Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Euchre on the web - No more on MSN

Euchre QOD: “The cards they are a changin’”

Euchre Haiku:
Nothing is timeless
A euchre game starts and ends
Nineteen hands or less

Euchre on the Web
Looks like MSN is getting out of the euchre business. According to their site they are “retiring” their euchre game on June 19, 2006. According to one inside source they just weren’t getting enough players. As I write this there are 74 players. Well, they’ll get a lot less now. If only they embraced the euchre universe. Perhaps we could’ve driven a bit more traffic their way. Oh well, there are other places to play. Check out the links on the side page.

Joe Andrews had had a column on the MSN Euchre pages and you can see them here for the time being. Rumor has it that they will be taking them down.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Euchre Gambitry Articles

Sometimes playing the game flawlessly using the euchre techniques found at the Euchre Universe will not be enough to win. Here is a list of entries that discuss some of the trickier ways to get more points.

Euchre Gambitry
Ethics of euchre - Are there any?
A Beer and Euchre Brew – Winning with beer
Slow down, you move too fast – How to discard
Mind control – Controlling your opponents
Some shifty plays – How people cheat at euchre
Dirty deals and deceptions – How people cheat at euchre part 2
Using readers – Looking for natural marks on cards
Stealin' stealin' pretty momma don't you tell on me – Stealing the deal
Be quick about it – How to prevent a lone call
Laying down and cutting – How to prevent a cheater

Euchre Strategy - A Beer and Euchre Brew

Euchre QOD: “Is the euchre universe finite?”

Euchre Haiku:
Cold beer and euchre
A pair like peaches and cream
Beer and winning, no

Euchre Palaver
“Euchre juice” – Beer.

Savvy Strategies
I have a brother-in-law who doesn’t drink alcohol. He is a fairly good euchre player but he gets a lot better after everyone else has had a bit too much euchre juice. So a simple strategy to winning euchre is to surround yourself with euchre players who like to drink. Winning is a lot easier when your opponents are making mistakes. My partner and I have used this to great advantage in our euchre league. We spend the entire night drinking seltzer water with a lime. We don’t necessarily tell our opponents that it’s a straight seltzer instead preferring to let them believe it is a Vodka Tonic or Gin Fizz. They are lulled into a false sense of security and we’re ready to swoop in a take the victory.

Euchre Travel
If you happen to be passing through southern Oregon, be sure to stop by Euchre Creek. I believe it is somehow connected with Euchre Falls so you can get them both done in one trip.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Euchre Tradition - The Cow of Euke

Euchre QOD: “Milk. It does a bower good.”

Euchre Haiku:
We just euchred them
Our seven score becomes nine
So pull my fingers

Euchre Palaver
In the barn – This means a team has scored 9 points in a 10 point game and is one away from victory. Also known as At the Bridge.

Euchre Traditions
One of the more obnoxious traditions in euchre is a move called “milking the cow”. The way it works is this. When a team makes it “in the barn” one of the team members holds their arms out in front of them and gives a two-thumbs-up sign. They then twist their arms so that both thumbs are pointing down. The downward pointing thumbs are supposed to represent a cow’s udders.

At that point, the other partner on the team reaches over and pulls on both of the thumbs in a manner that is supposed to represent milking a cow. Typically, some kind of trash talking or other celebratory announcements are made while this action is going on.

For us more sophisticated Chicago euchre players, we frown on this kind of behavior. It’s strictly country.

Euchre Universe Notes
We're off the the Cubs game today. This season is brutal. With any luck, a euchre game will break out in the stands.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Euchre on the Web - Short and sweet

The folks over at have listed the top 20 “lifestyle” games of all time. I was happy to see that Euchre made it up to number 14.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Euchre Science - Health benefits of euchre

Euchre QOD: “You’ll never get sick of cards.”

Euchre Haiku:
Feeling a bit drab
Call your pals to play euchre
You will feel better

The Science of Euchre
Did you ever notice that when you are playing euchre you never really feel sick? At least not until the effects of the numerous beers kick in. Well, it turns out that your euchre activities may actually be making you feel better. Researchers out of the University of California, Berkeley have discovered that contract bridge players actually have more immune cells after they play than before.

