Euchre Tips & Tricks

The difference between a Euchre wannabe and a Euchre pro are just a few Euchre tips, little bits of wisdom which can accelerate your game and let you control the board. Here are a collection of Euchre tips that will ensure that you are playing your absolutely best next time the cards on the table. Some are obvious, some are a little more advanced, but all of them will make you a better player.

Euchre Tip #1: Remember the Left Bower is the Same Suit as Trump

Okay, as Euchre tips go, this one is fairly lame, but it bears repeating because it is so easy to forget. In Euchre, the jack of the trump is called the right bower and it is the most powerful card in the game. Nothing can beat it. The off jack (the jack of the same color, but different suit) is called the left bower and it is the second highest card in the round. Also, per the rules of Euchre, the left bower is transformed into being the same suit as the trump suit. It can be played when trump is lead and, of course, it can trump just like cards of the trump suit.

Euchre Tip #2: Remember the Kitty

The kitty is the term for the stack of three cards that do not get dealt and are not flipped up. In every hand of Euchre, four cards are not dealt, but one of those cards is revealed to determine what card can be ordered up in the first round of bidding. That leaves three cards that will not factor in the round at all. The kitty is one of the things that makes Euchre such a complex game because anything can be in there including the right or left bower, aces of the various suits, or they could very well be all nines.

Why does this matter?  One of the things smart players do is count the number of trump that have been played. Using this information and gut feelings during bidding, players can try to guess who has any of the remaining trump. However, with three cards going undealt, it’s much harder to definitely say that one player does or does not have a trump. This can make it harder to play aggressive because you don’t know for sure who has what card.

Euchre Tip #3: Going Alone is Dangerous

Again, this one is pretty obvious, but it should be mentioned. It’s exciting to go alone. It’s a rush when you tell everyone that your hand is good enough (and you are good enough) to get all five tricks in the round. At the same time, if you are not confident that you can get all five tricks, don’t do it. The more you go alone, the more chance that you are going to get set. If you have a partner with you, the chances of giving the defenders points is much lower. Plus, if the two of you can get all five tricks it’s worth two points rather than the one point you get if you go alone and earn three or four tricks.

Euchre Tip #4: Don’t Order up the Jack Unless You or Your Partner Dealt

This rule is almost inviolate. If the jack is showing and you or you partner are not the dealer, don’t order it up. Chances are the dealer’s team will anyway, but if you order up the jack and give it to the other team, you have given your opponent a trick and there is nothing you can do about it. Euchre is only played to five tricks, so you have made it far, far easier for the other team to set you.

Oh, and as a side note, don’t automatically order up the jack if you don’t have the cards to support it.

Euchre Tip #5: In Euchre, Time is Short

Use this tip however you want, but keep it in mind. Unlike Bridge or Spades, where there are thirteen tricks up for grabs, in Euchre there are only five and to score points, you have to take three of them. Absolutely every trick in Euchre matters, so you cannot let down your guard or make many mistakes or you will quickly find yourself outscored.

Euchre Tip #6: It’s Okay to Trump Your Partner’s King

Yep, really, it’s okay to trump your partner’s king. That may not sound right. It may not sound like a good idea even, but if you partner lays down the king, you can trump it. It’s not a sure trick by any means when you partner plays the king. Your opponents can beat it with the ace of the same suit or with any one of the trump. If you have an inkling that the other team is going to try trump and take the trick, feel free to lay down a trump of your own (if you can.)  At the very least this will cause the other player to play a higher trump if they have one high enough.

Euchre Tip #7: It’s Almost Always Better to Be the Maker Than the Defender

In general, most of points scored in Euchre happen when you are the maker for obvious reasons. You selected the trump. If you or your partner was the dealer, you received an extra card in the trump suit. Everything should be going your way.

That’s why if you are reasonably certain that you can get three trumps with the cards you have, be the maker. Take control. Let the trump be the suit you want, not the suit the other team wants. That’s not to say you should do something silly and order up a suit just to be the maker, down that path lies getting set and giving the other team two points, but if you think you can make three tricks, don’t hesitate. Make the bid and go.

Tip #8: There is a Time and a Place to Lead with Trump

There are times when leading with a trump makes perfect sense, but for the most part, those times are when you have a hand full of trump and you are pretty sure your opponents do not. The reason why you should lead with trump with care is that it forces your partner to play a trump, too, and he might better use that card later in the game.