Because traditional Euchre is usually a game of two teams competing against one another, the variation known as Three Player Euchre is also frequently called Cutthroat. This is because it actually ends up becoming a two against one game.
How to Play Euchre with Only Three Players
To begin a game of Three Player Euchre, 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.
Just like the traditional format, this version requires a standard deck of cards with all cards numbered between eight and two removed. The player to the dealer’s left declares whether or not the revealed card is the trump, or may alternately pass. Whichever of the three declares the card the trump becomes the “maker” and will be playing against the other two players for the remainder of the trick.
A hand continues for five tricks, and then the points are tallied. Should the maker win three or four tricks, they are awarded a single point. If they have won all five they get three points. If the defenders get three or more tricks, they are given two points each. Keeping score is the responsibility of each player, and a game is won when a player reaches ten points first.
The way the trump suit is described and ranked in a game of Euchre is as follows:
- Joker=Benny, or Best Bower
- Jack=Right Bower
- Other jack of same color as trump suit=Left Bower
Play in a game of Three Player Euchre can then follow the traditional format. This means that 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. The winner of each trick leads the next one.
There are also a handful of variations on the three-person variety including the removal of all nines, playing with a dummy hand, using seven cards per person, an eight card “shooter” version and many others.
Traditionally, the most commonly seen variant is the “four hand” variety. This asks the dealer to give out cards to the players and also a fourth “dummy hand”. When a player decides to call trump, they can then pick up the dummy hand and make the best five-card hand for themselves from the ten cards they hold. In this variant, play continues much the same with the exception that a solo player gets four points for winning all five tricks.
Some other variations of the “four hand” variety limit the dummy hand to only three cards, which gives the trump calling player a few less cards to use, or a five card dummy hand from which the player selects three cards only.
13 thoughts on “Three Player Euchre”
I’ve been playing euchre for 60 years and have never heard of a dummy hand. That’s about as close to cheating as I can think of. Granted in 4-handed, you have a partner to help but even if you go alone, you don’t get to rifle through his cards and take the best ones. Or have the advantage of knowing some of the other cards that are out of play. I’m sure others will disagree with me but I’m too old to care. 🙂
No Annette, i do agree with you there is only three playing so you deal three hands and two players play against the maker.
When you are playing with a dummy hand and you make trump, you have the option of picking the best cards from the dummy hand to make a 5 card hand. In other words you get the benefit of your partner cards just as you would in 4 handed; however if you choose to go alone , you play the cards you were dealt just like 4 handed and the dummies cards are dead.
I’ve been thinking off and on about the endless games of ‘three-handed euchre’ my much younger brother and my mom and I played in the 70’s. I’m so happy to have the rules again! Oh, and about picking up the dummy hand, it’s not a cheat; it’s much more like cribbage. In 3HE at the beginning of each hand you (the one who called the trump) know at the outset what cards are out there against you but not who has what. My brother always won, and wouldn’t tell us how. Now I’m thinking he must have been cheating somehow. Reflections off our glasses’ lenses maybe? Yeah. Sure!
I bought a euchre game from Creek Silverton in 1992 and they never told me of cut throat euchre,now I would like to play that on the computer but all I get are rules, even the game I bought will not let me play cut throat euchre. That is not fair. I paid enough for the euchre disc. Can you tell me how I either can buy the cut throat euchre game or how I can play on line.
1) The idea of a dummy hand here is not that you rifle through it to pick out cards you want, but that you may discard your entire hand to blindly draw the face down hand.
2) Euchre is a game you play with a regular 52 card deck. You can play 3p euchre using the same deck. If you bought a disc to play euchre on your pc, you’ve made a terrible mistake. Play with your friends instead!
I love this game … for evenings where you just can’t make it a foursome!
What happens if 2 players both have either 8 or 9 points, and then the third player calls it trump, but then the 2 players tied at either 8 or 9 points win 3 tricks and “euchre” the player, giving the 2 players both 2 points? This would result in two players having 10 points or more, ie. two winners. Is there a way to do tiebreaks with 3 player euchre?
Thank you…when all three players have passed on the turned up trump do players bid on their best hand with the first bidder it call trump? If played alone and all the tricks are made is the score 4 points?
We play three hand bid euchre where each player gets 8 cards. The game is to 21 points. If the first player to the left of the dealer shoots the moon, can the next player shoot the moon over him? We decided it was a legal bid but we are not sure.
Sounds more like a short 500
If using a dummy as the fourth player, two partners each, how do you lay down their card to the pile and when it comes the dummy hand to deal how it that done?
Has anyone heard of the card games known as Cats and Go To The Moon. Both games are a variation of Euchre but players play for themselves.