Monday, February 20, 2006

Euchre - A Game of Tricks!

So, I'm a big fan of card games. While I've always played cards, my days at Los Alamos were when I actually started getting good at it. Of course, if you are playing for money at a Casino, the only game that's worth playing is Blackjack. And that only if you know what you're doing, and you have a good partner. But if you are playing for fun, there are some pretty interesting games out there. Personally, I've always played either Poker, Rummy or Bridge. However, lately I've been playing this new game called Euchre, which is a very midwest game. Euchre is a trick-taking card game, where the objective is to make a bid for the number of tricks you'd take, and to name a trump. Among trick-taking games, I usually have a preference for games like Hearts, but Euchre is not half as ruthless. However, unlike Hearts or some of the other trick-taking card games, Euchre uses a Pinochle deck of cards. A Pinochle deck has 48 cards and essentially consists of two copies each of A, K, Q, J, 10 & 9 of all four suits. After the dealer has dealt, the game is started by the player on the dealer's left taking lead. However, you are allowed to pass until someone makes a bid. Once you you make a bid, you get to name the trump if no one outbids you. It must be mentioned that the Jack of the same color becomes a Jack of the trump suit. For instance, if Spades was trump, Jack of Clubs would be a spade. Therefore, for Spades being the trump suit, the order of cards would be:

{courtesy: wikipedia}
Out of the five tricks available, the bidder naming the trump should take at least three. The player who plays the highest trump in a round wins the trick for that round. If you succeed in a bid, you get a point and if you take all five tricks, you get two. There are also penalties if a bidder does not take three tricks. One must follow suit until one runs out, at which point you can use any card you may wish to trump (if that were an option). You can also go alone, where you give away two of your worst cards and take two of the best cards of the same suit from your partners. Of course, there are such variations as high-low (where the order of trump changes) and the scoring varies from one place to another. But on the whole, it's an extremely interesting game!