Thursday, November 16, 2006

A euchre decision - black red or alone

I saw this post about euchre at another blog (Dangerous Logic). They raise an interesting situation.

They had J♦ J♥ A♣ J♣ 9♣. His team is losing 6-8 and he is sitting first chair left of the dealer. The Ace of spades is turned down. What should you do? Order up hearts, diamonds, clubs or pass? Bring partner with or go alone?

Here are some possibilities with some comments.

1. Order Clubs. You'll have a pretty good chance of making your point but you have 2 losers in the red suits.
2. Order Red. Diamonds or hearts aren't really different. You've got 2 guaranteed winners and a probable winner in clubs.
3. Pass. You've got 2 winners in all suits. If the opponents order they're in trouble. If your partner orders, a sweep is likely.

The euchre universe point system shows that ordering Clubs is inferior to a red call. In clubs you have 20 points total. In a red suit you have 24 points. Clearly, you shouldn't order clubs.

Passing could lead to a euchre but you are gambling that your opponents or partner will order. If opponents do order, they've probably got 3 or 4 trump and will have a great chance of making it. Also, euchre is a game for assertive players. Passing is a losing game.

The best option is to order up one of the red suits. Unless you've seen other cards flashed, there really isn't a difference between hearts or diamonds. I like hearts so that's what I'd order.

The only question remaining. Do you go alone or with partner?

The point system says go alone (>23 points). The chances of you being euchred are remote and the chances of you scoring a march alone and winning the game is great. That's what I'd do.


Anonymous said...

Observation: The point system favoring red over clubs doesn't take next vs. green into account, correct? If not, should it, and if so, how? Maybe some bonus points for calling next?

Anonymous said...

That said, I can also see how irrespective of next vs. green, one of the red suits looks like a good call. If none of the opponents have three trump, they need two clubs (out of the remaining K-Q-10) to stop a march.

Perry said...

You raise a good point about the point system. When I first put it together I didn't think about Next calls. In fact, following the point system you would order someone up from the first seat if hearts were the upcard and you had 2 red jacks and an off-Ace. A much better play would be to pass and order up diamonds when you get a chance in the second round.

The system definitely needs to be adjusted. But for beginners, it works ok.

Harvey "the Rabbit" Lapp said...

I find this scenario fascinating.
Here are some other points that come to mind about this hand;
1)If this situation occurs during a "Stick the dealer" game, or a money game in which you make more $ for setting the opponents, passing might be the best option. This hand is an exception to the "never pass a biddable hand" concept.
2)If I call red, I only call it alone. Any cards that my partner might have that could help me would be just as useful remaining out of play. This is a win or lose hand if I call red. I'll either be carried out on my partner's shoulders as a hero, or left severely beaten in the back alley.
3)Murphy's Law states (something to the effect of) "what can go wrong, will go wrong," and I am the living version of Charlie Brown when it comes to euchre. If I call hearts or diamond alone with this hand, I'm pretty sure that one of my opponents will have three or four trumps and a void in clubs -- and I will be crushed.
4)The opponents turned down the Ace of spades, meaning that they probably don't have the jack of spades, and thus are also unlikely to have a guarded left bower in clubs. Calling clubs is a conservative way to score a point, making it 8-7 in favor of the bad guys, but it will be your deal.
I think the bottom line is; Call red alone if you are feeling brave or call clubs if you feel slightly chicken. If you play STD, pass, and rest assured that nobody will score two points, unless it is your side that does it.