Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Cutting loose in euchre

Euchre QOD: “A sound strategy makes you feel better about losing”

Euchre Haiku:
Travel thru forests
Plow through pastures and fences
You got to the bridge

Euchre Palaver
“At the bridge” – When a team has scored 9 points and is only 1 away from winning the game.

Savvy Strategies
The point system is based on the notion that you should order up anytime you have a hand that will win 67% of the time. This stems from game theory and the resulting analysis of the way euchre is scored. The break-even equation for euchre is as follows.

Break-even strategy = (+1)*67% + (-2)*33%

This equation just means you are playing a rational strategy if you order up whenever you have a 2/3 chance of winning. In the long run, if you played this strategy you should expect to break even. However, if you order up on hands that only have a 50% chance of winning you would expect to lose over the long run because the positive gain (1 point 50% of the time) does not make up for the negative gain (-2 points 50% of the time).

We mention this because you need to change your strategy when your opponent’s score is 9 points. At this point of the game, the break-even strategy equation changes a bit. Since their score is 9 points, the 2 they get for euchring is essentially the same as them getting 1 point and winning the game. Either way, they win.

So, you should change your strategy when your opponents have 9 points. The new break even strategy equation is as follows.

Break-even strategy (when opponents score is 9) = (+1)*50% + (-1)*50%

This means you get to loosen up your ordering strategy when your opponent’s score is 9! Instead of waiting for the hands with 21 card points, go ahead and order up on anything with 16 card points or more. And if you’re in the pasture, call loners whenever you have 3 sure tricks.

Remember, the chances that you will win the game are not good. The dealing team with 9 points has anywhere from a 67% chance (if your score is 9) to a 99% chance of winning. The best you can do is hope that when the fate of this game was ordained 14 billion years ago at the moment of the Big Bang, you ended up on the winning team. But don’t count on it.

Euchre on the Web
Sure some people think euchre is a low-brow game (bridge players) but euchre was mentioned here in literature by none other than Mark Twain. It was in his book The Innocents Abroad. The problem with Twain is he could write great stuff and some really awful stuff. This is one of his better ones.

Proof that they’ll give a patent for anything, a euchre scoreboard. I think I’ll stick to my euchredoodledandy.

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