Newfie Euchre

My parents introduced me and my extended family to this card game after learning it in Florida. It was completely new to me although, since, I’ve learned it could be considered a variant of the card game golf but it certainly has nothing to do with Euchre. It is possible that it has a Newfoundland origin as ‘Newfie’ is a term used to describe people, often in jokes, from that province but I have no information about that.  If I were a Newfie I’d be proud to claim ownership over it.
This a great game to play over lunch as the hands are fast paced and a normal game can be completed within 30 to 45 minutes. It’s also excellent on vacation as the number of players can be 2 to whatever number you want. The object is to finish the game with as few points as possible (negative scores are possible but rare by the end of the game).

The Deck and Value/Scoring
If we’re playing with more than three people two decks are preferred. Any group over 8 would probably be better off with 3 decks. All cards are their number value; the face and jokers have special values.  See the following table:

Card Value Value beside the Same Card
2-10 2-10 0
J (Jack) 0 0
Q (Queen) 12 0
K (King) -2 -6
A (Ace) 1 0
Joker -5 -15

Note that the wild cards (J, K and Joker) have 3 times their value when beside each other.
At the end of a hand or round, you count the card values up. If you have two numbered cards beside each other you add their values unless they are the same value in which case they cancel each other out. So a 9 beside (n the same row with) another 9 is worth 0. The best hand (if you’re playing with two decks and playing by the normal rules) would be four jokers which is worth, in total, -30. The worse hand would be Q, 10 on the top row and Q, 10 on the bottom and would be worth a terrible 44.
Scores are noted after each hand and the game is over when someone reaches or goes beyond 100. In my experience this averages between 7 and 15 hands with each hand taking less than 5 minutes.

Playing Newfie Euchre
A dealer shuffles the deck(s) and asks the person to the left to cut. Then she or he deals one card, face up in front of each player. That’s followed by another face up card beside the first. The third card is dealt face down under (toward the player) the first card dealt. The fourth card completes a rectangle under the second card and is also face down. The deck is put in the middle of the table and the top card is turned up beside it.
The player to the left starts the play. He or she can choose to either pick up the turned up card or select a card from the deck. Now there’s another choice. Either the card is kept or put on the discard pile (on the turned up card beside the deck). They can replace any of their 4 cards with the card chosen. If they choose to discard it then they must turn over one of their face down cards.
Play continues until one player turns over their last face down card. This signifies that they have ‘gone out’ and all remaining players have one last play and must end it with all their cards turned up.
The cards are counted and the scores are tallied up, usually by the best mathematician.

Variations to play

  • If you’d like to have a quick game then one option is to play high score wins which really turns the game on its head so that wild cards are discarded and a Q, 10, Q, 10 would be the best hand of the game.
  • Add additional rows of turned down or turned up cards for a longer game.
  • The Risk. This is one of our favourite options at work. It was invented by Ernie Fajardo and makes Newfie Euchre much more interesting. On your last play if you have a 7 or higher value card beside a turned down card and, when you turn it up, it’s the same value this constitutes ‘winning the risk’ and is worth -25. Turning over two down-turned cards at once doesn’t count. It is not easy to achieve.

One last note. When we play this game at work there are important factors to consider: Steve is a cheater, pictures of beautiful women in the paper don’t help James’ game, David is the best at math, Brandon doesn’t like to lose and when I win it’s a clear sign that the apocalypse is near. Also, having a few drinks in you when playing this game (not at work, of course) doesn’t hurt at all.


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