Euchre is one of the most popular games in the world; not just here in Canada. As such, there are groups who play the game by many different rule variations. We’ll go over some of the more common varieties here today.
Note that this text assumes you already understand the Canadian way of playing Euchre. If you need further instruction, or would like to learn more about the game’s history and strategies, please refer to the following pages:
The following rule variations include options to play a cut-throat game with 3 or 4 players, with an extended deck of 32 cards, and more flexible bidding rules common among Ontario crowds.
Buck Euchre – 4 Player
Being a cut-throat edition, Buck Euchre is among the most popular variations of the game. There are no partnerships, and the same 24-card deck and card ranks apply.
If the card turned up is a Club: No bidding takes place. Clubs are automatically trump. The player left of the dealer goes first. Each player must participate and catch at least one trick to avoid penalty.
If the card turned up is Not a Club: A standard-rule round of bidding takes place with the maker of the bid naming trump. The trump maker must catch at least three tricks or suffer penalty. Once the bid is established, all defenders have the option to “Drop Out”. Those who do not drop out are obligated to catch at least one trick or suffer penalty.
Dropping Out: Defenders may only drop out if the turned up card is not trump, and someone has taken up the bid. Players who drop out will not participate in the hand. They won’t risk a penalty, but cannot earn score.
Scoring: All players start with 25 points. Every trick captured is -1 point. Failing to capture the required number of tricks earns no points off your score, but instead adds +5 points. First player to 0 wins.
Buck Euchre – 3 Player
Similar to the rules above, except that no card is turned face up. Four hands are dealt, 1 to each player and a fourth face down as the “widow”. Each player—starting with the player right of the dealer, then the dealer, then the player left of the dealer—will have the option to exchange their entire hand for the widow.
Bidding does not include the naming of trump, and lasts as many rounds as necessary. The lowest possible bid is 1. If a player passes, they may still bid on the next round if it comes back to them. Once a winning bidder is decided, trump is named, and other players choose to play or drop out.
Players start with 15 points. Other scoring rules still apply except that bidding and winning all 5 tricks only awards a -5 to score, not the whole game.
More common in New Zealand than North America, there is a variant of Euchre played with 32 cards. They include all the usual cards, plus an additional 7 and 8 of each suit. They are the lowest rank of each suit. Otherwise, the rules are the same.
Canadian Bid Euchre
This last variant is found in some crowds in Ontario. It’s played with two 16-card decks, utilizing only the J, Q, K and A of each suit. With 4 players, the 32 cards are dealt 8 to each, with no card face up. Rank of cards remain the same, except when the same card is played in a round. For example, if the Ace of Diamonds is played, followed by another Ace of Diamonds, the second Ace of Diamonds played ranks higher.
Players can bid up to 8 points in trump or no trump. Players who bid all 8 tricks and choose to “go alone” can earn extra points, depending on how many cards they call in exchange from their partner: 2 cards awards 12 points, 1 card 18 points, no card (aka Moon), 24 points. A player who fails to catch all 8 tricks loses just as many points.
The target score per team is 52 points. Some play where the winning team is the first to reach 52+ points and win the final hand. Others award the game to the player who reaches 52+, regardless of who won the final hand.
Adalene Lucas: is our jack of all trades here at DBC. She is a skilled coder, gambler, writer and webmaster. She lives in Manitoba where she enjoys the lush landscapes and camping near Tulabi Falls. Nature gives her inspiration to write. When she's not immersed in nature, her favorite words are "game theory". She lives with her husband and their two Labradors, Kophy and Whisper.