New Appendix (© 2000-2017) to
As stated on our main euchre page, and in the back
since initial publication on March 1, 1999 (additions
to the first edition, incorporated in the second, follow) :
|Revision (with additions), pages 8-9 (September 17, 2017; thanks to John McLeod (host of the Card Games web site) and others: |
“Bower” and “march” – two other strange terms of euchre (besides the word “euchre” itself) – have German roots, “Bauer” and “Marsch.” “Bauer” is German for “farmer,” or peasant, colloquial for the jack in a deck of cards (this derivation is widely known; some euchre players yet spell the trump jack “Bauer”). “Marsch” is German for both “march” and “marsh”; so you can say that, when one side takes all the tricks in a round (that’s a “march” in euchre), the victors have “marched” through the vanquished (I’m told that that’s what the Germans meant, but it might as well mean “marsh,” since the vanquished are “swamped”).
Further confirmation of the origin of euchre in or about Alsace is found in the game Bauern, still played in Saarland and the Hunsrück region of the Rhineland, just up the road in Germany (less than 100 kilometers from Strasbourg). Both areas use 32-card decks ranked as for euchre. The Hunsrück version is closer to euchre, but has two teams of three players each. Both versions are scored downward – winners are the first to zero. . . .
[Further description of Bauern from Mr. McLeod (not in the book): In Saarland, four players are dealt eight cards each. The first player has to choose tump after getting the first four cards, and the maker's team needs to take five of the eight tricks to win a point. In a variant with a 20-card deck (eliminating 7's through 9's), players get only five cards each.
[The game in Hunsrück is for six players in two teams of three players each. Five cards are dealt to each player in batches of three and then two, and one of the two remaining cards is turned up. If no one wants this trump, trump can be named (as in euchre).
[The Saarland game starts at 8 points and goes to zero; the Hunsrück game, at 5 and to zero. If the trump makers take more than half the tricks, they subtract a point from their score; if not, they add a point and the opponents subtract one.]
[back to the book:] Henry Anners’ book Hoyle’s Games (1845) had a four-page section on euchre, calling it “a German game”; but it is not commonly played in Germany – even Jucker seems to have been limited to Alsace, and Bauern to southwestern Germany.
See reviews of books on euchre published before and after The Columbus book of Euchre:
Additions and revisions, pages 8-9 and 72 (March 17, 2009, and February 25, 2006; thanks to J. T. Martin, David Parlett, and Philip R. Neill): Five pages of printed instructions on euchre were found in a book published in 1844, A Whist Player’s Hand Book, by Thomas Mathews (Isaac M. Moss, publisher, Philadelphia). That’s two years earlier than the earliest published reference found by the Oxford English Dictionary, an 1846 reported Mississippi court case (in which the name of the game was spelled “uker”). And Hoyle’s Games, published in 1845 by Henry F. Anners, also of Philadelphia, had a four-page section on euchre (which it called “a German game”), also beating the Mississippi case. Both publications further discredit the notion that the French brought euchre to America, up the Mississippi River; and they further confirm the theory that the game originated in America with the Pennsylvania Dutch (who were not Dutch, but southwest Germanic peoples, including Alsatians, who played the game of Jucker in the Old World).
Also published in 1844, reported by David Parlett in The Oxford Guide to Card Games, was Thirty Years Passed Among the Players in England and America, a memoir by the English actor Joe Cowell, in which he spoke of seeing both “Poker” and “Uker” being played on a steamboat journeying from Louisville to New Orleans in 1829.
Parlett has written that he thinks the odd spelling “euchre” might have been coined by someone hearing the German word “Jucker” – the name of the Alsatian game from which euchre derived – and comparing it to the sound and spelling of the Eucharist.
Other old books solely about euchre, not previously reported in The Columbus Book of Euchre or in Catherine Perry Hargrave’s History of Playing Cards and Bibliography, have surfaced on the internet: The Game of Euchre, and its Laws (T. B. Peterson & Bros., Philadelphia, 1850, author unsaid); The Law and Practice of the Game of Euchre (title page, but Euchre and Its Laws on the cover), by “A Professor” (134 pp., Peterson, 1862 – an 1877 edition with 10 additional pages was titled The Law and Practice of the Game of Euchre to Which Is Added the Rules for Playing Draw Poker); Euchre – How to Play It (123 pp., ca. 1886, Griffith, Farran, Okeden & Welsh, London and Canberra, author unsaid), and Euchre and How to Play It (34 pp., 1897, United States Playing Card Company, Cincinnati, author unsaid) – in addition to the previously reported John W. Keller’s The Game of Euchre (1887), Berkeley’s Écarté and Euchre (1890), and Progressive Euchre (ca. 1890).
