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Two-Handed Euchre - Rules

The complete rules for Two-Handed Euchre

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(The rules of standard Euchre, Three-Handed Euchre, Railroad Euchre, Hasenpfeffer and Napolean are also available.)

Players

2 players

Deck

A 24-card deck is used (the 9, 10, J, Q, K and A in all four suits).

Some players prefer a 32-card deck (adding the 7 and 8 of each suit). British Euchre uses 25 cards (the 24 listed above, plus a joker). There are other variations as well.

Goal

To be the first player to score at least 10 points.

Card Values

The general rule is that Aces are the most valuable cards and 9s are the least valuable.

There are two exceptions. The Jack of the trump suit is the "right bower," and it's the most valuable card. The other Jack of the same color is the "left bower," and it's the second most valuable card. Both bowers are part of the trump suit.

For example, if clubs is the trump suit: the Jack of clubs is the right bower (most powerful) and the Jack of spades is the left bower (second most powerful). In this example, the third most powerful card would be the Ace of clubs.

Setup

Randomly choose a dealer.

Five cards are dealt to each player. The remaining cards are placed face down in the middle of the table. The top card is turned face up; this card initially sets the trump suit.

(Note on dealing: Some traditions have the dealer pass out cards as follows: three to the opponent on his left, two to his partner, three to the opponent on his right, two to himself, two to the opponent on his left, three to his partner, two to the opponent on his right, then three to himself.)

First Bidding Round

Players bid, starting with the non-dealer, on whether or not to use the face-up card's suit as trump. Players have the following choices:

  • The player to the left of the dealer may pass or say "I order it up." If he does, bidding ends.
  • If the non-dealer passes, the dealer may pass or say "I accept." If he accepts, he takes the face-up card, replacing it with a card from his own hand (face down). The suit of the face-up card becomes trump.
  • If both players pass, a second round of bidding will take place (see below).

If the non-dealer says, "I order it up," the dealer has the option of picking up the face-up card and discarding one from his hand, face down. Whether or not the dealer picks it up, the suit of the face-up card becomes trump.

Second Bidding Round

If both players pass in the first round of bidding, the face-up card is turned face down and a second bidding round occurs.

In the second bidding round, the first player who names a suit has chosen trump. If no player bids, all the cards are shuffled together and the next player deals a new hand.

(Note: Some people play that if no one bids in the second round, the dealer must name a trump suit. In other words, the dealer cannot pass in the second round of bidding.)

The player who chooses the trump suit in either bidding round is known as the "maker." The other player is known as the "defender."

Gameplay

The non-dealer leads first by playing any card from his hand.

Players must play the suit of the card led if possible. If not, they may play any card. (Remember that the bowers are both part of the trump suit.)

The highest card played in the lead suit wins the trick, unless one or more trumps were played, in which case the highest trump card wins the trick.

The player who wins the trick leads in the next trick.

Scoring

The maker scores 1 point for taking three tricks and 2 points for taking all five tricks. If the maker fails to take three tricks, he is "euchred" and the defender scores 2 points.

Winning

The first player to score 10 points wins.

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