Trying to understand lone blocking

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pcather
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Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:36 pm

Trying to understand lone blocking

Post by pcather » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:47 pm

I’m a fairly new player and have been studying this site a lot. I’m trying to read through all the posts. I read this in one of the posts and was wondering if someone could explain this......

“If my partner is a competent player and he passes in round 1 then you can assume that he has a loner blocked. All blocks should be called from Seat 1. Seat 3 should never call a block, which is what you're saying.

If he passes in round 2 then he should have every possible loner blocked. Once again, it should be seat 1 making defensive calls to stop loners and not seat 3.“

Thanks



RedDuke
Posts: 268
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:22 am

Post by RedDuke » Sat Oct 19, 2019 2:13 am

“If my partner is a competent player and he passes in round 1 then you can assume that he has a loner blocked. All blocks should be called from Seat 1. Seat 3 should never call a block, which is what you're saying.
It means that if he passes then he has a guaranteed trick if the dealer picks up. So he has something like the right of that suit or the left guarded.
If he passes in round 2 then he should have every possible loner blocked. Once again, it should be seat 1 making defensive calls to stop loners and not seat 3.“
It means that he has at least one guaranteed trick no matter what gets called. Something like all three of the remaining jacks, for example.

pcather
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:36 pm

Post by pcather » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:45 am

Ok I understand what you said. Thanks for the very clear explanation. Now for the why! Please remember when reading this i’m fairly new to euchre. And most of my experience playing is at the local senior center not in big tournaments. And on my phone using Euchre Pro.

Is there any other reasons why I would pass? Let’s say that the up card is (Card_A-S) and it’s early in the game so we don’t have to consider score.

I have (Card_J-D) (Card_J-H) (Card_A-D) (Card_A-H) (Card_K-H)

At this point I have no information like I would in the 2nd round. Other than I know there is a very good chance that someone has the mirror hand in black. But it could be my partner. It’s also possible the black cards are spread between all 3.

If I pass, yes i’m giving the opponent the opportunity to go loan, but I’m also giving my partner or myself the chance to do the same. Though it’s not as strong as a Right or Protected Left I do have a green Ace that could possibly block the loan.

I’ve been working on figuring out what is the minimum cards I need to possibly win the round though I might get euchred. I also understand the concept of next as a statistically good move in the 2nd round even if my hand is weak. But the idea that playing defensively is always the best call and that my #1 goal is to block loans.....well I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around that. Please help me understand this better.

RedDuke
Posts: 268
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:22 am

Post by RedDuke » Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:18 am

pcather wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:45 am
Ok I understand what you said. Thanks for the very clear explanation. Now for the why! Please remember when reading this i’m fairly new to euchre. And most of my experience playing is at the local senior center not in big tournaments. And on my phone using Euchre Pro.

Is there any other reasons why I would pass? Let’s say that the up card is (Card_A-S) and it’s early in the game so we don’t have to consider score.

I have (Card_J-D) (Card_J-H) (Card_A-D) (Card_A-H) (Card_K-H)

At this point I have no information like I would in the 2nd round. Other than I know there is a very good chance that someone has the mirror hand in black. But it could be my partner. It’s also possible the black cards are spread between all 3.

If I pass, yes i’m giving the opponent the opportunity to go loan, but I’m also giving my partner or myself the chance to do the same. Though it’s not as strong as a Right or Protected Left I do have a green Ace that could possibly block the loan.

I’ve been working on figuring out what is the minimum cards I need to possibly win the round though I might get euchred. I also understand the concept of next as a statistically good move in the 2nd round even if my hand is weak. But the idea that playing defensively is always the best call and that my #1 goal is to block loans.....well I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around that. Please help me understand this better.
At a score of 0-0, I'd probably pass in the scenario you describe. Yes, you're correct that somebody probably has a strong hand in black. If it's the dealer, you might be risking a lone call there. In my experience though, most people aren't going to alone unless they have a killer hand in black (something like both black bowers and something else in spades). Please note that this does not apply to tournament play or against very experienced players - those types of people will go alone with weaker hands than most amateurs.

At a score of 8-6 in your favor, I'd order the dealer up. In a scenario like that, you can't risk the dealer going alone and winning the game. I'd also probably order up if my side was winning 7-2, 8-1, etc. I'd rather be euchred than have the opponent go alone and close the gap.

With the hand you just described, at a score of 0-0, I'd pass in round 1. If nobody calls and I get to make a second round call, I'm going alone in diamonds (I'm not calling next here).

Next works best when you have aggressive opponents. In most online games and probably most household games, players aren't going to call marginal hands. In that case, you have a much higher chance of being euchred on a next call than you would in a tournament with top players. This is simply because in the latter type of game, players are going to call anything that they're going to have a reasonable chance of making a point on and won't be as cautious as an average player.

pcather
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Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:36 pm

Post by pcather » Sat Oct 19, 2019 11:06 am

Thanks! That makes things much more clear.

