| Links to, and reviews of, computer euchre, from
the publishers of The Columbus Book of Euchre
Hardware Stone idiots New
Yahoo! is still on line. It never was fancy.
One of the critics of my
Horse on rider (get him off!)
No horse, no rider, no sitting be-
tween the markers, no elbows,
with a euchredoodledandy!
But then the “Commodore 64” Yahoo! went
Yahoo! wonk came along in the summer of 2006 and fixed something that wasn’t
broken. There still is no “bling” about
Yahoo!, but (1) the explanatory fonts shrank (“Where’s the magnifying glass,
Mabel?”), (2) the table expanded, (3) you could no longer chat with the
other players, and (4) you could no longer see the score while you played.
Most of that’s been fixed, and now you can find your way around these problems; but there is one thing
you cannot find your way around: The idiots.
You cannot depend on the ratings of partners or opponents, either one, on any game site on
line. Your partner, even with a rating in
the sky, is liable to be a stone idiot.
And what’s worse is that all players on line – whether on Yahoo!, Pogo, Hardwood or anywhere else – consider themselves “experts” once they have won one game. Pay no attention to the man (or woman, or child) behind the screen: The computer monitor will not screen out idiocy; and the “rating” attributed to the person behind the screen is a measure of his or her play not with you, or with other real euchre players, but with other idiots.
And the very worst thing about playing on line is the flaming.
“Netiquette” is dead. The dumber your partners
are, the more likely they are to think that they are smarter than you.
And they will not hesitate to tell you so. In
no uncertain terms: “my p sucks”;
“you suck, p”, “my partner sux,” “you suk” – how many
ways are there to spell that vulgarity, let alone to say it
So, the trouble with Yahoo! is not the euchre, or the dealing, or even the graphics; it’s the lack of civility. If you want to be punished, or to punish, go there.
Playsite, fortunately, is history. Mystic Island, we think, is for this generation’s equivalent of pinball wizards. Hardwood is, perhaps, the most “21st century” of the bunch but leaves pure card playing a little short.
Pogo allows “booting” in the middle of a game just for making a smart remark, and you can be suspended or even terminated on the basis of another player’s complaint without an opportunity to defend yourself, or to point out that the player who reported you was the real jerk (there is no due process). But, it is the most civil site there is on line.
If you want a journey to the past, go to Google Games Euchre. You play to 5 points, as most "Hoyle" encyclopedias still prescribe the game; and there is no going alone.
Finally, it’s worth checking out some auxiliary sites that let you in to these sites through the “back doors.”
Yahoo!’s site is
the most popular, and – just
Pogo’s rating systems are similar,
too often amounts to blaming the victim in|
these yet Dark Ages of the internet.
Pogo has a better site, with better graph-
ics; and it has a more intelligent way to deal
with the quitter: If you quit or get booted (by
lightning, by your ISP, whatever), a computer
or other player will finish in your place; and
your rating changes as if you had finished the
game yourself (Yahoo! has only recently al-
lowed robots to finish games, but it still penali-
zes the fried if the game is forfeited; and hosts
with only moderate intelligence know how to
keep robots and volunteers out of your chair if
option used to be an 11-point
|more. Other Pogo options include “TRAM” – an
acronym for “The rest are mine,” which eliminates
play of the remaining tricks in a hand in which the
outcome has been determined), “Stick the dealer,”
and “Defend alone” when the maker is not going
alone. TRAM sucks (real card players want to see
the cards, and "Defend alone" (when the maker is
not going alone) is simply stupid – it pre-empts the
“Columbus coup” (known also as “donation,” or
the “safety,” or simply “defense”; it's an extrapola-
tion of the ancient ploy of “ordering at the bridge”).
Pogo is a memory hog: It takes forever to load
and forever to start a game; and it will subject you to
commercial “intermissions” during the game. And do
not – do not – attempt to leave a table during a com-
mercial. If you do, you will be “Pogoed,” which is
even worser than being “Yahooed.” Your whole
computer will freeze up. You will not even be able
to unlock it with "Task Manager"; you will have to
Your computer will frequently lock up on Pogo. If
you are on dial-up and trying to play on Pogo, you
are likely to find yourself booted by other, impatient
players before you even get to look at your first hand.
And the game will affect your rating because you have
to have been “seated” (even though you can’t see the
table). Sometimes you will hear the flish flish flish of
the cards being dealt in a game on Pogo and nothing
will be happening on your monitor. That means you
have been “Pogoed.”
