OBJECTIVE OF RAILROAD EUCHRE: Be the first team to score 64 points or more
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 or 6 players, teams of 2
NUMBER OF CARDS: 32 playing cards
RANK OF CARDS: (low) 7’s – Aces (high), trump suit (low) 7,8,9,10,Q,A,J,J, Joker (high)
TYPE OF GAME: Trick taking
INTRODUCTION OF RAILROAD EUCHRE
Railroad Euchre is a mashup of many different ways to play. The title will mean different things to different players depending on the region. The instructions included below make just one version of Railroad Euchre. Although this version follows the basic rules for Turn Up, the railroad rules can also be applied to Bid.
This variation of Euchre utilizes a Joker, 32 cards rather than 24, plays towards a larger end score, and allows for different rules regarding going alone. The use of 32 cards allows for three teams to play at once. This is Turn Up Euchre like you’ve never played before.
THE CARDS & THE DEAL
Although a 24 card deck (9’s – Aces) can be used, this particular variation uses a 32 card deck (7’s – Aces). Include one Joker as well for a total of 33 cards.
For three of the suits, card order remains normal (7’s – Aces), but it changes for the trump suit. The Joker is the highest ranking trump card at all times. The trump suited Jack is the second highest card, and the same colored Jack is the third highest ranking card. For example, if spades are trump, the trump suit order is 7♠,8♠,9♠,10♠,Q♠,J♣,J♠,Joker.
To determine teams, each player should take a card from the deck before adding the Joker. The two players with the lowest cards are on a team, and the two highest make the opposing team. The player with the lowest card must deal first and keep score for the game.
The dealer collects all the cards, adds the Joker to the deck, and shuffles thoroughly. Deal seven cards to each player in packs of 2-3-2 (5 cards, packs of 2-3 for six player games). The remaining four cards make the kitty. The top card of the kitty is flipped over to help determine the trump suit. This is called the turn up. The other three cards of the kitty will not be used.
Beginning with the player on the immediate left of the dealer, that player looks at the turn up card’s suit and decides whether or not they want that suit as trump. If they do, they tell the dealer to pick it up. If they don’t, they say pass.
Once the dealer is told to pick it up, that suit becomes trump. The dealer must choose a card to discard face down on the kitty.
If every player passes, the turn up card is turned down. The player left of the dealer may choose the trump suit or say pass. If each player passes again, the hand is considered a misdeal. The cards are collected, and the deal passes to the left.
If the player who determines trump believes they can take all of the tricks, they declare a loner hand. When doing so, they choose one card from their hand and offer it to their partner. In return, their partner gives them the best card they have to help with taking tricks. The exchange occurs before the turn up card is picked up.
Once a player declares a loner, an opposing player may play alone as well. The lone opponent also exchanges one card with their opponent. The hand is then played one on one.
If a player is so confident that they will take all of the tricks, they may declare a Jambone. Their cards are played face up on the table, and one of the opposing team members may choose which cards to play. A Jambone cannot be opposed alone.
Once the trump suit is determined, play may begin.
Play always begins with the player to the left of the dealer regardless of who makes trump. That player chooses one card from their hand and plays it to the table face up. This begins the trick. Each player must follow suit if they can. If they cannot follow suit, they may play a trump card or any card they wish. Once all the players have played to the trick, the highest card in the suit that was led or the highest trump card takes it. The player that takes the trick will lead.
The Joker is always the highest trump card. If the Joker is the turn up card, the hand is played with no trump suit. This means that the Joker takes all, and the aces are high in all of the suits. The highest card in the suit that was led will always take the trick with the Joker as the exception.
The team that determined trump must take at least four tricks. If they do, one point is earned for each trick they take. If they fail to take at least 4, the opposing team receives points for each trick they take.
If a loner hand is declared, the player going alone must take at least four tricks. Points are doubled for tricks taken by the lone player. Failure to take at least four results in the opposing team earning double points for the tricks they take.
If a player opposes alone and successfully takes at least 4 of the tricks, their points are tripled.
If a player declares a Jambone and successfully takes all of the tricks, they earn 28 points. If the player fails to achieve the Jambone, the opposing team earns 28 points.
After the trump suit is determined, if a player has the five highest ranked cards, they may declare a Jamboree. This earns the player 16 bonus points. A Jamboree hand combined with a Jambone earns the player 44 points
The first team to reach 64 points or more wins the game.