Almost Always Calling Seat 1 (Round 2)

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jblowery
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Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:43 am

Almost Always Calling Seat 1 (Round 2)

Post by jblowery » Thu May 30, 2019 11:15 am

I've heard several people indicate that they ALWAYS call from Seat 1/Round 2, unless they have everything blocked. Am I understanding this correctly? If so, it would be nice to hear some additional explanation. I can see doing this when you have a significant lead but it seems like a bad practice when the score is neutral. I'm not as good as a lot of the people that claim this so that is why I'm interested in hearing more.

A good example is if you have the following cards

(Card_9-C) (Card_10-C) (Card_K-C) (Card_A-H) (Card_10-D)

Upcard is the (Card_J-C)

Are you really going to order this up in Round 1 or call some other suite in Round 2?

Seems like it is going to result in a euchre about 60% of the time in Round 1 and 75% of the time Round 2 (best guess).

I know the other team could get a loner but it doesn't seem like that is common enough to accept that high of a chance of getting euchered. The only exception that I see is when I have a big lead. I totally agree with always calling something in that case. Thanks.



RedDuke
Posts: 223
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:22 am

Post by RedDuke » Thu May 30, 2019 1:53 pm

jblowery wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 11:15 am
I've heard several people indicate that they ALWAYS call from Seat 1/Round 2, unless they have everything blocked. Am I understanding this correctly? If so, it would be nice to hear some additional explanation. I can see doing this when you have a significant lead but it seems like a bad practice when the score is neutral. I'm not as good as a lot of the people that claim this so that is why I'm interested in hearing more.

A good example is if you have the following cards

(Card_9-C) (Card_10-C) (Card_K-C) (Card_A-H) (Card_10-D)

Upcard is the (Card_J-C)

Are you really going to order this up in Round 1 or call some other suite in Round 2?

Seems like it is going to result in a euchre about 60% of the time in Round 1 and 75% of the time Round 2 (best guess).

I know the other team could get a loner but it doesn't seem like that is common enough to accept that high of a chance of getting euchered. The only exception that I see is when I have a big lead. I totally agree with always calling something in that case. Thanks.
The big concern with the hand you present is that there's a pretty high chance of the dealer going alone. That's always the risk when there's a jack up. I'm absolutely going to order if the opponents have 6 points or more. I'd rather be euchred than have them make a lone.

Make that King into the Ace of Clubs and it's a different story. Then I'm not going to order up because I have a guaranteed trick. With the ace of hearts there as a lone card, I might even have two tricks in that hand.

In round 2, I'd be really nervous about second seat having a killer hand in diamonds. That's doubly true if they passed in round 1. If the dealer actually passes then it's pretty much a guarantee that they've got something good in either hearts or diamonds. Given that, I'm going to call spades in round 2 if it comes to that. Odds are that my partner has the jack of spades and that red ace will probably take a trick.

jblowery
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:43 am

Post by jblowery » Fri May 31, 2019 2:44 pm

So you'll call Next with a neutral score when you don't even have any of that suite?

RedDuke
Posts: 223
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:22 am

Post by RedDuke » Fri May 31, 2019 8:17 pm

jblowery wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 2:44 pm
So you'll call Next with a neutral score when you don't even have any of that suite?
Generally. Especially if I have a lone ace or two. With a lone green ace (an ace with no other cards in the same suit), you have a decent chance of taking the first trick as it's unlikely that the opponents will trump it. If we also figure that your partner probably has a bower or two (if the opponents had much, they would have picked up/ordered up) then the partner is probably good for two tricks.

If I've got something like this:

(Card_9-D) (Card_10-D) (Card_Q-H) (Card_10-C) (Card_Q-S)

and the turn card was the (Card_J-S) then I'm a lot less likely to call next at a neutral score.

Wes (aka the legend)
Posts: 217
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:03 pm

Post by Wes (aka the legend) » Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:51 pm

jblowery wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 11:15 am
I've heard several people indicate that they ALWAYS call from Seat 1/Round 2, unless they have everything blocked. Am I understanding this correctly? If so, it would be nice to hear some additional explanation.

I wouldn't go that far. There are certain spots where I would advocate never passing unless you block all suits and there's other spots where I would pass if I blocked reverse next but didn't block the next suit. The general idea is if you don't block reverse next, call something dammit! except at certain scores you gotta tighten up: up 9-8, 8-8, and maybe also 8-7, 7-8, 7-7, and down 6-8).

The explanation is simple. It is Seat 1's job to protect his team by playing sound defense. That means not just playing your cards but playing the situation. That also means being able to take one for your team with the understanding that there is such a thing as a good euchre.

As far as the mathematical argument behind the strategy of calling thin from Seat 1, 2nd rd, check out my thread "Calling Next with 1 trump + off ace, an EV analysis".
jblowery wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 11:15 am
I can see doing this when you have a significant lead but it seems like a bad practice when the score is neutral. I'm not as good as a lot of the people that claim this so that is why I'm interested in hearing more.