Reviews of two new books on euchre also have been added: The Complete Win at Euchre, by Joseph D. Andrews, at page 79, on January 15, 2005, and Euchre Strategies, by Fred Benjamin, at page 80, on April 19, 2007.
Revision (February 12, 2009; thanks to Lyle Filkins): On pages 44-45, there was an error in description. The entire section on the “finesse,” initially added to the book on July 5, 2003, was revised to read as follows:
Finesse: The dictionary calls a finesse an attempt to win a trick with a card lower than one out against you. More precisely it is a calculated guess that the card that can overtake your candidate is not on your left.
Say you pick up the jack of diamonds to go with ace of diamonds, ace of hearts, and two little clubs, one of which you dump as your partner takes the first trick with the ace of spades. Your partner then leads the queen of diamonds, and the opponent on your right plays the king. If the left bower is on your left, you catch it going up with the right only if it’s unguarded. But if you play your ace, you’ll take the trick if the left is on your right or buried; you’ll take the left on the next trick if your right-hand opponent has it with no second guard, and you’ll sweep if you or your partner has a winning club.
In bridge or spades it’s about 50-50 where the hurter is, without other indications; but in euchre the odds are better because it could be buried. And even if the left comes down on your ace, you’ll get an “end play” on the next trick, and with a tenace if you have two trump left.
A finesse may give you your best protection against a euchre, also; and it can work on defense, too, particularly when the maker is on your right. Think of the finesse as an end play with a risk. You’re in the middle.
Correction and addition (December 22, 2008; thanks to Paul McCreary): On page 39 (in later printings; it’s on page 40 in earlier printings, on page 60 in the first edition), under “Don’t go alone with 8 points,” hands to go alone on with 8 points (in games to 10 without “lapping” of points to the next game and without money premiums on points): An excuse for going alone at 8 is having five nearly sure tricks (having five sure tricks is no excuse) and needing to keep your partner out of the lead. One example is when you have the lead and the left, ace and king of hearts, in trump, and two aces outside. If your opponents have the right bower, you are not going to sweep anyway; but if your partner has it and no trump to lead back, one of your aces could get ruffed. Another example: As dealer you hold right-left-queen of hearts and ace-king of clubs outside. You don’t want your partner trumping the first trick and unable (or too unwise) to lead trump to the second. In both examples your partner is more likely to squelch the sweep than to support it.
Correctional addition (October 8, 2005) to the maxim on page 40, “Never order a bower to your partner (unless you’re going alone), and never turn down a bower”: Well, never say never. There are exceptions, mainly at scores of 8 and 9 points. You don’t need a loner at 8 or 9, and it may be OK to turn down a bower when the opponents have 8 (you don’t want to get euchred).
Correction (June 11, 2005; thanks to J. T. Martin): On page 39 (in later printings; it’s on page 40 in earlier printings), under “Don’t go alone with 8 points,” the money game we play (resulting in a $4.25 payoff at 13 to 0) is for a quarter a point (not a quarter a trick) and a dollar a game.
(Don’t lead the suit turned down) (new, September 17, 2004 – add at end of essay on “What to lead”; page 59, first edition; page 61, early printings of second edition; page 63, later printings of second edition):
(Whatever you lead to open a hand, don’t lead the suit turned down. There’s a reason the dealer turned it down. He doesn’t have any. He will trump it if you lead it. This is so elementary that this whole paragraph is in parentheses. I added it only because there was some space left on this page and I got an e-mail from an expert who mentioned that he had never seen this admonition in any euchre book. So, here it is. Like all rules, this one has exceptions, of course. Don’t ask.)“Safety” (new, June 20, 2004):
I have never been comfortable with the term “donation” for ordering up an opponent with the intention, or at least with the likelihood, of getting euchred – in order to hold the opponents to a score of two points on the hand. Not infrequently the order will result in a score for the player ordering.
