Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Yahoo Euchre Science - A place for you euchre questions

While all things euchre can be found on the Euchre Universe, there are pockets of useful information at other spots on the web. We've mentioned other places like Euchrelinks.com, Natty Bumpo's site, and Euchre-There is no other Card Game. Today, I wanted to direct you to a great source of euchre talk created and moderated by Gerry Blue creator of the Euchre Laboratory.

Euchre Discussions

If you really want to find out what a bunch of euchre "experts" think about a particular euchre situation, go to Yahoo's Euchre Science group. Sure you have to sign up but it's painless and they won't send you a bunch of spam.

But when you're here, you'll find wide ranging opinions on all kinds of subjects like

Ordering Next
When to Order
Euchre Rules
Euchre Equipment
Euchre History
Online Euchre
Even Euchre Grammar

Really anything else about euchre you can ask here and you'll get someone's opinion. Before you ask, check through the 5 or 6 year's worth of archives. There's a huge amount of information here and you can learn a lot. Some of it is garbage but you'll find a few gems here and there.

So, if you've read through the entire Euchre Universe and you just want to get other people's perspective, check out Euchre Science today.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A euchre computer programming quiz

Harvy Lapp of Euchrelinks tipped the Euchre Universe off to this interesting euchre computer quiz. If you are interested in computer programming this one might be right up your alley. It's in a computer language that I don't know but maybe you'll know it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

6 Reasons Why Euchre is Better Than Poker

Sure we here at the Euchre Universe do things other than play euchre. We juggle, play table tennis and even sometimes throw a little cash around the poker table. But as every serious euchre player knows, Euchre is Better Than Poker! For those of you who don't know, hair are 6 reasons.

1. Poker is mostly boring. In the wildly popular poker game Texas Hold 'em there are only 1326 hands to start. Of those there are only 169 that are distinctly different. In euchre, there are 42,504 hands and you have to play the cards you get. Anything can happen. In poker, you'll spend most of your time throwing your hands away and watching everyone else take your money.

2. Without money, poker is senseless. Playing high-stakes euchre is great fun and certainly adds excitement to the game. But money is not a crucial part of the game. It's a game of intellect. It's your brain against your opponent's. Poker is a financial transaction. You might as well be a stock broker. Playing poker without money is like voting for a Republican in Chicago. There's no point.

3. Euchre is a team effort. In a poker game, your success is celebrated by you. Winning creates a sense of desolate isolation. Your opponents despise you unless you lose. In euchre, victory is celebrated with a companion. It's a game of sharing, the joys, the pain, the fun. And besides, you get to blame someone else if you lose.

4. Euchre is intellect, poker is emotion. Euchre is won by the players with the most smarts. Poker is won by the guy who's luckiest. Last weekend I lost a poker hand to a guy who held a 5-2 off-suit against my A-Q suited. A 2 hit on the river. Go figure. Skill in poker is a myth.

5. You can't get arrested for playing euchre. You ever hear of a euchre game getting busted by the cops? It doesn't happen. That's why euchre is dominated by scientists, poets and philosophers. Poker is played by criminals.

6. The characters are more interesting in the euchre world. Not even close here. I'd put our Natty Bumpo against their Phil Hellmuth any day.

Play poker if you must. It's a fine enough game. But when you are ready to use your brain, start playing euchre. It's really the best game in town.

And if you want to do something really crazy learn how to color pubic hair

Update: Harvy Lapp and Natty Bumpo weigh in on their feelings about Euchre and Poker. This is what happens when the most famous cosmetic chemist writes about euchre.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The ultimate euchre equation

Euchre is a finite game. That is to say there are a limited number of situations that one will face. In fact, there are only 42,504 unique euchre hands possible. (combination of 24 things taken 5 at a time).

Because of this, euchre is a game that can succumb to the rigors of mathematics and game theory. The point system for evaluating your euchre hand that we use here in the Euchre Universe relies on the finite nature of the game to work.

It is interesting to note that any strategy you use in euchre can be described by one equation, The Ultimate Euchre Equation. If someone can figure out all the factors in this equation than the perfect euchre strategy can be created. The perfect strategy would be the one that results in the highest value for the equation.

Here is the The Ultimate Euchre Equation.

Expectation = 4 x p1 + 2 x p2 + 2 x p3 + 1 x p4 - 4 x p5 - 2 x p6 - 2 x p7 - 1 x p8

p1 = Probability of scoring a loner
p2 = Probability of marching
p3 = Probability of euchering opponents
p4 = Probability of making your point
p5 = Probability of opponents scoring a loner
p6 = Probability of opponents marching
p7 = Probability of opponents euchreing you
p8 = Probability of opponents making their point

Figuring out the values for all the different probabilities and which strategy leads to the highest value of the Ultimate Euchre Equation is one of the main topics of this blog.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Random euchre ramblings on the web

A list of interesting euchre sites for the curious.

1. Striptease euchre. It seems to be some club of euchre players that like to strip? Does nakedness go with euchre? And would the people who pass be called "knockers"?

