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Euchre Info

for newbies and those seeking to learn strategy

Rookie Mistakes

for a printable (pdf) version of this document, click here.

Some Terminology Used:

Seats: (The position of each player.) The person sitting across from you is your partner.

                           2nd Seat

   1st Seat                              3rd Seat

(Eldest Hand)                          (Pone)


                        (4th Seat)

1st Seat is to the LEFT of the dealer and is his opponent. 1st Seat is also referred to as the "Eldest Hand."

2nd Seat is across from the dealer and is his partner.

3rd Seat is to the RIGHT of the dealer and is his opponent. 3rd seat is also referred to as the "Pone."

4th Seat (the dealer) is 2nd seat's partner.

  1. Boss(es) - the highest UN-played card in any suit.
  2. Lone-Call (Going Alone/ Loner) - "opting to play without your partner on a particular hand." **see endnote #1.
  3. Off-Suit Ace (Side Ace) - any ace that is not in the trump suit.
  4. Order up - declaring the trump suit.
  5. Protected Left (Guarded Left) - "having the LEFT bower AND another (smaller) trump card in the player's hand; the LEFT bower is protected because the player can sacrifice the lower trump card, if the RIGHT bower is lead, leaving the LEFT as the highest remaining trump card (ie: guaranteed to take it's trick.)" **see endnote #2.
  6. Side Ace (Off-Suit Ace) - any ace that is not in the trump suit.
  7. Singleton - you are holding only ONE card in a particular suit.
  8. Stick the Dealer - a game option that forces the dealer to declare the trump suit if all other players pass in the 2nd round of bidding.
  9. Two-suited - a hand consisting of TWO suits only.

Rookie Mistakes:

1. Forgetting That the LEFT Bower Functions as a Member of the Trump Suit


  • HEARTS are trump.
  • This makes the jack of diamonds is the LEFT bower.
  • So the jack of diamonds functions as a HEART in this example.

If diamonds are led, it is a rookie mistake to play your jack of diamonds (the LEFT bower) on this trick.


  • Diamonds are led, you have no diamonds, and you mean to trump.
  • If you mean to trump when diamonds are led, make sure you are using the correct trump card and not just wasting your jack of diamonds (the LEFT bower) by trumping with too high of a card.


  • HEARTS are trump.
  • You hold:

  • Hearts - 9
  • Diamonds - J (LEFT bower)
  • Clubs - K, Q, 10
  • Spades - void

  • 2nd seat leads a diamond.
  • Everyone else follows suit and plays a diamond.
  • Your opponent has laid down the highest diamond.
  • You are sitting in 1st seat.
  • Since you are sitting in 1st seat you are the last one to lay a card on the trick.
  • You hold NO diamonds (as the jack of diamonds functions as a HEART in this example) and you decide to trump the trick.
  • In the trump suit you hold both the jack of diamonds and the 9 of hearts.
  • Trump with your 9 of HEARTS.

2. Leading a (Non-Trump) Suit a Second Time - If a non-trump suit has already been led once, do NOT lead it a 2nd time. You put your partner in a very tough position - the suit WILL most likely get trumped. If your partner trumps, chances are high the opponent after him (the opponent to YOUR right) will overtrump him; thus your partner wastes a trump card. Click here for more information on leading a suit a second time - when to do so and when not to do so. **see endnote #3.Instances when you WOULD lead a suit a second time:

  • Your OPPONENTS ordered up trump. All you have left in your hand is a suit that has already been led and trump. You should lead the non-trump suit a 2nd time in this instance. You generally do not want to lead trump when your opponents ordered up trump - this is the 6th Commandment of Euchre. **see endnote #4.
  • You know your opponent to your RIGHT is out of trump cards. In this case your partner will be the last person who can trump the trick, so leading a suit a 2nd time is actually a good move (provided your partner is not out of trump, too.) Even if your partner is out of trump, you are (most likely) forcing your left hand opponent to use a trump card.
  • You sense the opportunity to euchre the other team. Your opponents declared trump. You lead a non-trump suit a 2nd time. This will most likely force your opponent(s) to use a trump card and take away one more opportunity for them to lead trump and strip you and your partner of your trump. You now have a better chance to euchre them.

3. Failing to Play "Second Hand Low" - Second Hand Low is a move you make when you are the 2nd person to lay a card down on a trick (so your partner has the last play on the trick.) Second Hand Low involves NOT trumping a trick, even when you could do so. You are hoping that your partner will win this trick by playing the highest card in this suit OR by playing the highest trump card on the trick. The scenario: 1st seat leads a non-trump card that is NOT an ace. You are sitting in 2nd seat, you do NOT have a card in this suit AND you choose to NOT trump in (even though you DO have a trump card) because you are "giving your partner a chance" to win the trick. Exception: If 1st seat leads an ace DO trump the trick. In summary, you are passing on trumping a trick in the hopes that your partner (who has the last play on the trick) will win the trick. **see endnote #5. A very different 2nd Hand Low scenario - *Scroll to the "Situation Two" paragraph (beneath the white rabbit picture.) click here. **see endnote #6.