Wes (aka the legend)
Posts: 279
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:03 pm

Post by Wes (aka the legend) » Mon Oct 28, 2019 3:40 am

pcather wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:47 pm
“If my partner is a competent player and he passes in round 1 then you can assume that he has a loner blocked. All blocks should be called from Seat 1. Seat 3 should never call a block, which is what you're saying.

If he passes in round 2 then he should have every possible loner blocked. Once again, it should be seat 1 making defensive calls to stop loners and not seat 3.“

Thanks
Strictly speaking I don't agree with the line "If my partner is a competent player and he passes in round 1 then you can assume that he has a loner blocked". It depends.

If your team is up 9-x where x = 7 or below and you're in seat 1 and the actions on you in the 2nd rd then yes, imo you should never pass in that spot unless you have all suits blocked. Never give Seat 2 the chance to be a hero pulling off a loner to win the game or get their team back in the game. The logic is simple. When you force a call up 9-7 from seat 1, rd 2, you guarantee your team two chances to win the game, one on this current call, and one as the dealer with 65% equity should you get euchred. If instead you pass in that spot, you aren't even guaranteed one chance to win the game as Seat 2 could have a game winning loner. That's why you should never pass up 9-7 unless you have all suits blocked. And if it's correct to never pass up 9-7 unless you have everything blocked, it pretty much follows that it's correct to never pass up 9-X where X = 0 to 7.

At 0-0, or say 4-4, etc, I'm always calling something from Seat 1, 2nd round if I don't block reverse next, but if I do have that blocked there are plenty of hand combos that I will pass that doesn't have next blocked. A hand like this:

Dealer turns down the (Card_Q-C) in the first round. I have:

(Card_K-S) (Card_Q-S) (Card_Q-H) (Card_J-H) (Card_10-D)

I have reverse next blocked but I'm marginal in Next. Never call next marginal when you have reverse next blocked, except you have to call something when your opponent is on 9. The whole point of making marginal/weak next calls is for defensive purposes those times you DON'T have reverse next blocked. So here I have reverse next blocked but I'm too marginal to call reverse next (or I should say it's not worth making a marginal hearts call when I have reverse next blocked), and I should never call next marginal when I have reverse next blocked. Therefore passing is the line I'm taking.

What if I had a hand like this:

Dealer turns down the (Card_Q-C) and I have:

(Card_K-C) (Card_10-C) (Card_Q-H) (Card_J-H) (Card_10-S)

Here I'm calling hearts. Notice it's just as marginal as calling hearts in the above hand, but this time I have to call something. I don't have reverse next fully blocked and overall I only block 1 out of the 3 remaining suits. My job from seat 1 is to protect my team from 2nd round loners primarily from the 2 seat (and keep in mind it's not just about blocking loners, blocking 1 point and 2 point calls has lots of a value too!). So what I'm talking about here is playing sound defense. Passing with this hand is too precarious to consider. Going against Hoyle with 2 trump and no aces is not the call I desire to make but it's absolutely necessary for defensive purposes. I'm not giving Seat 2 the chance to take control when I only block 1 out of the 3 remaining suites. What I have outlined here is the way experts approach the game. Notice in the first hand example an expert will pass on hearts, and yet in the 2nd hand example he calls with the same heart hand. It's the cards you don't have that often drive your action. I would estimate that around 1 out of 1000 euchre players play at this level.

Other times to consider never passing when you don't block all suits from Seat 1, 2nd round is when you have a very nice lead. If I'm up 8-0 in this same spot:

Dealer turns down the (Card_Q-C) in the first round. I have:

(Card_K-S) (Card_Q-S) (Card_Q-H) (Card_J-H) (Card_10-D)

I'm calling hearts. With such a nice lead, now the rare chance Seat 2 could be sitting on a Next loner becomes a reasonable fear. Might as well call something when the cost of getting euchred is so low in this spot.

pcather
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Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:36 pm

Post by pcather » Mon Oct 28, 2019 8:22 am

Thanks

jspectre
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Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:04 am

Post by jspectre » Mon Oct 28, 2019 8:23 pm

Don't ever assume your partner is a competent player unless you have evidence to support that. You should definitely block from 3rd if you're up and they could win with a loner and the right is the up card, the only time you should let your p make the call is if they can be trusted. As for when to block, that really all depends on your score and whether you can risk it. In your example, I can't see ever blocking an Ace, your partner could easily have that blocked, and you have a sure loner if your partner is waiting on you for a next call. Personally, I always block if I'm up at least 8-6, or if I'm up at least 4 points. Also, don't assume that just because your partner didn't call next that he has anything in reverse next covered, you still may want to force the next call if you have at least a moderately good hand. It sucks when you have to play for your partner, but it's a necessity if they aren't a good player.

