New Appendix (© 2000-2009) to

The Columbus Book of Euchre


A “work in progress”

As stated on our main euchre page, and in the back
of the book itself, the Second Edition of The Colum-
bus Book of Euchre
is a complete desktop publication
– composed, printed and bound in our small offices just
outside Brownsville, Ky. – and the small press run ena-
bles us to make constant small additions, revisions and
corrections. You can get free printings of anything you
missed in an earlier printing, by mail; or you an get
them on line, right here and now.


Corrections, revisions and additions to Second Edition
since initial publication on March 1, 1999
(additions
to the first edition, incorporated in the second, follow)
:


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 discovered also that the euchre term “march” is not to be equated with marching like a soldier but comes from the German Marsch, a playing card term that means losing all the tricks.

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).

And the “Professor” turns out to be Charles Henry Wharton Meehan, law librarian of the Library of Congress.

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, has been 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.


Footnote to term “Edinburg fault,”
page 53 (September 19, 2006):


For “Edinburg,” Indiana. It was
Edinburgh, originally, and is again;
but it was Edinburg (without
the “h”) from 1899 to 1978,
and when I played there.


[The photo at right shows how the
Post Office dealt with the change.]


New definition, page 18 (May 21, 2006): Arkansas loner: A call “alone” that puts you at unjustified risk of being euchred when you are tied or ahead (“Oink”).

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
“at the bridge. It is usually done when a jack
is turned and you believe the dealer is likely to
pick it up and make a lone sweep (or his part-
ner is likely to order alone and sweep). Thus
a player staging the coup typically has a path-
etic hand in the suit turned.

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, whether the lead’s team is
“at the bridge” or not. It is high noon at the OK
Corral. Although your hand must be woefully
weak in the suit turned to engage the coup, it is


not necessarily weak altogether. It may be time
for the coup when you have a loner in the oppo-
site color.

The coup is almost never properly engaged by
anyone but the lead player (or the dealer, under
the “Blooming­ton corollary”). If you wait for
your partner (in third chair) to decide, it may be
too late. And your partner is entitled to assume
that you have a stop­per if you don’t engage the
coup on lead; so, if he has two likely tricks and
you pass, he can order to score.

The coup is normally engaged only when your
oppo­nents have 6 or 7 points. Their chance at a
loner is nev­er high; and if they have fewer than six
points, you can af­ford their lone sweep. If they
have more than 7, they have no reason to go a-
lone, and a euchre would put them out.

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
coup in a game in Rushville, Ind., and scored
(I had help, of course). We named this twist
the “Rushville stroke. It’s not all that unusual
to score on a coup, and it’s a good reason to
call the play a “safety” instead of a “do­nation”
(and why a better definition might be to order


with a high likelihood” of being euchred rather
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
donation).

Not nearly so rare, unfortunately, is the
“Gnawbone gaffe.“ The dealer’s partner
must never engage the Co­lumbus coup. An
attempt at the coup by the dealer’s partner is
an all too common form of the gaffe. See
The dealer’s partner is not from Colum-
bus.

The dealer, however, can engage the coup,
particularly when he fears a loner in next on his
left. When the deal­er so invites being euchred
by picking up the turned card, he is said to be
acting on the “Bloomington corollary” (to
the Columbus coup). The dealer should con-

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
is not uncommon, and therefore it is not consider-
ed a Rushville stroke (and the Bloomington corol-
lary never amounts to a “Bubinski”). Thus the
Rushville stroke is made only by the lead player
(or, on extremely rare occasion, by the third play-
er). See also The dealer cannot pass.

Making the hand on a Gnawbone gaffe is not
unheard of; but it is not considered a stroke of
any kind, since the gaffe is so stupid. The dealer
is entitled to criticize his partner even when he
makes the hand on the gaffe.


New definitions:
July 5, 2003:

End play” – 1. Playing last on a trick. 2.
Throwing a trick to your left hand opponent
to force him to lead to you.

