Card Games: 5. Bid Euchre

Bid Euchre


  • Players: 4
  • Game Length: Medium
  • Card Decks: Pinochle Deck (all 9,10,J,Q,K,A from 2 normal decks. Thus 48 cards)
  • Jokers: No

This is a game with as many variations of how to play as there are people who play it.. but the basic idea tends to be the same. Those of you familiar with normal Euchre should recognize most of the rules fairly quickly, and be able to play in no time. I believe my brother taught me this game long ago when I was visiting him when he was at Calvin. I like it a bit more than normal Euchre, as it relies less on just random chance (I was dealt these cards, therefore I will win) and more on strategy and manipulating others (I have a mediocre hand, but I bid kinda high, so to beat me, they’ll have to bid even higher, and I don’t think they’ve got the stones…) The goal of the game is to get points, and you get points by collecting tricks.

This game is based on normal Euchre, so start by reviewing the rules for Euchre. Now I’ll explain the differences:

How to Play

  • Card Hierarchy is the same as Euchre with one major difference: since there is 2 of every card, the card laid first is higher than a card laid second. (e.g. if I lay the Queen of hearts, and you lay the Queen of hearts after me, my Queen is higher than yours.)
  • Begin by dealing out all the cards to everyone, (thus each person gets 12 cards) There is no kitty, and no cards remaining.
  • The person to the left of the dealer begins the bidding by saying how many tricks they believe their team will take, and what suit they’d like trump to be.
  • The next person must either bid higher (i.e. say a higher number of tricks they expect to take) along with a trump suit [which may be the same as the previous person’s trump suit bid] or they must pass.
  • This continues around the table until we get to the dealer, who bids or passes like everyone else. If no one has bid, then everyone is stupid. Seriously, bid 1 at the least… but anyway, assuming no one has bid the dealer must bid. May as well bid 1, and pick a suit.
  • Once the bidding phase is done, the person with the highest bid begins by laying out a card, and the person to the left follows, and the game proceeds just like normal Euchre (keep in mind the additional Card Hierarchy rule about identical cards).
  • Scoring is as follows:
    • If your team’s bid was highest, and you take at least how many you bid, you get 1 point for every trick you took. (e.g. If you bid 6 Hearts, and took 8 tricks, you get 8 points.)
    • If your team’s bid was highest, and you did not take at least how many you bid, you get negative your bid. (e.g. If you bid 6 Hearts, and took 5, you get -6 points.
    • If your team did not have the highest bid, you get 1 point for every trick you took.
  • The first team to a predetermined score (e.g. 50) wins

Card Games: 4. Euchre

Euchre


  • Players: 4
  • Game Length: Short
  • Card Decks: 1/2 Pinochle Deck (all 9,10,J,Q,K,A from a normal deck. Thus 24 cards)
  • Jokers: No

Welcome to Michigan… The goal of the game is to get points, and you get points by collecting tricks. (Trick –> in a single round, the cards played by all the players; the high card is the winner.). Determining the highest card is all dependent on what “trump” is. (Trump –> the suit that has been declared to rank above all other suits for the duration of the hand; a trump can take a trick even when a card of a different suit is led).

Card Hierarchy

If people new to this game screw up, this is where they are going to mess up the most. Here is how the cards work in Euchre

  • For most suits the rising value of cards is as follows 9->10->J->Q->K->A. So an Ace would beat every other card, a Queen tops a 9, 10, and Jack, and so on. Very simple.
  • When trump is involved, trump beats every other suit. So if Hearts is trump for the round, the 9 of Hearts beats the Ace of Spades, for examples.
  • The hierarchy of cards for the trump suit is as follows: 9->10->Q->K->A->Jack of the same color->Jack of trump.
  • The two Jacks of the trump color (e.g. if Hearts is trump, Red is trump color, and the Jack of hearts and the Jack of Diamonds) are known as “bowers”. Assuming again that Hearts has been called trump, the Jack of Hearts is then known as the “Right” or “Big” bower, and the Jack of Diamonds is the “Left” or “Little” bower.
  • The key thing to remember (and the thing that is most often forgotten) is this: for this entire hand, the “little/left” bower is considered part of the trump suit, and not its original/actual suit. (e.g. if Hearts is trump, the Jack of Diamonds is a Heart, not a Diamond.)
  • For the non-trump color, the Jacks are treated normally, so in our example, the Jack of Spades and Jack of Clubs are still mediocre cards, beating 9 and 10 but losing to Q, K, and Ace of their suit.
  • Unless trump is involved, the leading suit always beats the non-leading suit. (e.g. If Hearts is trump, and I lead with the Queen of Spades, and the next player plays the Ace of Diamonds, my Queen is still winning, as you must be either the same suit as the leading (first) card, or be trump to win.)

