How to play Euchre
4 suits in a deck of cards
Euchre - Michigan Style!
Winter is drawing near and that means longer nights, to some that also means ‘Euchre Night’! There is only 1 way to play Euchre, but there is also ‘Michigan Euchre‘. In Michigan because of the cold winters and long nights, game night has always been something that we enjoy. There are even Euchre clubs, where a large number of people gather together to play. It is played traditionally but with certain rules that are in place, and for some reason has gotten the term Michigan Euchre. Just by the way the cards are laid. Let’s cover the basics first.
Euchre is played with 4 people - 2 sets of partners using 24 cards.
9 to Ace of all suits are used.
The 5’s are used for keeping score. (1 red and 1 black to each opposing team)
5 cards are dealt thusly, Starting on the left, 3 - 2 - 3 - 2 to each person then 2 - 3 - 2 - 3, with 4 remaining cards, the top one being turned over.
The card turned over is the option for being ‘trump‘, meaning the highest of the 4 suits, that suit will take tricks if played on opposing suits. The person to the left of the dealer decides first if they want to ‘order it up’. If it is ordered the dealer picks it up and discards one card, the suit ordered will be trump. (In Michigan Euchre the card discarded should be the opposite suit ie; if spades are called discard the club in your hand) If you have a lot of one suit, discarding the lowest will not help, discard your lowest card that you only have 1 of, making sure you are not discarding trump!
If it is passed it will go on to the next person, the next, then on to the dealer. If the dealer decides they don’t want it, it will be ‘turned down’. If this should happen then:
The person to the left will have the option of ‘calling trump’, it can be anything but the suit that was turned down. And around to the next person until trump is either called or reaches the dealer. If the dealer turns it down, then the deal is passed to the person on the left.
Highest to lowest card relative to suit
Once trump is called the highest card will be the Jack of that suit ie; if diamonds are called Jack of diamonds will be the highest. The next highest card will be the jack of hearts (these are called Right and Left bowers, Right being higher than Left) Then Ace, King, Queen, 10 and 9. (The same goes for the black suits ie; if spades are called the Jack of spades is the highest and the Jack of clubs is the next highest, and vice versa for clubs or hearts)
The one to the left of the dealer lays the first card down, you MUST follow suit. To get caught not doing so is called ‘reneging’ and could cost you 2 points. The highest card takes the ‘trick’
The point system works like this - 3 tricks taken makes 1 point, 5 tricks taken 2 points. Should you ‘go alone’ then by taking all 5 tricks will earn you 4 points, taking 3 or 4 tricks will only net you 1 point. If you should order it up and not take at least 3 tricks, you will have been ‘set’ causing your opponents to get 2 points. By using the 5’s in the deck, facing each other the top card can be moved to uncover the spots of the card, when 5 points have been reached the top card is turned over. The team that reaches 10 first wins the game.
The difference between Michigan Euchre and regular Euchre
Now we will get to ‘Michigan Euchre’ - The lead is the key to winning in Euchre, in Michigan.
1. If our partner either picks it up or orders it up and we have the lead (the one playing first), we lead out with our BEST trump in our hand. We want our partner to know where that other ‘bower’ is.
2. If we have no trump then we play an Ace, if we have one.
3. If this isn’t possible then we play the lowest card of the most in 1 suit that we have in our hand, so if at all possible our partner can ‘trump‘ it.
If our partner has the lead, they will lead out with the ‘Right’ bower, if they have it. If they do not lead out with it, then us ‘Michiganders’ know they don’t have it by this simple move.
If you should play online in one of the numerous ‘game rooms’, once you have mastered the ‘Michigan Rules’ you will find that not many know of these little tricks.
Just a few things to think of!
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