Euchre Strategy for Beginners to Experienced Players

A euchre forum, which focuses mainly on the advanced strategies and statistics used by experienced players, can be a little overwhelming to a new player.
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Euchre Strategy for Beginners to Experienced Players

Unread post by Richardb02 » Thu Feb 27, 2020 7:56 pm

You know the rules and how to play Euchre but how can you quickly improve your game? An overall strategy can improve your game quickly and dramatically. Then once you are having success and enjoying the wonderful game of Euchre, you will be more willing to devote the time to the detailed lessons on this Ohio Euchre website and other sources.

Let’s start the strategy with a description of what isn’t important, don’t sweat the details until they are important.

Instead let’s focus on:
Euchre takes a team
Your Seat location
1st or 2nd Round
Your hand strength
Card Playing
Your 1st lead
Play from strength or weakness
Trick 4 play

Ordering, Calling and used generically Bidding
Euchre takes a team and for most contestable hands the Bidder will contribute 2 tricks and Partner 1 trick. So if you have the ability to take 2 tricks, count on Partner to take 1 trick. You should order.

The Right (the Jack of trump) will always earn a trick and so is worth 1.00 tricks.
The Left (the Jack of Next {same color as trump but a different suit]) is not as strong, so it makes sense that it is worth 0.75 tricks.
AKQt (Ace, King or Queen of trump) is less strong and worth 0.50 tricks.
T9t (Ten or 9 of trump) is less strong and is worth 0.25 tricks.
You can now analyze the individual trump cards in your hand.
If you have 3 trump you can add 0.50 tricks because of trump power.
And you can logically add 0.75 tricks if you have 4 trump.
Trumps are more valuable when you have a Void.
Having a Single Void is worth 0.25 tricks and 2 Voids is worth 0.75 tricks.
Off suit Aces have trump power. A Singleton Green (color opposite of trump) Ace is worth 0.75 trick, doubleton 0.50, triple 0.25 tricks.
A Singleton Black Ace (same color as trump) is worth 0.50 tricks.Doubleton 0.25.
You can now analyze the trick taking power of the cards in your hand and it only took you a couple of minutes. Let’s go through an example.
Ac is the Up Card & Your hand consists of:
Jc Tc Ah Qs Jd 1 Void
Now 2.00 does not mean that you can expect 2 tricks?! The Jt (Jc in this hand) is the only card that is guaranteed to take 1 trick. Other cards require help. So it takes 1.25 points to be 95% confident to take 1.00 trick.
So the cards in your hand can be evaluated to take 1.6 tricks.

Now we have to evaluate the value of your Seat [location].
Start with S1 (to the left of Dealer). It has the advantage of the 1st lead. That is an advantage and has value. 0.25 points is the nominal value of an advantage. So the hand is now worth 0.25 + 1.60 = 1.85 but is short of 2 tricks needed to order.

S2 has the advantage of being the partner of the Dealer. That is stronger than S1, and earns a higher value of 0.50. So now the hand is worth 0.50 + 1.60 = 2.10 but is short of the 2.50 points or 2 tricks. So pass. (There Are additional factors to consider but that’s for later).

S3 is the toughest seat to bid. It has no advantages and the hand is only worth 1.60 points. Pass.

S4 (Dealer) is the strongest position and has a minimum value of 0.75 points. The hand is now worth 0.75 + 1.60 points but that is short of the 2.50 points needed to have a 95% confidence to take 2 tricks. But S4 has an additional advantage. S4 gets to pick up the Up Card and discard a card. The discard will usually create a Void.
So S4 gets to pick up the Ac, 0.50 point and that gives S4 3 trump, 0.50 points. So now the hand is worth 0.75 + 1.60 + 0.50 + 0.50 = 3.3

S1 R2 describes Seat 1, Round 2 after dealer has turned down the Up Card. No one had a strong enough hand in R1, so you can add 0.25 to the value of S1 or 0.50. You can now choose any suit but the turned down suit (clubs in this case). There is no suit that gives you a viable bid in this example.

S2 R2 value is likewise increased from 0.50 to 0.75. There is no suit that gives you a viable bid in this example.

S3 R2 value is likewise increased from 0.00 to 0.25. There is no suit that gives you a viable bid in this example

S4 R2 value is likewise increased from 0.50 to 0.75. There is no suit that gives you a viable bid in this example

S1 R2 Has a great advantage if you understand ordering Next (ordering in the suit as the same color of the Up Card, spades in this case). That is worthy of an additional 0.75 points. That is a major factor. Study Next on this site to use this important tactic.

