Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Euchre - is discarding the up card legal?

dealer cannot discard the up-card
In Euchre, after the cards are dealt, a card is placed face-up in the middle of the table. Each player in turn gets a chance to "order up" this card, making its suit the trump suit. If it is ordered up, the dealer must take the card, and then discard a card.

At World of Card Games, the dealer is not allowed to discard the ordered up card.

A player at the site recently pointed out to me a scenario in which it would be useful to be able to discard the up-card, even though it's a trump card:
Let’s say I dealt and turned up the 9 of Clubs.  You order it up.  I’m holding Ace King of Hearts and Diamonds and the Ace of Spades.  You will most likely lead the Jack of Clubs so I would like to bury the 9 and save the hand I’m dealt.
I did a little searching, and I found a post in a Yahoo Group which describes a similar scenario. I will reproduce it here for posterity:
I caused a little disagreement while playing in a game of Euchre in a Internet League I play in the other day. I was dealer, holding the Right, Left, Ace, Queen, and 10 of Hearts dealt me, with the 9 of Hearts as the upcard. The three other players passed, where upon I picked the 9 of Hearts up, but then discarded it, keeping the five highter trump cards I was originally dealt. Making a sweep with the five trump cards I held, one of the opponents asked at the end of the hand, "Say, where is the 9 of Hearts you picked up?", to wit I stated that I had discarded it, which brought a chorus of protests form both opposing players, stating that I could not discard the upcard that I had picked up! I have been playing Euchre for 40 years, have seen this done several times over the years, and noone had ever said anything to the contrary about the dealer not being able to discard the upcard if it is order up into their hand, or the dealer pickes it up themselves. I have checked several books on Euchre and searched the Internet sites I know of, but have found nothing said about this situation in any rules anywhere so far. So what is the rule on this - can or cannot the Dealer discard the upcard if it is order up in their hand, or they pick it up themselves, making the upcard suit the trump suit?
(Note that in the above scenario, the problem could have been avoided if the dealer had discarded the 10 of Hearts, which was effectively equivalent to the 9 of Hearts.)

I looked around to see if I could find any definitive rule on this.

The rules at Pagat do not specify that the up card may not be discarded.

The Hoyle site seems to indicate that you should not discard the up card, but maybe I'm reading it too strictly - "As soon as a player accepts the turned-up card as trumps, the dealer discards a card. The discard is placed cross- wise under the undealt cards. The turned-up card belongs to the dealer in place of the discard."

Natty Bumppo's page very clearly states that there's nothing wrong with discarding the up card.

Based on my little bit of research, I'm inclined to think I should change the rule at World of Card Games so that the up card is allowed to be discarded. Please let me know in the comments how you feel about this.


Anonymous said...

I prefer it as is: KEEP the up card.

Anonymous said...

either way you want it.

Hank Wheelie said...

Why discard a trump? Odd move to me.

Anonymous said...

Because you've got a higher trump that you don't want to discard? (Even though in the example, he's keeping the 10 of Hearts, instead of the 9 of hearts) I can't see too many examples in which I wouldn't want the up card, but that was the reasoning.

Anonymous said...

with all due respect you clearly did not read the scenario with getting rid of the trump card up. if the person is going to call trump right off the bat you will loose the trump card immediately.so in essence it is useless. so keep the other high cards such as aces and kings, or a double thinking perhaps the person who ordered you up has three trump and a double off suit. it is a game of stradegy and thought. I say this because I have been playing that way for 35 years and have never been called on it, that is all. Thanks

Unknown said...

This happened today in a weekly euchre tournament. The dealer, instead of picking up the card when irdered, discarded it. So when the maker of trump lead trump he played an off suit. They called a renege because they knew trump was ordered into his hand. The trump makers took two points and the dealer argued that he didn't have to keep the card ordered. So I was looking for an official rule to prove right or wrong!

Marya said...

Alas, I've been unable to find any official rule about this. I think it's best to just make an agreement in advance.