Links to, and reviews of, computer euchre, from

the publishers of The Columbus Book of Euchre


Euchre on line Informational pages Shareware

Hardware Stone idiots New


Euchre as we knew it once was popular on line,  on  various  world
wide web sites such as Pogo (formerly Excite), Yahoo!Hardwood,
Mystic Island and Games.com. There’s also a lot of software out
there for solitary euchre masturbation, including some shareware listed
below.

    Once upon a time,  you could play euchre (and other card games) on
line, with and against other human beings, for free, and without a “down-
load.”  The premier sites were Yahoo! and Pogo.   No  more.  Yahoo!
began having conflicts with JAVA early in 2014,   and it closed its game
sites down in March with a promise of a “newer technology platform” to
come.  Not  yet,  and we despair of seeing a user-friendly Yahoo! site a-
gain
.

    And Pogo has become so corrupted by “TRAM” that it,  too,  has be-
come nearly useless.  “TRAM” is an acronm for “The rest are mine”and
will sweep the board,  without showing you the rest of the cards,  when
the outcome of the hand has been determined.  Yes,  we realize that
“Chris’s trick”  (look it up in the book:  The fifth trick when the trick
count is already 3 to 1) is meaningless, but a card player wants to know
who had the 9 of hearts, or the unplayed left bower, when the hand is o-
ver.  Players on line have become so addicted to “speed” (you are more
likely to get “booted” from a game for playing slow than for cussing out
other players) that they adopt the “TRAM” option without thinking. 


Horse on rider (get him off!)




No horse, no rider, no sitting be-
tween the markers, no elbows,
with a euchredoodledandy!

“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 (or the queen or jack “guarded”), 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 any-
way. 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?

  Yahoo! never was fancy.  One of the critics of my critiques “dissed” Yahoo’s! “Commodore
64” graphics.

What’s worse is that all players on line – whether on Yahoo!PogoHardwood 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
(and who, these days, knows what it really means)?

And if you are a serious player, you can forget about  Hardwood, “Mystic Island.” and
Games.com.  They don’t give you card games; they give you video games.

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 oppor-
tunity to defend yourself  (in life and law,  that’s called “due process”)  or to point out that the
player who reported you was the real jerk.  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 was the most popular, and – just
like  drinking  Postum – there was a reason:   It  was
quick to load, and it always played to 10 points with
a 24-card deckthe way real people play (England,
Australia,  and Pennsylvania   aren't  real,  are  they?
Think about it). The only options were  “Stick  the
dealer”  or not  and  “rated game”  or  not. Euchre
on Yahoo! was the most like tabletop American eu-
chre before the wonks came along and fried it. Ya-
hoo!
players were,  by and large,  better than other
players on line  (but you would find stone idiots ra-
ted “advanced” there,  and even players with losing
records rated high.

Yahoo!’s and Pogo’s rating systems were similar,
but Yahoo! imposed a double-loss penalty on a play-
er leaving a game – even on one disconnected by no
fault of his own  (and sometimes disconnected even
by Yahoo!’s  own  retarded  electronics). The pur-
pose was to discourage quitting while behind, but the 

result too often amounted to blaming the victim
in those Dark Ages of the internet (which were
better, now that we look back, than the New).

  Pogo has a better site, with better graphics;
and  it has a more intelligent way to deal with
the quitter: If you quit or get booted (by light-
ning, by your ISP, whatever),  a computer or
other player will finish in your place; and your
rating will change as   if  you  had finished the
game yourself (Yahoo! lately allowed robots
to finish games,  but it still penalized the  fried
if the game was forfeited; and hosts with only
moderate intelligence  knew how to keep ro-
bots and volunteers out of your chair  if  you
left).

Pogo’s default option is an 11-point game
– people actually play to 11 in England  (and
Pennsylvania, but not even in Canada). 

  Pogo options include also “Stick the dealer” and
“Defend alone” (even when the maker is not going
alone – "defend alone" when the maker is not going
alone)  is  simply  stupid – it pre-empts the “Colum-
bus coup”  (known also as “donation,” or the “safe-
ty,” or simply “defense”;  it's an extrapolation 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 or to do
anything else during a commercial.  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 reboot. But at least you
do not need a "download" to play on Pogo, as you
do on Hardwood  and  some of the other retarded
“more modern” sites.
Your computer will frequently lock up on Pogo.  If
you are on dial-up (do we still have “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 af-
fect your rating because you have to have been “seat-
ed” (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  (besides
“TRAM”) is that you can be booted during a game –
by unanimous vote of other players – for calling your
partner stupid, for calling an opponent ugly, for taking
more than five seconds to zip up your pants, for pick-
ing your nose, 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! left 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 used to be able to  get  a
free trial  and decide for yourself  (that has not
worked for us lately). Hardwood may be the
ultimate 21st century site, with the dumbest av-
atars 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! had 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
euchre  (and bridge, and other “classic” games) in
June  of 2006.  MSN said the reason was  “aging
hardware and software,”  but  the  fact  is  that the
euchre site was poorly populated – and not neces-
sarily for lack of interest.  One  problem  was that
you needed a degree in  computer  engineering  to 


