Thursday, August 31, 2006

Euchre book list

Euchre QOD: “Play with a plan”

Euchre Books
While we haven’t reviewed all of the following books here at the Euchre Universe, we thought we would make a list of the ones we will eventually review.

1. Columbus Book of Euchre – Bumppo, Natty. One of the best. See our book review.

2. The Complete Win at Euchre – Andrews, Joe.

3. Win at Euchre – Gallagher, Tom. A guy with another point system for hand evaluation.

4. Euchre the Grandpa Lou Way – Ellis, John.

5. Euchre for Dummies - Gameland Sports. Comes complete with a deck of cards.

We'll post more book reviews as we get the books and have a chance to read them. Someday we'll have enough in the Euchre Universe vault to actually purchase some of these.

Euchre Literature. Where is it mentioned?
"It came out of the night and invaded the room. George said, "Anybody like to play a little euchre?" "I'll play out a few with you," said Whit. They took places opposite each other at the table under the ..."

Of Mice and Men – Steinbeck, J. p. 46.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Weekend euchre tournament recap

So, we finished the tournament and didn't win. It was a field of about 20 teams. We made it through the first two rounds and lost in the third. While it was a double elimination tournament, my wife and I were tired of being there and decided to just forefit our remaining match. The way things were going, the team that was going to win it would be there until nearly midnight! That was just too long.

Overall, it was a decent tournament. My wife and I played together pretty well. There were times that she didn't call for "Next" like I would've liked but for the most part, we really gelled. The waitress was attentive and the bar atmosphere was fine. There were some temperature issues as I froze my ass off with the air conditioner blowing on me the whole time. It reminded me of being in Vegas. For some reason it is always so cold in those casinos.

The worst part about the tournament however, was how long it took. We were there from 1:00 pm until 7:00 pm and played only 3 matches. That put us in the elite eight. We still would've had another 2 matches to play (4 more hours) if we had kept winning. You cannot run a euchre tournament, play "best of 5" matches and make it double elimination. It just takes too long!

Oh well, we had a good time for the first 4 hours. Next time they should do either single elimination (best of 5) or double elimination in a best of 3 format.

Does anyone out there have a better idea on how to run a 24 to 32 team tournament in a reasonable amount of time?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Weekend euchre tournament

Euchre QOD: “All wins should be appreciated.

Euchre Haiku:
You sign yourself up
Get good cards and play them right
You too can be champ.

Euchre Palaver
“Hole card” – This is just another way to say upcard. Personally, the folks here at the Euchre Universe prefer upcard.

Euchre Universe Update
This weekend is the big Merkle’s Euchre Tournament. My wife and I will be playing as partners and trying to win it all. I can’t wait. It’ll be more fun than the 20 miles of joggling that I’ll be doing that morning. It’s been a long time since I’ve played tournament euchre. I think I’ve learned a fair amount about playing the game and my wife is really pretty good. If the cards don’t turn against us, we have a great chance for winning. I don’t know what the prizes are but it doesn’t matter. Anytime you can win anything you should feel fortunate. At least I do. I’ll keep you posted as to how it went.

Euchre on the Web
If you’re looking for a free euchre program here is one from DreamQuest software. I haven’t tried it out yet but you can’t beat the price.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A questionable euchre lead - What should you play?

Skewed Euchre Jargon (from the urban dictionary):

Eucharist: A large box of bed sheets.

Skewed Euchre QOD:
I went to the store to buy a eucharist.

Euchre Strategy:
I was testing out a euchre simulator today and came upon the following hand when I was in seat 1.

The upcard was the Queen of hearts and the dealer’s partner (seat 2) ordered it up.

This brings to mind a question. What should you lead? Let’s look at the case for each.

Left Bower (Jack of Diamonds):
If you believe that the person in seat 2 is ordering with a weak hand, a trump lead might be good. You could be pulling out the dealer’s only trump and you would be setting up your Ace of clubs to win. The Left might even be the highest trump out so you’d be winning that trick too. However, you will likely be pulling out your partner’s trump and you’ve only got 1 other winner. I don’t like this lead.

9 of diamonds:
This is the “lead a loser” philosophy. Not a bad one when you are on offense but on defense, forget it. Sure your partner might have the ace of diamonds or might be able to trump it but the odds are not good. I’d stay away from this lead.

Ace of Clubs:
With three clubs, the ace of clubs doesn’t have a great chance of winning. (Somewhere around 50%) However, it’s not a bad choice. I like the King a little better however.

King of Clubs:
This one has just as good a chance of winning as the Ace of Clubs since you know they can’t both be played on the trick. However, you have the added chance that your partner will trump it, forcing the next player to trump higher if they’ve got it. Of all the cards, this one to me is the best option.

10 of Clubs:
This card is almost a certain loser and only makes your Ace of clubs less likely to win later. Of all the cards, I’d say that leading the 10 of clubs is the worst choice.

Euchring the opponents with this hand is not too likely. But you can improve your chances if you just lead the right card. According to the leading scientific research at the Euchre Universe, we say the King of Clubs is the best lead, followed closely by the Ace of Clubs.

I’m sure everyone in the rest of the euchre universe would agree.

