Friday, June 30, 2006

Euchre strategy - The top 10 euchre tells

Euchre QOD: “Strong is weak and weak is strong”

Euchre Palaver
Tell – A habit, behavior, or other physical reaction that lets other players know how strong your hand is.

Savvy Strategies
While it’s true that playing a statistically/mathematically based euchre strategy will win you more games than it loses, it will also naturally limit your ability to win. For example, we here at the euchre universe love the donation strategy but it also gives away points. In the best case, you should only use the donation strategy when you know one of your opponents is going to attempt and make a loner. But the only way to know for sure is by looking at their cards and this is against most normal rules of euchre.

Perhaps we can learn a lesson from the world of poker. Players are constantly trying to find hints or tells about what their opponents are holding. Can the same strategy be used in euchre? You bet!

An article posted at lists some of the most common poker tells. Here they are as they might be applied to euchre.

1. Watch the eyes. Players with good hands will stare at them for an inordinate amount of time. Look to your opponents and see if their eyes tell you whether they’ve got a loner or not.

2. Facial expressions. When a player has a weak hand they will often frown but with a strong hand they will have a look of confidence about them. Watch for this. I know my usual partner is the easiest person in the world to read because she just can’t control her look of disappointment when her cards are terrible. Then again, neither can most people.

3. Weak is strong / Strong is weak. While this one works better for poker than euchre it can also be instructive. If someone seems disinterested in their hand it’s often because they have great cards and they are praying it comes to them so they can order up their monster. And if someone is obviously handling their cards like they have the best euchre hand ever, they’ve likely got nothing.

4. Anxiety. This one comes up when a player has a really strong hand (lay down loner perhaps). These are actual physical changes like eyes dilating or blood pressure increasing. Look for these uncontrollable changes in your opponent (or partner) to see if they have a great hand.

5. Trembling hands. Shaky fingers means a strong hand. It’s a sign of anxiety.

6. Glance at scorecard (chips). While there are no chips in euchre there is a scorecard. Often a player will use the score to decide what they are going to do, especially when they have 6, 7, or 8 points. This usually means they have a pretty good hand because they are trying to decide if they want to go alone or not. If they look at their cards and have no chance of making a loner, they usually don’t care about the score.

7. Peeking at hole cards on the flop. Although it is interesting for poker, it doesn’t have much application to euchre.

8. Repetitive betting patterns. Not applicable to euchre. Although repetitive drinking patterns can help your game. We discussed how the drinking gambit a little while back.

9. Body posture/Attitude. Look for a player’s shoulders to drop or for them to slump a bit when they have a weak hand. Don’t bother donating to this player. But look out for the player his sits up in her chair and is real attentive. They’ve got a great hand. Be careful to look for the actors however. When a player is making it obvious that they have a great hand (or really weak one) the opposite is usually true. As they say in poker, strength is weakness and weakness is strength.

10. Trick arranging. (Chip stacking). Generally, more thoughtful euchre players will arrange their tricks in an organized manner. These players will be solid but conservative. The less organized the tricks the crazier the player. If you see one of these at your table, get away fast!

Well, that’s it. Hope you enjoyed the top 10 euchre tells. If you have any to add please leave a comment.


Harvey "the Rabbit" Lapp said...

I used to play with a guy who smoked vigorously, and tried to speed up the bidding whenever he had a strong hand. When his hand was weak, he laid his cards down and engaged in conversation, and often had to be reminded that it was his turn to bid (or play).
When his tell indicated a strong hand, I did everything possible to avoid letting him call. Sometimes I had to donate just to avoid his loner. This guy is probably the best online player that I know of with three characters on Yahoo all legitimately ranked over 2500 (including one over 3000), but he's easy to beat in person.

Harvey "the Rabbit" Lapp said...

checking out your comments

Perry said...

That's great. I don't play with a lot of smokers but lots of drinkers. I wonder if there is a tell that works with drinkers.

Anonymous said...

donating is a poor play. Statistics wins in the long run by definition and it is a statistical mistake

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