A euchre tournament is a tournament for card players in which pairs of players compete in a series of finite rounds of play. German in origin, euchre was brought to the United States by early settlers. Euchre tournaments feature pairs of players who play against other pairs until the time expires. The triumphant pairing is usually the pair with the most wins or the most points from their games.
The game of euchre involves two pairs in which each partner sits opposite his or her teammate. The game either utilizes a special deck of 24 playing cards plus a joker, or half of a traditional deck. For play to be conducted, the deck must include ace, king, queen, jack, ten and nine cards in each of the four suits: diamonds, clubs, hearts and spades.
In each round, the dealer rotates clockwise among the four players; five cards are dealt to each. One of the remaining five cards is turned up and this becomes the "trump suit" for the round. The objective is to prevail in three "tricks" — by showing the highest value card in a round — to win the game. Points are allocated based on the number of tricks won or defended. The first team to reach 11 points is usually the winner.
A euchre tournament can be organized with an unlimited number of teams, although it is best if each team gets the chance to face each other once by rotating during the tournament. Teams can be organized in advance or chosen randomly on the day of play. To accommodate the style of euchre, there need only be one table for every two teams, and each table requires four chairs.
There are a number of formats that a euchre tournament can take. The simplest style of tournament is the round robin format in which each team plays another team once. It is also possible, if there are too many teams, to organize a system that allows winners to remain seated while losers move to the next table; this, however, may cause some teams to play each other more than once.
Larger tournaments with unwieldy numbers of teams can organize different systems. For example, a very large tournament could consist of a simple knock-out competition in which the winners continue in play while losers are eliminated. This, however, leaves many players without any incentive to participate or watch going into the final stages. Instead, organizers can choose to have a group stage in which winning pairs go on to a final round robin.
Euchre tournaments rely heavily on good conduct from players, because they often lack personnel to oversee every game. Euchre is also a game in which there is a thin line between strategy and cheating. Players are required to keep their own scorecards, as in golf. To facilitate fair play and ensure accurate scoring, euchre tournament organizers must create uncomplicated scorecards and appoint tournament directors to deliberate on any arguments between teams.