When To Play Alone, page 5
Should you go alone on 8 points?
There are many old sayings in euchre. Don't trump your partner's ace. Count on your partner for one trick. Take a trick whenever you can. And many others. Most of these give sound advice to the novice player. But there is one saying that's patently wrong: "Don't go alone on 8". This refers to considering a lone call when your partnership has 8 points - why go for four points alone when taking your partner along will surely help you win all five tricks and earn the necessary two points to win the game? Right? Actually, there are many hands where not going alone on 8 is not just wrong, but it will cost you a point and possibly the game. Most skilled players know this. Yet many inexperienced players will never play alone in this situation, insisting that it is wrong, rude or maybe just because they were told not to.
Look at the following hand
This screen shot is from a game where the score is 8 to 9, in favor of the east-west team. The dealer is in the east position.
You're sitting in the South positon and order the nine of diamonds into the dealer's hand. The fact that your partner holds the ace of clubs does not help your hand, in fact it hurts it. If you take your partner along you will only make one point on this hand. This is because the ace will take the lead away from you and this will allow them to take a trick. This will make the score 9 to 9. Yes, you will have the next deal, but as this hand shows, having the deal doesn't always guarantee you'll make a point. By going alone this assures you of the win.
You are the dealer and are in the South Position. You have just the turned up the jack of spades, and naturally pick it up. Again, the score is 9 to 8, in favor of east-west team. West leads the nine of diamonds. Your partner(N), thinking this is his only chance to help out, trumps in with left. As hearts are the only suit still in his hand, he has no choice but to lead one. You play your ace, but it gets trumped by West. Both of your aces have been wasted and the chance of winning the game has been greatly reduced.
The jack of clubs is turned up, everyone passes and the dealer(E) picks it up and discards the king of spades.
South starts the hand by leading the ten of hearts. West seat (the dealer's partner) trumps in with king. North follows suit with the 9 and the maker's(E) ace is wasted.
Now West seat leads the ace of spades, North seat follows suit with the 9. Now no matter what the maker does, this becomes a one point hand.
By the way, I do realize it's a no-brainer that this hand should have been played alone. Still, it does show that there are times when a partner can unintentionally hurt your chances to take all the tricks.
Anytime you hold a strong hand and your partner cannot significantly improve it, you need to play it alone. The score should not be a factor.
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