Finesse” – An attempt to win a trick with
a card lower than one out against it (by guess-
ing it is on your right).

Tenace” – A holding of two strong cards
not in sequence in the same suit – e.g., right
bower and ace of trump without the left bow-
er, or even left-queen (or left-ten) without ace
or king (or queen).

April 2, 2001:

Pennsylvania loner” – Same thing as an
“unclaimed loner”: The maker of trump
should have gone alone (but didn’t).


Ohio loner” – A lone hand that gets euchred.

Missouri loner” – A loner without bowers.
It’s a double challenge: To the opponents,
Show me you can stop me”; to the partner,
Show me you could have helped me!”

Hoosier loner” – The hand of a trump maker
who gets no help from his partner (he might as
well
have gone alone!).

Louisiana loner” – A “Hoosier loner” that
can’t even help itself (it gets euchred, of course).

Kentucky loner” – In this case help is avail-
able
, but the maker strips it by drawing his part-
ner’s lone bower with his own, or by trumping a
trick his partner could take, or by excessive trump
lead.


Footnote to variant spellings of “euchre” in
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 renege (revoke)
(July 5, 2003):

Actually, “revoke” is the proper term.
A “renege” is an election not to follow suit
in a situation in which it is within the rules
not to. For example, you may trump at any
time in 7-up, whether or not you are void in
the suit led (spoil five is another card game


in which you may do that, and may fail to
follow in a couple of other situations). Both
terms – “renege” and “revoke” – are cover-
ed by the generic term “renounce,” which
means to fail to follow suit whether legal or
not. See David Parlett, The Oxford Guide
to Card Games
(Oxford University Press,
1990), at the glossary.


RULES (new, August 5, 2003):

Exposing a hand: When a player not go-
ing alone exposes two or more of his cards
prematurely – except in “showing out” or
“showing up” (e.g., leading the top three trump
at once, saying, “Contribute three cards apiece,
please”) – his team forfeits the remainder of the
tricks in the hand (premature exposure of only
one card is either “Leading out of turn” or

Playing out of turn”).

[Note: Exposure of multiple cards is an
issue previously not addressed in The Colum-
bus Book of Euchre
, and virtually unaddressed
in all major Hoyle encyclopedias. Our thanks
to John McLeod, proprietor of the Card Games
web site, for pointing out the omission.]


PLOYS & AXIOMS:
End play (July 5, 2003):

The end play is not unique to euchre – it is
common to all trick taking games – bridge,
spades, Rook and the rest. But its under-
standing contributes to an easier understan-
ding of the “finesse” – another play not u-
nique to euchre, but one that works a little
better in euchre than it does in other games.

It’s called an “end play” because it means
you get to play last on a trick – you’re on the
end (the first trick of every hand is an end
play for the dealer, if his partner is not going
alone). The idea – when taking just one trick
is crucial – is to engineer the lead to the oppo-
nent on your left, to force him to lead into your
“tenace” – two cards of a suit (usually trump)
two or more ranks apart, e.g., a right bower
and ace, or even a left and ten. If you’re on

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
bower and ace of trump; your partner leads
a ten of diamonds to your void, and your
right hand opponent ducks. Don’t trump.
The opponent on your left may be sitting on
you with the left bower. If you duck, too,
and your partner’s ten does not take the
trick, your left hand opponent will have to
lead into your right-ace, and you’ll have
your three tricks: On defense it’s euchre.
And on offense you should look for an
“end play” when you have no real hope
of taking all five tricks.

You may set up an end play also with
a low lead from your own hand, to bait


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
12, 2009.

Spankings (June 21, 2001):

By “spanking,” we are talking not about a
decisive whipping administered by one team
to another, but about actual spankings the au-
thor received from his mother while learning to
play euchre as a child.