So that’s how the cards work.. now here’s how you play:

  • Your partner is the person opposite/across you. (ie: A B A B)
  • The goal for each round is to win at least 3 of the 5 tricks.
  • Scoring is as follows:
    • If your team called trump and you win 3+: 1 point
    • If your team did not call trump and you win 3+: 2 points
    • If your team called trump and won all 5: 2 points
    • If you went alone, and won all 5: 4 points
  • The dealer begins by dealing all 4 people 5 cards (usually done in groups of 2 and 3), the remaining 4 cards [The “Kitty”] are set to the side, and the top card is flipped over.
  • The person to the left of the dealer begins. They must decide if they want the suit currently flipped over on the Kitty to be trump [i.e. if they believe that if that suit was trump, their team would be able to take at least 3 tricks]. If they do, they would say “Pick it up.” That suit would then be trump for the round, and the dealer would then get that card as part of their hand, and they must choose one card in their hand to discard, and the game would begin.
  • If the first player does not want that suit to be trump, they would pass, and then we move to the next player (the dealer’s partner), and they make the same decision… and so on.
  • If it makes it all the way around to the dealer, and the dealer passes, the top card on the kitty is flipped face down, and we move back to the first player, who may simply choose a suit except the suit that was just flipped over to be trump, or they can pass again.
  • If everyone passes the second time, the dealer may not pass, but must choose a trump suit (again, not the suit that was flipped over) This is called “Screw the Dealer”. I believe you can also play where if the dealer passes a second time, you pack it up and pass the deal to the person on the left, but that seems dumb.
  • Once trump has been picked, the person to the left of the dealer begins by laying out a card (usually a high non-trump card, but it can be anything). The next person to the left then must follow, obeying the following rules:
    • You must play/follow the same suit that was lead if you have that suit. (Remember, that little bower is a trump suit now)
    • If you do not have that suit, you may, but do not have to play trump. You can play any card you want. (Odds are, you’ll want to play trump, but this is where strategy comes in.)
  • This continues around the table until all 4 have played. The person laying the winning card (based on that card hierarchy above) takes the cards, and keeps then in front of them. They then lead the next hand.
  • This continues until all 5 hands have been played. Then you figure out who scored what.
  • The person to the left of the dealer is now the new dealer, and you go at it again
  • The game goes until a team scores 10 points. You can keep score using the 5 cards. Start with one face down on top of one face up, then as you score points, uncover the 5 symbols on the card.. when you get to 5, flip the card over and cover the other card, and continue until you’ve got all 10.

Additional Rules

  • Farmer’s Hand: During the “calling trump” period, if in your hand you have any combination of at least 3 9‘s and 10, you can trade those 3 for the bottom 3 cards of the kitty. This is also an automatic “pass” on the trump bid as well.
  • Steal the Deal: If you are a jerk, you can play this way.. where if you deal out of turn and the other team doesn’t notice, then more power to ya.

Card Games: 3. Hand and Foot

Hand and Foot


  • Players: 2-8ish
  • Game Length: Long
  • Card Decks: At least 1 Full Deck for every 2 people
  • Jokers: Yes

We used to play this game at my Grandparents’ house a long time ago, but I’d long since forgotten it when Swac brought the rules to our place. Since then it’s become a bit of a favorite (especially for those Phase 10-esque haters). It’s a fantastic game, especially when you can play on teams. It does require a bit of time, and if you’re learning it for the first time, I guess it can seem a bit overwhelming.. unless you actually paid attention to the rules.. sigh. I kid.. I kid.. but no, seriously… listen to the rules when they’re explained. The main goal of the game is to complete books, and books are just sets of at least 7. There are no runs in this game, so don’t even bother. How about some rules, eh?

