Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Euchre Trickery - Completing the cut

Euchre Quote

Make 'em respect ya.

Euchre Haiku

Take hold of the cards
Split and move half to the side
Complete to annoy

Euchre Gambitry

Here's a little euchre gambit that will drive card playing purists nuts. The next time you're offered a cut, make sure you complete the cut. That is, cut the deck as normal but then immediately take the bottom portion and put it on top of the cut half.

This bothers good card players because it is a breach of common card etiquette. Every good card player knows that you are not supposed to complete the cut. It's proper to cut the deck in half and let the dealer complete the cut. When you do it, you demonstrate a lack of sophistication. And you'll generally find that "good" euchre players hate playing against (or with) unsophisticated players almost as much as they hate losing.

And as we've seen in other euchre gambits, making your opponent hate playing with you is one of the best ways to win the game.

Euchre on the Internet

If you haven't made it over to Euchre Science in a while, check it out. It's one of the best places you'll find to discuss euchre theories.

Euchre strategy - a savvy discard

Euchre Quote

It sure smells like something happened

Euchre Haiku

How do you discard
Watch what your opponent does
And get yourself short

Euchre League Update

Last night in the euchre league we won 3 of 5 games scoring 44 points. As I have a strong affinity for the number 44, it made me all warm and fuzzy.

Our opponents were nice enough guys and despite the fact that they showed up a bit late, the match was enjoyable. It's funny how matches in which you win are more enjoyable than ones where you lose.

I did have the opportunity to take advantage of one of my left hand opponent's quirks. Whenever I dealt, I had a pretty good idea of what to get rid of. He almost always led the Next suit.

For example, if spades were trump, he would lead clubs. If it was hearts, he would lead diamonds. So, if I had a choice about what suit to discard, I would always short suit myself in the Next suit.

Lots of euchre players have this tendency. Or they'll have the exact opposite. Just watch what your left hand opponent leads and you'll know exactly the card to discard.

See this previous post on euchre discards for more tips.

Monday, January 29, 2007

One year of the euchre universe

While my posting as of late has been pretty weak, I did notice that the one year anniversary of the Euchre Universe has just passed. I have enjoyed writing this blog and intend to keep at it. All that can be written about euchre certainly hasn't been written yet.

This blog kicked off my entire blogging "career" which I hope to expand in the coming year. Beyond the Euchre Universe, I also write Just Your Average Joggler, Chicago Urban Tribe and there are a couple others I contribute to.

In the beginning, I was able to write about euchre every day. Oh if only I would've paced myself better. But with all the other blogs I write, my marathon training, and a full time job, it got harder and harder.

But this year, I've got more plans for the Euchre Universe. I'm going to...

1. Fix all the links on the side.
2. Re-vamp the blog layout
3. Put together a Euchre Universe book
4. Move to my own hosted server
5. Experiment with a Euchre Universe podcast

It's all quite ambitious but I enjoy euchre, blogging and writing. I've met some great people as a result of this blog and it's still a lot of fun.

Tonight, my partner and I take on our next opponents in the McGees Euchre league. We lost a close one last week and really need to get on the board tonight.

I'm still conducting my "Getting smarter" experiment and will have an update later in the week.

I'll leave you with this euchre haiku.

Euchre Haiku

Just over a year
Playing euchre and blogging
I have learned a lot

Monday, January 22, 2007

5 reasons why euchre probabilities are useful

Euchre Quote:

Flip a coin for peace of mind.

Euchre Haiku:

Another season
Another chance for greatness
If the cards agree

Euchre Strategy

Tonight is the beginning of the McGees Euchre League and hope springs eternal. Hopefully, my partner and I can tune up our game and win more games than last season. To prepare for tonight's first match I thought I'd review some euchre mathematics. This page on euchre probabilities is helpful.