2. Sir Psycho Sexy Euchre. What? When did euchre get so sex-crazed?

3. Dangerous Logic - He's got a few interesting euchre questions. Check out the latest one.

4. How to cheat at euchre - A section taken from the excellent book Expert at the Card Table. This shows you exactly how you can stack the deck.

5. Hoyle's card rules from 1914 - See how euchre has been played in the past.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Is a red shirt killing your euchre game?

Euchre Quote

There's nothing wrong with being well red

Euchre Haiku

When picking a shirt
To wear for a euchre match
Stay away from red

Euchre Gambits

Some time ago I started wearing red shirts whenever I went into some competition. This was based on a science story that suggested competitive athletes wearing red uniforms had a slight advantage over people wearing other colors. I'd wear red to kickball, while joggling and every other time there would be some competition.

It made sense that the same study would apply to euchre. Unfortunately, I didn't see much improvement in my euchre results. I'm not really sure if I saw improvement in other sports but euchre was most disappointing.

Then I heard about this study about how the color red effects test results. Typically, I don't put much stock in what psychologists have to say. It's not like real science. However, when you hear something that makes sense and is consistent with experience, you stop and take notice.

According to this research the color red has a negative impact on people taking tests. They theorize that people associate red with mistakes and failures (remember the color pen teachers use to mark papers?). This association in turn makes them do worse on the test.

So, maybe wearing a red shirt during a euchre competition isn't the best strategy. From now on, I'm hanging up my unofficial "Greatest American Hero" euchre competition shirt. Perhaps, I'll switch to my favorite color yellow. No more red for this member of the Euchre Universe.

Incidentally, didn't wear a red shirt yesterday and my team won our euchre match 4-1. Maybe you shouldn't wear a red shirt either.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Euchre Book Review - The Complete Win At Euchre

Joe Andrews, tournament director and card strategy book guru was kind enough to forward a copy of his latest euchre book, The Complete Win At Euchre. We just finished reading it and have the following review.

Book: The Complete Win At Euchre
Author: Joseph Andrews
Rating: 4 out of 5 chickens

Overall euchre rating

This is a good book and should be part of everyone's euchre card strategy library. It is filled with basic rules, strategy tips, quizzes, euchre profiles and a list of interesting situational hands. With a bit better organization, more in-depth analysis and less superfluous information this could be an excellent book.

Since the day the Euchre Universe started, this book has been listed as a resource on the side bar. It's about time we got around to reading and reviewing it.

Euchre Book Layout

Of all the books reviewed thus far, this one feels the most like a "real" book. It's a standard trade-size paperback weighing in at 161 pages. It follows the general format of Andrew's other book Win at Spades with a section on the basic rules/terms, some playing strategies, a little history, some quizzes and illustrative hands. Overall, you won't feel too bad about dropping a few dollars on the book.

Euchre book content

But pretty covers aside, content is king in the world of euchre books, and here's where the book both shines and stumbles. The first section begins with some euchre history which is interesting. However, the next longer section is a history of playing cards and the US Playing Card Company. It seemed a bit strange to include this as it has almost nothing to do with euchre. Maybe it would work at the end of the book but not right at the beginning.

The next section, Basics, begins with a glossary of euchre terms. This is helpful despite the fact that a few common terms are missing like "bagging", "green" and "follow suit", while other obscure terms like "tenace" & "pone" are included. It is nice to have all the terms in one place so this is a plus.

For me, the location of this section seems out of place as glossaries are typically found at the end of books. But this is the third book on euchre strategy that starts with a glossary so maybe I'm out of touch. If you don't know the rules of the game, these terms won't be of much use.

The basic rules are listed next and the illustrations will really help beginners understand the strange suit-shift that the Left Bower engages in. Next is lists are euchre variations that take up more pages than the basic rules. This left me feeling a little confused and might have worked better if it was put at the end as an appendix. The inclusion of the Ten Commandments of Euchre was a nice touch. It really belongs in the "Technique" section but that's just nitpicking.

Next was the Technique section which was of most interest for me. The tips on bidding and leading are a little vague but the quizzes are fun. They will make you think and most answers are instructive. Unfortunately, this section makes up only 20 pages of the book making it feel less "complete" than the title suggests.

The next three sections "Views", "Information", & "Profiles in euchre" gives a wide range of euchre information. There's some useful information about protecting yourself against euchre cheats, written in conjunction with Harvy Lapp who has a more thorough treatise about euchre cheating on his website. The Information section is more like things you'd find in a book appendix. The "Profiles" were nice but felt a little like filler as they won't really help your euchre game much.

The finale of the book is a list of 24 classic euchre hands. Not sure how classic they are, but they're entertaining and instructive. And while some of the explanations are debatable, they make for an interesting read.

If you buy this book it should help improve your euchre game. But don't expect this to be the last euchre book to buy because despite the title "Complete Win at Euchre", there is a lot of details glossed over and just plain missing.

Click here for more information about Joe Andrews and Grand Prix Card tournaments.