And since the two games have numerous similarities, this research can certainly be applicable to euchre. In fact, it’s likely that the only reason they didn’t run this study on euchre players was because it was conducted in California. Nobody in California plays euchre, right? Now, if the study was done by somebody at the Indiana University, they would’ve surely picked euchre.

In the study, they took blood samples of the players before and after a 90 minute bridge game, and measured the levels of T cells. It turns out there was a significant increase in blood levels after playing. T cells are the white blood cells that patrol your body in search of viruses and other microbial invaders.

So the next time you’re feeling a little under the weather, go out and play a little euchre. It will actually make you feel better.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Euchre strategy - Defending Against a Bower Upcard

Euchre QOD: “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d get none at all”

Euchre Haiku:
A card that can win
Comforting when on defense
Frustrates the offense

Euchre Palaver
“Stopper” – A card in a suit that is guaranteed to take a trick when played properly. For example, the Right bower or a guarded Left bower.

Savvy Strategies
As we saw in this previous post, while turning up a Jack as the dealing team is one of the greatest moments in a euchre game, it’s one of the worst things to see if you’re the team on defense. But as we suggested the other day, there are different things you should do to ensure the highest probability of winning the game. Here are a few tips.

If you are in the first seat (left of the dealer)…

1. If the dealing team has 5 points or less, pass. Ordering up a bower to your opponents ensures they will win at least 1 trick making a sweep by your team impossible. You would almost have to have the next 3 highest ranking cards just to make sure you win 3 tricks. And even if you have those cards, you miss the opportunity to euchre an overly aggressive opponent. Unless you are playing really passive players, you should generally pass no matter what cards you have.

2. If your team is “in the barn” and you have a really strong hand, order it up. I know I just said don’t order it up but if you have a good chance of making it and you have scored 9 points already. Go ahead and go for it. The fact that you only need one point to win the game makes it worth ordering with hands that have 3 sure winners.

3. If the dealing team has 6 or 7 points, order it up if you do not have a stopper. This is a donation strategy and prevents the dealing team from winning the game outright with a loner. You don’t want to order if you have a stopper because this guarantees that they won’t be able to score 4 points and win the game.
4. If the dealing team has 8 points, order it up only if you have a sure winning hand. For example, you have four or five trump headed by the Left. This tip should be used sparingly however as you may want to just pass and hope that your opponent gets too aggressive and orders it up on next to nothing. This will allow you to score 2 points by euchring them instead of just 1 point.

If you are in the third seat (right of the dealer)…

5. Are you playing? Pass, pass, pass unless... Your partner is the one who should be making the decisions. If you are playing with a partner who will never donate then you should order it up when the opponents have 6 or 7 points and you don’t have a guaranteed stopper. You could also order it up if your team is “in the barn” and you have 3 nearly sure winners. But mostly, you should be passing.

That’s it for the Jack up-card ordering strategies. If you have any thoughts, leave a comment.

Euchre on the Web

If you are hosting a euchre tournament this site has a handy bracket maker and the best part is that it is free to join. You’ve got to register of course, but it is relatively easy to use. Check it out. It also works well if you are hosting a Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament. Now those are cool!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Euchre Strategy - When Jack is an Up-card

Euchre QOD: “Turn down a bower, lose for an hour”

Euchre Haiku:
The clicks of the cards
Anticipating the flip
Glory to the Jack

Savvy Strategies
One of the greatest moments you will experience in a euchre game is when you are the dealer, you flip over the up-card and it is a Jack! This shoots the odds of your team scoring points way up.

Of course, that is only true if you actually pick it up. If you are playing winning euchre, you should almost NEVER turn down a bower. Consider even the worst euchre hand you could imagine…

You are dealing and the up-card is the Jack of Clubs. In your hand is 10 & 9 of diamonds, 10 & 9 of hearts, and 9 of spades. Strictly speaking, the point system would tell you to turn this down in a heart-beat. But the up-card bower presents a special circumstance which requires a bit of an adjustment to the point system strategy. In this case you should *order up the club and ditch the 9 of spades. You may get euchred but you will score more points in the long run.

