Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Loner defense resolved

Euchre QOD: “Scratch that niche”

Euchre Haiku:
Hands of nines and tens
In poker they win often
In euchre, re-deal

Euchre Palaver
“Farmer’s Hand” – A hand which contains only Tens and Nines. In some euchre circles being dealt a farmer’s hand would result in a re-deal.

Euchre Puzzler
In yesterday’s entry we asked the question, when defending a loner, should you lead a lone ace or a lone king? A couple of responders answered that they would hold the ace until the end. Others suggested that it didn’t matter.

Well, it turns out that the best strategy is to hold on to that lone ace and lead an off-suit card, preferably from a long suit. Here’s the explanation.

When your loner opponent orders they likely have a 4 trump hand with non-trump card (maybe an ace) or they have 3 high trumps with two off cards in the same suit. Let’s look at the strategy in the former case. Ordering opponent is on your left.

Strategy 1: You lead a singleton Ace.
Result: You chose right and you win the trick and prevent the march. (about 33% of the time). You chose wrong and the trick gets trumped. Worse, your partner was not able to play one of their Aces or they played trump and got over-trumped. (about 67% of the time)

Strategy 2: You hold singleton Ace ‘til the end and lead a different suit.
Result: You hold that card for the end and you stop the march if the opponent has that suit. (about 33% of the time) Your off-suit is won by partner because they were void in that suit and were able to trump or they had the Ace in that suit. (about 25% of the time) Opponent wins the trick and marches (about 45% of the time).

Strategy 2 stops more loners than Strategy 1.

Bottom line, hold that singleton Ace and play your long suit.

Now if you have 2 singleton Aces, then you should play one of the aces. This prevents you from being squeezed at the end of the hand.

If you have no Aces, well good luck. Lead something low from a long suit and pray that your partner has them covered, they aren’t in the pasture or your lowly long suit card gets promoted to a winner.

Euchre on the Web
Some more euchre paraphernalia. I could really use that euchre cap! The shirts are ok but I think I’ll have my brother design one over at Zazzle.

And a special thank you to Todd and his very cool euchredoodledandy. This handy score keeper ensures that no one pulls a fast one with the score cards. And you can get the pegs in any of the Big Ten school colors! Way cool even for a guy who went to DePaul University.


Harvey "the Rabbit" Lapp said...

Yes, hold that singleton Ace against a loner. There is another suggestion out there on the subject of loner defense that might be noted;
When the dealer goes alone against you, and you have crappy cards (ie; no trump, no aces, distribution 2-2-1), lead out the "next" suit, that is, the suit that is the same color as trump. Quite often the dealer will discard another color when given the choice, since it is common strategy to lead the other color than trump on defense (especially when you play against a bridge player). The dealer will possibly have a "next" card, while it is likely this is the suit that your partner is void in.
Just a thought!

Perry said...

Good point Harvey. I like your website very much by the way. Thanks for the link.

Thanks for the tip too. I use this strategy also. I figure leading next gives the highest probability that my partner is void in a suit and can ruff in.