Thursday, December 28, 2006

Euchre gambits - A brand new method of cheating at euchre

This article about a chess player being banned for using electronic equipment to cheat gives you something new to watch for at the euchre table. According to the article the player was wearing a hat in which he stitched a Bluetooth headphone. His confederates (that's what hustlers call their accomplices) would work out the best move on a computer and relay back to him what he sould do. Ingenious. And it would've worked if not for a random check. Sucker. Now he's been banned for 10 years from competitive chess.

So, how might a euchre player use this con? Simple. He wears a set of headphones like he's a bigtime poker player or he's expecting an important phone call, non-euchre related of course. His confederate stands behind the Left hand opponent and peeks at her cards. He then relays important information about the opponent's hand so our cheat will know what to order.

Prevent it!

1. Don't fall for the old "headphone in the ear" trick. Require your opponent's ears to be unobstructed. No hats either!

2. Don't let anyone see your cards. Hold your cards as if every eye in the place is trying to see what you have. Look at your cards, memorize your euchre hand them using these tips, and put them down.

It is hard enough to win at euchre without having to overcome cheaters. As you play in those New Year's Euchre Tournaments, watch yourself out there.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Last minute shopping ideas for your favorite euchre player

As a service to all in the Euchre Universe (thanks to some inspiration from a recent joggling post) we list here the top 10 gifts a euchre addict might like to get.

1. Tournament Euchre Chart. Hey, who couldn't use one of these?
2. Euchredoodle. Because keeping score with cards is just not cool.
3. Card and mug set. What euchre player wouldn't love these?
4. Magnetic Cards. Great for playing outside when it's windy.
5. Columbus Book of Euchre . Natty may be nutty but he knows his euchre.
6. Hardwood euchre software. One of the best places to play on the net.
7. Euchre gift pack. It's all in one place.
8. Waterproof playing cards. A must for spring training.
9. Hoyle card games. The euchre game is decent. Great when you can't find opponents.
10. "I love euchre" t-shirt. Our recommendation until the folks at Euchrelinks come out with a shirt.

Of course, if you need to know where to send something to the Euchre Universe, just send an email and we'll get you an address right away! ;)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Should you count on your euchre partner to win one?

You often hear the euchre advice that you should "count on your partner to win one." Ever wonder why this should be or whether it's even true?

We can find the answer by looking at the euchre point ordering strategy. The point system is derived from euchre probabilities. That is the chances that a card will win a trick. We can only approximate these probabilities because it is highly dependant on the other cards at the table. However, by simulating a large number of hands we can see patterns start to emerge. For example, an off-Ace (in the Next suit) will win about 44% of the time. In a green suit it is about 50% of the time that an Ace wins.

Now, if we can figure out the average value for any card by taking the average of all the probabilities. This turns out to be about 24.8%.

Since you have 5 cards in your hand, you can simply multiple that probability by 5 to get the average expectation. This turns out to be about 124%. Therefore, you should expect the average euchre hand to win 1.24 tricks thus this validation of the idea that you should "always count on your partner to win a trick."

Of course, this is all very rough mathematics. It is quite variable in any specific case. For example, if your hand is better than average someone else's hand will be worse than average and will not be able to win a single trick.

So, if your partner doesn't happen to win her trick don't be too hard on her. Sometimes you're on the wrong side of average.

New Space: I'm trying a new MySpace account. Come check it out and send me a friend invite if you like.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Keep score with a tournament euchre chart

Not sold on the Euchredoodle method of keeping a euchre score? Well, this author put together an official Tournament Euchre Chart wipeboard. You can post it at your next euchre tournament. So stop using that wrinkled piece of paper with crooked, hand-drawn lines. Step up to the Tournament Euchre Chart and be the envy of the Euchre Universe.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Is euchre making you sick?

Here's an interesting article about how poker playing is making you sick. It applies to euchre even more since you play at a smaller table closer to fellow players.

According to the article germs from sick players get on their hands, then on their cards, and then on you. And this hand-washing nag says that if people would just wash their hands at the right times they will never suffer a cold again. Yeah right.

We here at the Euchre Universe believe that this is an excellent new gambit that can improve your game. You use it like this.

1. Dazzle your opponents with all the stats and info from this study. This will get them nervous.

2. Cough and sniff often.

3. Be very apologetic and suggest that you might be coming down with something.

Your opponents will be so distracted with the potential cold they might pick up that their card game will go to hell. And when that happens winning will be easy.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Euchre book review - Win At Euchre

Whenever we finish reading a euchre book we like to let the rest of the matter in the Euchre Universe know what we think. Today, we look at Gallagher's book Win at Euchre .

Book: Win at Euchre
Author: Thomas A. Gallagher
Rating: 2 out of 5 chickens

Overall: This book has some interesting content including a unique point system for evaluating your hand. However, it is also disorganized, complicated and way overpriced for what you get. It's worth reading but don't expect much.

Truth be told, I only ordered this book because I needed to push my Amazon order over the $25 mark to get free shipping. Sure, it seemed like an interesting enough book but I would rather have found it in a used bookstore or an old library copy. No matter, I got the new book and here's what I think.

Book Layout
The book was immediately disappointing. I was expecting a book but what I got was an $8 pamphlet. I felt ripped off before opening it. It's puny! 29 pages with 4 extra inserted in the middle. And the pages are 3 inches wide. Puny! The cover is clever, but hardly worth $8. On the inside the book switches different font sizes and overall looks pretty amateurish. Its design is reminiscent of The Columbus Book of Euchre but at least that book was substantial. I don’t know what it is about these euchre books. Clearly design is not a top priority.

Book Content
As we saw with The Columbus Book of Euchre, poor design can be compensated with great content. Unfortunately, Win at Euchre falls short in this area too. The book is not laid out in any kind of chapter form so it’s difficult to explain the layout. Basically, it has 6 sections: History, Rules, Ordering, Playing Strategies, Tournament suggestions, and a Glossary.

While it’s understandable to begin a card book with some bit of history it feels like filler in this book. Why do we need to know about the history of cards? And according to at least one expert the information about the history of euchre is not exactly right either.

The second section of rules covers the game as we play it here in the Euchre Universe. If you’re a beginner they may not be too helpful and if you’re a veteran you won’t need them. This section is mostly for someone who hasn’t played the game in a while and needs a refresher.

The point system is the real meat of this book and that’s what comes next. Having independently created a euchre point system of my own, I was interested in seeing how Gallagher’s works. Overall, the system seems complicated. It gives the same value to a Left Bower as a Right Bower. Then it has different values for aces whether they are singletons, doubletons or tipletons. This mathematically makes sense but it complicates things.

And then using the system to order it up is also a bit complicated. There are 4 possible requirements for picking it up. Then it says to order your partner up with 2 trump. But it doesn’t take into account the up card or the score. For example, if your team has scored 6 points and your dealing partner turns up a bower, you should pass with almost any hand just to give her a chance to go alone and win the game. Subtle plays like this are not considered in this point system. Of course, this is a shortcoming of my own point system but I’m working on fixing that.

The rest of the book has some interesting tid-bits but some of the information is just not right. For example, it suggests that you shouldn’t order up with 2 bowers. This is true sometimes but at other times this is just wrong. If you are sitting first seat, a red Upcard is turned down and you have the two red bowers, you should definitely order up the Next suit.

The glossary provides some interesting euchre lingo but is certainly not comprehensive. And the information about euchre tournaments is short. He does finish the book with a poem which I certainly appreciate. But that’s not enough to save this pamphlet. Buy the book if you like, just don’t expect much.