Here are some tips to follow when the up-card is a Jack.

If you are the dealer…
1. As the dealer, always pick it up unless there is a good reason not to. To win at euchre means you don’t pass very often. A winning strategy sometimes requires that you order up weak hands to prevent your opponents from making loners.

The only really good reasons not to pick it up:

2. Don’t pick it up if you have sure winners in the 3 other suits. If you have a stopper in all the other suits (for example 2 opposite colored bowers and two Next trump) then feel free to pass. At most your opponents will score 1 point and they won’t make a loner.

3. Don’t pick it up if your hand is really weak and your opponents have 8 points. A really weak hand is like the one described above. No need to donate the game to your opponents. Make them earn it.

4. It is against the rules*. Unfortunately, some people play that you need a trump in your hand to order up.

If you are in seat 2 (the dealer’s partner)…

5. Don’t order it up to your partner, unless there is a really good reason to do it! Forget how many card points you have, follow the advice of the Euchre Gurus on this one. As brilliantly stated in the Eighth Commandment of Euchre, don’t do it. You could easily blow your partner’s loner and cost your team 2 points. Don’t worry, if you’re partner is following the rules above she’ll order it up.

The only really good reasons to do it…

6. Order it up if you have a loner yourself. Well, if you think you’ll be able to make it alone then by all means do it. You know where the big bower is so that should definitely help out.
7. Order it up if your team has 9 points. In this case it doesn’t matter whether your team score 1, 2 or 4 points. Any one of those will give you the game. Your partner will be happy to know that you have some support

So that’s it. Follow these tips on offense and you’ll be winning more euchre games than you were before. Tomorrow, we’ll look at what you should do if you are on defense. It turns out there are some cases where you should order it up.

*Note: Some euchre rules do not allow ordering up a suit in which you don’t have at least one. If you have at least one trump, Always pick up the bower.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

We're back, sorta

Euchre QOD: “Euchre, I don’t even know her.”

Euchre Haiku:
Take a few days off
No euchre games for a week
Recall how to play?

Euchre Palaver
“Lose your deal” – This is what happens when every player passes in both the first and second ordering rounds. When you are playing “screw the dealer” this will never happen. If you are playing advanced euchre players, it should never happen either.

Euchre Universe Notes
Sorry to all the Euchre Universe faithful about the lack of posts recently but I’ve been away on a trip and didn’t have Internet access. This one is short but we’ve got lots of big plans for the Euchre Universe coming up. Stay tuned…

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Euchre Ordering Strategies

Much has been written on the Euchre Universe about when you should bid. Here is a complete list of everything we've said about how and when to order up.

The Point System of Ordering
Points is points – The point system of ordering
When to order it up
The point system in action
Seats aren't all the same
More about your seat – Adjusting the point system
More on points – When to order it up
A little more on ordering – How to order
Tips for Dealer ordering – What to do when you’re the dealer
Seat 3 ordering strategies
The power of seat 2 – Ordering from seat 2
Ordering from seat 1
When Jack is an Up-card – How to handle this on offense
Stop in the name of love – The stopper hand
Assisting your partner – Ordering from seat 2
The weak lady and her pips – Ordering weak
Cutting loose in euchre – The break even theory
Paying Al – The donation strategy
Jean jean the green machine – When to order next
Ordering against tight players – Adjusting how you order

Ordering Alone
Liberal Loner versus the Conservatives
Hand of the week – How to play this loner
Saving your point alone – Don’t get euchred if you don’t have to
The lonely euchre player – When to go alone

Euchre on the web - The Wedding Bells Approach

Euchre QOD: “Go make a difference”

Euchre Haiku:
Married on Friday
Play euchre on Saturday
Recover Sunday

Euchre on the Web
It looks like the Semi-Official Euchre Site is back online! This one is full of good euchre information and we here at the Euchre Universe highly recommend it.

Here’s a quiz we found that is really easy. If you can’t pass this, go back to the archives and start reading the Euchre Universe from the Big Bang (beginning).

