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Buck Euchre

Buck Euchre is a variation for four players. Variously known as ‘Cut Throat’ or ‘Dirty Clubs’, what sets this version apart from other games of Euchre is that there are no fixed partnerships – each player plays for themselves. Additionally, Buck Euchre there is a penalty for any player who does not win a trick.

The Cards

Take a standard deck of English playing cards and remove all the cards 8’s and down. This will give you a deck of 24 cards; A, K, Q, J, 10, 9 in each suit.

Cards Rank

In any off-suit, cards rank:
A, K, Q, [J], 10, 9
And in the trump suit, cards rank:
J, J*, A, K, Q, 10, 9
where 'J*' is the "left bower", the second highest trump, the other Jack the same colour as the trump suit. Thus, if Hearts were trumps, for example, then the Jack of Diamonds would be the left bower ranking below the right bower, the Jack of Hearts, and above the Ace.

For a call of ‘No-Trumps’, cards rank as for the off-suit, A, K, Q, J, 10 and 9.

The Deal

Deal and play are clockwise, and the deal proceeds to the left at the end of each hand. Each player is dealt 5 cards, in batches of two and three. The next card is turned face up and placed on top of the remaining deck.

Call or Pass

If the upturned card is a club, then clubs are trumps without further discussion. Each player is obliged to win at least one trick or suffer the penalty.

If the upturned card is not a club, then beginning with the player to the Dealer’s left, each player takes it in turn to either order the Dealer to pick it or they can pass. If the card is ordered up, then that suit becomes trumps. The Dealer takes the card up to his hand and discards another face down. If all players pass, including the Dealer, the upturned card is turned face down, and beginning with the player to the Dealer’s left, each player takes it in turn to either pass or name a trump suit. A player may also elect to make a call of ‘No Trumps’. A player can name any suit trumps, except the suit that was turned down. As soon as trumps is established, the player who called it becomes the ‘Maker’ and is committed to winning at least three of the five tricks.

If all players pass, and no game is called, then the hand is thrown in and the deal proceeds to the left.

Staying in or Dropping Out

Once a trump is established or a game of no-trumps called, beginning with the player to the Maker’s left, each player must state whether they are staying in or dropping out. If you drop out you take no part in play and you avoid the risk of incurring a penalty for not winning a trick. Anyone who stays in must take at least one trick or suffer the penalty.

The Play

Left of the Dealer leads first, and thereafter the winner of the trick leads to the next.

The Rules

Standard trick taking rules apply:

  • You must follow suit to the card led, if you possible
  • If you can’t follow suit, you can play any card
  • The trick is won by the highest trump played to it. If no trumps are played, then the trick is won by the highest card of the suit led.

Scoring

In Buck Euchre, each player starts with 25 points. Points for wins are deducted, and points for losses added. Thus the first player to reach or go below zero wins the game.

Outcomes

Each player is subtracted one point for each trick taken in the hand.
If the Maker wins three tricks, 3 points are subtracted from his/her score
If the Maker fails to win three tricks, he/she gains nothing for the tricks they won. Five points are added to their score.
If you stay in, and take no tricks, five points are added to your score. If you drop out, no penalties are incurred.

If anyone takes all 5 tricks, they immediately win the game.

Other Variations of Euchre

Euchre – The Standard Rules
RailRoad Euchre – Four players in two fixed partnerships. Greater emphasis is place on going alone, so the scoring moves a lot faster.
Call Ace Euchre – a variation for five players where each player plays for themselves.
Pepper – Version of bid Euchre. Can be played as a game in two fixed partnerships or where each player plays for themselves.


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