Where I grew up – in Southern Indiana – this ploy was called the “Columbus coup.” But there are a growing number of euchre players who do not know where Columbus Ohio is, let alone Columbus Indiana. So, obviously, we need a better term for this ploy.
The better term is "safety." It is not wholly unlike a "safety" in football (and not only because the opponents are likely to score two points on the play in euchre, as they are guaranteed in football). In fact, the two games should trade terms: "Donation" would be a better term for the football play (since, although it is usually unintentional, it always gives the opponents two points); and "safety" would be a better term for the euchre play (which is always intentional, and is intended to limit the opponents to two points, but sometimes gives them nothing, and scores instead). The issue arose in one of my columns.
Accordingly the item "Columbus coup" in the PLOYS & AXIOMS section of The Columbus Book of Euchre has been rewritten this date, as follows:
The Columbus coup is one of the most eso-
teric tactics in the bag of the good player. It
consists of ordering up for the purpose of being
euchred, to squelch a loner in the opposition (it’s
better to lose two points than four). Some call
this a “donation”; some, a “safety.” The coup
developed from a principle known as “Ordering
at the bridge.” When a team has 9 points, it is
said to be “at the bridge.” If the dealer’s team
has 6 or 7 and you are in the lead and “at the
bridge,” you must order up whatever is turned,
according to this principle, unless you have a
sure trick in the suit turned. In this manner you
guarantee that the dealer’s team will not take the
game on that hand, or even tie the score. Cor-
respondingly, if you and the second player pass,
your partner must order if he has two reasonably
sure tricks, since he knows that you, having passed,
have one sure trick. This and other basic princi-
ples of euchre are eloquently explained by Paul H.
|Seymour in Laird & Lee’s Hoyle Standard|
Games (Albert Whitman & Co., Chicago,
1952. Seymour’s euchre article contains
also an excellent section on leading).
The “Columbus coup” is engaged not only
Some good players believe that the lead must
weak altogether. It may be time
for the coup when you have a loner in the oppo-
The coup is almost never properly engaged by
The coup is normally engaged only when your
Engaging the Columbus coup when your|
opponents have fewer than 6 points is called
the “Bubinski.“ It is highly intuitive, as it
depends on a “sense” of a loner in the oppo-
sition. But often it is a good move. The most
appropriate time for the Bubinski is when you
have at least six points and your opponents have
fewer than 4. In that case, you will retain your
lead even if euchred; and the euchre will not put
your opponents within range of winning the game
even on a lone hand on the next deal.
Early in my days I attempted the Columbus
|with a high likelihood” of being euchred
than “for the purpose” of being euchred. Note
also that, as in football, a “safety” gives oppo-
nents two points when it does turn out to be a
Not nearly so rare, unfortunately,
The dealer, however, can engage the coup,
|sider picking up whenever the opponents are at|
6 or 7 and he does not have a sure trick in each
of the remaining three suits, but he may engage
the corollary at any time. More than any other
player he can rely on intuition.
Making the hand on the Bloomington corollary
Making the hand on a Gnawbone gaffe is not
|July 5, 2003:
“End play” – 1. Playing last on a trick.
“Finesse” – An attempt to win a trick with
“Tenace” – A holding of two strong cards
April 2, 2001:
“Missouri loner” – A loner without bowers.
“Hoosier loner” – The hand of a trump maker
“Louisiana loner” – A “Hoosier loner” that
“Kentucky loner” – In this case help is avail-
Footnote to variant spellings of
Author’s Preface, page 7 (July 5, 2003):
It’s even “yoker” (rhymes with “poker”)|
in Roy Bookbinder’s rendition of the hillbilly
blues song “In the Jailhouse Now.”
Footnote to definition of
(July 5, 2003):
Actually, “revoke” is the proper term.
Exposing a hand: When a player not go-
|“Playing out of turn”).
[Note: Exposure of multiple cards is an
End play (July 5, 2003):
The end play is not unique to euchre – it is
It’s called an “end play” because it means
|the end, you don’t have to put the lower card|
in your tenace at risk; you need play only high
enough to take the trick.
