Three-Handed Euchre Rules

Illustration of how to play 3-handed euchre

The Spruce / Nusha Ashjaee 

In Three-Handed Euchre, also known as Cutthroat, there are no permanent partnerships. Players win or lose on their own. (The rules of two-handed Euchre and basic Euchre are also available.)


3 players


In North America, a 24-card deck is most common (using 9, 10, J, Q, K and A in all four suits).

Some players prefer a 32-card deck (adding the 7 and 8 of each suit). British Euchre uses 25 cards (the 24 listed above, plus a joker). There are other variations as well.

These rules are for 24-card Three-Handed Euchre and use North American customs.


To be the first player to score at least 10 points.

Card Values

The general rule is that Aces are the most valuable cards and 9s are the least valuable.

There are two exceptions: the Jack of the trump suit is the "right bower," and it's the most valuable card. The other Jack of the same color is the "left bower," and it's the second most valuable card. Both bowers are part of the trump suit.


Watch Now: Three-Handed Euchre Card Game Rules and Strategies


The three players sit on three sides of the table, leaving the fourth side open. Randomly choose a dealer.

Five cards are dealt with each player, including the fourth spot, known as the "dummy." The remaining four cards are placed face down in the middle of the table. The top card is turned face up; this card initially sets the trump suit.


Players bid, starting to the left of the dealer and continuing clockwise, on whether or not to use the face-up card's suit as trump. Players have the following choices:

  • The player to the left of the dealer may pass or say "I order it up." If he does, no other player may bid.
  • If the first player passes, the next player in order may pass or say "I assist." If he does, no other player may bid.
  • If the first two players pass, the dealer may pass or say "I accept." If he accepts, he takes the face-up card, replacing it with a card from his own hand (face down). The suit of the face-up card becomes trump.
  • If all three players pass, the second round of bidding will take place (see below).

If a player who is the dealer's opponent says, "I order it up," or the dealer's partner says, "I assist," the dealer has the option of picking up the face-up card and discarding one from his hand, face down. Whether or not the dealer picks it up, the suit of the face-up card becomes trump.

Second Bidding Round

If all players pass in the first round of bidding, the face-up card is turned face down and a second bidding round occurs.

In the second bidding round, the first player who names a suit has chosen trump. If no player bids, all the cards are shuffled together and the next player deals a new hand.

Note: Some people play that if no one bids in the second round, the dealer must name a trump suit. In other words, the dealer cannot pass in the second round of bidding.

The player who chooses the trump suit in either bidding round will play this round by himself. The other two players form a temporary partnership. The single player is known as the "maker." The partnership is known as the "defenders."

Combining the Dummy Hand

The maker may combine the dummy hand with his own, forming the best five-card hand ou of the 10 cards and discarding the remainder.

If the maker wants to go alone, he does not use the dummy hand.

Going Alone

If you think you have an outstanding hand, you might want to "go alone." If you are the maker, this means that you do not use the dummy hand. If you are a defender, this means that your partner sits out, placing his cards on the table face down, and you play this hand without a partner.

Anyone may announce that they're going alone after trump is selected but before the first card is led. It's possible that two players, the maker and one of the defenders, will both choose to go alone on the same hand.

The Hands

The player to the left of the dealer leads first by playing any card from his hand. Exception: If someone has chosen to go alone, the player to that person's left leads first.

Players must play the suit of the card led if possible. If not, they may play any card. The highest card played in the lead suit wins the trick, unless one or more trumps were played, in which case the highest trump card wins the trick.

The player who wins the trick leads to the next trick.


  • The maker scores 1 point for taking three or four tricks. He scores 3 points for taking all five tricks.
  • If the maker fails to take three tricks, he is "euchred" and the defenders score 2 points each.
  • If a defender goes alone and wins three or four tricks, the defenders score 2 points each. If he wins all five tricks, the defenders score 4 points each.


The first player to score 10 points wins.