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A true Hoosier 'better know how to play euchre'

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CASH:The prize for the player with the highest score is $2. The one with the most loners (when one team member plays a hand without their partner) is also $2. The low score gets $1.50.
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EUCHRE:Euchre remains the only organized card game played at the Winchester Senior Center.
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PLAYERS: Euchre playersgather at noon each Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Winchester Senior Center, 239 Bond St.

by Rob Burgess - rburgess@wabashplaindealer.com

In this part of the Midwest, euchre is serious business.

Or, as Ellis Rice put it, “If you’re from Indiana, you’d better know how to play euchre.”

And, the mechanics of the card game take some explaining for the uninitiated, too.

“You need to find somebody that plays a lot and let them work with you, teach you,” he said. “It’s not that difficult, but there are a couple of different things that are unusual. Like if you name hearts trump the jack of diamonds becomes a heart.”

Got that?

The basic outline, as defined by Bicycle, is as follows: Euchre is a trick-taking game usually played with two teams of two who sit across from one another. Lower -numbered cards are removed the deck. Each team using a set of 4s and 6s to keep score.

“(You get) five cards. You bid on … if you can take three tricks or not. And you try to get points,” said Rice.

There’s a lot more.

The 11 additional house rules, attributed to Gerald W. Pankop, are tacked authoritatively to the bulletin board at the Winchester Senior Center, 239 Bond St., for the players who gather there at noon each Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Several of these rules have to do with what happens if a table has only three players instead of four.

“It’s a little more difficult. You have no partner. You’re playing alone all the time,” said Rice.

Other regulations are about misdeals and accidental play.

In the end, it outlines the stakes.

“Every player must sign in and pay $1. Any extra money will be donated to the Senior Center. The Euchre Club pays $1 per table to the Senior Center,” it states.

The prize for the player with the highest score is $2. The one with the most loners (when one team member plays a hand without their partner) is also $2. The low score gets $1.50.

“The remaining money goes to those players scoring less than the high score until the money runs out (at $1 per player),” it states.

Indeed, a box full of bills with President George Washington’s face on them sat open on a table near the entrance Monday, Aug. 19.

“We give all back,” said Rice, who has been attending games regularly since about 2013.

But, just because the monetary stakes were low didn’t mean players took it as a joke.

Euchre remains the only organized card game played there.

Rice said attempts to recruit players for rummy game, which was a variation of canasta called “hand and foot,” were so far unsuccessful.

“It’s a Florida game,” he said.