A nice article on euchre is posted here. It’s a bit old but if you haven’t read it, it’s new to you. Forget about going to the website suggested in the column ( It doesn’t have any quality content and directly rips off material from the Semi-Official Euchre Site

And finally, if you happen to be traveling in Oregon (US) be sure to stop by Euchre Falls. It’s near Euchre Mountain. We haven’t had any of our staff visit themselves but the author doesn’t have much good to say about it. But it’s a waterfall. Waterfalls are pretty.

Blog Notes
Well, the posts might be a bit sketchy in the next week as the key staff member of the Euchre Universe is going to be off getting married. Even the chicken is going to appear at the wedding so don’t look for any posts from him. But we’ll be back by midweek and full of new discoveries in the Euchre Universe.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Euchre Playing Strategy Entries

We've written many posts about how you should play your cards. Here is a good starting point for learning everything that's been written in the Euchre Universe.

The Fine Art of Finessing – What to lead
Double green lead – A classic strategy
Sitting in the drop – Positioning your play
Another leading tip – What to lead
What to do when you're long – Leading with a long suit
When you can't win a trick – Signaling with cards
The lone ace lead – What to play on your partner
Snakey strategies – The squeeze play
Shake your tail feather – When you should lead trump
Go big or go home – What card should you play?
What should you dump? – The art of the discard
How ruff is euchre? – The art of ruffing
Lead a loser – To make your point
Lead up to leading – General leading tips

Defending Against a Bower Upcard
When should you bag? – How to euchre an opponent
Alone again, naturally – Defending a loner
Loner defense resolved – Stopping a loner part 2

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Euchre on the web - Acronyms Revisited

Euchre QOD: “TFSB, GMAD”

Euchre Haiku:
Characters are short
But the messages are clear
It’s online euchre

Euchre Palaver
“Playing online” – This just means that you are at your computer and you are playing euchre through one of the various online gaming sites listed on the side over there.

Savvy Strategies
Learning to talk to your fellow euchre enthusiasts online is an art form all its own. In a post from last week we examined some of the acronyms used when playing online.

Here is a more extensive list of terms uncovered by the Euchre Universe staff that you are going to see when your partner and opponents are digital. We’ll add them to the official Euchre Palaver as an addendum.