Violations of the 10 Commandments of Euchre:

1. Failing to Lead Trump When You Ordered It Up - This is the 7th Commandment of Euchre. **see endnotes #7 & #8. In most instances, "If you bid it, you lead it." If you have the right bower, lead it.

Instances when you would NOT lead trump when you ordered it up:
  • You are 'thin' in trump (ie: you don't have many trump cards.)
  • You have three trump and are two-suited (AND do NOT hold a side ace.) see info here. **see endnote #9. **See how to play a three-trump, two-suited hand WITH a side ace - click here. **see endnote #10.

2. Failing to Lead Trump When Your Partner Ordered It Up - This is the 5th Commandment of Euchre. **see endnotes #11 & #12.

Instances when you would NOT lead trump when your partner ordered it up:

  • You don't hold any trump cards. Hat tip: If you hold a singleton side ace lead it. If you hold 2 or more side aces lead a singleton ace. *You don't want to be forced to discard one of your side aces during the play of the hand so you lead one of your aces now. In other words, you want both aces to have the chance to be played (and hopefully win their tricks.)
  • Your partner is the dealer and he had to order up in the 2nd round of bidding because "stick the dealer" is in effect. Your partner is possibly 'thin' in trump so leading trump may not be a good idea.

3. Leading Trump When Your Opponents Ordered It Up - You almost never lead trump when your opponents ordered up trump. This is the 6th Commandment of Euchre. **see endnote #13. The person who declared trump is probably holding a few trump... all you are doing is stripping your partner of what may be his only trump card.

Instances when you WOULD lead trump to your opponent's order. (ie: "Leading trump on defense."):

  • All you have left in your hand are trump cards.
  • You sense the opportunity to euchre the other team.

  1. 1st scenario: You are in 1st seat. You have 3 trump. (You lead the 1st trick since you are in 1st seat.) "A trump lead here should clear out all trump except yours and the dealer's. Lead a card high enough so that they have to play their bosses. (In most cases this would be your middle ranked trump.) [A trump] lead could leave you in a position to be able to control the remaining trump. The vast majority of times this will result in the [other] team being euchred." **see endnote #14.
  2. 2nd scenario: You have 2 (or more) side aces. Leading trump may strip your opponent, who did NOT declare trump, of what may be his only trump, thus (hopefully) making your aces good when they are played. (ie: Your aces are less likely to get trumped.) **see endnote #15.

4. Trumping Your Partner's Ace - You almost never want to trump your partner's ace. This is the 3rd Commandment of Euchre. **see endnote #16.

Instances when you WOULD trump your partner's ace:

  • All you have left in your hand are trump cards.
  • You want the lead. You have good cards and they need to be played a certain way to maximize the tricks (and points) your team wins.
  • (this one is an advanced move) - Defending against a loner - "when defending against a lone call, trumping an ace that is led by your partner may stop a lone call." **see endnote #17. Trump with your HIGHEST trump card. Note these 2 exceptions: 1) If your partner leads an ace and your only trump is a 9 (or you hold the 9 and 10) do NOT trump in as the bidder of the lone call will overtrump it if he is void in that suit. 2) "Do NOT trump if you only hold a protected left. A protected left is the left (bower) plus any smaller card of the same suit." **see endnote #18. The way to play this: The 1st time the lone bidder leads trump, (assuming he leads his right bower,) you will play your smallest trump. The 2nd time the lone call bidder leads trump, you will play your left bower and win the trick, thus stopping the loner.


  1. - see "Euchre Terminology" section - Going Alone (Loner).
  2. Euchre see "Terminology section - Guarded Left or Protected Left.
  3. - "When to double lead a suit" - "Are Double Leads Good or Bad?"
  4. The 10 Commandments of Euchre - #6.
  5. - "Second Hand Low."
  6. - "Second Hand Low" - "Situation Two" paragraph.
  7. The 10 Commandments of Euchre - #7.
  8. - "Common Euchre Errors" - the 9th one.
  9. - "Play the 3 trump, 2 suited hand, Pt-1" - "Three-Trump, Two-Suited, NO Side Ace."
  10. - "Play the 3 trump, 2 suited hand, Pt-2" - "Three-Trump, Two-Suited, WITH a Side Ace."
  11. The 10 Commandments of Euchre - #5.
  12. - "Common Euchre Errors" - the 1st one.
  13. The 10 Commandments of Euchre - #6.
  14. - "NEVER lead trump on opponents call, Part 1" - last paragraph above the card pictures.
  15. - see "Situation 3" and see "In Summation."
  16. The 10 Commandments of Euchre - #3.
  17. - "Never Trump Your Partner's Ace" - 1st paragraph.
  18. - "How to Stop a Lone Call" - "the dealer calls alone" section.