This trick-taking card game is perfect for the whole family. Here's how to play Euchre. (2024)

You’ve heard of the “Bible Belt” and the “Rust Belt,” but what about the “Euchre Belt”? According to Michigan Radio’s “Stateside,” the phrase refers to the six states where the card game is most frequently played and passed down through generations – Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

But the game has French and German origins with a card game called “juckerspiel.” The Alsatian word “jucker” means jack, an appropriate name for a game where two jacks are the highest-ranking cards.

Whether you’re in the Euchre Belt or far outside of it, here’s what to know to dominate the game.

What is Euchre?

Euchre is a card game most commonly played in the Midwestern U.S. It’s a trick-taking card game, which means there are several rounds where players play a single card and the player who placed the highest-ranking card wins.

It’s also played in teams, usually four people divided into two teams, with players sitting in a circle opposite their teammates.

How to play Euchre

The object of the game is to win as many tricks in that round and then to be the first to score 10 points as a team. Some versions play with 5 or 7 points, so you’ll want to establish this before the game begins.

Here's how to get started, including dealing, gameplay and scoring.

The deal

You don’t need the whole deck for this game – just the 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace of each suit.

Start by selecting a dealer who will shuffle the deck. Deal five cards to each player in increments of two and three, starting with the player to the left of the dealer. Put the remaining cards in a pile and flip the top card faceup – this is the proposed trump suit.

Deciding the trump suit

When you’re playing Euchre, the trump suit cards are the highest and outrank any other card of another suit.

Once players look at their cards, they’ll have a chance to pass or accept the proposed trump suit. Starting to the left of the dealer, players pass if they don’t want that card to be the trump suit or accept if they do. If they accept, they’ll take that card and discard another one from their hand so they still have five cards.

If players have gone all the way around the table while passing on a trump suit, the person to the left of the dealer gets the option to choose a trump suit. If they refuse, the choice goes to the next player and so on. If no one chooses a trump suit, the dealer is forced to pick one.

The player who chose the trump suit has the option to play with a partner or go at it alone. They may do this because they think they can win the hand alone – a solo player who wins all 5 tricks gets 4 points, but with a teammate, they’d only get 2 points. If they choose to play alone, their teammate leaves the table for that round.


Higher cards are worth more in this game, with two exceptions. The “right bower” is the jack of the trump suit, which reigns over any other card in the trump suit. The “left bower” is the other jack of the same color, and it ranks second below the right bower.

For example, the normal rank of a suit looks like this (from highest to lowest):

But if hearts were chosen as the trump suit, the rank would look like this (from highest to lowest):


The player to the left of the dealer begins by placing any card down on the table. The other players must play a card of the same suit if they’re able to – even if it means they’ll lose that trick. If you don’t have that suit you can play any other card. This is often when you’ll use a trump suit card which could win you the hand.

The highest-ranking card of the original suit played wins the trick unless a card from the trump suit (including the left bower) is played, which would outrank any other card.


After a round is played, tally up the scores. If your team decided the trump suit, you’ll be scored on a different point system. If the trump-naming team does not win three or more tricks, it’s called getting “euchred.”

Here’s how to score teams or solo players:

Keep the fun going with more illustrated game guides

  • How to play checkers: Beat your opponent with these strategies
  • How to play Solitaire: Master the solo game online or with real cards
  • How to play Go Fish: Get "hooked" on this matching game
  • How to play darts: Head to your nearest bar and impress your friends
  • How to play UNO:Have you been playing this family favorite wrong?

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This trick-taking card game is perfect for the whole family. Here's how to play Euchre. (2024)
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