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Euchre and Kaiser – How Much Do You Know About Canada’s Favorite Card Games?

Euchre and Kaiser – How Much Do You Know About Canada’s Favorite Card Games?

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Published by Programme B

Card games are hugely popular in Canada, a country in which the people are world-renowned for their love of playing all types of game. There are many different card game variants which are played by the Canadian people, but the two most popular offerings are Euchre and Kaiser. These games have been played in the country for over one hundred years, and the continued popularity of them suggests that they will follow on from other card games and be immortalized in a wider range of digital offerings in the future. Here is everything you need to know about these great games, and some speculation over how they could develop in the years ahead.

Euchre and Kaiser – How are They Played?

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For people from Canada, Euchre and Kaiser are fairly common words which most people know. But for people from outside the country, the games take a bit of explanation. However, each of them follows a lot of the same rules and concepts that are prevalent in many other card offerings, such as trick-taking.

Euchre is played across a wide area of Canada, and its emergence in the country can be traced back to the game being introduced in the USA by the early German settlers of Pennsylvania. It was played predominantly throughout the Midwest before it made its way to Canada, where it is most popular in Ontario. The game was invented around 1860 in Germany and is a trick-taking card game which involves four people in two partnerships with a deck of 24, 28, or 32 cards. The game is credited with introducing the joker cards into modern packs. Players take turns to play a card in clockwise order and have to try to win tricks. It is similar to whist in this sense, except that fewer cards are used and players have to work with their partners rather than on their own.

Kaiser is not quite as widespread as Euchre in terms of the number of people who play it. It is most popular in the Prairie Provinces, particularly Saskatchewan. This is another trick-taking card game, otherwise known as three-spot, and it is also played with four players in two partnerships. The unique thing about this game is the fact that its origins are shrouded in mystery. Nobody knows where it came from, so Canadians can legitimately claim that it is a Saskatchewan-area game. It is particularly popular among Ukrainian communities, so some have speculated that it was brought over by the early settlers who moved to the country in around 1891. However, the game is no longer played in Ukraine.

Kaiser involves the cards from eight to ace exclusively, and each player receives eight cards. Dealers can dish out the cards in any way they wish as long as players each receive the same number. Players need to make bids and win tricks in a game which involves memory and tactics. 

Could These Games Be Represented More in an Online Setting?

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The rise of the internet has seen a lot of classic card games being reimagined in digital form and finding mass play online, recementing their status in pop culture. In the early days of computers, games like hearts and solitaire were made for the digital screen by Microsoft. Later, the increased internet speeds of the 2000s brought about a massive surge in online poker sites and online casinos offering blackjack and baccarat. Games like blackjack have been revitalized online, with Betway Casino offering different versions such as European and American. Other card games have cropped up which exist solely in digital format but take inspiration from the classics. Fantasy offerings like Blizzard Entertainment’s Hearthstone and Gwent from CD Projekt Red incorporate themes such as bluffing and out-valuing opponents found in poker.

At present, though, digital versions of Euchre and Kaiser have yet to take off. It may have been difficult for the games to find much play online up to now due to the need for cooperative play between two teams of partners. However, these are games which could almost certainly flourish in virtual reality settings. With virtual reality projected to be worth $192.7 billion by 2020, there are likely to be many VR settings for gamers in the years to come. Having virtual locations which encourage collaborative play between multiple players could lead to Euchre and Kaiser being awarded a greater number of digital versions.

If you’re a Canadian and you haven’t checked out these games, or you’re someone visiting the country and you want to enjoy them, try to get involved in a live game at a social club. It is a great way to make friends and have a good time. Who knows, in the future, these games could be internet sensations.

Photo by Daniel Joseph Petty from Pexels

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