Official Hoyle Rules for Euchre

by Carlos Mano
Euchre is a card game played throughout the English-speaking world.

Euchre is a card game played throughout the English-speaking world.

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Euchre is a card game played throughout the English-speaking world. It uses a standard deck of cards from which some of the cards are removed; only the 7 through Ace in all four suits are retained. The rules vary widely from place to place, but the rules according to Hoyle are are the heart of the game; local variations are simply one or more additions to Hoyle's "official" Rules.

The Deal

Choose the first dealer at random; the deal rotates to the left after each subsequent hand. The game is played by four players on two teams, with partners siting across from each other. Five cards are dealt to each player, then the top card on the deck is turned up. This card will be used to determine the trump suit.

Deciding Trump

Starting with the player to the left of the dealer, each player may decide whether he wants the suit of the turned-up card to be the trump suit. If a player decides that it should be trump, he announces: "order up," picks up the card and discards one of his cards. If everyone -- including the dealer, who is the last player with this opportunity, refuses the card, the second round of trump selection begins; the player on the dealer's left may either select a trump suit or pass. If everyone passes and no trump is decided, all the hands are thrown in and the deal passes to the next player.


The ranks in Euchre are a bit unusual; in non-trump suits the ranking is jack high, then ace, king, queen, ten, nine, eight and seven as the lowest card. In the trump suit, the jack is called the "right bowler" and the jack of the other suit that is the same color as the trump is called the "left bowler." The ranking in the trump suit is right bowler high, left bowler, ace, king, ten, nine, eight and seven low. The play starts with the player to the left of the dealer, and thereafter with the person who won the previous trick. Players must follow suit if possible, and otherwise can play anything they want. The highest card in the suit wins, but a trump wins over anything else.

Playing Alone

If a player has a really good hand, he can announce "I play alone" before play starts. When this happens, his partner lays down his cards face up; play proceeds normally with the player who is playing alone selecting a card from his partner's hand when the time comes. The advantage of doing this is that it changes how the hand is scored.


Score a hand by how many times the partners who choose trump won the play (took a trick). If they won 3 or 4 of the tricks, they get 1 point. If they took all five tricks, they get 2 points. If they fail to get 3 tricks, the other team gets 1 point. If a person is playing alone, however, the scoring is the same unless that person takes all 5 tricks, in which case her team gets 4 points. The first team to reach 5 points wins the game.

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