find your way into a game on the Zone – as you did on “WON,”  which, like
Playsite, is history in its entirety (“WON” stood for “World Opponents Net-
work”). We did hack and claw our way into the Zone once – with a crow-
bar 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 your rider.

Mystic Island is full of glitter (no gold found yet), and it requires a down-
load (at least it’s free). The first time we visited, late afternoon  on a weekday,
we encountered a whopping total of 57 other players – like, it’s really popular.
Other players we know have described the layout as “confusing” and “cluttered.
If you can figure out who’s dealing on “Mystic Island,”  let  us  know. There
were a Westwood Games People Play (GPP) and an I-Play,  a gateway to
Westwood, both of which appear to be history, like Playsite.

 On Games.com, it's almost impossible to tell where you are sitting and where the
other players are, let alone who they are, what is trump, who made it, and where the
dealer is.  It is impossible to see the score.  But it's free and does not require a down-
load.

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! had a device that would give you an automated trip back to your seat if
you had been “fried. If you’re fried on Pogo, you’re 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.

In sum, playing on line is fried.  You need to get back to a real card table.

The ratings

  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 eu-
chre columns on line, including a report on a player with a 49.2 per cent winning per-
centage 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 dif-
ferential. 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.

Stone idiots

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!)

Informational sites:

There Is No Other Card Game: A
colorful site with rules, links (with helpful
commentary) and righteous “rules of thumb”
(these people could play in Columbus). But
there are other card games: Bridge, 7-up,
casino, 500 rummy — we even like to play
hearts (Bill Clinton’s favorite card game).


Shove-it.com  has “back door” links to
Pogo games.  “Back doors” enable you to
enter “full” lounges and to re-enter games from
which you have been booted even if the lounge
is “full.”  While shove-it worked well on Ya-
hoo!, however, it has trouble with Pogo.
Harvey Lapp’s Euchrelinks.com is packed
with links, strategy, and other information. It
features the Ten Commandments of Euchre
(“V: Thou shalt leadeth trump to thy part-
ner’s order”
) and a sort of “Ann Landers”
euchre column (Ask Harv! ).

If you are curious about the mathematics
of euchre, check out Bram Kivenko’s page
on probabilities.

Davey Guild’s Euchre Page, now lost in
cyberspace, was a lot of fun: It included in-
structions on how to use 2’s and 3’s for mar-
kers
for a 10-point game!  Tim (“Metalhead”)
Hefner’s page was another fun site now gone.

If you are concerned about cheating, visit
Harvey Lapp’s Dark Side – an awesome,
graphic
and comprehensive discussion of the
techniques out there for ripping you off (at the
card table. Cheaters on line still use mainly
the telephone and instant messaging; but there
are subtler techniques for pumping up one’s
rating on line, discussed elsewhere herein).

A fascinating history of the origin of euchre
by David Parlett, tracing its roots from the
Alsatian game of Jucker and earlier European
games, was published in 2007 in the Playing
Card (the Journal of the International Playing
Card Society) and is now on line. Parlett’s
book The Oxford Guide to Card Games,
published in 1990, also contains interesting
observations on the history of euchre.
  Card Games is a truly comprehensive web
site, on almost all card games, not just euchre.
But beware of the euchre rules here – they’re
English.

The House of Cards is another general
card game site with links to many games inclu-
ding euchre, shareware, and euchre on line.

Euchre Science is a forum on line with contribu-
tions from both mathematicians and the hoi polloi.
Anyone is welcome to join and post, and that’s the
problem.  As “good money drives out bad” in eco-
nomics (Gresham’s law), numbnocks drive out
intellectuals in an open forum.  You get a lot more
drivel than good advice, and there is no weighting
of one against the other.  It’s one of a number of
stupid euchre “groups” on Yahoo!

  Luziana Fats
serves up euchre party recipes (for snacks like atomic Buffalo wings and cock-
tails like the skylab fallout – he may tell you how to drink that, too),  tells you how to handle “ja-
mokes,” and will teach you, from time to time, how to handle a Mississippi mudpile and how to play
bourré (a 52-card deck euchre game for two to seven players).

