Alright, today is actually the day that the euchre league starts. Yes, I know I said it was last week but that was just wishful thinking. Speaking of wishful thinking, there is a scenario in the point system that needs some further analysis. Specifically, how should you handle the two bower hand? That will be the subject of today’s savvy strategies.
When you are dealt the 2 bowers you have 17 points according to the point system of ordering. In reality however, you actually have 20 points. This is because you have both the highest and second highest cards in the deck, meaning that you have a guaranteed 2 tricks. The point system is based on the probability that a card will win a trick. With the top bower you have a probability of 100% of winning a trick. To make things easier, we lop off a zero and make the point score equal to 10. The reason the left bower has a point value of 7 is because there is only a 70% chance that it will win a trick. But when you have the Right and the Left, the Left now has a 100% chance of winning and should have a point value of 10 also.
Anyway, how does this all affect your ordering strategy? Let’s assume you have the two bowers and no other trump. Additionally, you have no off-suit cards higher than a queen.
Two jacks are nice to have as long as that suit is trump. If not, they are just two off-suit losers. Ordering up from any seat is a winning play but in some cases there is an even better strategy.
Seat 1: In this position you shouldn’t order. You have an excellent opportunity to euchre your opponents and if everyone passes you can order in the next suit and have essentially the same hand. The bonus is that you are not giving the opponents a guaranteed trump. This is how you should play this hand no matter what the score.
Seat 2: Generally, you should order up in this position. With 2 winners and another trump in your partner’s hand, your side is going to win much more often than not. You don’t want to pass because unless the opponents are playing the “next” strategy, you likely won’t get the opportunity to order again.
Seat 3: Pass. If your partner is playing the “next” strategy you are golden. If not, you could be in trouble.
Seat 4: Pick it up and go alone (unless you have 8 points). If you have two bowers in your hand and you’re getting another trump, you’ve got 3 winners. If luck is on your side you might march and possibly win the game right there.
The world of euchre just got a little smaller. Here’s a sweet tribute to a euchre player.