I once ordered a bower into my partner’s
hand, and my mama spanked me. I once
turned down a bower when I was dealing,
and my mama spanked me. See page 40:
Don’t order a bower to your partner unless
you are going alone yourself. If you are the
dealer, don’t turn down a bower unless you
have all three other suits stopped.


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.
20, 2000]: But don’t trump a weak lead just
because you can. Say hearts are trump; you
hold the Ace-Ten of Diamonds, King of
Spades, and Ten-Nine of Hearts, and the
player on your right leads the Queen of Clubs.
Consider throwing the King of Spades. Your
partner may have the Ace of Clubs, or he may
be able to trump too. If the player to your left
is void in clubs, he can overtrump; and your
trump would be wasted without forcing his.
Ditching the king gives you a void; and one of

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
euchre.

If the dealer (your partner) made trump and
you have only one trump, do not trump any-
thing
but an ace or a king at second hand.
Better to let your partner take the trick if he
can; you would be left without a safe lead if
you took it. Your ace is apt to be trumped,
likely by an opponent. And if your partner has
to trump your lead, he may lose a trump he
needs to gather opponents’.

Second hand low does not apply when you
can trump an opponent’s ace or king or use an
unguarded left bower. It has significantly less
application after the first trick. It does not
mean exactly the same thing it does in bridge.
But it’s a useful maxim, especially for novices.


Call Ace Euchre [p. 64; Sept. 3, 2000]

“Call ace” euchre is a game of floating part-
nerships, and can be played by more than
four. Trump is made as in regular euchre; but
the trump maker calls an off suit as well, and
his partner is the holder of the highest card in
that suit. The partnership is not revealed until
that card is played. If the maker goes alone,
or inadvertently holds the high card called, all
other players are partners. [revised]


Lead trump [pp. 58-59; insert at bottom
of section on p. 59, March 16, 2000]:

Many a marginally good player will not
lead trump, thinking, “I have to cash my ace(s)
while I still have the lead,” or, “I need to find
my partner’s ace. No! No! No, no, no!

Your aces are no good if they are trumped.
Someone will eventually lead to or from your
aces. Lead trump!


Next for my partner [pp. 51-53; insert
p. 52, March 16, 2000
]:

Lead low trump when going next:
When you sit at the dealer’s left and call
“next,” lead trump, and lead low. This is a
time even to unguard the left bower: What-
ever you lead usually will draw the right. Al-
though you can count on your partner for
strength when you go next, you cannot count
on him for length; and you do not want both
bowers falling on one trick.

Lead away from your king [insert p. 50,
March 16, 2000]: Sometimes you can estab-


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
back from.


B there [p. 61; revised March 16, 2000]

It is presumed that the dealer will discard a
singleton, if possible, and that what he keeps
will include two cards in one off suit. If the
third player takes the first trick off suit, he may

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
hand takes a later trick off suit after a round of
trump has been taken, weakening the dealer’s
partner’s power to overtrump the first player
(and this is one reason the first player might
lead trump at the outset, even against the team
that made it, if he has a bunch himself).

It is usually not a good idea, especially
when you are defending, to lead a suit twice,
because it will be trumped, and you know
who
probably has the most trump. The “B
there
” is the exception that proves the rule,


because it is a lead through strength.

It works in mirror image, too, but not quite
as well. That is, if the dealer’s partner has
made trump, and the lead’s suit goes through,
he should lead it again (but the second lead of
the same suit is less likely to catch the dealer
shy of trump than his partner). B. Woods
advocates the second lead either way, and
wants his partner at third hand to trump low
on the second lead because of the probability
the dealer had a doubleton off suit.

Playing out of turn [p. 28; sub for addi-
tional language, March 12, 2000
]: Once
the correct player has led, the only play out of
turn that can gain an advantage to the offender
is second play by the player fourth in turn (or
by third in a lone hand when the loner leads).
In that case the offender’s team loses the

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
next trick.

