Horse Thief

A variation on the classic card game Euchre. You should be familiar with the rules of Euchre before playing this game.


3 or more (5 or 6 is optimum)


One standard 52-card deck.


The object of the game is to get to a predetermined score (typically 15 points).

Game play

The dealer deals cards one at a time in a clockwise fashion, until everyone has five cards. Then he takes the top card from the pile and turns it over in front of him. He sets aside the rest of the pile. The suit of the turned up card is trump.

If the suit is spades, then everyone must play.

If it is not spades, then each person must decide whether or not they wish to play. All players will hold their cards face down between their first and second fingers. When everyone is ready, the dealer will say "one... two... three... drop!". On "drop!", anyone who does not want to play must drop their cards. Anyone who wants to play keeps their cards. If only one person chooses to play, they are automatically given 5 points, and the deal moves on to the next person.

The players may then discard and draw up to three cards. Important: you must know how many people are playing, and decide the maximum number of cards they can draw. Assume everyone will stay in, and everyone will take the maximum number of cards. So, if you have 6 people playing, then they can draw three cards (5 + 3 = 8, and 8 cards * 6 people = 48 cards, enough cards); if you have 7 people playing, then they can draw two cards (8 * 7 = 56, too many cards; 7 * 7 = 49, enough cards).

The dealer must use the card that is turned up as one of his draw cards, if he chooses to draw. So, if the dealer discards two cards, he picks up the turned up trump card, and one more card from the deck.

The first playing player to the left of the dealer leads. Like Euchre, the Jack of trump is considered the highest card, and the jack of the same color is considered the second highest card (and is also considered to be a trump card for following suit). You must follow suit if you can, or you may choose to play trump or an off suit card.

You get one point for each trick you take. If you don't take any tricks, you get -3 points. If you don't play, you get zero points.

Deal passes to the next person to the left.