2u2 -- To You Too
10x -- Thanks
afc -- Away From Computer
afk -- Away From Keyboard
aka -- Also Known As
asap -- As Soon As Possible
asl -- Age/Sex/Location
attn -- Attention
b4 -- Before
b4n -- Bye For Now
bb -- Bye Bye
bb4n -- Bye Bye For Now
bbfn -- Bye Bye For Now
bbiab -- Be Back In A Bit
b/c -- Because
bcc -- Blind Carbon Copy
beg. -- Beginner
bf -- BoyFriend or Best Friend
bfn -- Bye For Now
bm -- Bite Me
blnt -- Better Luck Next Time
bol -- Best Of Luck
bot(s) -- Computer Opponent(s)
brb -- Be Right Back
bs -- Bull Shit
btw -- By The Way
c -- See
cc -- Carbon Copy
cu -- See You
cul8r -- See You Later
cya -- See You
cuz -- Cause (Because)
da -- The
d/c -- Disconnected
ez -- Easy
faq -- Frequently Asked Question(s)
fw -- Forward
fyi -- For You Information
g -- Grin
g1 -- Good One
g2g -- Got To Go
ge -- Good Evening
gf -- GirlFriend
gg -- Good Game
ggp -- Good Game Partner
gl -- Good Luck
gl2u2 -- Good Luck To You Too
gm -- Good Morning or Good Match
gmt -- Greenwich Mean Time
gmta -- Great Minds Think Alike
gn -- Good Night
gr -- Good Roll
gr8 -- Great
gtg -- Got To Go
h -- Hug
h&k -- Hug & Kiss
hagd -- Have A Good Day
hagn -- Have A Good Night
ha ha -- Laugh
he he -- Laugh
hiya -- Hi You
ho ho -- Sarcastic Laugh
ic -- I See
ie -- That Is
im -- Instant Message/Messaging
imho -- In My Humble/Honest Opinion
imnsho -- In My Not So Humble Opinion
imo -- In My Opinion
irl -- In Real Life
isp -- Internet Service Provider
iwi -- I Will Invite
iwr -- I Will Report
k -- OK
kotc -- Kiss On The Cheek
kotl -- Kiss On The Lips
l8r -- Later
LG -- Ladder Game
lmao -- Laughing My Ass Off
lmbo -- Laughing My Butt Off
LN -- Ladder Name
lol -- Laughing Out Loud
LOL -- Laughing Out Loud Even Harder
LOLOL -- Lots Of Laughing Out Loud
LOOL -- Laughing Out Outrageously Loud
L/R -- Lost/Reported
mf -- My Friend
min -- Minute
miw -- May I Watch
mp -- My Pleasure
mwah -- Friendly Kiss
n/a -- Not Acceptable or Not Applicable or Not Available
nb -- Nota Bene
ne1 -- Anyone
nn -- Night Night
np -- No Problem
nr -- Nice Roll
oic -- Oh! I See
omg -- Oh My God
omw -- On My Way
p -- Partner
pls -- Please
plz -- Please
pm -- Private Message
ppl -- People
q&a -- Questions & Answers
qt -- Cutie
r -- Are
re -- Regarding
rgds -- Regards
rofl -- Rolling On the Floor Laughing
roflmao -- Rolling On the Floor Laughing My Ass Off
s -- Smile
sec -- Second
ss -- So Sorry
ssdd -- Same Shit, Different Day
tc -- Take Care
tff -- Too Freakin' Funny or Too F$#%in' Funny
thx -- Thanks
tl -- Talk Later
tmi -- Too Much Information
tnx -- Thanks
tom. -- Tommorrow
ttfn -- Ta Ta For Now
ttyl -- Talk To You Later
ty -- Thank You
tyvm -- Thank You Very Much
tyfp -- Thank You For Playing
tyt -- Take Your Time
u -- You
u2 -- You Too
ur -- Your or You're
url -- Uniform Resource Locator (Web Site Address)
urw -- You're Welcome
vgg -- Very Good Game
vgm -- Very Good Match
vnr -- Very Nice Roll
w -- Wink
w8 -- Wait
wb -- Welcome Back
w/o -- Without
wtf -- What The F#$k
wtg -- Way To Go
www -- World Wide Web
xoxo -- Hugs and Kisses
y -- Why
ya -- You
yp -- Your Play
yqw -- You're Quite Welcome
yvw -- You're Very Welcome
yw -- You're Welcome
z -- The
zzzzzz -- Sleeping or Hurry Up

And in case you were wondering what the Euchre QOD means, it’s a couple of phrases we like to say here at the Euchre Universe.

“Thanks for stoppin’ by” and “Go make a difference.”

Euchre Book Reviews - How Many Chickens Did It Get?

From time to time we will get our hands on a new (to us) euchre book and we think it is only right that a review is in order by one of the excellent, reading staff members of the Euchre Universe. That way, you can get an unbiased perspective of the tome prior to plunking down your hard-earned cash. No one wants to waste their money on drivel.

If you have a euchre or card book you would like reviewed, please email us at

So here they are. The ongoing list of Euchre or other appropriate Card books, reviewed thoroughly so you know what you're buying. If it's highlighted, just click on the book name to read the review.

Book: The Columbus Book of Euchre
Author: Natty Bumpo
Year: 1982, 1999
Rating: 4 out of 5 chickens

Overall: This is a must have euchre book. If you can get past the “homey” look and odd organization, you’ll discover a wealth of information that will make even the worst euchrehead better.

Book: Win at Euchre
Author: Thomas A. Gallagher
Rating: 2 out of 5 chickens
Complete Review: Click here

Overall: This book has some interesting content including a unique point system for evaluating your hand. However, it is also disorganized, complicated and way overpriced for what you get. It's worth reading but don't expect much.

Book: The Complete Win At Euchre
Author: Joseph Andrews
Rating: 4 out of 5 chickens
Complete Review: Click here

Overall euchre rating

This is a good book and should be part of everyone's euchre card strategy library. It is filled with basic rules, strategy tips, quizzes, euchre profiles and a list of interesting situational hands. With a bit better organization, more in-depth analysis and less superfluous information this could be an excellent book.