Once again, cards have point values, so I’m just going to lay those out at the beginning, so it’ll be an easy place to find them:

  • The Points:
  • Ace: 20 points
  • 2: 20 points (and WILD)
  • 4-9: 5 points
  • 10, J, Q, K: 10 points
  • Joker: 50 points (and WILD)
  • Black 3: -5 points
  • Red 3: -500 points

Points needed to lay out:

  1. 50 points
  2. 90 points
  3. 120 points
  4. 150 points

The full game is made up of 4 rounds, and the major rules are the same for all 4 rounds, with just a few special changes made each round. I’ll explain the first round, then explain how the next rounds are different.

  • The game begins by shuffling all the decks together, then each player deals 2 piles of 13 cards. Each person will then hand one pile to the person on their left, and one pile to the person on their right. Thus, each person will again have 2 piles of 13 cards in front of them at the end, just not the ones that they dealt.
  • The players choose one of the two piles (without looking at them. All the cards are still face down in piles) and this pile becomes their “hand“. They can pick up this pile, and look at the cards (though they keep them hidden from everyone else, obviously)
  • The other pile is set to the side. This is the “foot” and can not be viewed until the player has completely used all the cards in their hand.
  • The remaining cards are all placed in a pile face down in the center. This becomes the “pickup” pile.
  • Decide in whatever stupid way you’d like who is to go first. This person’s turn begins by drawing 2 cards from the pickup pile. They then must discard 1 card face up onto the discard pile.
  • The next player may either pick up two cards from the pickup pile, or grab the entire discard pile (It’s all or nothing with that thing). Then they discard one card, and we continue.
  • The goal is to collect sets (same card number, with at least 3 cards in the group). In order to “lay out” a player must have enough cards in sets to reach a set number of points. For the first round, this total is 50 points. What this means is that If I had 3 Jacks (Jacks are 10 points) and 4 7’s (7’s are 5 points) then my total is 50 points. So too if I had a Joker and two 6’s that’s a total of 60 points, as Jokers are worth 50. Once a person has that, if they desire (and usually you desire, but you are not forced to) then on their turn, rather than picking up cards they first must lay these cards out in front of them, face up. Once they have done so, and it’s been verified that they reached the point total needed, they can continue their turn as normal, picking up cards and discarding. Note that this could be done on their first turn, so if you get dealt exactly what you needed, you can lay out on your first turn.
  • Once a player has “laid out”, then on their turn, they pick up their two (or the pile) and can add on to their sets, or begin new sets as they’d like, and once they discard, their turn is over.
  • This continues until a player has used up all the cards in their hand. Then they move on to their foot, and continue with those cards.
  • In order to end a round, a player must complete a set number of “books”. Books are sets of at least 7 cards. A “clean book” is a set of 7+ with no wilds, and a “dirty book” is a set of 7+ cards that included at least one wild.
  • Note that you are allowed only 1 wild for every 2 “normal” cards. So one 2 or Joker with three 4’s, for example. With four 4’s you could add another 2 or Joker.
  • Also, once a “clean book” has been formed, you can not add Wilds to it to make it “dirty”. If it has 7+ cards in it, it’s “closed clean”. [This varies depending on who you play with, but that’s how we play, and it seems to work well]
  • Depending on how many people you are playing with, and if you are playing with teams or not, the number of clean and dirty books varies a bit. We often just decide when we start the game, but the numbers that seem to work well: With no teams, 1 clean and 1 dirty book needed to win. With teams, we often play 3 clean and 3 dirty. I’ll repeat that when I get into the “team” information.
  • Once a player has all the clean and dirty books they need, they can end the game by using up all their cards (they need not discard to end the game, but they can end the game by discarding). Once they are “out”, the game is done, and not one else takes a turn.
  • Note that if you use up all your cards and do not have the needed number of books, the game continues as normal.
  • Scoring is done as follows:
    • Clean books are each worth 500 points
    • Dirty books are each worth 300 points
    • Each card (whether in a finished book or not) counts it’s point value as well
    • All cards still in a person’s hand (or in their foot, if they didn’t get into their foot before someone went out) count against your total score.
    • Note that 3‘s are only negative. This means they can not be used to make sets/books (i.e. you can not have a set of 3’s). They are only points against you, and thus are discarded as soon as possible. Red threes in particular count 500 points against you, so having one or more of them in your foot is rather troublesome.