Say each team has a trick; you hold right
You may set up an end play also with
the opponent on your left. It’s
a matter of|
leading weak from a weak hand – or even
from a marginal hand if you need only one
point to win the game, or to enhance an al-
ready healthy lead without risk. For exam-
ple, you already have a trick; and you hold
the right bower and king of trump, a king of
one suit off trump, and a nine or ten of an-
other. Lead the off king instead of the right
bower. If it does not take the trick, the op-
ponent on your left may take it and have to
lead back into your pocket (your right-king
tenace). Finesse, a new section added July 5, 2003,
along with End Play, was revised February
Spankings (June 21, 2001):
I once ordered a bower into my partner’s
High / low [p. 48; new, Sept. 20, 2000]:
If your partner has made trump, you have two
trump, and you can trump the first trick at sec-
ond or third hand (without trumping your part-
ner’s ace, play your higher trump (to guard
against being overtrumped on your left) and
lead the lower (to put your partner in charge).
You can trump in even with the left or right
bower in this situation; you can assume your
partner has the other bower.
Second hand low [p. 48; revised Sept.
|your little hearts may take a spade trick later,|
or be led back to your partner when you take
your red ace. Second hand low can turn a
one-point hand into a two-point hand, and it
can save a one-point hand. On defense, it can
If the dealer (your partner) made trump and
Second hand low does not apply when you
Call Ace Euchre [p. 64; Sept. 3, 2000]
“Call ace” euchre is a game of floating part-
Many a marginally good player will not
|Your aces are no good if they are trumped.|
Someone will eventually lead to or from your
aces. Lead trump!
Lead low trump when going next:
|lish a king – either in trump or off suit – by
leading low from a king-high doubleton. If
you lead the king, it usually will be topped by
the ace or a trump; and the nine or ten you
have left will be no good either. But if you
lead the low card first, the king will often
come back for a second trick in the same suit.
This strategem may work particularly well a-
gainst a two-suited trump maker. It rarely
works from a tripleton because no one else is
likely to have a doubleton in that suit to lead
It is presumed that the dealer will discard a
|then presume that the dealer has another card|
of that suit. So if he leads the same suit back,
through the dealer, his partner has a good
chance to trump for the trick. Even if the deal-
er had a singleton, the lead back puts the play-
er to the dealer’s left in position to overtrump.
The same principle applies when the third
It is usually not a good idea, especially
|because it is a lead through strength.
It works in mirror image, too, but not quite
Playing out of turn [p. 28; sub for
|trick; the card played out of turn stays in the|
trick (unless a renege, which can be correct-
ed), and the player on the other team that
played the higher card on that trick leads the
Squeeze play [p. 20; definition revised,
Lead your longest suit – or lead next –
aces (or one ace and a guarded king in an-
other suit) should you lead one, to protect
yourself against a squeeze play.
[added October 7, 2004] You must lead
|ered your partner up to go alone.
Not only is|
your partner likely to be short in “next,” but al-
so he will have had an opportunity to discard it
(which he must do, when he is ordered, if the
discard creates a void and is not an ace. It’s
a convention). See also “the Brownstown
maneuver” under Don’t discard early.
|Additions to first edition; incorporated in second edition:
Yet another scholar, David Parlett, author of the Oxford
Guide to Card Games,
Yet it allows for the influence of écarté on
euchre (since Alsace once bordered France,
and is now part of France), while it tends to
satisfy also the recurring consensus that eu-
chre originated among the Pennsylvania
Dutch (who are of Alsatian and other south-
western German lineage).
Scholars tend to agree that
|tle French thrown in) to euchre,
came the jo-|
ker – originally a Jucker, perhaps, but pro-
nounced joker because that’s about how an
American would pronounce “Jucker” if he
saw it in writing. It is important to note, lest
you be looking for a shorter cut through
these woods (or a way out), that (1) “Juck-
er” is not German for “joker” (it’s a German
surname, also meaning “carriage horse”),
and (2) the joker was not depicted on cards
as a court jester until after it was already
known as the “joker” (some of the early jo-
kers were even blank).
B there – A lead back, by the third hand,
in the same off suit in which he has just ta-
ken a trick. Named for B. Woods, the dis-
coverer. See What to lead in PLOYS &
Batter – The player to the left of the deal-
Brownstown maneuver – When the third
Bubinski – Ordering up a trump for the|
purpose of being euchred when your oppo-
nents have fewer than six points. Cf. Co-
lumbus coup. Named for Tim (Bubinski)
Chris's trick – The fifth trick in a hand in
Green – The “wrong” color.