Squeeze play [p. 20; definition revised,
October 12, 1999
]: Forcing an opponent to
choose between two or more potential winners
to discard (e.g., aces) by continued lead (2)
of trump (1) or other good suit.

Lead your longest suit – or lead next –
against a loner
[p. 60, earlier printings; p.
62, later; added, April 17, 1999]: This will
give your partner a chance to stop the loner
with a trump, or may force a lone hand with
minimal trump to use one to get into the lead.
If you have a singleton ace, it will almost as
likely be good later. Only if you have two


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
“next” especially against a player go­ing alone
at “third hand,” and particularly if he has or­d-

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:

AUTHOR’S PREFACE [insert after first full paragraph on second page] –

Yet another scholar, David Parlett, author of the Oxford Guide to Card Games,
states, “Underlying Euchre is the Alsatian game of Jucker [pronounced about the
same as “euchre”] or Juckerspiel,” implying yet another – this time, German – source
of the word euchre. This is a much more satisfying etymology than the strained con-
clusion that euchre was both a misspelling and a mispronunciation of écarté, and it is
consistent with the German derivation of the word “bower.

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).

Another clue: Scholars tend to agree that
euchre gave birth to the joker, as a third and
“best” bower. So, an extended hypothesis
(extrapolated from Parlett’s): First came the
Bauer (the jack), predating both Jucker and
euchre. Then Bauers, upon their rise above
aces, came to be called also “Juckers”, from
the name of the game. Then, as Bauer was
Anglicized to bower, and Jucker (with a lit-

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).

DEFINITIONS

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 &
AXIOMS.

Batter – The player to the left of the deal-
er. He’s up: To order; to name trump if the
card goes down; to lead (unless his partner
goes alone). See Pitcher.

Brownstown maneuver – When the third
hand orders and goes alone, and the dealer
waits for his partner to lead before he dis-
cards. There's a rule observed by some to
prevent this, but it's not observed in Browns-
town, or by most players in Columbus. See
Never discard early in PLOYS & AXIOMS.

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)
Durbin.

Chris's trick – The fifth trick in a hand in
which the score is 3 to 1. It has no value, no
meaning. But our friend Chris always insists
on claiming it if it's his.

Green – The “wrong” color. E.g., the first
player, if the dealer turns the card down, is
expected to go “next” – i.e., to name the oth-
er suit of the same color trump (see Next for
my partner
in PLOYS & AXIOMS). If he
names a suit in the opposite color, he is go-


ing “green. 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-
ponents' strength.

Pitcher – The dealer. See Batter.

PLOYS & AXIOMS

Bull [addition to text on this subject at p.
32] – None of which is to say that euchre is
inferior to bridge as a card game. It is be-
yond question that the basics of bridge are
harder to learn than the basics of euchre, and
that bridge is more complicated and techni-
cal. By the same token, bridge is more for-
mulaic; and euchre is more intuitional. This

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
bridge player (and could even work as a han-
dicap). An understanding of bridge might
be an asset to a euchre player, but it’s not
essential. My dad is a brilliant bridge player
(and no slouch at poker). He’s good at eu-
chre, but that’s all.

Calling trump: What to order, when to
order; what to name, when to name
[new] –


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?
Then, maybe.

But your position matters also. Suppose
you’re at first hand with Jack-Ace of Hearts,
Ace of Diamonds and two clubs; and a heart
turns. You have one sure trick and two pro-
bable additional tricks. Do not order. If
the opponents pick hearts, you have a good
chance to euchre them, at two points for the
price of one. If the dealer turns it down, you

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-
ting
”).

The second player should rarely order up
on the first round (lest he squelch a loner in
the hand of the dealer, his partner). But he
should name trump if there’s any way on the
second round, to “find” his partner, or to
squelch a loner in third hand. And the third
player must be surer of his hand, before or-
dering or naming trump, than any other play-
er, as he has no control of the first lead. He
will not choose the suit led, and the lead will


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-
sition matter, but the score matters also. See
The Columbus coup and Safe at 8, in trouble
at 9
. There are numerous examples; but, in
short, use your head. See also The dealer
cannot pass
, The dealer’s partner is not from
Columbus
, Go alone, Help from my partner,
Never order up anything you can’t catch, and
Next for my partner.