The most annoying thing about Pogo is that you
can be booted during a game – by majority vote of
other players – for calling your partner stupid, for call-
ing an opponent ugly, for taking more than five seconds
to zip up your pants, for sneezing. But that is also the
best thing about Pogo: It is the most civil site around.
Your partner will not call you an idiot for calling “next”
| and getting euchred when it’s the thing to do.
There's another thing: Pogo sorts your cards.
Yahoo! leaves the left bower in left field.
Hardwood operates on required software,
and you have to pay for it. It’s not worth it,
in our opinion; but you can get a free trial and
decide for yourself. Hardwood may be the
ultimate 21st century site, with the dumbest
avatars yet to appear on line (that’s not good),
“music” louder and worser than Muzak (that’s
not good), options for 15-point games (that’s
not good), British rules (that’s not good), and
“TRAM” (that’s not good). What’s worse
(or worst, if you will) is its “foom” feature –
an animated graphics function by which you
can send kisses, four-leaf clovers, snow balls,
lightning, etc. to any other player – and by
which, with an easy code with your partner,
you can cheat, in ways undreamed of in the
olden days of mere IM and chat lines. Hard-
| wood may be the most
“realistic” euchre ex-|
perience on line, with cheaters and idiots.
While Hardwood does not have a “last hand”
option – a feature by which you can examine all
tricks played to the last hand, card by card (and
annoy the hell out of the other players who are in
such a hurry), just as you can at a real card table
(Yahoo! has that), it does have a feature the
others would do well to adopt: It keeps logs of
games played, and you can review them – you
can watch an actual replay of any game you se-
lect (but you cannot do it during the game).
The Microsoft Network (MSN) Zone dropped
|did on “WON,” which, like Playsite, is history in
its entirety (“WON” stood for “World Opponents
Network”). We did hack and claw our way into
the Zone once – with a crowbar and a grubbing
hoe. The only thing right about the Zone was that
it kept the score with markers – but even so, once
you’d scored six points you’d find your horse on
New kids on the block include “WGC” (for
a lot like Pogo, and has two
|A 32-card deck, and “Must
wait until trump is|
broken before leading trump.” The latter is bad
enough in 13-trick games like spades and
hearts. In euchre it’s intolerable.
is full of glitter (no gold
(GPP) and an I-Play, a gateway to Westwood,
both of which appear to be history, like Playsite.
TRAM: Players on line have a maniacal desire for speed, which makes Pogo’s and Hardwood’s “TRAM” and the former Playsite’s automatic action popular. The serious player’s objection to both is that he usually cannot see all the cards played in a hand and thus cannot determine who (including himself) played well and who screwed up. That’s why Yahoo! was a better site for the serious player (before it was fried).
“TRAM” even tips hands: If it does not “swoosh” the cards at a certain point, you know that a trick-taking card is still out. For example, we ordered up a diamond holding both bowers and ace, and the king and nine of clubs outside. We had the lead and took the first three tricks with trump, of course, leading all other players out of trump. And there was no “swoosh.” That told us that the ace of clubs was still out, and that it would be futile to try to sweep the remaining two tricks with the king and nine of clubs. So we led the nine in hope our partner had the ace and could lead a lower club back to our king, or take the last trick with another high card. He did and he did, and we scored two points. Thanks for the tip, “TRAM”!
And the speed of “TRAM” and the automated action of the former Playsite is illusory anyway. The major delays in play on line are not in waiting for tricks to play out in a hand in which the outcome has been determined, but in internet congestion and in players’ leaving the table to go for a beer, go to the bathroom and go to the door to let in the police or let out the cat. And, have all these “speed” demons forgotten that playing cards is a pastime?
There are other annoyances on Yahoo!: In the lobby, tables with “open” chairs are not grouped in numerical sequence, but float at the top, according to how many openings there are. This not only makes it hard to find people you know, but it changes so fast you have to be really quick to grab a seat. More than half the time, you find yourself at a table other than the one you aimed for, or looking at some player’s profile (because you wound up clicking on a “taken” chair). And finding a table with players rated about the same as yourself is difficult and annoying: The host must make the table “private” and invite, invite, invite (one player at a time) until the seats are occupied, or make it “public” and boot, boot, boot (one player at a time) as players of inappropriate ratings sit and leave (or don’t leave). It’s easier on Pogo: The host merely sets the admissible ratings level in the game’s options.
One big annoyance on Yahoo! is a player’s ability to sit at more than one table at a time, and even to play more than one game at a time. We encountered one idiot playing four games at once and going for a fifth. That slows the game for others involved (much, much more than the lack of “TRAM” on Pogo), and it is even ruder in the way it detracts from your partner’s concentration if he or she is the one doing it.
