Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Euchre Strategy - Double Hooks, The Two Bower Hand

Euchre QOD: Always count on your partner for one trick

Euchre Haiku
Two jacks in your hand
Double hooks means two winners
You still need one more

Euchre Savvy Strategies:
Every so often you are going to be dealt a euchre hand that has 2 bowers, but no other trump. Should you order this hand up or not? Go alone? How should you play it?

Well, the answers to these questions depend on various factors such as seat position, score, and the value of the other cards in your hand. Today we’ll look at whether you should order it up or not. Tomorrow, we’ll look at how to play ‘em.

Seat Position. As we’ve seen in previous posts, the seat position plays a big role in whether you should order or not. Here are some guidelines worth following.

Seat 1 : Never order it up in the first round. Nothing good can come of ordering up in the first round from seat 1. If one of the opponents happens to have 4 trump, then you could get euchred. If your partner had 4 trump, you just squelched her loner. Since you get to order up first in the second round, you can make trump Next and have an excellent shot of making it or maybe even getting a sweep.

Seat 2: Generally, order it up but sometimes you might pass. In this seat, you have an excellent shot of making it and it isn’t likely that your partner has a loner. You may as well order it up and be happy to get a point or two. If you have an off ace and you’ve got 6 or 7 points, going alone would also be a good play. Passing may be a better decision if you are playing against good euchre players. They will have a tendency to automatically order Next and you’ll have a great chance of euchring them for 2 points. This doesn’t work as well if you are playing opponents who don’t know the value of the Next strategy.

Seat 3: Generally, you should pass. You have an excellent hand for setting an aggressive dealer and a perfect helper hand if your partner orders Next on her turn. However, if your partner is timid and hasn’t embraced the Next strategy, you need to try something different.

In that case, order it up unless your opponents have 8 points. The chances of your team getting euchred are pretty low. Simulations of this situation still show that your team will win about 65% of the hands which is just about a break-even point according to game theory.

Seat 4: Order it up, and go alone most of the time. If you have 2 bowers in your hand, that means there is another trump on the table. You’ll have 3 trump and 3 sure tricks. You better go alone. But suppose one bower is on the table and you have one in your hand. In this case, you should just pick it up and play with your partner unless your team has 6 or 7 points.

If you have 6 or 7 points and some decent off cards (an ace, king, two suited) feel free to go alone. There is a chance that you can march and a relatively small chance that you’ll get euchred. To go alone you should have some non-trump potential winners but it’s worth a shot since a march will give you the game.

If the opponents have 8 points, don’t go alone unless you have an off ace or even two. Being euchred will lose you the game which would suck. Getting euchred when the opponents have 8 points is like making the third out at third base in baseball. Just order it up and take your 1 point.

Other cards in your hand
Of course, the stronger your off-suit cards, the stronger you can play. If you have an off-ace or two you should be going alone. If you have a fistful of queens, tens and nines you better bring your partner along to help. As the old adage goes, always count on your partner for one trick.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at how you should play the two jack hand.

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