OhioEuchre.com has information on live tournaments (and not only in Ohio), information on
how to run a tournament, rules, tips, links and a lot more, including a euchre quiz to test your
mettle (you'll be graded, but you won’t see the right answers – and we think maybe that’s be-
cause the host does not know the right answers).

For more links, visit the Euchre Ring.

Software/shareware:
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 some versions of Firefox; try
Internet Explorer. It worked fine on Netscape
4.78. Off the wonks at Netscape/Mozilla.
They keep fixing things that aren’t broken.)

Scot Cunningham’s Euchre Dog is a com-
puter euchre game you can download free. It
is lightning fast and intelligently arrayed; you
can rename the players and adjust their “risk”
levels (i.e., how willing they are to take chan-
ces), and it has an “Advice” tickler on wheth-
er to order up or call trump. Scot says it’s a
“program I wrote in my spare time.” He must
have a lot of spare time.

  WinSite has downloads for bid euchre
and other versions.
There are other computer programs out
there, with free shareware downloads usable
for a limited time and buyware downloads
with updates promised – and they’re cheap
enough, at $10 to $15 a pop:

Richard Gardner’s Euchre for Windows
has music, and other sound effects. It’s a bit
more razzly-dazzly than the Euchre Dog, and
for that reason we don’t like it as much. But
it also has risk adjustment and advice tickling,
and it keeps the score with markers: Are you
listening, Pogo And the horse is not  on the
rider.


Rob Briggs’ Cool Hand Yuke also keeps
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).

Stephen Joseph Smith’s Euchre Baron is a
solitaire euchre program that lets you set up con-
ventions with your partner and expected behavior
of your opponents. A free trial is available. The
display is a little tacky; and it requires a 1,024-by-
768-pixel setup in 16 colors, for no good apparent
reason. It is much more sophisticated than proto-
type computer euchre games, but some early re-
viewers have commented that it asks a rather ex-
haustive list of questions about how you play, and
want others to play, to get started. And one re-
viewer mentioned that it “constantly leads trump    
against loners despite my explicit instructions to
 the contrary” (maybe that’s been fixed by now;
check it out).
    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-
ted score sheets.

    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.

Hardware:

There are several "euchre boards" for sale
on line, mainly for scorekeeping; just Google the
term. 



  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.

  

Ryan's Ruminations on Euchre Robotics:

A credible commentator, Ryan Romanik, of Michigan, says about Gardner’s
Euchre for Windows – and, for our money, this applies to just about all com-
puter euchre: “The sound effects are pretty amusing the first time or two but
get old fast. The main problem I have is that the characters are stupid. Sure,
you can program them to play ‘aggressive’ and whatnot, but there’s no substi-
tute for common sense. My favorite was when I set my partner to be ‘aggres-
sive’ and also to ‘play more trump,’ and I was warned that doing this may
cause me to lose! How about that! Personally, I avoid euchre software, as
it just isn’t realistic enough. If I’m aching for a game and no one else is around,
I’ll stick to Yahoo!, although I kind of hate that now, too!”

We tend to agree with Ryan: No one has developed a really good computer
game, or really good robots for filling vacancies in games on line; and it is a
question whether anyone will. Most programmed players have no imagination.
They almost never make trump without a bower, and they do not recognize the
value of “next.

Briggs’ Cool Hand Yuke addresses these problems: We’d rather play with
a partner we created on Cool Hand Yuke than with most of the partners we
find on line. But you have to program your Yuke partner always to call “next,”
or never to order a bower into your hand, etc. You cannot really invest your
’puter partner with good discretion – when to follow the rule, when to make an
exception.

If all four players were programmed (leaving out the guy with the mouse and
the keyboard), a third to a half of all hands might be “pass hands” if not for the
“Stick the dealer” option that comes with most programs.

None of which is to say that the “’puters” that fill in when someone leaves a
game on line are totally incompetent. We’d rather have a ’puter for a partner
on line than about half the idiots we’ve encountered!

The values of “next” and good hands short of bowers may be programmable,
but the programming of the intuition required for good euchre play probably
awaits further development of “artificial intelligence. Computer programs
require formulae; and as one will find trying to play by a certain author’s
Gorenesque point system, one cannot play euchre by formulae alone.

Bridge and chess can be programmed. The basics of bridge and chess
are harder to learn than the basics of euchre, and bridge and chess are more
complicated and technical. By the same token, bridge and chess are more
formulaic; and euchre is more intuitional. That’s why bridge and chess lend
themselves facilely to computer programs while euchre does not.

But computer euchre may be better than solitaire.


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