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Bid Euchre

Origin United States
Alternative names Hoss, Pfeffer, Indiana Double Deck
Family Trick-taking
Players 2-6 (usually 4)
Skills required Tactics & Strategy
Cards 24, 32, 36, 48 (2x24)
Deck Anglo-American
Play Clockwise
Playing time 20 min. (single deck) - 40 min (double deck)
Random chance Low (double deck) - Medium (single deck)
Related games
Euchre, 500, Hoss

Bid Euchre, is the name given to a group of card games played in North America based on the game Euchre. It introduces an element of bidding in which the trump suit is decided by which player can bid to take the most tricks. The primary differences being the number of cards dealt, absence of any undealt cards, the bidding and scoring process, and the addition of a no trump declaration. It is typically a partnership game for four players, played with a 24, 32 or 36-card pack, or even two decks of 24 cards each.

Single Deck Bid Euchre

General Rules


A pack of 24 cards containing 9, 10, J, Q, K, and A in each suit. The rank of the cards in the trump suit is: J (of trump suit, also known as the right bower; high), J (of the other suit of the same color as the trump suit, also known as the left bower), A, K, Q, 10, 9 (low). In the plain suits the rank is: A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9 (low). When playing with no trumps, all four suits follow the 'plain suit' ranking.


Cards are dealt one at a time to each player, clockwise, starting with the player to the dealer's left. Each player receives six cards.


Bidding is the key to the game, as it is essentially what makes it different from Euchre. Starting at the person to the left of the dealer, each player "bids" how many "tricks" he or she thinks it is possible to get in partnership with his/her partner (sitting across the table). Players may pass or bid, and a "one" bid is generally not used. Common bids are 3, 4, and 5.

There are some variations, but in most traditional pepper games the bidding only goes around the table once. That is, each player only bids once. At the end of bidding, he or she who bid the highest wins the bid and gets to name the suit which will become trump. Bidding does not generally exceed 5 (6 is maximum), as there are two special bids.

Note: In another variation of this game, known as "hawsy" (also short for Hasenpfeffer), the little pepper is known as "hawsy" and there is no big pepper. If one player bids hawsy, the next player can bid "double hawsy" for an attempt at 24 points.

Note: Another variation includes these 'pepper' bids, but calls them 12s and 24s as those are the points awarded. If a player calls 24, their partner can call 48. A call of 48 would mean that the calling player names the trump suit and their partner must take all 6 tricks alone with no pass card. This is rare but not impossible. The highest call would be a 96, and the calling player must decided on trump suit before seeing their cards, and then take all 6 tricks. Again, not impossible, but highly improbable.

"two" bid

To delineate a "two" bid, the terminology "a couple" is used; this is because of the special meaning given to the word "two." If a player holds two jacks of the same color (both "black" jacks or both "red" jacks), he/she can bid "two" to indicate to his/her partner this special possession. This gives the partner useful information when placing his/her bid. The only catch is when one wants to bid "two" but someone has already bid "a couple" or "three" or "four." It has often been the case for the player with the "two" bid to promptly say (after the higher bid was made), "Well, that shoots a two bid!" This technique was for a time successful at still communicating the "two" information to the partner; however, it is generally considered grounds for a misdeal and is therefore not allowed.

Leading and taking tricks

At the end of bidding, the winning bidder then makes the opening lead and may lead any card. The other players each play a card (playing clockwise) and must follow suit if possible. If a player cannot follow suit, he/she may play any card. There is no rule about who may play trump first. The trick goes to the highest trump or, if there are no trump cards, to the highest card of the suit led. The winner of a trick leads to the next trick.

For example, if spades are trump, the jack of spades is the highest trump, followed by the jack of clubs (the other jack of the same color) which is considered a spade for this hand, the ace of spades, K, Q, 10, 9. The ranking follows the same pattern for the other suits when they are trump.


The contracting side scores one point for each trick taken if it makes at least its contract, but is set back (loses) six points if it fails to make its contract, regardless of the value of the contract or the tricks actually won. A side is "set" when it fails to meet its contract (the term "set" also functions as a verb in this game: a side playing defense "sets" the other side by preventing it from meeting its contract). As such, a side can have a negative score. If the side playing defense (that is, the side that does not win the bid) fails to get any tricks, it goes back six points. An exception to this is in cases of a 'pepper' bid. With this contract, if all the tricks are taken, the contracting side wins 14 or 12 points (for the big and small pepper, respectively). However, if the contracting side fails to take all six tricks, it is set back 14 or 12 points (for big and small, respectively). The opposing side always scores one point for each trick taken. If the defensive side does not get any tricks in a small or big pepper, it loses just six points.