You will find yourself disconnected from all the sites on occasion. It’s not for nothing that being “Yahooed! ” has found its way into internet lingo. At least Yahoo! has a device that will give you an automated trip back to your seat if you have been “fried.“ If you’re fried on Pogo, you may be sautéed.
Another fault of all the sites is that you cannot renege on line. Novices, dummies and drunks are thus unduly protected and wind up with higher ratings than they deserve; and reneging on purpose – a tactic that might work in dire straits – is pre-empted.
Speaking of the ratings, they are somewhat less than accurate. We have played on line with players with astronomical ratings who don’t know enough to lead trump when their partner has called it; and we have played with players rated “intermediate” and even “beginner” who know a lot more about what they are doing. We know how to massage and manipulate the ratings without “cheating”; and if you don’t, we’re not going to tell you – it’s bad enough as it is! We saw a team on Yahoo! on which one player was rated 35,000-plus (that’s thirty-five thousand, not hundred) and his partner was rated -12,000 something (that’s minus twelve thousand and change)! It was a hoot. You can find a fuller description of such a scam in the archives of Natty Bumppo’s euchre columns on line, including a report on a player with a 49.2 per cent winning percentage and a 20-game winning streak but a -192405 rating (that's minus one hundred ninety-two thousand four hundred five)!
The ratings on all internet play sites are weighted according to the competition: That is, the average of one partnership’s rating is weighed against that of the other’s; and more or fewer rating points are awarded or deducted for each game depending on the rating differential. For example, the players on a team with an average rating of 1800 will gain more rating points beating a team with an average rating of 2000 than they will beating a team with an average rating of 1600, and they will lose more rating points by losing to a lower-rated team.
That seems fair, doesn’t it? That you gain more rating points for beating a better team than for beating a lower team; that you lose more for losing to “losers” than for losing to “winners”?
But, let’s think about it: Regardless of what happened in the past, the New York Yankees and the St. Louis Browns started even every April. And even in September, when the Yankees were in first place and the Browns in last place, if the Browns beat the Yanks they would not gain more than a game on them in the standings, and the Yanks would not lose more than a game. So, what’s with Yahoo! and Pogo? They know better than the American League? Give us a break! Why should you lose more rating points to a good player who has recently changed his name and come back with a low rating? Or to a good player who has a low rating only because he is new to the web site? Or why should you gain more for beating some idiot who has trumped up his rating by the good fortune of owning two computers on line at the same time? Or manipulated his rating in some other fashion? Or merely been lucky? Let’s redemocratize.
One mistake you see again and again on line – by high rated players and low rated players both – is the opening lead of trump (and, all too often, the right bower) on defense. Usually it just helps the maker get the trump out, and often it strips the leader’s partner of a trump he could have used on another trick (not infrequently an unguarded left bower). It’s a particularly bad lead against a loner, but you see it. We call it the “internet lead” – because we almost never see it in real life!
Margo, rated 2130 on Yahoo!, and I had ’em down 9 to 8; but Pattycakes, on Margo’s right, had the deal and turned the jack of hearts. I held the ace of hearts, three diamonds to the ace, and a spade. Pattycakes picked up that right bower, and Margo led — ? The left bower. Which she held unguarded. School was out. Had Margoon led a black card, we’d have been still in the game, with the deal.
See other stone idiots encountered on line.
Playing euchre on line is a good way to learn regional differences in the game, but those differences can generate frustrating questions and arguments. Euchre on line is not nearly as satisfying as sitting around a table with people who know – or should know – the rules you play by, yelling, slapping, swinging elbows, and spilling beer on your opponents’ markers. And, how do you stab or shoot a partner who trumps your ace on line? All you can do is “flame” him, and that’s not “netiquette.”
Speaking of “netiquette,” we were marching on the first hand of a game when our partner mysteriously disappeared. Partner came back less than half a minute later, and the hostess switched the table from “private” to “public” to let him back in. “You shouldn’t have done that,” said the hostess’ partner. “We could have taken the forfeit.” Real polite. Real bright. (Hostess’ partner’s screen name was “Sisteract_99” – 1715 rating on Yahoo!.)
Tim “Metalhead” Heffner’s Euchre
There Is No Other Card Game: A
At least three sites provide “back door”
Euchrelinks.com is packed
If you are curious about the mathematics
Davey Guild’s Euchre Page,
now lost in
Dr. Doug’s Gigarrific Cosmic Euchre
Page is a clear and colorful presentation of
rules and basic instruction (he doesn’t believe
in stealing the deal, but – well – he’s a pro-
fessor, in Iowa! ). And see also Dr. Doug’s
Gigarrific Cosmic Euchre game, below.
