Monday, March 27, 2006

Alone again, naturally

Euchre QOD: “If you’re not growing, you’re dying”

Euchre Haiku:
Another loner
My partner plays without me
I exist to sweep

Euchre Palaver
“Shooting” – This is another term for “going alone” which is an attempt made by a player to win all 5 tricks without help from partner. If successful in winning all 5 tricks, 4 points are awarded. If less than 5 tricks are won, standard euchre scoring rules apply.

“No-brainer” – Also known as a “lay down loner”, this is a hand where the cards are so strong that no one else will win a trick (e.g. having a 5 trump hand with the Right and Left bowers).

“Sweeper” – The player that picks up the winning tricks for their side. In some partnerships one person sweeps all the tricks whenever their team wins and the other partner keeps score.

Euchre Puzzler
I was playing euchre Friday night at a party when the following situation came up. My partner called a loner and it was the opponent to her left that was responsible to start the game. Here was the rest of the situation…

1. Hearts ordered up alone by dealer.
2. Score is 5-2 ordering team ahead.
3. First opponent has singletons King of Clubs and Ace of Spades.
4. I was the team sweeper.

My opponent leads the Ace of Spades, second opponent follows suit and my partner trumps it. For the next three tricks, she draws out the rest of the trump. On the fifth trick she plays the Queen of Diamonds which loses to the second opponent’s Ace of Diamonds.

At this point, the second opponent scolds her partner insisting he should not have started with his Ace. She says that he should have held the Ace 'til the end. So what do you think, should he? We’ll talk about the answer tomorrow.

Euchre on the Web
Here’s a listing of some interesting variants on the standard euchre game. Some of the ones that I find intriguing…

  1. Reverse: It’s the opposite of euchre where you try to lose tricks. If you get dealt lots of “farmer’s hands” this game’s for you.

  2. Sudden Death: The “black mariah” of euchre. If the Queen of Spades gets turned as the up-card, the game is over and the highest score at that point wins.

  3. Naughty Nines: If a nine is flipped over, dealer is forced to pick it up and go alone.

If you have any other interesting variants, please leave them in the comments. Euchre is a great game but a little variety can certainly spice up a 10 hour session.

**Note: If leaving comments, the character verification system IS case sensitive.


Kevin said...

If I'm in the situation where I lead against someone going alone, I *always* lead with whichever suit I'm longest in. I think I actually read that on here.

If left to choose between the As and Kc, I can't see how it matters. One will be played on the first trick, and one will be played on the last trick. It will not by any means determine how the loner's hand will be played out.

Perry said...

The King is actually the better lead. Here's how it matters.

Suppose the opponent has the Ace of clubs. If you lead the king and your partner is void, then your partner can trump in and you save the march. If you lead the Ace, your partner's trump is irrelevant. You would have won if you hit the opponent's suit and lost if you didn't.

Kevin said...

Ah, I guess that makes sense. But, now we're assuming a few things:
1. Your opponent called it with an off ace. I've certainly called lone with four trump, even three trump and some less than ace offsuits. However the king does cover the case that they have the ace.
2. Your partner is void. If you have one club, and your opponent has one, then there are four left that have to be in the kitty and other opponent's hand. It's bloody unlikely your partner is void.

The second point is why I always lead the long suit. There are fewer of that suit outside your hand, so better chances that your partner will be void (though the loner has the same odds of being void).

Good tip though!

Anonymous said...

The real reason for not leading the ace is simple, u don't want to force your opponent into a "squeeze play"

Basicly, if u have only 1 ace then u should save that ace for the last trick. If u lead your only ace against a loner, u may be forcing your partner to choose between which ace to save on trick 4.

The only time u should lead an ace against a loner is if you have 1 aces. Ort possibly if u have an ace in 1 suit and in another suit u hold something like K9, which u would save for the last 2 cards.

Anonymous said...

has anyone played with the variant rule that if you order your partner up in the second seat that you are forced to play alone. This is a very common rule in Ontario, Canada and it really changes the a lot of the strategy I have read on this site. I would be interested to hear some thoughts on this variation of Euchre.

Perry said...

Yeah, I've heard of that rule. Seems stupid to me and not something that people 'round these parts play.

In my opinion, it takes some of the skill out of the game.