Euchre is a whole different ballpark when you can actually trust your partner to make the correct calls.

RedDuke
Posts: 268
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:22 am

Post by RedDuke » Mon Oct 28, 2019 10:46 pm

Euchre is a whole different ballpark when you can actually trust your partner to make the correct calls.
It's a lot easier to win...

Wes (aka the legend)
Posts: 279
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:03 pm

Post by Wes (aka the legend) » Tue Oct 29, 2019 5:24 pm

jspectre wrote:
Mon Oct 28, 2019 8:23 pm
Don't ever assume your partner is a competent player unless you have evidence to support that.

I agree. No reads = assume they play like everyone else, meaning not that good.
jspectre wrote:
Mon Oct 28, 2019 8:23 pm
You should definitely block from 3rd if you're up and they could win with a loner and the right is the up card, the only time you should let your p make the call is if they can be trusted.

Yep, blocking from 3rd is a necessary strategy if one wants to maximize their wins becuz odds are--overwhelmingly--your P can't be trusted.
jspectre wrote:
Mon Oct 28, 2019 8:23 pm
As for when to block, that really all depends on your score and whether you can risk it
True.

Another example of when I'm blocking from 3rd: My team is up 9-6, and the upcard is an innocuous (Card_9-C). The action's on me and I have:

(Card_A-D) (Card_Q-D) (Card_K-S) (Card_Q-S) (Card_10-H)

With no trump, up 9-6 with an amateur partner, I'm just not taking a chance all the trump are loaded in the dealer's seat. I'm blocking no matter what the upcard.
jspectre wrote:
Mon Oct 28, 2019 8:23 pm
In your example, I can't see ever blocking an Ace, your partner could easily have that blocked, and you have a sure loner if your partner is waiting on you for a next call.

I agree. In fact I would not block against the Right either. It's early in the game and we have two off aces to possibly stop a loner attempt.
jspectre wrote:
Mon Oct 28, 2019 8:23 pm
Personally, I always block if I'm up at least 8-6,

I always block up 9-6/9-7, but not always up 8-6. I just feel like the cost of blocking up 8-6 is considerable since we're likely putting ourselves in a coinflip equity spot. If we block up 8-6, and predictably get euchred, it's now 8-8 on our deal and we only have 54% equity. An example of a hand I would not block up 8-6 is right in this thread:

Upcard is the (Card_A-S)

I have (Card_J-D) (Card_J-H) (Card_A-D) (Card_A-H) (Card_K-H)

With two off aces I'm gonna gamble that I can stop a loner up 8-6. At 9-6/9-7, I'm blocking tho. The fact that if the dealer turns down the (Card_A-S) it's game over is also another minor reason I'm not blocking up 8-6, but the major reason is I have decent defense with the two off aces. Change our hand to this:

(Card_J-D) (Card_J-H) (Card_A-D) (Card_Q-H) (Card_K-H)

And I'm absolutely blocking up 8-6. No trump + one off ace = time to donate.

Also blocking up 8-6 if I have a hand like this:

(Card_K-S) (Card_J-D) (Card_J-H) (Card_K-H) (Card_Q-H)

One trump no aces = donate up 8-6 for me.
jspectre wrote:
Mon Oct 28, 2019 8:23 pm
Also, don't assume that just because your partner didn't call next that he has anything in reverse next covered, you still may want to force the next call if you have at least a moderately good hand. It sucks when you have to play for your partner, but it's a necessity if they aren't a good player.
So true, especially up 9-6/9-7. If I don't block all loners and the action gets to me in the 3rd seat, 2nd rd, I'm forcing a call to make sure my team never loses the game at this point. If I had a partner I could trust then obviously I wouldn't have to do this.
jspectre wrote:
Mon Oct 28, 2019 8:23 pm
Euchre is a whole different ballpark when you can actually trust your partner to make the correct calls.
Yep, also makes hand reading a lot easier.

For example, A while ago I had an expert partner Edward (Tbolt65) who passed the (Card_Q-H)

It got to me in the 2nd round and I called reverse next in clubs with some weak hand, say a hand like this:

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

Seat 1 lead off with the (Card_A-H) , I followed suit with the (Card_10-H) , Seat 3 played the (Card_K-H) and Edward played the (Card_J-H) . After that sequence I knew instantly that Edward had help for me becuz he is never passing Right + 1 unless he has all suits blocked. It was a nice warm feeling and we scratched out a point.

Another hand reading exercise with an expert partner. Edward turns down the (Card_J-D), and say I call reverse next in black, and Seat 1 leads the (Card_A-D), what should I do if I'm void in diamonds? The answer is play off becuz If Edward turns down a bower that means the vast majority of times he has no diamonds (it's rare to have a hand that blocks all loners and is also not worth calling in the first rd when you have the Right up). Well in the actual hand I wasn't thinking.