If you are concerned about cheating, visit
A fascinating history of the origin of euchre
|Card Society) and is now on line.
book The Oxford Guide to Card Games,
published in 1990, also contains interesting
observations on the history of euchre.
is a truly comprehensive web
Euchre Science is a forum on line with contribu-
|of one against the other. It’s one of a number of stupid euchre “groups”|
serves up euchre party recipes (for snacks like atomic
OhioEuchre.com has information on live tournaments (and not only
Gerry Blue’s Euchre Laboratory lets you
set up and play any euchre hand you wish to
imagine, on line (you don’t have to download
anything). Good for experimentation; good for
practice. (Note: The Euchre Lab does not
work well on later versions of Netscape; use
Internet Explorer. It worked fine on Netscape
4.78. Off the wonks at Netscape. They keep
fixing things that aren’t broken.)
Scot Cunningham’s Euchre Dog is a
| Scott's Double Deck Bid Euchre
ent Scott): The unique thing about this pro-
gram is that it offers a version of euchre not
found in most books, let alone other software.
There are other computer programs out
Richard Gardner’s Euchre for
Rob Briggs’ Cool Hand Yuke also
score with markers, but it uses two fives in-
stead of six (horse) and four (rider) – and it
mixes colors in each set of markers (oh, well,
Rob’s from Michigan!). What’s really neat
about Cool Hand Yuke is that you can pro-
gram your partner to play your own con-
ventions – e.g., to call “next,” always to lead
trump to you when you call it, always to pick
up a bower when he turns one, never to order
a bower into your hand, etc. And it features
not only a vast array of rules options, but also
a cast of characters from Humphrey Bogart to
Bugs Bunny for players, with their own voices
and remarks (which you can turn off, if they
annoy). Or you can create your own players
and deck and implant them in the game.
Fred Benjamin, author of the book Euchre|
Strategies, has put up a downloadable simula-
tor (with equally annoying sounds, that can be
turned off) called Euchre Challenge and
Teacher that serves as a computer game, a
practice field, or a robot table that will play
thousands of hands or games in a jiffy to show
you the results of certain plays. And he has
populated it with pretty good bots, unlike the
tinheads you meet on Pogo and Yahoo! But
they’re still robots; and they play with what Fred
Benjamin thinks is good euchre sense, not neces-
sarily what you or I might think. So you have to
take the simulation results with that grain of salt.
Benjamin, known on line as Sword_4_hire, has
posted also a probability chart of who will win
at any given score, which he says he developed
from 10,000 simulations each of hands played at
all 100 possible scores – i.e., from 0 to 0 to 9 to
9 (with this chart, of course, as with the simulator
itself, you must take into account that all players
are clones of Fred Benjamin).
| The Euchre Dude offers software for tour-|
nament organization in which you can enter entry
fees and compute payouts as well as enter brac-
kets and compute results. You can also design
and print custom score cards and charts with
Euchre Dude software.
CardsTourney.com is another site with
software for tournament organization and prin-
There are at least two Yahoo! groups that
display tournament pairing charts in their “files”
sections: The Euchre Club has a Microsoft
Excel file for 16-player pairings, and the Co-
lumbus Ohio Euchre group has a Microsoft
Word document file with pairings for up to 24
players. In each case you have to be a “mem-
ber” of the group to gain access to the file; but
joining a Yahoo! group is easy, and it’s free.
Dr. Doug’s Gigarrific Cosmic Euchre is
The Euchre Board is another
set of hard-
A really well crafted piece of hardware is
Todd Martin’s “euchredoodledandy,” a sim-
ple pegboard for scoring that does it right (see
illustration at top of this page). There is also a
euchredoodlebiddy, for scoring three-handed
bid euchre. Presently they are available only
from Borf Books.
Also for a price you can
get Lee’s Tour-
Ryan's Ruminations on Euchre Robotics:
A credible commentator, Ryan Romanik, of Michigan, says about Gardner’s
We tend to agree with Ryan: No one has developed a really good computer
Briggs’ Cool Hand Yuke addresses these
problems: We’d rather play with
If all four players were programmed
(leaving out the guy with the mouse and
None of which is to say that the “’puters” that fill in when someone
The values of “next” and good hands
short of bowers may be programmable,
Bridge and chess can be programmed. The
basics of bridge and chess
But computer euchre may be better than solitaire.
Advanced euchre strategies: Read the author’s columns (archives)
Reviews of other books on euchre Guestbook: Sign / Comment View
“Over hamburgers sold!”