Blocking or donating points, page 1

Naming trump, expecting to be euchred

Blocking has been around perhaps as long as euchre itself: there is talk of it in some of the earliest texts about euchre. It is a strategy both loved and hated, but is an essential tool in the arsenal of winning euchre players, and commonly employed by the best.

A block is when you order up trump to your opponents knowing there is little chance of making a point. The one and only reason to call a block is to stop an opponent from going alone and making 4 points. Although it may seem odd to be ordering up your opponents when you know you are going to be euchred, all good euchre players employ this tactic. When applied properly, donating can make the difference between winning and losing a game. The trick is to know when to call a block. If it is over-used or not done correctly it will cost you points and maybe even the game. Knowing when to effectively employ this strategy will come with experience, but here are some general guidelines.

When to call a block/things to consider

1)  If the score is 9 to 6 or 9 to 7 in your favor, and your team is not dealing, a block is almost mandatory. The only time a block is not required would be when you have a lone stopped in the turned-up suit. This means if that you're holding the right, the left protected, or an ace protected (i.e.: A-X-X). When blocking, the worst that will happen is you will give your opponents two points. At this score, if they go out on a lone it's too late, you've already lost. But by blocking you are still in the game and will have the next deal, and a 70% chance of winning a crucial point, as the dealer.

2)  Many times you may want to block at lower scores when a jack is turned up and you only hold low cards with either no trump or possibly one or two low trump. Generally speaking, a higher turn-up card indicates a higher probability of a lone by the dealer.

3)  Think about blocking when you hold a lay down lone (or something close) in the opposite color of the suit as the turn-up. It has been said, "if there is one lone out there, then there is likely another as well". This is especially true if a jack is turned up.

4) When considering a block, think about the score, if they make a lone, how much would that hurt you? What would giving up two points do? It's the lesser of two evils.

5)  Think about blocking when you have a large lead and want to protect that lead.

When you shouldn't call a block

1)  1) You should not block from 3rd seat, it is the job of your partner (1st seat) to block. To block from 3rd seat is the same as telling your partner you don't trust his ability to play the hand. Blocking from both seats will also cause you to call far too many blocks, giving away points unnecessarily.

2) Blocking is normally not a good idea at scores of 7 - 7, you could be just giving them the advantage.

3)  Generally, it is not advisable to block at low scores like 0 - 1.

4)  It is generally not advisable to block when you are losing. Your opponents are already ahead in points, don't help them by giving them more points.

When blocking, what card do you lead?

1) Most experienced players agree that when calling a block the best card to lead is a trump. By leading trump, this will remove them from your opponent's hand and may give your team a chance to squeeze out a point.

2) Remember: this is a tactical move based on very little information of card distribution. Leading trump is the best way to win a point if your partner happens to have a good hand.

*  As with most strategies in euchre, these guidelines are not absolute. Use your experience and intuitions guide you.

Another reason to block

Blocking is also used a form of communication.
If you are playing with a partner that is known to call a block at 6 or 7 when they cannot stop a lone. If they don't call this would mean they have a sure trick in their hand. If you have two fairly certain tricks in your hand, go ahead and name trump from 3rd seat.

A final bit of advice: if someone blocks you, think about discarding one of your boss cards to keep a sure losing trick. Let them think they called a block for nothing.

just don't tell anyone about this tip :-)

Suggested Further Reading:

Blocking or donating points, page 1
Naming trump, expecting to be euchred

Blocking or donating points, page 2
Common situations that call for a block

Blocking or donating points, page 3
How to block correctly

Blocking or donating points, page 4
Incorrect play while blocking

Blocking or donating points, page 5
A block may turn into a point maker

Blocking or donating points, page 6
Always protect your large lead

Blocking or donating points, page 7
Don't make it easy for them to win

Here's what our viewers are saying

2 comments so far

Donating is used to protect a large lead. But, just because you donate doesn't mean
you automatically give up the two points. No, instead play the
hand the best way possible to try to make a point. Because
you and your partner still may pull off a point. It does happen
from time to time.

Posted by Euchre God  on Saturday, 02.16.13 @ 17:10pm| #1752

I totally agree and have added a section on 'protect your lead'

Thanks for the suggestion

Posted by Don  on Wednesday, 05.14.14 @ 09:49am| #3219

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