/bower (and other names as well), as the Best Bower with rank over the Right Bower and Left Bower. One of the first, if not the first to develop the Joker card was Samuel Hart, in 1862. Later card manufacturers renamed the blank card, i.e. Imperial bower and settled on calling it the Joker card. Before it was called the Joker card, Cornish miners, mainly from the copper mines of the U.P. (Michigan), took the game back to Cornwall. They called it the card the "Benny" because a name had not been settled on to call it the Joker card.

There are several postings on the Internet, that have now said that the work "Joker" came from the word "Jucker". This is false, a myth! So why do do I state this. 1) The origin of Euchre being traced to Juckerspiel did not occur until 1990 by D. Parlett. 2) You or anyone, past or present researchers, has never found the word Jucker in books or journals. There were many discussions in the late 1800s and early 1900s trying to find the origin of Euchre and derivation of the word without success. Thus if the word Jucker as it relates to Euchre was not known until 1990, it follows that the word "Joker" could not have been come from the word "Jucker."

(to be continued)

Irishwolf (I am a Euchre Historian)



Catch10110
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:50 pm
Location: Aurora, IL

Post by Catch10110 » Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:31 pm

Why did we lose the ability to call Jambone and Jamboree?

irishwolf
Posts: 127
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:33 pm

Post by irishwolf » Thu Dec 13, 2018 5:20 pm

The game as a variant of standard game is still out there as well as using the Joker, 32 card, 28 card, etc. Just no one plays it anymore since 1900. Those variants according to the literature research came about late 1850s. They were in Meehan's book 1862 and several Hoyles after that, that was when the game was to 5 points. There are some areas that still play with 32 cards, and in Cornwall, Jersey Island they use the Joker. My father played a version of 'defending alone' where if someone announced going alone, he could be challenged by an opponent - called it Across the Corner as two sit out. The first to win 3 tricks got 4 points. That's from when he learned euchre early 1900s in Michigan. During the late 1800 when Euchre was played in the South and West as well, many versions of euchre were invented, including Progressing Euchre about 1885 as the last meaningful variant. During the Civil War, euchre was the craze when people from all states, i.e. solders mixed and traveled! Soldiers from the New England states, being from Puritans did not play Euchre until the War but did after.

Talking about variant of Euchre, I came up with a version with 21 cards using the Joker but NO Left bower. Joker is the highest bower and the Left is just a suit card. If the Joker is turned up, the dealer has to announce with suit it represents before looking at his cards. So the stock only has one card and all know its value, still have 7 trumps. This is a good version for teaching new players to lead trump before playing aces (knowing all the trump is out), and all the cards are out. More off a teaching version.

I also came up with a version of STD with a critical twist. When it gets back to the dealer on 2nd round, he can call not only one of the three suits trump but can also announce "NO TRUMP". (it has to be announced before the dealer deals the cards for his hand) Thus there is no trump in this version, and if he has the aces, he can run the table or get his three tricks. It put a risk to those bagging on the dealer - call no trump. A good element of added risk to the game. Try it sometime!

The way the Cornish play today, sometimes with 32 cards and the Joker (called the Benny there) demonstrates that their game came from how euchre was played 1860 to 1890s when they were miners and took the game back to Cornwall (my opionion). They were in contact with ancestors in Cornwall, writing letters, sending money, and some who went back to Cornwall to live.

It was the Gold Miners of California that took Euchre to Australia early 1850s. The miners were a restless bunch, looking to strike it rich by mining. When the gold rush was on 1851 in Australia. My grandfather's brother, Hugh Neill migrated to Ballarat, Victoria, Australia 1858 to the gold mining area.

A lot of euchre is still played in Australia and NZ to this day. They seem to like 500 in Australia better though.

Why did we lose the ability to call Jambone and Jamboree? Just have to get players familiar with the variant.

Post Reply