Being so used to playing with amateur partners, I trumped in on the (Card_A-D) lead. Wasting that trump ended up leading to a euchre whereas correctly playing off and short suiting myself would've saved us.

Wes (aka the legend)
Posts: 279
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:03 pm

Post by Wes (aka the legend) » Thu Nov 07, 2019 6:22 pm

pcather wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:47 pm
“If my partner is a competent player and he passes in round 1 then you can assume that he has a loner blocked.

If my partner is a strong player I would assume that if he passes in round 1 up 9-6/9-7 he has the upcard blocked. At other scores you can't make that assumption.
pcather wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:47 pm
All blocks should be called from Seat 1. Seat 3 should never call a block, which is what you're saying.
True in theory, but sadly often not in practice.
pcather wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:47 pm
If he passes in round 2 then he should have every possible loner blocked.

Ideally, if a strong player passes in RD 2, Seat 1 I would assume he always has reverse next blocked except at the following scores: 9-8, 8-8, 7-8, 6-8. At those scores the math suggests that that you can't just call Next super weak when you don't have reverse next blocked (It's also close/debatable at scores 8-7, 7-7, 6-6). What math am I referring too? You can find it in this thread:

https://ohioeuchre.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=153

At those close, late in the game scores, you actually have to have somewhat of a hand which begs the question how do we define "somewhat of a hand". Well at scores 7-7 and 6-6, I don't adjust my play. I always call something if I don't block reverse next, and when I call next it can be as weak as no trump no aces.
That strategy is certainly debatable but I think the math is close enough where I'm ok and at the very least it's actually pretty rare where I'm sitting on a hand THAT bad in that spot.

I tighten up a tad at 7-8, 6-8. My minimum would be two non-bower trump and an off ace, or one trump + two off aces, or 3 off aces with no trump. If one disagrees with my willy-nilly strategy at 6-6, 7-7, this is the adjustment you should make.

At 8-7, I honestly don't know what to do, I vary back and forth between always calling if I don't block reverse next to tightening up a tad like at 7-8 and 6-8. I usually end up hating the results no matter what I do.

At up 9-8 I tighten up ALOT. Now I need a real hand to call. The very bottom of my "real hand" range would be Right + 1 in Next with no off aces--a call I don't like making but a call I gotta make if I don't block reverse next. A kind of F U spot up 9-8 would be if we have a Next call with Left + 1 and an off ace and we don't block reverse next. Should we make this marginal call for fear of seat 2 calling reverse next and closing out the game, or is that call too loose for being up 9-8. I don't know. I've gone both ways and never been satisfied by the results either way. One could argue that if you call in that spot with Right + 1 it would be inconsistent to pass Left + 1 and an off ace as these hands are pretty similar in strength. IDK, it seems to me that Right + 1 works out more often, but I could be wrong. Either way, if someone wanted to call with Left + 1 and an off ace up 9-8 when they don't block either reverse next suit, I would not say they are wrong. I just don't know.

I also tighten up alot at 8-8, but I'm still not as tight as at 9-8. At 8-8, I'm calling Next with Left + 1 and an off ace if I don't block reverse next. The risks of calling at 8-8 are the same as at 9-8, if we get euchred we lose. But the cost of passing at 8-8 is significantly higher than at 9-8 which should compel us to loosen up our range vs 9-8 scenarios.
pcather wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:47 pm
Once again, it should be seat 1 making defensive calls to stop loners and not seat 3.
True in theory, but sadly often not in practice.

An example of a loose 2nd round defensive call I'll make in third when I have an amateur partner:

Score is 0-0. Dealer turns down the (Card_K-S) and the action gets back to me in the 2nd round in the 3rd seat.

I have: (Card_J-C) (Card_Q-C) (Card_10-D) (Card_10-S) (Card_10-H)

I'm calling clubs and fighting for a point. Not gonna take the chance the dealer is sitting on a red loner or a 2 point red call. With an expert partner this would be a terrible call. Remember an expert partner always has reverse next blocked in this scenario, therefore our team has all suits blocked. No point in making such a marginal call that can easily go set when your team has every suit covered.

Last point. If your team is up 9-x where x = 7 or below, and your expert partner passes in Seat 1, 2nd round, you can assume he has ALL suits blocked. An expert will never pass in that spot otherwise. He will never give Seat 2 a chance to be a hero. The same assumption goes if your team is up 8-6.

PS: If you play in a tournament where points matter more than winning, then you for sure should always call something in 1st seat, 2nd round if you don't block reverse next at scores up 8-7, 7-7, 6-6. In this structure making sure your team gets the deal one more time is more important than winning the game.

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