Keep in mind that 99.9% of euchre players would agree with the above (altho sadly roughly that same percentage doesn't change their strategy at significant leads either). What we're talking about is highly counterintuitive but the key to understanding the "why" part is recognizing that you can't pass yourself out of a crappy hand mathematically speaking. IOW the instant you're dealt a crap hand your team takes a mathematical punch to the gut whether you call or pass.

When you pass with a hand that blocks nothing, the probability your enemy gets a 4 point loner sweep, makes a 2 point call, gets a 1 point call all shoot up, and the probability your enemy gets euchred goes way down due to the fact that you don't have much on defense to help your team. So passing has a real cost, and in order to decide if passing is better than calling we have to compare the costs of both strategies. It isn't as simple as I have crap therefore I pass, euchre is way more complex than that.

Let's do an EV example to get this point across. Let's say we have that crap hand.

Score: 0-0, dealer turns down (Card_9-S)

We have (Card_A-D) (Card_K-D) (Card_K-S) (Card_10-H) (Card_10-C)

What's our win equity if we decide to call next with that crappy hand? And is that greater than our win equity if we pass.

First some assumptions.

1) Assume this probability chart is approx accurate: http://members.tripod.com/~Borf_Books/euchprob.htm

2) Assume passing costs us 1 point on average which means the win equity of passing equates to what our equity is down 0-1 with the deal: 45%

3) If we call next trying to hit our P's range, assume our euchre rate is 65%, our 1 point rate is 30% and 2 point rate is 5%.

Win equity of calling: (.65 x .38) + (.30 x .57) + (.05 x .64) = 45%

Note: The .38 number represents our equity down 0-2 with the deal after getting euchred. The .57 represents our equity up 1-0 with the deal after scoring a point, and .64 is our equity up 2-0 with the deal after scoring 2 points.

Ok so the equity of calling = 45% and the equity of passing = 45%. So it's a mathematical tie. But imo we should call whenever it's a tie becuz our call still smooths out some variance for our team by never allowing Seat 2 a four point loner sweep, something we should be especially concerned about when we block nothing. And also, it's very possible if not probable that passing such a weak holding costs more than the 1 point assumption above given that you block nothing which is another reason to consider calling in those virtual mathematical tie situations.

This model breaks down however if Seat 2 is a bad player who passes biddable hands, and just calls with several loner combinations. So another hidden assumption here is Seat 2 is a good competent player.

Either way I hope this one example illustrates that the cost of passing is a real thing in euchre, so much so that there's a strong incentive to gamble and call hoping to get lucky when we don't have much blocked. Hoping to get lucky is a viable strategy when the cost of passing is high, and in euchre it is often very high. But keep in mind we're not exactly calling in the dark. We know something about the card distribution from the first round. Our enemy turned down a black card. And we can infer from that they are more likely to be strong in red, therefore we call the other black to hit them where they are more likely to be weak.

Wes (aka the legend)
Posts: 217
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:03 pm

Post by Wes (aka the legend) » Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:00 pm

jblowery wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 11:15 am
A good example is if you have the following cards

(Card_9-C) (Card_10-C) (Card_K-C) (Card_A-H) (Card_10-D)

Upcard is the (Card_J-C)

Are you really going to order this up in Round 1 or call some other suite in Round 2?

Seems like it is going to result in a euchre about 60% of the time in Round 1 and 75% of the time Round 2 (best guess).

I know the other team could get a loner but it doesn't seem like that is common enough to accept that high of a chance of getting euchered. The only exception that I see is when I have a big lead. I totally agree with always calling something in that case. Thanks.
Assume score is 0-0. I would pass in the first round hoping our enemy picks up the Jc. Even tho we have 3 trump they will still call quite often with the Jack up, so I'm gonna gamble that they do just that and try to euchre them. If they pass, then I'm gonna call next with no trump as a basic donation play hoping my partner can get 2 tricks and hoping my singleton green aces gets the other trick. It's not that far off of a dream given that my partner is the most likely to have the other black bower. Either way, there's no way I'm passing in the 2nd round with a nothing hand that blocks nothing. I can't do that to my team. If we get euchred so be it, it's a good euchre to be proud of. The mathematical cost of passing should be high enough to justify the gamble.