Although the "magic number" may vary from tradition to tradition, the standard winning number is 42 (32 in "hawsy"). The first team to reach 42 (or more) points wins. However, to win, a team must reach (or exceed) 42 on offense, meaning that a team with a point total near 42 must win the bid, meet its contract, and exceed 42 points to be considered the winner. This also means that a team with 41 points cannot play defense and, by winning one trick, get 42 and win (in a hand where the contracting side meets its contract). The exception to this rule is when the defensive side "sets" the offense (or contracting side) and, in doing so, meets or exceeds 42 points. It is thus possible that a team will have more than 42 points before the game is over, for only when a team meets its contract and, in doing so, reaches (or exceeds) 42 is it crowned the winner. Other variations of the game do not use a winning number and instead allow players to set a time limit such as one or two hours, at the end of which time the team with the highest point total wins.

Scoring and No-Trump Variations

Sometimes a scoring variation is the "big pepper" bid is worth 24 points. In these cases, the ending score is usually higher than the traditional 42. Another variation is calling High or Low instead of suit. In this variation, there are no trump jacks and everything must follow suit and order. If a player cannot follow suit (even if he/she has a lower card), he/she cannot take the trick.

Progressive Euchre

Progressive Euchre is a tournament format Euchre.


Play begins when the lead table rings a bell. The lead table plays 8 hands, the deal revolving to the left with each hand, so that each player has dealt twice, then rings the bell again. When the bell rings, players at each table finish their current hand, record their team score on an individual tally. The losing team at the head table moves to the tail table; otherwise the winning team at each table advances to the next table, and one member of the losing team changes seat so that partners in one game are opponents in the next game. Play begins on the next game immediately without waiting for another signal. After 10 games, players total their tally sheets, to determine high score and low score for the tournament.


Each table of four players use a 24-card deck containing A K Q J 10 9 in the four suits. Players bid once each, clockwise around the table, starting at the dealer's left. Bids of one to six are made by stating the number of tricks to be taken. A bid of "pass" is most often shown by knocking on the table. A player must either bid higher than any prior bid, or pass.

A pepper consists of winning all six tricks with a passed card. Typically, a pepper bid is signalled by holding the pass card face down and wagging it. If no succeeding player wishes to play a loner, the bidder declares suit by saying, "Give me your best heart", "Give me your best club", etc. His partner gives the requested card to the bidder, face down, before seeing the bidder's passed card, and sits out the rest of the hand.

As loner bids - asserting that one will win all six tricks without assistance - are pre-emptive, they are typically made by declaring suit and leading out the first trick.

High bidder declares suit as he leads out the first trick. The winner of each trick leads the following trick.

Only suits may be declared trump; no-trump and low-no-trump declarations are not permitted.


Teams score one point for 3 or 4 tricks, 2 points for all 5 tricks, 4 points for a loner. A team failing to achieve their number of tricks receives no points for any tricks won, and 2 points goes to other partners score. Deal passes around the table, clockwise, after each hand.

Strategy and etiquette


The names Pfeffer, Hasenpfeffer, and Double Hasenpfeffer (also known as Hoss or Pepper), come from "Hasenpfeffer", a German dish of marinated and stewed trimmings of hare.

Pfeffer, is a variation of Pepper and is played in the Midwest. Its primary difference is that the dealer is forced to make a 4 Trick Bid when all players pass in front of the dealer. This allows for a strategy of forcing teams to have to make bids, or stick the dealer. In addition, there are variations on No Trump Bids that force bidders to reconsider this type of bid.


All preliminaries are as described above, for Pepper.

Bidding & Naming Trump

Each player, beginning at dealer's left, may either bid or pass. A bid is the number of tricks that a player wagers for his or her team to win and each bid must be higher than preceding it. Trump Bids are the numbers Four through Six, and Pfeffer a/k/a Double - Pfeffer (a bid to win all six tricks, alone). No Trump Bids are the numbers Five, Six, and Pfeffer (a bid to win all six tricks, alone).

When three consecutive players pass, the dealer is stuck and gets to name any suit as trump, or may declare no trump. The minimum bid for a dealer is four tricks.

