Euchre is a game played by four people broken into two teams, but the variation known as Buck Euchre (Cut-throat Euchre or Dirty Clubs Euchre) has each player working independently. It requires a standard deck of cards with all cards numbered between eight and two removed – which leaves a 24 card deck to work with. Just as standard Euchre ranks the trump suit differently, so too does Buck Euchre.
Buck Euchre Hand Rankings
The way the trump suit is described and ranked is as follows:
- Jack=Right Bower
- Other jack of same color as trump suit=Left Bower
The other suits hold traditional ranking order, and if there are no trumps the rank is aces high and nines low.
The dealer gives each player three cards, then two, and finally one, but any method of dealing out five cards is usually acceptable. The remainder of the deck is laid face down in the center of the table with the top card flipped over and laid beside it.
If the card revealed is a club, this sets the trump for the game. If not, then trump is declared in the traditional style. This means that the player to the dealer’s left declares whether or not the revealed card is the trump, or may alternately pass. Should a player declare the card the trump, the dealer will then take this card and replace it with one of their own cards facedown. Once a player does this, they must win three tricks during the game.
If no trump is declared, all players must win one trick or suffer a plus-five penalty.
Once the trump is selected, the other players must establish if they are “in” or “out”. Dropping out gives the player a penalty and staying in obliges the player to win at least one of the five tricks.
To begin playing, the player to the dealer’s left leads the trick by laying down a card in the same suit (if available) or any other card. A trick is won by the player who played the highest card of the leading suit, unless trump cards were played. The highest trump always wins the trick. In Buck Euchre, however, the left bower (jack in the same color as the trump suit) is considered as a trump card as well. The winner of each trick leads the next one.
A hand continues for five tricks, and then the points are tallied. Interestingly, the goal of the game is to lose all 25 points that the player starts with. This is done by subtracting a single point for every trick won. The exceptions are for those who set the trump suit but who fail to win their three tricks – for this they add five points to their score. Also, a player who stays in the game, but who does not take one trick must add five to their score as well.
The player who takes five tricks is considered the automatic winner of the game. Alternately, the game is won by the player who hits zero first. Another variant to this game is three player Euchre or you can visit John McLeod’s website (pagat.com) which gives a detailed overview of how to play Euchre, history as well as game terms and software.