The Columbus coup [addition to text on
this subject at end of first paragraph, pp. 32-


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
at p. 33] – There is a similar play, called the
Bubinski, which is ordering to be euchred
when the opponents have fewer than six
points. It is highly intuitive, as it depends
on a “sense” of a loner in the opposition.
But often it is a good move. The most
appropriate time for the Bubinski is when
you have at least 6 points and your oppo-
nents 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.

[addition to text in last paragraph, at p.
34, after words “. . . the Bloomington co-
rollary
(to the Columbus coup).”] – The
dealer must engage the Bloomington corol-
lary when his opponents are at 6 or 7 and he
has no sure trick, but he may engage it at any
time. His decision never amounts to a “Bub-
inski”; and he is entitled, more than any oth-
er player, to rely on his intuition.

The dealer cannot pass [addition to text on
this subject beginning at p. 35] – In some re-
gions – and particularly in Michigan – the


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-
mington corollary; and, there are hands that
almost demand the pickup of a lone trump –
e.g., two lone black aces and three mediocre
diamonds with the Jack of Hearts turned.
With the diamond holding, a call in “next”
to the left is unlikely; and the dealer's aces
would be sitting ducks to a call in “green.
If the dealer is allowed to pluck the heart,
however, he has one sure trick, and probably
at least one other with one of the black aces,
leaving a third trick to partner, if necessary.
As a defensive technique – i.e., the Bloom-

ington corollary – this maneuver is compel-
led even more if the two black cards are not
aces.

To deny the dealer the right to pick up a
lone trump is to deny him the right to dare
to be great, and even to deny him a defense
to slaughter from the left.

Don’t sort your cards (or . . . ) [new] – If
you don’t sort your cards in bridge or spades,
you’re asking for trouble (and maybe sub-
conciously hoping to renege). But if you
sort your cards in euchre – both on the deal
and then again when trump is made – you
are exposing the left bower. Some expert
euchre players never sort their cards.


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
you, or you’re obsessive/compulsive, al-
ways
sort twice – both on the deal and on
the making of trump. You won’t give a-
way a thing.

Go alone [addition to text on this sub-
ject ending at p. 44] – Because of this ad-
vantage, some players (I know of such in

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
to text on this subject beginning at p. 47] – It
is OK to trump your partner’s ace also when
you are defending against a lone hand.


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.

Lead now [addition to text on this subject

after second paragraph at p. 49] – If the third
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
this subject at p. 49] – If you are the dealer
and the third player has ordered you up to go
alone, you must wait for your partner to lead
before you discard. And your partner must
lead before you discard: This is how he can,
quite legally, give you information on what
to discard, and one reason it is so hard to
make a loner from third hand. This ploy is
known as the Brownstown maneuver. Some
versions of Hoyle prevent it by shifting the


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,
tacitly).

But even where the lead does not shift to
the loner’s left, the Brownstown maneuver
is subject to hot debate. It's not allowed in
Michigan, and not even in some parts of In-
diana. But find me a rule in Hoyle forbid-
ding it (besides the variant shifting the lead).

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,
fuck him.

Playing with people from Michigan is, in
some respects, almost as frustrating as play-
ing with Kentuckians (who are so slow).
Michiganders are such sticklers for protec-
tionism
. I mean, if they need laws to protect
them, why are they playing euchre? Real
euchre players use guns and knives.


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!
Good euchre players can play a whole game
– even a 10-9 game in which neither team
scores more than one point in a hand – drink
a six-pack, tell seven jokes, trash-talk their
opponents, decide grave issues of religion

and politics and go to the bathroom all in
15 minutes.

