Euchre. The Card Game That’s Hard to Say, But Easy to Play
There are some card games that have fallen out of fashion but are now very popular, and there are others that were once all the rage but are now hardly played at all.
While poker is very much in the former category, the game of euchre is very much in the latter with pockets of players in countries like England, Canada and New Zealand.
The first thing to get out of the way is how to pronounce its name. Phonetically speaking, its “yooker” and its name also gives an indication of its uncertain origins. There is one theory that it is a version of the French game écarté that crossed the Atlantic to Philadelphia in the early 19th century. Another is that is a variation on the game of Juckerspiel whose origins lay in the Alsace region of France near the German border.
There’s perhaps a little more evidence to support this as many other words used to described cards in the game of euchre have definite German origins. For example, in some versions of the game jacks are referred to as bowers, a definite anglicization of the German word for farmer, “bauer”. It is also the game that is credited with introducing the joker into the standard deck of playing cards, and it hardly needs a linguistics expert to see the link between the name given to this particular card and the Alsacian word for the game.
As to where it is played now, for reasons that are not entirely clear, it’s widely enjoyed in Cornwall and Devon in the South West of England and also on the other side of the world in New Zealand where there are even tournaments of the game.
Perhaps the latter may not be so surprising as New Zealanders have shown themselves to be keen players not just of card games but of online casinos too. This is why they have found themselves with a wide number of these on offer, and one only has to read about a Jackpot City Casino which offers all the table games one would expect as well as a range of card games including blackjack and a number of poker variants too.
In terms of the game’s rules, they may seem quite complex when you first start to play, but they are easy enough to pick up, especially with a more experienced partner at your side.
Essentially, it’s a game played by two pairs of two people with a deck consisting of just 25 cards, the Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10 and 9 of each of the four suits plus a joker. The overall objective is to score points by making trumps and the winners of the game are the pair who are the first to reach an agreed number of points, generally 10.
One of the main reasons cited for its popularity is that it’s a very fast-moving game that some have even called anarchic.
So if you’re looking for some adrenaline-filled card action and a change from the usual card games, it could well be worth giving it a go.
Image Credit “Ace of spades” (CC BY 2.0) by shikiro famu