Monday, August 21, 2006

4 euchre gambits to outwit your opponents

Let's face it, euchre is a game with a lot of luck. When you happen to be going through one of those really unlucky phases is there anything you can do to turn things around? Well, we've searched the expansive Euchre Universe and came up with the following four gambits. Employ these at the right times and you may NEVER lose a game of euchre.

The key to winning euchre is to distract your opponents.

1. Ask your opponents if they forgot someting. Euchre requires a little concentration so if the opponents are thinking about something else, you'll have a big edge. To work this ploy begin a story about a rash of car thefts in the neighborhood. Then casually ask something like, "Did you remember to lock your car?" They'll be thinking and worrying about their car the rest of the night while you'll be euchring them and pulling loners.

2. Distract with decor. If you're hosting the euchre match be sure to make the surroundings suitably distraction. For example, employ the services of a "busty" French maid to serve drinks. Or if you've got the girls over turn on HGTV. They'll be watching the latest redecorating efforts while you score point after point.

3. The fagile seat. When a euchre player is comfortable, they will play better. So, you should do your best to make them as uncomfortable as possible. A simple way to accomplish this is to make them sit in a chair that is particularly wobbly or otherwise uncomfortable. In the league I play in, I make it a point to always find the least comfortable chair and arrange to have my opponent sitting in it. They'll be distracted all night and you'll be winning the game.

4. Slow play ploy. When someone is losing they want to get to the next hand as fast as possible. So if you are winning and you want to keep winning, just slow down. Take a little longer to throw your cards. Instead of three quick shuffles, do 10 or even 20 before you deal. Make your losing opponents wallow in their losing streak while you revel in your lead. The slow play ploy is particularly effective against good players who hate it when "inferior" players are beating them. Control the game speed and you control the game.

When we find more gambits/ploys we'll share them. In the meantime, what are some of your favorites?

On vacation

The Euchre Universe editors were on vacation the last week and an internet connection wasn't readily available. Look for some new posts starting starting tonight. (I've got my regular job to go today).

In the meantime, enjoy this picture of the chicken.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

This table talk is not tolerable

Here’s the scenario. The opponent on your right leads the King of Clubs. You play the Ace of Clubs and the left-hand opponent plays the 9 of Clubs. Your partner has been watching the Fear Factor contestants chow down on giant Fijian long-horned beetles and isn’t sure about who played what card.

Is it acceptable for you to say to your partner, “I have it with the Ace of Clubs?”

While this happens all the time in our Euchre league, it is technically unacceptable table talk. It is true that you are just stating what happened, but the motivation to tell your partner that you have the trick won is so they don’t over-trump your Ace, pulling down a trick you already have. Was there a reason you didn’t tell your partner what the opponents played? Probably because that wouldn’t have communicated the message that you didn’t want her to waste a trump on a trick you already won.

Your partner should be sharp enough to ask who played what cards if they don’t know. It is fine to respond to the question “Who played the Ace?” But offering information that isn’t asked is akin to telling your partner what she should or shouldn’t play. This is just not right.

Bottom line: Avoid any table talk that would prevent your partner from making a mistake. And play euchre in a setting that doesn’t have tvs showing beetle mastication.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Playing euchre with less than 4 players

One of the problems with euchre is that you need 4 players to play the game. Well, if your friends are lame and you can’t scare up enough to play a regular game of euchre, what are you going to do? Play computer euchre? Go online and play? Well, those are options, but here are some better, live-play options for playing euchre when you don’t have the “right” amount of people.

Options for playing euchre with a variety number of players.

One Player: Play euchre solitaire. I believe it is a Natty Bumpo invention. It works out pretty well and can even improve your euchre play.

Two Players: Play euchre for two as outlined by Joe Chellman. This is an interesting variation that requires you to win 7 of 12 tricks instead of the standard 3 of 5. A game is played to 31 and you get 12 points for euchring an opponent.

Three Players: Play Buck Euchre as described at Pagat. This is a bit different than regular euchre but you can add the extra incentive of gambling if you like.

Four Players: Play regular euchre of course.

Five Players: Play regular euchre with four and have the fifth player rub wrecking balm on everyone's tattoos to help remove the memories of foul euchre games of years gone by. Or that person could always try joggling.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The slowing the euchre universe

While the actual universe seems to be accelerating, we’ve hit a bit of a gravity well here at the Euchre Universe because it seems like we’re slowing down.

Fret not. We’ll get back in focus. Other blogs such as Just Your Average Joggler have been cutting into the dedicated staff’s time and the Euchre Universe is getting shorted. But we will endeavor to continue. ‘Nuff Said.

Euchre QOD: Don’t despair, but if you do keep playing anyway.

Euchre Haiku:
On defense you don’t
But on offense you better
Trump leads are tricky

Euchre Palaver:
Offense – The team who has ordered up trump and is endeavoring to make their contract.
Defense – The team who is trying to stop the offense by euchring them.

Euchre on the Web
Here’s an interesting site about a group of people who started the Euchre Federation. There are some interesting stories in the Euchre Chronicles section but the site seems to have gone the way of the Vegas Valley Leopard Frog. It hasn’t been updated since 2003. I hope it never happens to the Euchre Universe.

And here’s a story of one person’s obsession with euchre. You quite possibly have one yourself if you’re frequenting this site. That’s a good thing by the way.