Saturday, August 28, 2010

Deal 'Em: Euchre

Just got back from playing cards at the neighbors. I very pleasantly found that a bunch of people in the neighborhood actually know how to play Euchre. (Euchre? I don't even know her! - eh, sorry.)

The 'rents are from upstate New York (helllloooooo Rochester!) and this was a game that I watched the adults play growing up. I was always fascinated by this fast paced 5-card game. My dad, grandpa, and two uncles would sit down and "throw cards". Children were not allowed to play at the men's table, and you could only stay if you didn't talk during the hand.

They would deal 'em out: 3-2, 3-2 then 2-3, 2-3, flip the top card on the kitty, growl out their bids and then let fly. Dad would lead and then 3 more cards would appear almost simultaneously on the table. Uncle Dave would lead and then swish! swish! swish! One more round of that and then they'd all throw their cards in.

I was left bewildered. Hey, aren't there two more tricks to play? No point. They got a "stopper".  Take your point and shuffle 'em and deal again. It was fast and furious and almost like a secret society with its own language. One had to be an Initiate to follow the game. I'm still surprised at how much of the jargon I absorbed without realizing it. Going alone. Dutch point (Dutchman), Left Guarded, sandbagging, never-send-a-baby-for-beer, etc.

I loved it. I still do. I like to play when I can find enough people outside my family who know the game. It's a fast trump game, but not as complicated as Bridge (which I still don't get), and not as nasty as Hearts or Spades. Pinochle is another favorite but involves multiple decks of cards.

Oh, and for the record, "real" counters are with 2's and 3's, not 6's and 4's! (Yes, that's a religious debate.)


LarryD said...

And no serious euchre player uses 5's for counters either!

And stealing the deal is a legal maneuver (and so is reneging, as long as you don't get caught!)

Ever play 2-handed euchre?

Rachael said...

haven't played euchre in years....
probably the last time was with you and the mrs.
i wonder if I would even remember how to play....

Nod said...

@Larry - I've played cutthroat Euchre and double-deck cutthroat Pinochle, but never 2-handed euchre. What's that like?

@Rachael - then we'll definitely have to play again soon.

LarryD said...

Nod - use all 24 cards, deal four face down for you and your opponent, side by side, then four face up on the turned over cards (you end up with 4 piles of cards, 2 cards per pile, top one face up) and then deal out remaining eight cards so you end up with four cards in your hand. Each of you end up with 12 cards - 4 in hand, 4 face up and 4 under the face up cards.

Person who didn't deal calls trump, rules are "stick the dealer". 7-10 tricks = 1 pt; 11 tricks = 2 pts; all 12 tricks = 4 pts. Euchre if you get 6 tricks (2 pts).

Provides interesting strategy because you can see 4 of your opponents' cards when you figure out what to call trump. And with four of your own cards unseen, well, some interesting turn of events can occur as play goes on. It's fun - give it a try.

LarryD said...

I guess I should add you turn up the face down card when you play the card that was on top of it. And don't reveal it until AFTER your opponent plays theirs.

The best strategy is to hold off playing the cards in your hand for as long as possible.

Other rules are the same - Jacks are high, have to follow suit, etc etc

Nod said...

Cool, I'll con my sibs into playing that version with me. Thanks!


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