The Pennsylvania Dutch developed the card game euchre in the 19th century. Most current versions of the game feature four players in teams of two. A deck of 24 cards that includes the nine, 10, jack, queen, king and ace of each suit is dealt evenly between players. In the less familiar two-man euchre, most basic game principles remain but there are a few alterations.
In two-man euchre, the dealer deals from a standard 24-card deck. Each player receives a hand of five cards, dealt out in groups of two and three. Additionally, a dummy hand of two cards, which is not viewed initially, is handed to each player. The rest of the deck is placed face down and the top card is flipped over.
The player opposite the dealer has the first right to name trump. If he tells the dealer to pick up the card on top of the deck, that card becomes the trump suit, and the caller gains access to his two-card dummy hand. With seven cards, he must now discard two. If the player opposite the dealer passes, the dealer can pick up the card or turn it back to the other player to choose a trump suit. If the dealer picks up, he has access to his dummy hand, giving him eight cards. He must discard three before play can begin.
The card rankings remain the same in two-man euchre as they are in traditional four-man euchre. The jack of the trump suit is the highest-ranked card. The jack of the same color is second in rank. For example, if clubs are the trump suit, the jack of clubs is highest ranked and the jack of spades is second. After this, the ace, king, queen, jack, ten and nine of the trump suit rank highest, in that order.
Regular euchre rules apply to the two-man version of the game. The non-dealer plays a card. The dealer must play the same suit. If he has none of the same suit, he can play any card. Each round is called a trick, and the goal of each trick is to play the highest-ranked card. With five cards dealt to each player, five tricks occur per deal.
The goal of the game is to win as many tricks as possible. Whoever chose the trump suit must win at least three of the five tricks to gain a point. Winning all five tricks awards two points. If the player who didn't choose trump suit wins at least three tricks, he is awarded two points. Unlike four-man euchre, there are no bonuses for going alone in two-man euchre, as every hand is played alone. Typical euchre games are played to 10 points.
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