After reviewing that page you might be asking "so what?" Why does any of this mathematics matter? Here are 5 reasons why knowing the mathematics and probabilities of euchre is useful.
  1. It helps you know what to lead. If you have 3 trump odds are high that your opponents have 2 or less. Lead trump to burn 'em and avoid the euchre.
  2. It helps you know when to order. Probabilities are the basis for the Euchre Universe point system of ordering. If you know the chances that each of your cards can win a trick, you'll know when you should order or pass.
  3. It boosts your euchre image. Spouting out statistics is an excellent euchre gambit to keep your opponents nervous and off-balance.
  4. It helps you identify bad luck. Do you ever wonder whether your losses are a result of bad luck or bad play? Probabilities help you figure that out. For example, there is an 18% chance that you will not have even a single card of the upcard suit. And only 3% chance that it will happen twice in a row. If rare things like this happen to you, you know it's bad luck.
  5. It helps defend against a critical partner. Some euchre players think they are geniuses who know exactly how to play your hand without even looking. Well, most of these players are delusional (at least about their euchre skills). If you have a mathematically sound reason for ordering or passing, you can assuage your nit-picking partner. Or at least make them feel a little less certain about their euchre conviction.

Euchre Universe Experiment Update

Since Jan 4, I've been conducting an experiment to make myself smarter. To that end, I've been doing puzzles, memorizing lists, and working through the problems in a book called Dental Floss for the Mind. It's quite good and I feel smarter already. I've also taken to drinking less, exercising more, eating better, and sleeping more. Hopefully, all this extra brain work will make me a better euchre player. Or at least smart enough to figure out how to make $44 million.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Improving your euchre intuition

Euchre QOD

90% of everything is stupid

Euchre Haiku

When playing euchre
You should know the math involved
But play with your gut

Euchre Strategy

The Columbus Euchre Guru had written awhile back about the need for mathematics in euchre. It is an interesting perspective on what you need to do to win at the game. Basically, he says you don't need math, you need a good "gut feel" or "intuition".

What he doesn't provide is a method for improving your euchre intuition. Well, that's where the Euchre Universe comes in. We searched high and low for methods to improve your euchre intution. Here is a list of the top six ways.

6 ways to improve euchre intuition

  1. Play euchre often. There is no substitute for experience. And with online sites like Hardwood Euchre, you can play a lot of games against a lot of players.

  2. Study your opponents. Watch how they play and adjust your strategy accordingly.

  3. Look for euchre tells. See this previous post on the top euchre tells.

  4. Watch others play euchre. Online sites allow you to watch games in progress. Spend some time seeing how different people play. This will help develop your observational skills.

  5. Learn tried and true euchre strategies. Read a few euchre books and visit the Euchre Universe often. Intuition will be improved by knowing which is the "smart" play.

  6. Learn from your losses. Review your euchre session and try to remember the times you've lost. Was it the right play at the wrong time? Or did you just screw up? Reviewing losses will help prevent a repeat in the future.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Create your own euchre cards

Euchre Quote

There's a fine line between confidence and arrogance

Euchre Haiku

Euchre between two
If your wife is the other
You better not win

Euchre Cards

Now isn't this cool. The folks over at Crafy PC are selling a set of blank playing cards & software that allows you to create your very own deck. This could certainly allow us to realize the Euchre Universe dream of having a complete rubber chicken deck of cards.

Monday, January 08, 2007

One month to smarter euchre

Alright, maybe all these brain exercises aren't worth doing. According to this article from the Boston Globe, there is no proof that brain exercises help make you smarter at all. The study shows some minor long term effects in most areas except in the area of memory.

However, studies also show that in the short term, these exercises can actually help you out. I know that when I practice memorizing a deck of cards it improves my ability to remember cards played during a euchre game. And studies also show that juggling improves your brain.

So, you decide. Maybe training your brain will help your euchre play but on the other hand, maybe it won't. Maybe you might be better off having an extra beer during the game. It might not help your play but it might make you feel better about losing.

Friday, January 05, 2007

How to increase your luck in euchre

Who believes in luck? As we've previously wrote about euchre is a game with a large luck factor. This website is designed to increase how often you win at euchre but the reality is, one third of the time you will lose no matter how great you play.