    Players add up all their books and cards and subtract the totals in their hand/foot, and that number is their total score for that round (and yes, it can be negative)

  • The next round begins. Deal 2 piles of 13 as before. If you are playing with more than 4 people, than hand your cards to the person 2nd to your left and right, if you have 4 players, just do the same as last time. In the second round you must have 90 points before you can go out.
  • The third round, if you have 4 players, you hand 1 pile to the player across from you, and keep the other one. This time you need 120 points to go out.
  • The fourth [and final] round, you keep both piles, and look at both of them, and decide which one you want as your foot, and which one you want for your hand. This time you need 150 points to go out.
  • In the end, the highest total score from all 4 rounds wins.

Teams

This game can be played with teams, and I like it quite a bit more when you play with teams. The basic rules are the same, and here are the differences:

  • You need an even number of players for teams, obviously. Then the person across from you is your teammate.(as in, at a circle table.. so if there are 6 people, 1 and 4 are partners, 2 and 5, and 3 and 6..You get the idea.
  • Each player must still “lay out” on their own, reaching the set number of points by laying out distinct sets. Once they’ve done so, then they may lay on their own or their partner’s sets. The key thing to remember is that you may not simply add on to your partner’s sets in order to lay out.. So, if your partner has 4 Aces, you can’t add 3 aces to it, and count that as your 50+ points to go out, you’d have to start a new set of aces, with your 3, for them to count. You could lay out something else (like 2 Queens and a Joker), then draw your two cards, then add the aces to your partner’s pile as part of your turn, as you’ve then already “laid out”.
  • You are allowed to have more than one set (or book, even) of a given number. So if you closed a book of 5’s, and then had three 5’s in your foot, you’re better off just starting a new book of 5’s. So too if you had a dirty book of a number, and wanted to just start a new, clean book with that number. That is legal.
  • Points are for an entire team. So you would add all the books and cards laid out, and subtract any cards in your hand/foot.
  • The only “table talk” allowed in the game is when you ask your partner “Is it okay for me to be done?” Since once a player uses up all their cards (assuming you have all the needed books) the game is done, this question can be asked to make sure that their partner doesn’t have a number of high point cards (or red threes) still in their hand. That’s the only question you can ask, and the answer should be a simple yes or no (anything else comes from the evil one.)

Tips and Additions

  • One fun addition I like is “Wild Books”. This is just as it sounds: a book of nothing but Wild cards. They don’t count towards your clean or dirty books, but they are worth 1500 points.
  • One important tip for team games is this: If you are the first person on your team to lay out, try to do so with as few different sets as possible: the reason being: Your partner then must lay out as well, and it would be beneficial to not create duplicate sets. If I lay out with 4’s, 6’s, 8’s, 9’s, 10’s, J’s and K’s, my partner is now stuck with either repeating some of those (making it harder to complete those books) or waiting until they have enough Q’s and A’s to lay out.
  • Getting 150 points to lay out in the 4th round is a bit of a challenge, especially without any Jokers. One helpful bit is that if you were to lay out a complete book of something (e.g. seven 5’s) you can count the entire book bonus as well. Thus seven 5’s is not 35 points, but 535 points… well above the needed 150

Card Games: 2. Riding the Bus

Riding the [Short] Bus


  • Players: 2-15ish
  • Game Length: Short
  • Card Decks: 1 Full Deck
  • Jokers: No

I believe Rachel Geerlings taught this game to me during last years Gospelcom Conference. It’s a great game, especially with larger groups, and it’s very easy to learn. The goal of the game is to get as close to 31 points (31 is as high as you can get). Here’s how you play:

  • The Points:
    • 2-9: Face Value (3 is 3 points, etc..)
    • 10, J, Q, K: 10 points
    • A: 11 points
  • The important thing to remember is that points are only added together if the cards are the same suit. (e.g. If you had a 4 of hearts, a Queen of hearts, and an Ace of Clubs, you currently have 14 points [the Queen + the 4, and the 11 points of the Ace don’t count towards your total])
  • The only exception is this: If you have three of a kind (e.g. three 4‘s) that is automatically worth 30.5 points
  • The dealer gives each person 3 cards, then places the rest of the pile face down as the “pickup” pile.
  • The person to the left of the dealer starts by picking up a card of the pickup pile,and then discarding a card face up onto a “discard” pile. The next person may pick up either the top card on the discard pile or the top card on the pickup pile. Once there are at least 3 cards on the discard pile, a player may pick up the top 3 cards on the discard pile and discard their entire hand (choosing what order to place the 3 cards in the discard pile, of course)
  • On your turn, rather than picking up a card, you may “knock” [literally knock on the table]. After knocking, everyone else gets 1 more turn, and then you all lay out your cards, and the person with the lowest score receives a strike. If the person who knocked is the lowest, they receive 2 strikes. Thus, you would only knock if you believed you did not have the lowest point total.
  • If at any time someone gets exactly 31 points (so, the Ace plus 2 10 point cards of a given suit) they instantly lay their hand down, and the round is over, and the person with the lowest score gets a strike.
  • If there is a tie for lowest, each person gets the strike (and if the person who knocked is involved in the tie, they get 2 strikes)
  • Once a person gets 3 strikes they are out of the game. [or you an set a higher level if you want.. We’ve played up to 7 (Think “H-O-R-S-E”.. then make it a curse word) ]
  • Continue until there’s only one person left. That person wins.