Wes (aka the legend)
Posts: 217
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:03 pm

Post by Wes (aka the legend) » Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:08 pm

RedDuke wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 1:53 pm
The big concern with the hand you present is that there's a pretty high chance of the dealer going alone. That's always the risk when there's a jack up. I'm absolutely going to order if the opponents have 6 points or more. I'd rather be euchred than have them make a lone.
Up 9-7, 9-6 I agree. I'm ordering up the Jack. I don't take any chances at those scores. But up 8-6, I'm not gonna block here. I'd rather go for the euchre and try to win the game right now. Plus the odds that the dealer has a loner sweep given our holding is low enough that there isn't much incentive to wanna donate and possibly put our team in a lukewarm almost coinflip 54% equity spot, tied 8-8. If the dealer passes tho, then I'm making a sad next call with no trump. I'm never giving Seat 2 a chance to win the game in that spot.

Wes (aka the legend)
Posts: 217
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:03 pm

Post by Wes (aka the legend) » Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:10 pm

RedDuke wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 8:17 pm
If I've got something like this:

(Card_9-D) (Card_10-D) (Card_Q-H) (Card_10-C) (Card_Q-S)

and the turn card was the (Card_J-S) then I'm a lot less likely to call next at a neutral score.
That hand is so bad that I would donate at a neutral score instead.

RedDuke
Posts: 223
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:22 am

Post by RedDuke » Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:33 pm

Wes (aka the legend) wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:10 pm
RedDuke wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 8:17 pm
If I've got something like this:

(Card_9-D) (Card_10-D) (Card_Q-H) (Card_10-C) (Card_Q-S)

and the turn card was the (Card_J-S) then I'm a lot less likely to call next at a neutral score.
That hand is so bad that I would donate at a neutral score instead.
Okay, fair enough. That one has a good chance of the dealer trying it as a loner.

Wes (aka the legend)
Posts: 217
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:03 pm

Post by Wes (aka the legend) » Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:19 pm

jblowery wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 11:15 am
I've heard several people indicate that they ALWAYS call from Seat 1/Round 2, unless they have everything blocked. Am I understanding this correctly? If so, it would be nice to hear some additional explanation. I can see doing this when you have a significant lead but it seems like a bad practice when the score is neutral. I'm not as good as a lot of the people that claim this so that is why I'm interested in hearing more.
One thing to keep in mind, even in spots where we should always force a call, it's not as crazy as it sounds. Remember, "always forcing it" includes our entire range, most of which are pretty decent hands, some of which are super strong hands. IOW most of the time you'll be making a call with a hand with at least decent prospects at scoring a point. As the saying goes with euchre, the more you play this game the more calls you invariably find no matter what 5 cards you have. It's only those times when we are at the bottom of our range does this strategy feel intuitively wrong. But now we have a decent model here that can perhaps help navigate us past those times our intuition/pain aversion of getting euchred get in the way.

The model isn't perfect tho. There is an element of faith in it because you have to guess at what probabilities should be assigned to the bottom of your range (we don't have to do this for our entire range becuz for most of our range where scoring at least a point is relatively promising it already makes strong intuitive sense to not pass when we don't block reverse next.

My guesstimate for those probabilities for the bottom of our range are 65% euchre rate, 30% 1 point rate, and 5% 2 point rate. You or anyone else may have different guesses and that will change the output of this model. Either way, I do believe this exercise will get you further along than just relying on your intuition alone. Human intuition kinda sux especially when it comes to negative reinforcement strategies, I.E. strategies that fail often (or even most of the time), but are nonetheless correct. Most humans fail miserably at mastering negative reinforcement strategies. An example of a negative reinforcement strategy is bluffing in poker. Most of the time when you bluff in poker you will fail but you're often getting the pot odds where your bluff will still make you money despite its high failure rate. In these spots most people don't bluff enough, the stigma of getting caught or the pain of failing blocks them from optimal play.

The key negative reinforcement strategy spots in euchre are:

1) Donating
2) Making sound defensive calls with weak holdings in Seat 1 or 2 in the 2nd round
3) Hail Mary loners

All those strategies fail most of the time but utilizing them correctly will benefit your team significantly in the long run. In fact it is my strong opinion that one can never reach euchre greatness without mastering these negative reinforcement strategies. Unfortunately this also entails pissing off a lot of partners who have no clue what you're doing, so you gotta have thick skin. That's the thing about euchre, the difference between expert play and average play is large enough that whenever an expert plays with an average partner, inevitably the average partner will walk away thinking the expert is an idiot.

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marya
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Post by marya » Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:53 pm

I run a website where you can play Euchre, and I recently ran some statistics over a large number of Euchre hands. Here's the link (my intent is not to spam! but I think this will be interesting to some):
https://worldofcardgames.com/euchre-card-game-consider-statistics.html
1st chair calls trump in 18% of the hands I sampled. It is the 2nd most likely position from which to call trump. The most likely position to call trump is the dealer, when ordering up.

So indeed, it does seem that people call pretty frequently in first chair, round 2!

I actually ran these stats because I'm trying to get a grip on 'reverse next' strategy. I will create a separate thread with my questions.

Thanks all,

Marya
Play Euchre online at World of Card Games! https://worldofcardgames.com/

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