Rank of cards

All card hierarchies are the same as Pepper.


Declarer (the player who wins the bid) declares trump. For Trump Bids, the player to the left of the dealer leads to the first trick and each player must follow suit if possible, otherwise may play any card. The trick is won by the highest card of the suit led, or by the highest trump if any were played. Note: Left Bower is not in the suit printed on its face, but of the trump suit. Winner of each trick leads to the next and play continues until all six tricks have been played. For No Trump Bids, the player to the right of the Declarer leads. Note: This is different from most, if not all, Pepper and Bid Euchre variations.

Scoring & Winning

For Non Pfeffer Bids, the team that declared trump scores one point for each trick taken if they took at least as many tricks as were bid. If the declaring team takes all 6 tricks, they get 6 points and the opposing are "set", lose 5 points and receive a Hickey. If the declaring team takes less than the number of tricks bid, they are "set", lose 5 points and receive a Hickey.

For Pfeffer Bids, if the declaring team takes all 6 tricks, they get 12 points and the opposing team are "set", lose 5 points and receive a Hickey. If the declaring team fails to take all 6 tricks, they are set, lose 10 points and receive 2 Hickeys.

In all cases, the opposing team simply scores one point for every trick they take. Deal then passes clockwise around the table. Game is to 42 points. In cases of a tie at 42, the bidding team wins. Negative scores are allowed and are referred as being in the hole. For purposes of betting, amounts are set for Game and Sets (Note: Sets are the total number of Hickeys on the scoresheet for the losing team), with Game generally twice the amount as Sets. Games ending with the losing team at 0 points or below, pay double.

Pepper, Midwest

An alternate Midwest version of Pepper, played for certain in Grinnell, Iowa, USA around 1987. Major differences are winning bidder's partner does not play the hand after trading a card. Opponents are allowed to "pass" playing the hand to avoid scoring penalties.


Same as Pepper.


Similar to Pfeffer: minimum bid is 4, dealer is forced to take a 4 bid should all other players pass (or opt to take 4 set to prevent opponents from gaining points). Small and Big (alternatively referred to as bidding 7 or 14) bids mean take all tricks.

Bid winner is allowed to trade a card with partner. May choose to not pass a card and have partner play the hand. Note, Big bid means no passed card and partner does not play.


Normal play except bidder's partner does not play, puts hand face down. Exception: will play if bidder chose to NOT trade a card. Bidder's partner never plays in a Big bid.

Opponents now decide whether they will play the hand. Talk should be limited to "yes" or "no", no other table talk (some venues threatened removing ability to consume popcorn should this rule be broken). Bidder may lead first card while this decision is being made but is not required.


Bidder scores 4,5 or 6 points for bids 4 through 6. Small is 7 points, Big is 14 points. Opponents get 1 point for each trick taken in bids 4-6. If opponents fail to get a single trick, they lose the same amount of points as winning bidder gains. For example, opponents failing to take a trick in a 6 bid, bidder gets 6 points and opponent loses 6 points. Note: if opponents pass and don't play the hand, no points are awarded to them and bidder scores.

In Small or Big, when bidder is set opponents gain 7 or 14 points and bidder loses 7 or 14 points. Again, opponents only score if they choose to play the hand.


Hasenpfeffer, also called Pepper, is a four-player partnership variation of Euchre played with a 24-card pack plus Joker.

Six cards are dealt in batches of 3 and the rest are laid face down to one side. Bids are made numerically for the naming of trump, and declarer may name no trump in place of a single suit. If no one bids, the holder of the best Bower is oblidged to bid three, and if it then proves to be the card out of play, the deal is annulled. The highest bidder announces trumps before play. The bidder's side scores 1 point per trick won, if this is not less than the bid, otherwise it loses 1 point per undertrick. The play goes up to 10 points.

Competition to secure a call is very keen, since one stands to gain more than one stands to lose, but for that very reason the bidding is frequently pushed beyond the level of safety.