Euchre Accessories – Brought To You By Your Favorite Forest

We're trying something a little different here on the Euchre Universe today. An artisan tour through the euchre galaxy.

There’s something about euchre that brings the woodworkers out of the woodwork. Check out all of these wooden accessories you can get for your next euchre tournament. Nothing says euchre like a stylish piece of wood.

The Euchredoodledandy is the premiere wooden scorekeeper! They don’t get any better than this fine piece of hand sawed, white oak. At this site you can even get a nifty euchre bumper sticker and hear the first ever performance of the official song “I’m a euchredoodledandy”.

Euchre Block
The Euchre block is a two-inch maple block made by CrafteFamily. It has the various card suits engraved and painted on 4 sides and Euchre on the others. Never forget the trump suit again!

The folks over at Wishfullwoods have put together a host of wooden card-playing accessories. They have their own scorekeeper (The Euchre Tally), trump block and even a special wooden card holder for the young and card holding impaired. Check out the rest of their site for lots of other wooden card treasures.

The folks over at Details Art have gone all the way creating a wooden euchre set that is a combination scorekeeper, trump maker and deck of cards holder all in one. This would be great for playing euchre around the campfire. But don’t sit too close, this baby is all wood!

Euchre players of the world...Arride in arbor!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Euchre Strategy - The Fine Art of Finessing

Euchre QOD: “Find your finessable honor.”

Euchre Haiku:
A high and low card
The decision comes to you
Which one do you play?

Euchre Palaver
“Finesse” – A play in which a card is played that is not the highest ranking but the player hopes that the remaining higher cards are positioned in the other hands favorably such that it wins. More common in bridge but it happens on occasion in euchre.

Savvy Strategies
There are times in a euchre game in which you do not have all the highest cards. For example, suppose you have a hand that contains the Right bower and the Ace of trump. Your partner leads the 9 of trump. The next player plays the 10 of trump. Should you play the Right bower or the Ace of trump?

If the opponent who played the 10 of trump also had the Left bower, than playing your Ace is a winning play. While not technically correct, euchre players often say that the Left bower was “finessed”. If the fourth player has the Left bower than the Ace will be a losing play. In this case, the finesse has failed.

Finesses happen at other times too. Suppose you again have the Right bower and the Ace of trump and a suit is led in which you are void. Should you play the Ace or the Right? It depends on the situation.

So, when should you finesse? Here are some tips to consider.

Don’t do it when…
1. ...trump is lead and you have four trump. The chances that the Left is unguarded are quite high and you should try to win it right there.

2. …you do not need 2 points and your hand is strong. The finesse is often used to help aid a march. If you are “in the barn” and do not need 2 points, don’t bother finessing. Often, the finesse play makes it harder to win a point if it fails.

Do it when…
3. Finesse whenever you know it will work. There are times when the finesse is guaranteed because you know where the missing card is. For example, it could’ve been turned down or picked up by the dealer.

4. Finesse when you think you know it will work. Sometimes you play opponents who have no poker faces at all. You get a hunch that they have the missing card and you think your finesse might be successful. Go ahead and try it. There is some card reading in euchre.

These tips are not the final word on finessing but that should provide a good start to help you win more euchre games.

Euchre on the Web
Thinking of hosting a euchre tournament? Well, check out this site for tips on how to do it. This is more of a solo tournament as the partnerships keep changing. My circle of friends has played this way and it works out pretty well. You have to get lucky to win but it is fun nonetheless.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Euchre book review - The Columbus Book of Euchre

Euchre QOD: “What do you care what your partner thinks?”

Euchre Haiku:
The lack of knowledge
Is inherent in euchre
Read books to learn more

Euchre Book Review:

Book: The Columbus Book of Euchre
Author: Natty Bumpo
Rating: 4 out of 5 chickens

Here at the Euchre Universe we thought we would try something a little different this Friday and review a euchre book. Since it’s the only one that I actually own and have read, today’s book review will be on Natty Bumpo’s The Columbus Book of Euchre.

I remember when I first ordered this book back in 2000. I saw an advertisement on the web and called in my order. I don’t think they had a website at the time. The person taking my order said I needed to send them a check before they’d send out the book. I asked, “how do I know you are not going to just cash the check and not send me a book?” He said, “how do I know you aren’t going to send me a bum check and get my book for free?” He made a good point so I sent my check and got my book within the week.

