Friday, March 17, 2006

Keeping score with the horse and rider

Euchre QOD: “Keep the horse off the rider”

Euchre Haiku:
Keeping score with care
Put the six at the bottom
The four goes on top

Euchre Palaver
“Horse” – The 6 card used for scorekeeping
“Rider” – The 4 card used for scorekeeping

Savvy Strategies

Keeping score in euchre has some standard traditions that many people follow. Follow these guidelines to seem like a euchre pro.

1. A six card and four card are used to keep score. Euchre is a game played to 10 points so 6 and 4 work well. Nobody uses two 5s or 7 & 3, or 8 & 2. Nine and Ace couldn’t work because you need them to play.

2. Start with the six (face up) on the table and the four (face down) covering it. This is the standard start to the game. It’s an old euchre adage that you should never put the six on the four as it’s bad luck. They say keep the horse off the rider. I’m not much of a believer in luck so I put the 6 on the 4 all the time.

3. Move the face down four card to expose the “pips” on the six as your score increases. The order in which you do this is a matter of personal preference. Some people expose one side at a time others expose from top to bottom. I like top to bottom myself.

4. When you get to 6 points, put the four card face up on the six card and expose only two pips on the six. This gives you 6 points and keeps the horse off the rider.

5. When you are in the barn, separate and turn both cards over. This is the universal sign that you have nine points and are ready to win. No one, except rubber chicken loving players from Chicago exposes five pips on the 6 and four pips on the four to signal “in the barn”.

That’s it except to say some also consider it bad luck to sit between the markers. That is when you keep score, you don’t want the opponents score cards on your left when your score cards are on the right. You get “squeezed” and folks from Ohio consider it bad luck. Which leads to a fun ploy…put the scorecards next to your opponent to try to squeeze them. Seasoned euchre players will notice and move their scorecards.

Euchre on the Web
Joe Andrews is one of the more popular writers about card games and card game strategies. Some say he’s a shill for the United States Playing Card Company but I like his stuff. Here’s what he has to say about the history of euchre.

Incidentally, the Bee 92 cards from the USPCC are my favorite.


Kevin said...

We use tives all the time. It's also common to use a two and a three, but I use fives so anyone who doesn't understand the threes and twos can glance and see what the score is.

Perry said...

I've heard of this mythical use of fives and twos and threes but have never actually seen anyone doing it. Must be a Canadian thing.

Harvey "the Rabbit" Lapp said...

I grew up using twos and threes as scorecards in Buffalo, NY. Today I would honestly have a difficult time demonstrating how we did that.
Most of the guys I play with here in Las Vegas learned euchre in different parts of the mid-west, and most of them prefer to use fives for some reason.
Natty Bumppo's book; "The Columbus Book of Euchre", Natty Bumppo makes a big deal about using fours and sixes and not putting the "horse" (the six) on the "rider" (four). Although an entertaining read, I have a preference of my own: I like to use peg-board style scoremarkers.
We used them in euchre league back in Buffalo and I never really thought much about them. Then there was this euchre tournament here in Las Vegas, where, in the middle of a game, somebody opened up the door and in came a Santa Anna gust of wind that blew all of the cards off the table. After gathering the deck off the floor, we immediately had a beef over the score, and I honestly couldn't recall what it was (lot's of weed back in the 80's contributed). No more scorecards for me!

Debbie said...

Perry, I stumbled on this site by googling for euchre in Buffalo/Rochester. I noticed you mentioned Joe Andrews and his book,
"The Complete Win At Euchre." Joe dedicated his book to my son, Jason, who died Dec 24, 2002. Amazing what yoe stumble upon when surfing!

Perry said...


Thanks so much for the comment. I very much liked Joe Andrews book. So sorry to hear of your loss.

Debbie said...


Yes, Joe is definately a master mind! I went to nationals and took 8th 2 years ago. The Croations beat me! hehe
I LOVE euchre.
There is a place I found in Churchville that is starting up Oct 3rd at 730. Its $5 per person and at the American Legion Hall located at 6444 Buffalo Road, for any of your readers who may be interested. I am going to check it out! Its HARD to find a place to play anymore. Have a grea day! Debbie

KMackey said...

The iPhone/iPad app ScoreEuchre replaces the physical cards with a digital version; it also uses the Horse and Rider method.