Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What should you dump?

Euchre QOD: “Discard or dat card, which to throw.”

Euchre Haiku:
Clubs, diamonds, spades, hearts
You throw the wrong one away
And you may get set.

Euchre Palaver
“Discard” – The card that the dealer gets rid of in the “kitty” (or talon) when picking up the trump card.

Savvy Strategies
Much has been written about when to order and what to lead, in this blog and elsewhere. But I haven’t seen much about what you should discard. Here are a few tips to follow when thinking about what to discard.

0. Never get rid of a trump unless you have to! Even a 9 of trump is better to have than an off-ace. The only possible time that you would have to get rid of a trump is when you hold 5 trump and you have to pick up the table card. I hope in this case you are going alone.

1. Try to short-suit yourself. That means if you have only 1 card in a suit, you would do well to get rid of that card. It’s advantageous because when that suit is led, you’ll be able to ruff by playing that trump card you just picked up.

2. Throw away the cards with the least chance of winning. If you have a choice between short-suiting yourself in 2 different suits, discard the one with the least chance of winning. For example, if spades is trump and you hold singleton Jack of diamonds and Ten of clubs, you should get rid of the Ten because it has the lowest chance of winning a trick. If instead you had to choose between the singleton Ten of clubs and the Ten of hearts, you should still get rid of the ten of clubs. This one (statistically) has a lower probability of winning than the ten of hearts. Minute, but real.

3. Throw away the cards from your longest suit. Sometimes you won’t be able to short suit yourself. In these cases, just get rid of the lowest card from your longest (non-trump) suit. By maintaining length (multiple cards) in more than 1 suit, you set up your kings and queens as potentially winning cards.

4. Consider your opponents when discarding. There are some players who always lead the “next” suit. If hearts are trump, they will invariably lead a diamond. When you find one of these players, you can improve your chances of winning a trick by always short suiting yourself in the “next” suit when you can. Note there are also players who never lead the next suit. If you run up against one of these players, you should naturally discard a non-next suit to improve your chances of ruffing the lead trick.

One of these days I’m going to fire up my euchre simulator and figure out just how much impact the correct discard has. Until then, good eukin’.


*lynne* (azlynne1972) said...

heyya, thanx for stopping by my blog :) i'm not one to get hung up too much about strategy when playing euchre, but you've definitely worked on making this a very useful site. will browse thru when I'm free-er for tips :) maybe see you in Yahoo!Games sometime!

Ron said...

hi perry thx for the blog ,it's very insightful. I'm sure it's my thinking that's skewed and not yours, but I usually do the opposite when discarding. I treat all singlton cards below a Q the same and focus on suit. If I have a singleton Q or below in next and a green suit I would discard the green suit. my reasoning is: i'm in better shape if I lose 1st trick to a next lead than I would if I lost it to a green suit lead. If I discard next and I have to trump a next lead it leaves me with 1 trump and 3 potential losers, if I have to overtrump a next lead it leves me w/4 pot. losers. you need your p's help here and he'll most likely be able to help w/a next lead and if he can here your golden, and if he can't and you lose the 1st trick, your still not that bad off. you have a void in two suits(1 very green) and still have two trump. The 'minute' difference in suit rank for Q and below is justified if you playing alone, but imo your p's paticipation makes that almost negligable and suit should be more a consideration.
on leading: if dealer takes it up and I have no aces, I'll usually lead my lowest singleton green hoping to hit my p. how many times have I seen dealer's p trump, or have my p overtrumped by caller, on a next lead? If I'm say 4 suited with no aces and have L or A then I may lead next hoping my p will trump high. If 2nd orders I'll prob. lead next. of course score, P's playing habits, opps playing habits, etc. will and do alter my discarding and leading stratigies, but the above is a baseline strategy. your thoughts would be welcome. thx, Ron

Perry said...

Thanks for the comments Ron. The scenario you describe seems reasonable. I was just suggesting that there are some opponents that lead Next no matter what so it makes sense to discard accordingly so you can ruff the first trick.