Tournament strategy

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marticus
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Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2020 9:17 am

Tournament strategy

Unread post by marticus » Thu Aug 11, 2022 3:20 pm

Hi folks - first I want to say, GREAT website! I've visited here for years and it's made me a better player.

I regularly play local tournaments in which we play 16 hands per round, 5 rounds with players moving and playing with different partners each round. Scoring is the usual 1, 2, 4 (loner partner only gets 3) and the player with the most points after 80 hands wins the tournament.

This form of scoring allows you to make riskier bids since being euchred gets you the same 0 for the hand as the opponents making their bid.

I would enjoy some feedback from the experts here on what adjustments to normal play they think are reasonable to maximize your chances of winning the tournament. Assume the bidder is a very good card player.

Thanks!



raydog
Posts: 260
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2021 6:56 pm

Unread post by raydog » Fri Aug 12, 2022 5:30 pm

This is not an uncommon tournament format, and I've thought a lot about this particular question (and debated it with plenty of smart players). Unfortunately, I have not found any consensus on the best strategy to employ.

Personally, I just play my normal game, and that has worked well for me. I don't agree with the strategy of playing riskier (bidding more often and going alone more often), because while you do indeed get the same 0 pts. whether you're euchred or opponents win the hand, giving the opponents 2 rather than 1 pts. raises the bar for what score you need to achieve to win the tournament. So while raising your own potential score you are also raising everyone else's!

My premise here is that a risky strategy will earn you, say, 5% more points while earning your opponents 10% more points (I don't know the exact numbers, but, crucially, I believe the second number is higher than the former). If everyone in the tournament adopts this risky strategy, it's a zero-sum game, and there is no benefit for anyone, just increased volatility in the scores (so perhaps benefitting the poorer players). If you alone adopt a normal strategy and everyone else a risky one, you should come out ahead. If you alone adopt a risky strategy, you benefit slightly from the increased volatility but ultimately worsen your chances of winning overall.

This is my opinion, and I can't prove it. It just seems reasonable to me. But I know there are others on this fomum who will argue the other side.

marticus
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2020 9:17 am

Unread post by marticus » Mon Aug 15, 2022 4:48 pm

I understand the issue of handing some opponents an extra point when a gamble doesn't work out, but since this kind of decision (a) doesn't come up that often and (b) most of the time I'm giving that extra point to someone who won't be in contention. In fact there's a very good chance I won't even get to play against a player that finishes in the money. So while that's a factor, it seems if I can gain 5% all to my benefit then it's certainly worth the gamble. I doubt the gain is as high as 5% though, but when you're in the money (I am as often as not) every point counts.

Here's the kind of situation where I think some shading might pay off. The accepted standard for a reverse next call is a minimum holding of K9 plus an off-suit Ace. So while Q9 might be against the odds, it can't be terribly so and it might be worth a gamble, it might even prevent a loner! Or shade the other end - K9 with the next A. As for loners, I don't think my strategy should change.

I guess the only way I can test my theory is to try it out. Can anyone suggest some easy to recognize opportunities like the two I cited above?

irishwolf
Posts: 1321
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:33 pm

Unread post by irishwolf » Mon Aug 15, 2022 6:20 pm

I think I will weigh in on this comment, " Here's the kind of situation where I think some shading might pay off. The accepted standard for a reverse next call is a minimum holding of K9 plus an off-suit Ace. So while Q9 might be against the odds, it can't be terribly so and it might be worth a gamble, it might even prevent a loner! Or shade the other end - K9 with the next A. As for loners, I don't think my strategy should change." THIS AGGRESSION GETS YOU NO WHERE IN A SINGLES TOURNAMENT! - IRISH

I have played many of these SINGLES TOURNAMENTS some at 10 or 12 rounds - 8 hands each. Being an AGGRESSIVE CALLER IS definitely the worst strategy? WHY? Because calling thin yields a higher percentage of Euchres while only earning 1 point is your reward most of the time. You should pass especially against either CONSERVATIVE or AGGRESSIVE calls. Let's look at it:

Let's look at 80 hands from the post above but as you increase the rounds or hands Luck becomes equalized for all players and scoring of loners, sweeps and euchres.