Increase luck to increase euchre wins

Here at the Euchre Universe, we don't much believe you have control of luck since everything that has and will ever happen was determined when the Big Bang formed the universe some 14 billion years or so ago. However, we do believe in diversity of opinion so this list of what some countries believe will bring luck in the new year is interesting. These things won't help but they won't hurt either and it could liven up your euchre game. Here are some favorites or at least some that seem a bit odd.
  1. Austria - They believe that pigs and green peppermint ice cream in the shape of a four-leaf clover will bring luck.
  2. Bengali - What could be luckier than painting a pattern on the ground with a flour solution, then putting a pot decorated with Swastikas and filled with mango sticks in the middle?
  3. Brazil - They push a boat filled with flowers out to sea and eat lentil soup.
  4. Denmark - They break dishes at your front door.
  5. China - Paint their doors red.
  6. Sicily - Good luck comes from eating lasagna on New Year's Eve.
  7. Spain - They eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight. Weird, I like to drink 12 beers.
  8. Thailand - They have a big water fighter.
  9. Norway - Rice pudding with a hidden almond is lucky (as long as you don't choke on it)
  10. United States - Everyone plays euchre with a rubber chicken (oh wait, not everyone yet)
Of course, these things won't have much effect on your euchre game but it could make it more fun.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Smarter euchre - Starting the experiment

Since becoming a better euchre player is what this website is all about, I thought I would follow the plan laid out in the smart euchre post and see if it helps. Feel free to report your results.

Smart Euchre - Initial IQ test

I completed the test over at IVillage and scored much lower than I would've hoped. 122. But I was distracted when I took it.

Two day update

Alright, steamed by my showing in the IQ test I decided to see if the extra sleep and good eating was helping me. I mean, it's been 2 days right? On Tuesday I got 8 hours of sleep and the fact that I only got 5 last night shouldn't matter. I ate better both days having breakfast and a smart Salmon dinner last night. So, I re-took that stupid IQ test and guess what? This experiment must be working. I score a whopping 170!! That's higher than a genius. I can't believe it. I'm a genius euchre player. Now I'm worried that if I keep the experiment up my head will explode. But I'll risk it. Becoming a better euchre player is worth it.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

In one month you can be a smarter euchre player

Here at the Euchre Universe we are constantly on the look-out for ways to improve your euchre game. If you've taken to heart the euchre ordering strategies, the euchre playing strategies and even the euchre gambits, you're well on your way to becoming an excellent player. However, you still might be losing more than you like because your brain isn't firing the way it should. Forgetting things, remembering things wrong or just losing your focus can all degrade your euchre game.

Recently, there was an experiment about getting smarter published over at Wired magazine. In one month, the author claimed to get smarter. Here's an adapted version of how you can get smarter and become a better euchre player. Try this one month experiment and see if it helps you

Test Your Euchre Smarts

The first thing you'll want to do is find out how smart you are. There's no sense doing an experiment to get smarter if you don't know where you started. Try out this free IQ test to see where you stand. After you're done try another free IQ test to see if you've gotten smarter.

Week 1 - Sleep more and eat better

Now, for one month you'll want to get more sleep and eat better. The experts suggest just over 8 hours sleep is ideal. For food, eat breakfast each morning and include protein & vitamins. Some kind of fortified ceral should work.

Week 2 - Break your patterns

Start changing up the way you do things. Brush your teeth with your opposite hand. Take a shower with your eyes closed. Change the order in which you put on your clothes. Read a book upside down. Breaking patterns improves your creativity and this makes you smarter.

Week 3 - Train your brain

During this week dear euchre enthusiast, you'll want to exercise and train your brain better. Try one of the free exercises as My Brain Trainer. Or if you prefer a cheaper option, try memorizing the order of a deck of cards everyday. Even learning to juggle will improve your brain. This is quite challenging for the brain.

Week 4 - Final exam

After a month of improved sleeping, eating, and brain training you're ready to see if it helped. Take another IQ test to see if it made you smarter. And a smarter person who knows some euchre strategy will become a smarter euchre player.

Good luck and let us know how you did. I'll be starting the experiment myself and will report the results on the Euchre Universe.