Euchre QOD: “Find your finessable honor.”
A high and low card
The decision comes to you
Which one do you play?
“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.
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.