The average score is around 44 pts +/-4 for 80 hands (70% of the players are in this range). But to get in the money you need to be at 57+ points. I hope you agree with that?
That is a difference of 13 pts minimum (3 more loners + euchre or sweep or combinations of (2 or 4 PTS) this to get 13+ extra points of the average or 57 points to be in the Money (top 3 usually). Being more aggressive will mostly be just 1 pointers each for 4 to 5 hands that you or your partner was extra aggressive with thin calling. That only nets you 5 more points and you might even get euchred 25% of those aggressive calls but you and your partner (if aggressive too) at 48 calls of 80 hands (CALLING at 60% to your opponents of 40% calls). So where did it get you a measly 49 points or so. Well short of the GOAL of 57 minimum. Although I do agree, who cares if it gives opponents an extra 2 points UNLESS you know for sure one of the opponents is in the running? But that is not the objective. And your reward of 48 or 50 points is not going to do it!

This premise relies on that you have to hope your partner knows to go alone when possible. Many don't know. And I am afraid being aggressive works against you as this is not a 10s game in a Partner's Tourney where winning is different than optimizing your point total in a different for. LOL - most good players do not understand the difference in strategy of one vs the other.

It boils down to lots of LUCK! (and why I hate it!) That is why SINGLES is popular with the average. And I hate Singles tournaments.

How to win
. So, you MUST score LONERS and you cannot statistically do it all by yourself. Loners are more a matter of luck of the deal. Your goal to win, you need 5 loners together with your partner and 1 or 2 more points from Euchres or Sweeps. 2 or 3 loners in combination on the average is not enough. AND SELDOM WILL YOU GET THAT (LONERS & POINTS TOTAL) BY BEING AGGRESSIVE. And note the opponents will get a little more opportunity to get sweeps or loners too. But this is where you have to hope not to the those in the running. Just the breaks, and more of the luck factor.

You pass and the player to your left being either Conservative (passes) and your Partner now has a better chance of going alone. OR you pass and that player on your left is TOO AGGRESSIVE and gets euchred you get more points. Those Loners has to be doubled and tripled of the norm to get you enough points to be in the MONEY.

I could break this down more in numbers, but you get the IDEA!

You do not have to agree with me, many don't. However, that is my analysis, and I am sticking to it.

IRISH

marticus
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Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2020 9:17 am

Unread post by marticus » Wed Aug 17, 2022 5:37 pm

I appreciate your contribution, Irish. However I'm not in agreement with your math.

It will take something in the mid-60's to score in our tourneys. Last game I had 68 to tie for 3rd with NO loners! I wouldn't have had to share third place if my partner hadn't contributed the 9D (green suit) in 4th position while holding AK9 because he thought my Q was high (trick had gone 10-J-Q to him). We don't play with set partners btw, all players change after each round. I agree though that you cannot win without loners. I can win with 4 loners and vie for 2nd with 2.

Here's my reasoning: If I just play my normal game I'm going to score well, so if I take a few chances here and there, as long as I don't subtract any points, I may be adding some. However you did make a good point that my aggressive call might keep my partner from making a better call or even a loner. To eliminate that possibility though, it seems I can call light with virtual impunity if I confine these light calls to 3rd seat, 2nd round.

irishwolf
Posts: 1321
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:33 pm

Unread post by irishwolf » Wed Aug 17, 2022 7:27 pm

MARTICUS,
I think you missed my point. First of all, I said MINIMUM 57+. No math to that number cut off. The score to win or place depends on how many players enter. The more players you have the higher the number to place. But even that does not matter and I do not have the advantage of analyzing 100 singles tournaments and don't know anyone who does. Depends on how many players are playing as well. All that would have to be factored in to come up with statistical placement for 1st, 2nd & 3rd.

But my points about Luck (not just you but partner), Aggressive play is wrong, and must have 4 to 5 combined loners to Win. Those are valid comments.

You will seldom win being an aggressive (and that is what you implied) caller as you are stretching it and need help hitting your partner. You will not do that a high enough percentage stretching it with aggressive calls. On the average with aggressive calls you are scoring just 1 point. That part I know because I have played so many incorrectly myself and do have the numbers on my play. Aggressive calling, you get one point when passing your partner might have gone alone for 4 points. To win is still a partnership strategy. That is Luck and you just need it to be you and your partner! Enough said.

But good luck!

IRISH
Last edited by irishwolf on Thu Aug 18, 2022 10:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

raydog
Posts: 260
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2021 6:56 pm

Unread post by raydog » Thu Aug 18, 2022 9:54 am

It would be great to see actual data on the distribution of hands called / sweeps / loners / 1 pt hands / euchres (for and against) for tournament participants, especially the winners. Wes, since you play in a weekly tournament, I wonder if it would be possible to ask players to fill out a simply score sheet as the tournament progresses, noting who called each hand ad the result? I think the stats after a few weeks of play would be be very interesting.

