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Railroad Euchre

In Railroad Euchre, there is greater emphasis on ‘going alone’ which tends to speed up the game, because the score ticks over faster. The basic mechanics of the game are the same as for Euchre, only a game is played over several hands to a total of five points.

Railroad Euchre is a plain trick taking game for four players in two fixed partnerships. Partners sit opposite each other.

The Cards

Take a standard deck of 52 cards, and remove all cards 8 and down, then add the Joker. This will give you a deck of 25 cards, A, K, Q, J, 10, 9 in each suit for 24 cards, plus the Joker for 25.

Cards Rank

In any off-suit, cards rank:
A, K, Q, J, 10, 9
And in the trump suit, cards rank:
Jkr, J, J*, A, K, Q, 10, 9

The Joker is always the highest trump, known as the Best Bower. Next down is the Right Bower – the Jack of Trumps, and below him is the Left Bower, which is the other Jack the same colour as the trump suit.

For example, if Hearts were trumps, then the cards would rank
Jkr, J♥, J♦, A♥, K♥, Q♥, 10♥, 9♥

In each other suit, the cards will rank A, K, Q, [J], 10, 9.

Players should agree at the beginning of the game which suit the Joker represents if it is turned at the deal.

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, with the next card turned face up and left on top of the deck.

The Call

Beginning with the first player to the Dealer’s left, each takes it in turn to either order up the upturned card or to pass. If any player orders up the card, that suit becomes trumps. The Dealer takes up the card, and discards one of his/her own face down on top of the deck. And play begins.

If all players pass, including the Dealer, then the card is turned face down and beginning with the player to the Dealer’s left, each one takes it in turn to either ‘pass’ or to nominate a suit as trumps. Any suit may be chosen accept the suit that was turned down at the deal. Once any player announces a suit, that suit becomes trumps for the hand, and play begins. If no one nominates trumps, the hand is thrown in and the deal proceeds to the left.

Playing Alone

Any player may announce that he/she is playing alone – i.e. without the assistance of his/her partner. In such a case, the partner takes no part in the play. Instead, the player who announces this takes one card from his/her own hand and passes it to his/her partner face down. In exchange, the partner will give the lone player his/her best card. If the player does not have a trump, then presumably he/she will give the lone player an Ace or even a King.

If the lone player is the Dealer, he gets two exchanges – the first with his partner, and then with the upturned card on the top of the deck. The Dealer may look at the card his/her partner gives them before taking up the upturned card, and further, can take this opportunity to get rid of the card his/her partner gave to him/her, should he/she so choose.

Furthermore, if one player decides to play alone, then another player from the opposing team can also decide to play alone and gets to exchange a card with his/her partner in the same manner described.

The Play

Left of the Dealer leads first and may lead any card. 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 can
  • 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.

The Score

Scoring is as for Euchre with the following distinctions. The Lone Player scores 3 points if he/she is successful, and Defenders score 4 points for euchring a lone player.

Scoring for Railroad Euchre

1 Point

The Makers win three or more tricks

2 Points

The Makers win all five tricks

2 Points

Euchre – The Defenders take three or more tricks. There is no bonus for taking all 5 points

3 Points

The Lone Player succeeds by winning 3 or more tricks

4 Points

The Lone Player succeeds by winning all 5 tricks

4 Points

The Defender(s) take three or more tricks against a lone player

Laps

If a team take more points in a hand than they need to win the game, the excess points are carried over to the next game.

Slams

If one team reaches 5 points before the other team have scored any points, then it is a slam and counts as two games.

Jambone

Any player who elects to play alone can announce “Jambone”, which means he/she will play with their hand faced up so that everyone can see. His/her opponents then have the right to call any card they please either for the lead or for the follow. If a lead is required, it is called by the player to the lone player’s left, and if it is to follow, it is called by the player to the lone player’s right. The two opposing players, however, cannot consult with each other and must not let their partner see their cards at all. If the Jambone player succeeds, taking all 5 tricks, the team score 8 points for it, and if he/she takes just 3-4 tricks, the team score just 1 point. If the Defenders succeed in euchring the Jambone player, then they score just 2. When a player goes alone Jambone, then neither Defender can go alone – they must play together as a team.

Jamboree

Jamboree is holding the 5 highest trumps, – Jkr, J, J*, K, Q – it need only be announced and shown to score 16 points. If the combination is held by the Dealer, it can be made up by inclusion of the upturned card. However, this claim can only be made by the Dealer if the Dealer has made trumps. The Dealer cannot claim this if he/she has been ordered up by the opponents.

Bear in mind, that only the Maker of the trump can go alone, call Jambone or Jamboree. Going alone is very common in Railroad Euchre, and so is ordering up the trump card in order to prevent it.

Game

Each game in Railroad Euchre is played over a number of hands to a grand total of 5 points.

Other Variations of Euchre

Euchre – The Standard Rules
Buck Euchre – a variation for four players where each player plays for themselves.
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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