That story is reflective of the spirit of The Columbus Book of Euchre. Irreverent, unapologetic, and confident in the information put forth. Natty Bumpo is clearly a euchre guru.

At first glance, the book is not very pretty. It’s “hand-made”, staple-bound, and looks very much like it was originally printed from a computer and created from copies made at the local Kinko’s. The cover is made from red construction paper and the pages aren’t even cut to be flush. If you were expecting a glossy, flashy tome, this book is not for you.

However, if you are like me and can forgive the extraneous aesthetics you’ll find this is a darn good piece of work. Overall, I’d say this is an essential book for any serious euchre player to have in their library. It contains lots of useful information about the game of euchre. It is well-written, presents advanced card-playing strategies in an engaging manner, and is also pretty darn funny at times. (The few pictures that are included are hilarious.)

The second edition has 90 pages that are organized in a Preface, 3 chapters, an Appendix and Index. In the Author’s Preface a brief and interesting history of the origin of euchre is provided. What I like about this section is that it provides some info but is short. I didn’t buy the book to learn about history, I wanted some new strategies!

The first chapter starts off with definitions. If you don’t know anything about euchre the definitions won’t make much sense. And actually if you do know something about euchre the definitions will only make some sense. But they are funny and even helpful in understanding the information that’s presented later.

The next chapter, Rules, could’ve come first. Here is a good explanation of how you play this version of euchre. The version described here is how we play euchre in Chicago. It’s a very helpful chapter and even includes a section on irregularities and what to do when they happen.

The third chapter, Ploys and Axioms, is the heart of this book taking up nearly 30 pages. Similar to chapter one, it is arranged in an encyclopedic fashion organized in alphabetic order. It’s a strange way to organize the information since one entry does not build on another, but the information is great. You’ll find tips about what hands you should order, when to order, what to lead, when to go alone, how to play, etc. Incredibly useful stuff, if you can get over the odd arrangement.

The Appendix gives rules for different types of euchre games including two-handed and solitaire euchre. Those are excellent. I’ve tried both and they are pretty fun. Next is a review of other books on euchre. The reviews are funny if not a little harsh. I can’t really comment because I haven’t read the books that were reviewed. Finally, is a single page mention of computer euchre and the index. The section on computer euchre isn’t terribly helpful but that’s really not the focus of this book.

Overall, I liked this book. If you can get past the “homey” look and odd organization, you’ll discover a wealth of information that will make even the worst euchrehead better.

Euchre on the Web
Check out Natty’s website for lots of insightful and amusing commentary.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Euchre on the Web - What do those acronyms mean?

Euchre QOD: “Bare trumps are barely useful”

Euchre Haiku:
One large lonely trump
If not big enough to win
It will be stripped soon

Euchre Palaver
“Bare Trump” – This is a singleton trump that is not the highest in play. As soon as trump is led, this card will be taken. It is the opposite of a “Guarded Trump”.

Heard it online
I was playing Yahoo! euchre and noticed in the chat all kinds of shorthand for various sayings. Here is a list of what I could figure out…

gg – Good Game
gl – Good Luck
glp – Good Luck Partner
gla – Good Luck All
gj – Good Job
gjp – Good Job Partner
lol – Laugh out loud
n - Nice
nh – Nice Hand
npp – Nice playing partner
ty - Thank you
typ – Thank you partner

If you have a list of more, please leave a comment. I’d love to know what all of these acronyms mean.

Euchre Lit
“The enthusiasm for the dance, which the Vannis had kindled, did not at once die out. After the tent left town, the Euchre Club became the Owl Club, and gave dances in the Masonic Hall once a week. I was invited to join, but declined.” My Antonia, Willa Sibert Cather, 1918

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Euchre statistics - How much of it is luck?

Euchre QOD: “Ya can’t beat luck”

Euchre Haiku:
Sometimes you’re brilliant
Sometimes you can do no right
Feel the rule of luck

Euchre Palaver
“Win a trick” – This is when you have played the highest ranking card of any of your opponents during a single turn. If no trump has been played, it is the highest card in the suit led that wins the trick. If trump is played, then it is the highest trump that wins.