E.g., the first
Likewise, if the dealer's part-
ner calls the “next” suit, he is “going green.”
Same deal if a player leads a suit of his op-
Pitcher – The dealer. See Batter.
PLOYS & AXIOMS
Bull [addition to text on this subject at p.
|is one reason bridge (like chess) lends itself|
easily to computer programs while euchre
does not. An intellectual might make a bet-
ter bridge player; a psychic might make a
better euchre player. Does this mean the
bridge expert is a better card player?
Competence at euchre is of no help to a
Calling trump: What to order,
When to order or name trump depends, of
course, first of all on your cards: Do you
have three sure tricks in a particular suit?
Then, of course – and go alone. Do you
have two sure tricks in a particular suit?
Then count on your partner for one and call
trump. Do you have two probable tricks?
But your position matters also.
|can still go to diamonds, which are almost as|
good. And you have the control, since you
have first choice once the dealer turns the
card down (as the lead says to the dealer in
Columbus, “You’re pitching, but I’m bat-
The second player should rarely order up
go through him:
The dealer is in position
to trump him on an off suit, or overtrump him.
Example: Diamonds are trump, and you
hold Left-King-Queen of Diamonds and
A-9 of Spades. Looks pretty good, huh?
Spades lead. If you’re the dealer, you can
wait to see if it’s good before committing
your Ace (which may be good later if not
on the first trick). At third hand, you have
to risk its being trumped by the dealer. Or,
suppose diamonds lead (as they should, from
your partner, if you called them at third
hand): You have to risk your Left to the
dealer’s possible Right (and the dealer might
have the Ace of trump behind his Right). If
you’re the dealer with that holding, how-
ever, your Left is safe.
The second player faces the same trap|
of being led through; but his partner is the
stopper, and can take or hold back (if he
has no cards or two in the suit led).
And not only do your cards and your po-
The Columbus coup [addition to text on
33] – Some good players believe that the
lead must order, regardless of the turned
card, when the dealer's team has 6 or 7
points and the lead does not have a sure
trick. It is high noon at the OK Corral.
[addition to text after third full paragraph
|euchre will not put your opponents within|
range of winning the game even on a lone
hand on the next deal.
[addition to text in last paragraph, at p.
The dealer cannot pass [addition to text on
rules do not allow the dealer to pick up the
turned card if he has no other cards of that
suit in his hand.
This is a bullshit rule.
It negates the Bloo-
|ington corollary – this maneuver is compel-|
led even more if the two black cards are not
To deny the dealer the right to pick up a
Don’t sort your cards (or . . . ) [new] – If
This practice can be a little dangerous,
however, if you’re careless, or drink too
much (as I do). The safer practice is to wait
for trump to be made and then sort your
cards, and always sort then (even if your
cards are already in perfect order: You can
reposition them and keep them in order).
If holding five unsorted cards confuses
Go alone [addition to text on this sub-
|Canada) observe a rule requiring the deal-|
er’s partner to go alone if he orders. It’s an
unnecessary rule, and overly restrictive (like
those Michigan rules discussed elsewhere in
this book). There are enough incentives for
the dealer’s partner to keep his mouth shut –
the principal of which is the danger of squel-
ching his partner’s lone hand by ordering up.
In general the second player, on the first
round, should keep his mouth shut unless
he senses there is no chance the dealer holds
a loner. See Calling trump....
Don’t trump your partner’s ace [additions
Bobby Shufelt – an occasional and unso-
phisticated, but by no means inept, player of
my acquaintance – says, “Get 'em while
you can.” Bobby says you should forget
about “second-hand low,” and you should
always trump your partner's ace at third
hand if you can with a trump higher than the
nine (using the nine would be a waste, of
course, since, if the fourth player can trump,
he can overtrump. And if you're at fourth
hand, your partner's ace already has won
the trick). Euchre, reasons Bobby, is too
short a game to allow for recovery from
opportunity lost. Bobby is a big man, and
he makes his point quite forcefully (and he
makes it loud). But I don't agree with him.
|after second paragraph at p. 49] – If the
hand has ordered and is going alone, the sec-
ond player has the lead; and he must lead be-
fore the dealer (his partner) discards. This is
part of the “Brownstown maneuver.” See
Never discard early.