Card Games: 1. The Card Game

So… I like playing cards. Other people also seem to like playing cards. So I thought I’d add a couple posts with some of the card games I like to play, and the rules that I usually play by, in the off chance that this would be helpful to other people. (Also, because I was kinda thinking of doing this, and then got phone calls/emails from Mark H. and Christa, each asking about certain rules.) Anyway, I’ll just throw the rules out there, and you all should try them out. A note that card games tend to have different house rules depending on where you are at (which anyone who has tried to play Euchre with a Canadian can attest to), so don’t get all upset if the rules seem slightly different than what you are used to. But if you have different rules for a game, I’d like to hear them.. you should add a comment.). So here we go:

The Card Game


  • Players: 2+
  • Game Length: Long
  • Card Decks: At least 1 Full Deck for every 3 players
  • Jokers: No

I really don’t remember where I learned this game, so if you taught it to me, now is your chance to speak up. It’s a bit similar to Phase 10, so if you’re one of those people that hates Phase 10 (*coughrachelcough*) you probably hate this game too. We call it The Card Game but odds are there’s another name out there that’s a bit more descriptive. The goal in this game is to get runs or sets
(Run –> Sequential numbers in the same suit [e.g. 4, 5, 6 of Hearts]
Set –> Collection of the same number [e.g. 4 kings])

How to Play

  • The first round every person is dealt 3 cards. The remaining cards are set in the middle in a pile face down as the “pickup” pile, and the top card is turned over and set down as the “discard” pile.
  • This first round 3‘s are wild. You may use as many wilds as you’d like in a set or run, but you must have at least 1 “normal” card in a set or a run.
  • The person to the left of the dealer begins the game. That person can either pick up the top card on the pickup pile, or the top card on the discard pile. Then they must discard one card (which can be the card they just picked up). Once they discard their turn is over, and the person to their left will go.
  • This continues until someone has a set or a run of 3. On that person’s turn, they pick up their card, as normal, then lays down their 3 cards face up, and discards one card (Thus using up all of their cards).
  • When someone has “gone out”, everyone else gets 1 more turn to go, and then the round is over.
  • Scoring is as follows:
    • Aces: 1 point
    • 2-9: Face Value (thus a 3 is worth 3 points… even if the card is wild.)
    • 10, J, Q, K: 10 points
  • When the round is done, and you are tallying up scores, anyone who has a set or run of at least 3 doesn’t count those points against them. You can play where the person who went out first gets -5 points, or 0 (We usually vote before we start)
  • The next round begins, the person to the left of the previous dealer will deal this time, and everyone gets dealt 4 cards. 4‘s are wild. The game continues as normal, and once someone has a set or a run of 4, they lay down on their turn, and everyone gets one more turn. When scoring, anyone with at least a run or a set of 3 doesn’t cound those points against them. (e.g. Someone goes out, and I have a 7 and 8 of diamonds, a 4 of hearts, and a 2 of spades. I would get 2 points [ the 7 and the 8, plus the 4, which is wild, make a run of 3, leaving just the 2, for two points])
  • This continues on to 5 (5’s are wild..), and when you get to 6 (6’s are wild.. you should be getting the pattern by now), you can do 2 runs, or a run and a set, or 2 sets, or one large run or set. The thing to remember is just that to go out you must use all your cards, and you must discard (so no doing two sets of 3 on the “5 cards” round)
  • When you finish 10, you move to 11, and Jacks are wild.. then 12/Queen, then finally 13/King. If you so desire, you can then travel back down, from 13 to 3 cards.
  • The person with the lowest score at the end of the game wins.