Savvy Strategies
I recently read an article by card expert Joe Andrews who suggests that there exists in euchre a 33% rule. That is 33% of the time you will lose no matter what you do, 33% of the time you will win no matter what, and 33% of the time the team with the greater instinct and savvy will come out on top. These numbers seem reasonable and jive with my experience. So what does this mean for your euchre play?

1. Just because you lose a match doesn’t mean you played bad. There’s nothing you can do about luck. It should even out but there are some people in the world who are just luckier than everyone else. Pray that you don’t meet them at a euchre table.

2. Just because you won a match doesn’t mean you are good. You could do all the wrong things and still win one third of your games. Pat yourself on the back for being lucky. Then take a realistic view of your play. Are you really that good?

3. Skillful play will win more often in the long run. The good news is that there is an element of skill in euchre and by following the tips in the Euchre Universe and other places linked on the side, you can push your winning percentage higher and higher.

4. The best you could ever expect is to win 2/3 of every game or match. Even if you are the best euchre player in the house, you should expect to lose 1/3 of your games. And while a 67% winning percentage seems low consider all of the great baseball players who have made the Hall of Fame with batter averages (percentages) of 1/3 or less. The greatest euchre players are twice as good as the greatest hitters. Of course, we’ve never seen them play euchre.

What does the rest of the Euchre Universe think? Is a 67% win rate the highest you could ever expect?

Euchre on the Web
And for all you folks in the universe who are looking for something to get that special euchre player of yours, check out this fine euchre set over at The nice thing is that if your partner trumps your ace all night you can throw the wooden box at him!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Euchre Probabilities - What are the chances?

Euchre QOD: “I don’t care, ya gotta declare”

Euchre Haiku:
Follow them to win often
But sometimes they lose

Euchre Palaver
Game Theory” – Mathematical equations meant to explain the best strategy in a situation based on the probability of an event occurring and the payoff that one receives. It is the basis for the point system of evaluating your cards.

Savvy Strategies
When I was first thinking about a better strategy for euchre, I thought of creating a computer program to play thousands of games and then keeping track of how it did. To get a sense of the value of each card I used a simple program to figure out the probability that any specific card would win a trick. To make it “nearly” realistic I put the following rules in place.

0. The playing rules for euchre were in effect. Follow suit, trump wins, etc.

1. The lead trick would be the card with the highest rank. So, the highest trump that a player had would be led at the first trick.

2. Each player would play the highest card in the suit to win if they could. That means if an off-suit was led and the computer had to decide between an Ace and a lower card, the ace was played.

3. Each player would play the lowest trump if they were ruffing. So, if they had the right bower and the nine of trump, they would play the nine if ruffing.

4. One player would not play higher than their partner (unless their was no choice) if their partner was winning the trick.

5. The result of the tricks were saved noting which card won.

6. A number of hands were randomly dealt and played.

Clearly, this isn’t a great euchre strategy but it gives a close approximation to a real game.

The results of this simulation using 100 hands are as follows…

Card Probability of winning
Right bower 100%
Left Bower 76%
Ace of trump 53%
King of trump 45%
Queen of trump 40%
Ten of trump 34%
Nine of trump 32%

Ace of next suit 44%
King of next suit 13%
Queen of next suit 2%
Ten of next suit 1%
Nine of next suit 1%

Ace of green suit 50%
King of green suit 19%
Queen of green suit 6%
Jack of green suit 1%
Ten of green suit 1%
Nine of green suit <1%

The results of this quick experiment are interesting. Clearly, there is a difference between a “green” Ace and a “next” Ace. You can also see that an Ace of trump is only slightly more valuable than a green Ace.

To create the point system, the probabilities are simplified. This has the effect of giving up some accuracy but it also makes things a bit easier.

The next step would be to improve the play of the computer opponents and take into account things like lone Aces being worth more than doubleton Aces, guarded left bowers, etc.

In the end, there could be a point system which perfectly describes every euchre hand possible. Then only an expert or someone really lucky could beat a computer euchre player.