Never discard early [addition to text on
lead on the first trick in all lone hands to the
left of the loner (but not all – e.g., the Offi-
cial Rules of Card Games published by the
United States Playing Card Company leaves
the lead to the left of the dealer, even speci-
fying that it goes to the second player when
the third player goes alone. Parlett concurs,
But even where the lead does not shift to
Another rule commonly observed in Mi-
|chigan requires the dealer to discard before|
he picks up the turned card. This protects
the opponent to the left from leading against
a late discard, but it's kind of like requiring
motorcyclists to wear helmets, or other mo-
torists to wear seat belts, or (same thing)
swimmers to wear water wings. I mean,
if the guy on the left isn't paying attention,
Playing with people from Michigan is, in
Next for my partner [addition to text on
this subject beginning at p. 50] – If the play-
er to the left of the dealer does not call
“next,” it is often wise for the dealer's part-
ner to call a suit of the other color – even
if he has nothing of strength in the suit.
There was a reason his partner turned the
first color down. Even if the dealer has no
support (because he has no hand), and the
call results in a euchre, it may avoid a lone
by the third hand.
Play cards [new] – I.e., PLAY CARDS!
|and politics and go to the bathroom all in|
Southerners cannot seem to do this.
God gave us hands, voices and brains.
We need our brains for the former
activity, but not necessarily for the latter.
Except for naming trump on the second
|ever been euchred.”
Get on with the game!
You don’t go alone with 8 points [addition
The Rules According to Hoyle [substitute
for next-to-last paragraph on this subject, at
THE LEAD on the first trick in a lone
Two-handed euchre [see p. 67]
In another popular form of two-handed eu-
|chre, deal four cards face down, in a row, in|
front of your opponent; four cards face down,
in a row, in front of yourself; four cards face
up to each of you (each on top of a face-
down card), and four cards to each hand
(that's all 24 cards).
Each player then has eight of his 12 cards
The high bidder names trump
(or no trump). It usually takes a bid of at
least six of the 12 tricks to establish trump.
The player opposite the dealer leads – ei-
The scoring is one point for each trick ta-
|no trump) fails to take the number of
he bid, he is euchred; and not only does he
not score, but also the number of tricks he
bid is deducted from his score (and, yes, it
can go below zero).
Game is 24 points. A
player can “go a-
In another version of this form, there is no
two points. If he
takes seven, eight or nine
tricks, he scores a point; if he takes 10, 11 or
12, he scores two points; if he has announ-
ced his intention to take all 12 tricks and
takes them, he has “gone alone” and scores
four points (but he’s euchred by a single
trick taken by his opponent). Game is 10,
and you score it with markers, just as in reg-
ular euchre (and don’t have to use match-
sticks or pencil and paper as you do in the
Some players allow “no trump” and “low
Some (I know of such a group in Alabam-
|a) even play “no
trump” and “low trump” in|
four-handed euchre. But in most circles “no
trump” and “low trump” are tabu in four-
handed euchre. I think that’s because four-
handed euchre is exciting enough the way it
is (just like straight poker for high stakes,
with nothing wild and no “low ball”). The
use of “no trump” and “low trump” in two-
or three-handed euchre, however, gives
those games a little spice they otherwise
would not have.
Computer Euchre [new] –
Euchre has become popular on line,
such as Sierra’s Hoyle.
As of the printing of this book, no one has
The values of “next” and good hands short
Computer programs require formulae; and
as one will find trying to play by a certain
author’s point system, one cannot play eu-
chre by formulae alone. But it may be bet-
ter than solitaire.
The on-line games are a little more satis-
elbows, and spilling beer on your opponents’
markers. (And, how do you stab or shoot
a partner who trumps your ace on line? All
you can do is “flame” him, and that’s not
“netiquette.”) It’s beyond the scope of this
book to analyze the games on line further, as
|euchre on line is a developing game yet in its|
infancy. Better to get your analysis on line, in
the games themselves and in forums on line,
such as Yahoo!’s, and Borf’s links page and
guestbook (see below).
links and euchre on line
“Over hamburgers sold!”