I side with Irish here, and think luck is about 75% of the game - and there's nothing you can do about that. Just play well (not unnecessarily aggressively) and in the longer run your talents will shine through (in terms of higher point totals relative to opponents).

irishwolf
Posts: 1321
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:33 pm

Unread post by irishwolf » Thu Aug 18, 2022 12:46 pm

MARTICUS,

You said: "I'm not in agreement with your math.

It will take something in the mid-60's to score in our tourneys. Last game I had 68 to tie for 3rd with NO loners! I wouldn't have had to share third place if my partner hadn't . . . "

I am a curious soul and would like you to tell how you got to 68 points in 80 hands with NO LONERS?
_____________________________

Just for fun, I played around with:
Suppose this for any player getting to 68 points on 80 hands: (HYPOTHETICAL SCENARIO) What ifs:

SWEEPS: 20% sweeps your partnership of 40 hands your deal (20% x 40) sweeps 8 hands = 16 pts NOTE: THE AVERAGE IS 16% SWEEPS - that is a Fact, my data of thousands of hands.. Sweeps are hard to get.

EUCHRED OPPONENTS: 20% if they called 40 times on their deal 8 hands you euchred them is 8 x 2 = 16 pts Euchre rates vary but close to 16% as well.

So here performance is above and beyond, a great day for 16 hands of 80 total, 49 deals your side!

This is 32 points in 16 hands total leaving 64 possible hands yet to be played. And you need to get to 68 points in 64 hands remaining.
68 – 16 = 44 more points without benefit of Loners and you already met your reasonable number of Sweeps and Euchres. And this scenario supposes you did not get Euchred even once. And those 44 calls were all 1 pointers. 64 – 44 = 20 calls for your opponents remain. 44 + 8 = 52 calls your side. Leaving 28 calls for opponents.

52/80 = 65% calls by Your side that is aggressive calling with lots of Skill & Luck. That leaves 28 calls by your opponents: 28/80= 35% calls by Opponents

Can you give more details on how you got to 68 points?

IRISH
P.S. I THINK MY MATH IS CORRECT ON THIS.


.

raydog
Posts: 260
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2021 6:56 pm

Unread post by raydog » Thu Aug 18, 2022 2:26 pm

Here's my "possible" take.

80 hands, of which Marticus and partner call 45.

While Marticus scores no loners, his partner successfully wins 3 [12 pts.]

Opponents are euchred 5 times in 35 calls [10 pts.]

Marticus and partner score 6 sweeps (in addition to partner's loner successes) [12 pts.]

Marticus and partner are euchred twice.

They score 1 pt on the remaining 34 hands they called [34 pts.]

Total of 68 pts.

Indeed, lots of luck along the way, but implausible?

irishwolf
Posts: 1321
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:33 pm

Unread post by irishwolf » Thu Aug 18, 2022 10:20 pm

Ray,

Your "take", you are still 3 points short. Maker's partner only gets 3 points. So he needs 3 more 1 pointers making his side 48/80 = 60% calling. Or his partner needs another loner, making it "4" loners, and now he is at 68 points. Or a another sweep and a 1 pointer - 47/80 calls. And switch way you slice and dice it - YOU NEED A WHOLE BUNCH OF LUCK AND HELP FROM YOUR PARTNER! :o

Scoring is the usual 1, 2, 4 (loner partner only gets 3)

However, all that said, you still need Skill to win. The most probable winner will be he/she who is a good player, BUT just not overly Aggressive with lots of Luck as a Partnership. So Ed or Wes, in your weekly tournaments - who were those winners, how many points(hands), and any loner analysis?

That is why we need Maricus to weigh in on his own post.

IRISH

marticus
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2020 9:17 am

Unread post by marticus » Fri Aug 19, 2022 11:50 pm

I don’t remember my exact scores per round but I don’t see why y'all are having a hard time imagining how to score 68 w/o a loner. Someone will score points on every hand, some 1's and some 2's split between 5'ers and euchres. So figure 1.5 points per hand x 16 = 24 points available per round. 12 is average and if things are going your way, a couple of wins at 14 and one at 16. So 12+12+14+14+16=68 sounds about right.

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