A variation and combination of many bid euchre varieties, "BuckenPeffer" or simply "Buck", involves only one round of bids. The minimum bid is three. If all 3 players pass before the dealer, like in "Screw the Dealer", the dealer is forced to bid four tricks. There is no second round of bidding and dealer is then forced to bid four tricks. There is no bidding "Two" to inform a partner that the bidder is holding two jacks of the same color. You may call high or low as trump, but in this case (unless the player calling trump is going pfeff or pfeffer [going solo with no partner and must take all six tricks] if the bidder calls hi or low, he or she must exchange his best card (A if high is called, 9 if low is called) for the worst card (a 9 if high is called, A if low is called) from the player on the callers left. There are different scoring and waging rules such as burns, double burns and triple burns. Scoring is different in that teams, not individuals, are scored. Points awarded are number of tricks taken and the game is generally played to 25 or more. Scoring idiosyncrasies include: if a team takes all six tricks after calling trump, or skunking the other team, they score six plus the number of the tricks they bid. The skunked team has the number of the winning trump bid subtracted from their score. This version was definitely played in the Chaska, Minnesota USA area from 1986 through 1988, and also played at local universities attended by graduates of Chaska Senior High School in the late 1980s and early to mid-1990s. In 1988, the Principal of Chaska Senior High School permanently banned students from playing the game, basing his action on allegations of gambling and large sums of money being wagered and exchanged.

Dirty clubs

Dirty clubs, also called buck euchre, is a variation of euchre and 500 card game, and similar to Oh Hell - 500. Like euchre, these games are trick-taking card games; unlike euchre, the players must bid on how many tricks they will take.


Dirty clubs can be played by 3 to 6 players, depending on the variation. The game uses the same cards as euchre: the 10, J, Q, K, and A of each suit (three players), with lower cards (9, 8, 7, etc.) added if necessary for more players. The first hand, the dealer is chosen at random, then the deal proceeds clockwise.


Each player starts with the same number of points, which may be 15. The goal is to get to 0. Each player subtracts the number of tricks taken from his score each hand. However, the high bidder must take at least the number of tricks he bid. If he fails to take this many tricks, instead of subtracting points, he must add 5 to his score. Therefore, being the high bidder is helpful in that it lets you call trump, but it is also dangerous as you are the only player held to your bid.

One variation is that a player who takes no tricks (is bumped) is penalized 5 points, regardless of his bid. When this rule is in place, the players are usually given a chance to drop out after trump is called. A player who drops out cannot be penalized, but also cannot take any tricks.

Another variation is that if the call goes all the way around without a bid, there is no trump. Players do not get a chance to drop out.

Double Deck Bid Euchre

Indiana Double Deck

This version of Double Deck Bid Euchre is commonly played in the Midwest United States. A complete treatment of the rules and strategy is given in.

Players & Cards

The game is played by 4 or 6 players in teams of 2. A deck of 48 cards (a Pinochle Deck which consists of two of each card, 9 to Ace, in all 4 suits) is used.


All cards are shuffled and dealt out clockwise. The hand is traditionally dealt out in groups of 2 and/or 3 cards, but this is not required.


Starting from the dealer’s left and proceeding clockwise, players can bid to determine the trump suit by naming the number of tricks they think they can take and the suit they want to be trump (e.g., “4 Hearts” or “6 Spades”). The person to the dealer’s left must bid a minimum of 3 of something (either a suit or No-Trump). Subsequent players can pass, bid their own suit, or try to “back” their partner in the partner’s suit by adding to the partner’s bid. If a suit is bid, the next bid must be greater than it. If No-Trump is bid, the next bid can match it if in a suit. If the next bid is in No-Trump also, then it must be greater than the previous No-Trump bid. Players may bid multiple times until there are 3 consecutive passes. A player who has passed may re-enter the bidding on any of the player’s subsequent turns. Once there are 3 consecutive passes, the player who bid last wins the bid for their team.


Once a bid is won, the person who won the bid leads first. Play proceeds clockwise. Players must follow suit if possible, and may trump if they are void in a suit, or throw off (play a non-trump card in a suit that was not led). The highest card played of the suit that is led first wins the trick, unless trump is played. In this case, the highest trump played wins the trick. If 2 of the same cards are played on a trick (e.g., two Aces of Hearts), the first one played beats the second one played. The player who wins the trick leads the next trick.


If the team that won the bid got the number of tricks they bid, or more, they get points equal to their bid. For example, if the winning bid is 8 Hearts but the team actually takes 10 tricks, they only get 8 points. If the team that wins the bid takes less tricks than the number they bid, they are “set” or “euchred” and their score is reduced by the number they bid. For example, if after taking an 8 Hearts bid the team only gets 7 tricks, they would lose 8 points from their score. The team that does not take the bid gets 1 point for every trick taken, whether or not the opponents make their bid.


