Bids from S2, R1, holding L+1 trump

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Bids from S2, R1, holding L+1 trump

Unread post by raydog » Wed Feb 16, 2022 8:07 pm

I recently was compelled to look at how my euchre program/simulator bid from 2nd seat, 1st round, with the very particular hand of Left bower + 1 other trump + 3 off-suit cards. I discovered I was assessing the situation all wrong, and I'd like to share what I learned here in case others could benefit from them [though I suspect this will be old news for seasoned experts].

Previously, I assessed whether to bid or pass purely on the basis of the strength of my hand in the turned trump suit, R1. How strong is that extra trump? Do I have any off-suit Aces? Do I have any void suits? Is my partner (dealer) likely to pass, when I am hoping they call trump with even a marginal hand (partially a function of the rank of the turned card)? I used an algorithm to assign a point value to the strength of my hand, then set thresholds for bidding alone, bidding with partner or passing. And the results seemed to work.

But when I tested specific hands, I found that they far too often contradicted what my algorithm predicted. Hands which gave a better EV when bid were being passed, and visa versa. Mind you, this was occurring only at most 5-10% of the time, but that is significant! No way to become an expert player making mistakes like that.

So I added a couple of other considerations into the mix. 1) if I pass, how likely is S1 to bid and make good points in R2?; and 2) if I pass, do I have something to bid R2, and how likely am I to be able to make that bid? I tested a few dozen hands, tried to extract the essence of what made them biddable or passable, and came up with some new heuristics. It's an involved process, so I will jump to what those heuristics are, along with explanations of why they make sense. That's where the lessons learned lie.

1) Bid alone with a REALLY strong hand.
Apologies for being vague, but in my program I assess this via a complicated point system. You are essentially looking for 2 or 3 off-suit Aces, a very high 2nd trump (preferably A), the R bower as a turn card: some combination of the above. A rare hand. And even with loner hands you won't lose too much EV if you take your partner along. So this is an outlier to be aware of. With only 2 trump and without the lead, it's far too easy to have to spend a trump winning the 1st trick and getting the lead, or to have to face an opponent with 3 trump.

2) If 2-suited, bid if your off-suit is a green suit, otherwise pass.
Since you are 2-suited, you have 3 cards in that off-suit, and it is very likely to be biddable, R2. BUT, that also means you are very unlikely to ever get a chance to bid it; S1 is probably going to bid next if your partner passes, and score loads of points. So the idea here is just to get your partnership playing this turned suit, R1. It's better, EV-wise. If you have 3 next cards, you are far more likely to see S1 pass, R2 (or have a decent chance of euchring them if they bid next), and thus get to bid a more favorable suit, R2. So here you can pass. One caveat: there are a few occasions when you may have a quite strong green-suit bid, R2, and a very weak hand in the current turned trump suit. If that's the case, the balance shifts to passing, R1, and hoping either dealer picks up or you get to bid (for good points) R2.

3) If 3-suited, bid if no suit to bid R2, else pass.
This is pure defense. You have a void suit. You have the L, plus another trump. Thus, you have a decent chance of scoring a point with your partner. If you pass (and dealer passes), you are giving BOTH opponents a chance to bid their best suit, which you clearly have no good defense against. Take a little chance, it's EV-positive. If, however, you can bid something R2, you are only giving S1 a chance to bid, and also limiting them to the 2 remaining suits. This shifts the balance, and it's better to pass.

4) If 4-suited, always pass.
Having no voids is the killer here. Having an A or two can help, but not enough to make your partner pick up (if they do pick up, you have good support, and also some defense if opponents call). Your EV is simply higher if you pass. Of course, if you have ALL the aces, you are looking at going alone, but that is the rare exception.

In conclusion, I was mostly looking for off-suit aces with this hand, when considering if I should call trump. But in fact it is more important to look at your potential R2 bid, as well as how much you can stem the damage from your opponents calling (should dealer pass).

There are, of course, other considerations; the current score and knowledge of your partner's and opponents' proclivities top the list. But at the core, you gotta read the cards correctly.

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Unread post by irishwolf » Wed Feb 16, 2022 8:27 pm


In light of what you said, look at my comments about JS ordering on latest discussions. Compare that with what you said here. But I like what you said here. It also has a lot to do with who is playing at S4 & especially S (and score).

Generally tho, Left + 1 Queen & below without a green ace, unless at close out with the Right up, i do not order. Just how I play.


Wes (aka the legend)
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Unread post by Wes (aka the legend) » Wed Feb 16, 2022 9:28 pm

For the record I have been working with this approx hypothesis for roughly the last 2 years:

S2-R1, assume score 0-0:

If I have L+1+0, I always call if I only block 1 out 3 remaining suits in the 2nd rd. I don't have hard data but barring some rare exceptions I am convinced this is the correct approach in 95%+ euchre game textures.

The beauty of this good but marginal call is not only are you playing solid defense, and not only does this call often make a point, but critically, you capture all the marginal biddable hands S4 will invariably pass. That last part is why I'm convinced this is a call in your typical euchre game. Also, I don't worry about blocking my P's loner as that rarely happens when we hold L+1.

I also think this approach is correct even if I'm playing with an expert p but I am not as confident in that.

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Unread post by irishwolf » Thu Feb 17, 2022 8:33 pm

"If I have L+1+0, I always call if I only block", . . . IS THIS WHEN ELDEST SHOULD SEND A LITTLE TRUMP ON ITS WAY?

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