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.