Southerners cannot seem to do this. I
used to play with a pretty, little Kentucky
hippie chick who even remarked once that
she liked to play euchre because it was a
good platform for conversation! And al-
though she could walk and chew gum at the
same time, she could not seem to “converse”
and play cards at the same time. And she
and her redneck boy friend needed “time
out” to roll and smoke their dope (and talk
about how “mellow” it was). The game
took forever.

God gave us hands, voices and brains. We
play cards with our hands. We talk with our


voices. We need our brains for the former
activity, but not necessarily for the latter.

Except for naming trump on the second
round, or to go or defend alone, you do not
even need your voice to play a game of eu-
chre; you can order or pass by gesture; you
can even name trump on the second round,
if you have the lead, by leading it. So, why
can’t you Southerners talk and play cards at
the same time? Including
the bullshit refer-
red to in Bull and “That’s the first time I’ve

ever been euchred.” Get on with the game!

You don’t go alone with 8 points [addition
to text on this subject at p. 60] – There is
one additional excuse for going alone at 8
or 9: That’s when you’re playing for money
with premiums on tricks. For example, my
friends and I sometimes play for a quarter a
trick, a dollar a game. If we can push our
score from 9 to 13 with a lone hand, we can
earn an additional 75 cents (and that’s why
we call a 13-0 skunk a “$4.25 game”).


APPENDIX
The Rules According to Hoyle [substitute
for next-to-last paragraph on this subject, at
p. 63]

THE LEAD on the first trick in a lone
hand, according to some references, is made
by the player to the left of the loner, regard-
less of who dealt. Other references – e.g.,
the Official Rules of Card Games published
by the United States Playing Card Company
– do not call for shifting the lead (except to
the second hand when the first hand is put
out of play by a third hand loner).

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
exposed to himself (and four of those eight
exposed also to his opponent). Trump –
or no trump, which is permissible in this
form of two-handed euchre – is established
by bidding. The player opposite the dealer
bids first, the number of tricks he will take if
he is allowed to name trump (or no trump).
The dealer may then overcall the first bid;
then the first player may rebid, etc., until a


player passes. 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-
ther from his hand or from one of the four
cards face up in front of him. The dealer
may play either from his hand or from one of
the four cards face up in front of him. At the
end of a trick, any face-down cards that have
been uncovered must be exposed, and thus
become playable. The winner of the trick
leads the next trick. And so forth.

The scoring is one point for each trick ta-
ken. Both players can score, not just the
successful bidder. If the maker of trump (or

no trump) fails to take the number of tricks
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-
lone” or “shoot the moon” by bidding and
taking all 12 tricks; and, if he does, he wins
the game, regardless of the score.

In another version of this form, there is no
bidding. The first player either names trump
or passes; if he passes, the dealer either calls
trump or throws in the hand and passes the
deal. Whoever names trump must take sev-
en tricks; if he does not, he is euchred for


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
bid version).

Some players allow “no trump” and “low
trump” calls in some or all versions of two-
handed euchre.

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,
through various world wide web sites such
as Yahoo!, as well as in computer programs


such as Sierra’s Hoyle.

As of the printing of this book, no one has
developed a good computer game. Pro-
grammed players have no balls, no imagina-
tion. They almost never make trump with-
out a bower, and they do not recognize the
value of “next. If all four players were
programmed (leaving out the guy with the
mouse or the keyboard), a third to a half of
all hands would be “pass hands” if not for the
“Stick the dealer” option.

The values of “next” and good hands short
of bowers may be programmable, but the
programming of the intuition required for
good euchre play probably awaits further

development of “artificial intelligence.
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-
fying, as you are playing in “real time” a-
gainst real players – some of whom are
pretty good. It’s a good way to learn re-
gional differences in the game; but those
differences create frustrating questions and
arguments, slowing the game. It’s not nearly
as satisfying as sitting around a table with
people who know (or should know) the
rules you play by, yelling, slapping, swinging


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).

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