Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Would you rather have 3 trump or 4

Last night was league night and my partner and I were fortunate enough to pull out a victory. I played with my lovely wife instead of my usual partner so there were times when we didn't exactly "click". But she played smashingly and called "Next" like a champ. She didn't much like the idea of leading trump on offense but sometimes euchre is complicated.

No matter. We eeked out the victory, catapulting us to the playoffs with some momentum.

I did stumble upon the following interesting hand. It is a strange case where 3 trump is better than 4.

My hand.

Jack, Ace King Clubs
Jack, King Spades

My partner was the dealer and the upcard was a heart. Everyone passed and the option came back around to me. What should I call? Clubs alone or Spades alone?

Clubs. A club call would've given me the 4 top trump and an off-king. Not a bad hand for a loner but it can be beat.

Spades. A spade call would've given me 3 trump with an off-Ace, King.

I chose to play Spades as trump. The first lead was the Ace of diamonds. Both opponents followed and I ruffed with the King of spades. Next I led the Right and then the Left. This bled out all the trump and my Ace and King of clubs were winners. 4 points for my side.

If I would've called Clubs trump, my King of Spades would've lost to my RHO who had the Ace of Spades.

Bottom line...when it comes to trump, sometimes less is more.


Kevin said...

Very good post! I wrote up a similar strategy for my club's strategy section (http://watserv1.uwaterloo.ca/~uweuchre/) about how you shouldn't order to maximize trump, but to maximize the number of tricks you can take.

Perry said...

Thanks Kevin. I checked out the link. That's a pretty cool website. I'll add a link to my blog.

Very clever way to state in one sentence what it took me a whole post to write.

Kevin said...

Just so you know, I'm going to throw some credit at you, perhaps put up a 'links' section on the page. Most of my strategy came from something on this page at one point or another.

Kevin said...

Oh and while it's on my mind, my "maximize the number of tricks you can take" isn't really what you should be thinking. Of course, you should "maximize the odds of taking five tricks while taking a minimum of three".

If calling clubs gives you a 100% chance of taking min 4 tricks, and only 10% chance of taking 5, while calling spades gives you ~100% of taking min 3 tricks, 30% of taking 5, then you're better off calling spades even though clubs gives you better 'expected' tricks.