One Card

This game, contributed by Alex Ruhsenberger is called One Card because of the one center card that is won by the winner of the last trick.

This game for 2, 3, or 4 players uses a Euchre deck of 25 cards: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9 in each of the four suits plus one Joker. If no Joker is available, a two of diamonds may be used instead.

Cards of each suit rank from high to low A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, but with Joker being the highest amongst any plain suits, and the lowest of any trump, if trump is called.

Cut to determine dealer.

Dealer deals 12 cards to each player, if two play; 8 to each player if 3 play; and 6 to each player if 4 play.  Put the last card in the center face down. It is not revealed until it is picked up and scored by the player who wins the last trick of the round (The One Card). 

Deal and play are clockwise. Dealer rotates - i.e. the turn to deal passes to the left after each round.

All “face” (K, Q, J) cards are worth one point each, and the joker is worth 3 points.  All other cards have no value.  (The total number of points in the pack is 15.)

After the deal, the player to the left of dealer starts the bidding.  Each bid is a number of points. The minimum bid is 8 points, if 2 players, 7 if 3 players, and 6 if there are 4 players. Players are not obliged to bid at all, but may pass.  The highest bidder gets to play first the first card, whose suit is trump for the round.  When bidding, players say how many points they wish to bid, but don’t have to call a trump yet.   Players may continue to outbid each other, moving up by any amount, as long as they outbid the previous high offer.  However, no player may bid more than 15 points.  Once all other players say pass, bidding is over and the bid is set for the highest bidder: all other lower bids don't count. 

If all players choice to pass then no bid goes. The player opposite dealer leads, and there is no trump, and the game is uptown. The Joker doesn’t change the card order, in this case, but is still worth 3 points and is the highest card. It can only be played as the first card of a trick (in which case the other players are free to play any card they wish), or if the holder has no card of the suit led.

If the Joker is captured, the capturing player may, if he wishes, reverse the card order immediately after he takes the trick, from uptown to downtown.  Once changed the order may not change again, for the rest of the round. If the order of the cards is reversed to downtown , then in each suit the 9 is highest, followed by 10, J, Q, K, A (lowest). 

All players must follow suit, even if they have trump, but if a player doesn't have the lead suit, he may play any card, including trump or the joker.  The Joker is lowest of trump, but wins any trick that contains no other trump. 

If trump is led, any other player who has trump must follow with a trump.  The joker is considered trump in this respect, and must be played if no other trump is available.

Scoring is one point for each 'face' card taken and three points for the captured joker.  This is all added up at the end of the round.  The player who takes the last trick also gets the kitty card added to his score.  The highest bidder (if there is one), scores zero if he did not take as many points as his bid.  All other players, not the bidder, score normally.

First player to 30 points wins the game. If two or more players get to 30 on the same deal, the higher over-scoring player wins, otherwise it is a draw.