S2 R2 Has a great advantage if you understand ordering Reverse Next (ordering in 1 of the 2 suits of the opposite color of the Up Card, hearts or diamonds in this case). That is worthy of an additional 0.50 points. That is a major factor. Study Reverse Next on this site to use this important tactic.

There is one more factor to use. Based on my experience, I have adjusted 2.50 points to bid, to satisfactory results based on my seat.
S1 2.25 points
S2 2.00 points
S3 2.75 points
S4 2.00 points

Dealer gets to pick up the Up Card and DISCARD one card in R1. Choosing the right discard is usually worth 1 trick, which can be worth 1 or 2 points!
Discard to create a void. If you have a choice of 2 voids, choose the reverse next suit. If you can’t create a void, discard the card with the least chance to take a trick.

Your 1st lead (from S1) is impacted greatly whether you are the defending team or the maker. Defenders should not lead trump. Lead a Singleton Green Ace, Singleton Next Ace, Doubleton Green Ace, in that order. If you don’t have any cards meeting those descriptions, lead your smallest card from your shortest suit (green preferred over next).

If S3 ordered and you have trump, you need to lead a trump. If you have a Bower, lead your Bower. This is mandatory to help S3. It is also mandatory because understanding “Captaincy” of your team is critical to you understanding Euchre strategy. You and your partner are a crew of 2 on a boat. The Bidder (Maker) is responsible for 2 tricks and the Partner (you in this example) are responsible for 1 trick. S3 is the Captain and S1 is the Mate. The Mate’s job is to support the Captain, period. Follow that guidance and your leads are almost automatic. You lead to the strength of the Captain in deference to the strength of your hand.

If you order and have strength in trump, generally 3 trump and and at least 1 Bower, then I play from strength. I lead trump. This is similar to S1 leading trump to a S3 order. If I don’t have strength in trump KQT or weaker in strength then I will rely on finesse and lead non-trump. Once you have a great deal of experience you can refine this guidance but in my experience I have had greater success leading strength when I have strength.

Trick 4 leads demand careful consideration, if 3 tricks is still in doubt and if at least 3 trump have been played. If you have 1 trump and 1 non-trump you generally should not lead the trump. Your trump lead will pull partner’s trump, which is very likely to cost your team 1 trick. That is often the difference determining whether you are euchred, earn 1 point or earn 2 points. Lead your non-trump, expecting partner to trump and then leading a non-trump back to you and taking Trick 4 and Trick 5. The probabilities are in your favor since the cards are typically distributed equally.

Your first goal should be to enjoy the game of Euchre and that includes winning. This is my recommended strategy without sweating the details, so you get to enjoy the game very quickly and want to learn more from the lessons and forum here on Ohio Euchre.

Feel free to post any questions.

Posts: 746
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2018 8:57 pm
Location: Florida

Unread post by Richardb02 » Sun May 17, 2020 12:47 pm

There have been almost 10,000 views of this post! Unfortunately there have been no comments.

So let me invite you to to play some “Ranked” games. Register and create a user name of your Ohio Euchre name plus “oe”. If I had thought of this convention earlier, I would be Richardb02oe. Dlan would be Dlanoe and Wes would be Wesoe. You can see Dlan and Rbrown02 on the Leader Board. After you have played 10 games on WoCG, playing humans and/ or bots, you can play ranked games as well. Cya there.

I am available to play Monday - Thursday from 8 to 9 PM ET and Sundays after 2 PM. Post when you would like to play and I will meet you on WoCG. I prefer ranked games but we can also play on the ohioeuchre private table. The advantage of the private table is we can eliminate STD and start a game immediately by using bots for empty seats. The disadvantage is that we aren’t playing ranked games. My goal is better games, better players and starting a game more quickly. So I will gladly play with either approach.

A great advantage of WoCG is that you can save the game. You can replay the hand as often as you want for your personal analysis. With a little effort and practice, you can also post the game and screen shots for thorough analysis on the forum. I enjoy Euchre more by devoting about 40% of my Euchre time to analyzing hands and learning from the OE lessons and forum. That effort often leads to other resources outside of OE. My conclusion is that games are more enjoyable by consistently improving my game instead of playing more games but making the same mistakes.

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