The deal continues clockwise around the table until one team gets 50 or more points. If both teams get 50 or more points on the same hand, the team that took the bid is the winner.


A five-handed variation played in Florida with two decks with nines removed. Each player competes against all the others. This variation can also be played by six, seven or more players, following the same rules. For each player above five, eight cards must be added to the deck. If six play, eight nines are added, four from each of the two decks; for seven players, add the nines and eights from both decks.


Unlike standard Euchre in which each player receives five cards, each player receives eight cards. The cards are dealt clockwise starting with the player sitting to the left of the dealer until all cards are dealt; there are no remaining cards and hence, no kitty. By tradition, cards are dealt in groups of two or three to each player.


Bidding begins with the player seated clockwise next to the dealer. Each player, in turn, bids the number of tricks they believe they can win. Each bid must be a "pass" or a higher number of tricks than already bid. The minimum bid is one trick and the maximum is eight tricks. Bidding proceeds once around the table and ends with the dealer. The player who has bid the highest number of tricks wins the bid and becomes the bidding player.

The bidding player then names the trump suit and selects their partner by naming a card. The player who is the first to play the selected card becomes the bidder's partner for the hand, and if the card is not played, there is no partner. Players, including the bidder, are unaware of the partner's identity until the selected card is played. The remaining players become the opposition, sometimes called the defense. Once around the players for bid is given and if no one bids the dealer must accept a bid of six for his hand.

Playing the hand

Each hand consists of eight tricks. The hand starts with a lead from the bidding player. Following the lead, each player must follow suit if possible. If suit can not be followed, the player may play any card. A player with the card selected by the bidder must play it at the earliest opportunity in the hand (typically, on the first trick) unless it has already been played by another player. After all players have played a card, the player who played the highest-ranking card is declared the trick winner and the trick is cleared faced down. The highest-ranking card is determined as: the highest-ranking trump played, if no trump was played then the highest-ranking card in the suit initially lead. If there are two highest-ranking cards on a trick (because a double-deck is used), the first one played wins the trick. The trick winner then leads a card for the next trick. Players may ask to see the last trick played.

Scoring the hand

Since teams shift from one hand to the next, each player maintains an individual score. Each player on the bidding team (bidder plus partner) receives one point for each trick taken, unless the team takes fewer than the number of tricks bid. In that case, the bidding team is "euchred" and the number of tricks bid is subtracted from their score. Each player on the defense receives one point for each trick taken by the defense, that is, the number of tricks not taken by the bidding team. Each player's score is calculated at the completion of each hand.

The game ends when the deal has passed around the table twice, that is, ten hands have been played. The player with the highest number of points is declared the winner. Another way of ending the game is by specifying the number of points, mutually agreed before the game started. Twenty-one is a common game-winning score.


  1. Avoid helping the player in the lead (or any other player for that matter).
  2. During bidding, you can usually bid one trick for each jack or ace of trump in your hand.
  3. If you have at least one jack of each suit, you may decide to "pass" during bidding, because it is more advantageous to become the bidder's partner.
  4. Most of the time, when making trump, you will ask for the highest trump card not in your hand as your partner.
  5. The bidder usually names a trump in which they have the right bower.
  6. If the bidder has only one right bower, it is good to ask for the right bower and then lead a small trump on the first trick. Your partner will then take the trick with the right bower, allowing you to save your right bower for later in the hand.
  7. The defense should work together to take tricks. It is generally not good strategy to overtake a trick on which the defense already has the highest-ranking card.

Double Hasenpfeffer

A variant for either 4 or 6 players divided into two teams and using the 48-card pinochle pack. Double Hasenpfeffer, or Double Pepper, may be played without bowers, so all cards rank A K Q J 10 9 in each suit, and there are no bids of Little and/or Big Pepper. All cards are dealt out and bidding goes around the table only once, the minimum bid being 6. If all pass, dealer names trump at a minimum bid of 6 tricks. In a 4-player game, high bidder may opt to play alone and exchange any two cards with his or her partner and then play solo against the opposing team. Scoring is as 24-card pepper above, with a forced declaration by the dealer losing only half (rounding up) if not made. Playing alone scores double, positive if bid is made, or negative if not.

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Tabletop games: Rules and Strategy