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.

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