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
and Mystic Island. There’s also a lot of software out there for soli-
tary euchre masturbation, including some shareware listed below.

    Note:  Most of the discussion of Yahoo! on this page is obsolete.
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.  Some of the new sites are now up.  If and when
euchre gets back up on Yahoo! I’ll review it again.

On line in real time:

Once upon a time you could play euchre on the internet just as if
you were playing at a real card table. The best venue for this experi-
ence was Yahoo!   Now it's Pogo.



Horse on rider (get him off!)




No horse, no rider, no sitting be-
tween the markers, no elbows,
with a euchredoodledandy!
Yahoo! never was fancy.  One of the critics of my critiques “dissed” Yahoo’s! “Commodore 64” graphics.

    But then the “Commodore 64” Yahoo! went “Kay-Pro. A 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
(and who, these days, knows what it really means)?

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.

And if you are a serious player, you can forget about Hardwood and  “Mystic Island. 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 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
like drinking Postum – there’s a reason:  It’s quick
to load, and it always plays 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 are “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 will find stone idiots rated
“advanced” there and even players with losing rec-
ords rated high.

Yahoo!’s and Pogo’s rating systems are similar,
but Yahoo! imposes 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 is to discourage quitting while behind, but the

result 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
you leave). 

Pogo’s default option used to be an 11-point
game – people actually play to 11 in England (and
Pennsylvania, but not even in Canada).  The default
is now 10, and few people on Pogo play to 11 any


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

reboot.

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
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 nec-
essarily 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
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
your rider.

New kids on the block include WGC(for
World Gaming Center) and Lycos’ Games-
ville
.”
WGC also requires a software download.
We have not met anyone who has found a live eu-
chre game there yet, though.

Gamesville is a lot like Pogo, and has two
annoying options that even Pogo does not have
(in addition to STD, TRAM and “defend alone”):

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.

Mystic Island is full of glitter (no gold
found yet), and it requires a download (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 “clut-
tered. 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.

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.

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 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.

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:

Tim “Metalhead” Heffner’s Euchre
Page:
Many links (categorized); a “Strate-
gies” page, with a point system for evaluating
your hand; college wisdom, philosophy and
a sense of humor (“If the cards in your hand
are horrible, don’t worry; it will get worse”).

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).

At least three sites provide “back door”
links to Pogo and Yahoo!: The Euchre
Club
, Shove-it.com and Harvey Lapp’s
Euchrelinks.com. “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. Shove-it.com has
trouble with Pogo, and Euchrelinks.com has
only Yahoo! ; but Euchrelinks.com lets you
keep your navigation and menu lines on the
games sites, which the games sites themslves
(and Shove-It and the Euchre Club) do not.

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!


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
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 cocktails like the skylab fallout – he may tell you how
to drink that, too), tells you how to handle “jamokes,” 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 because
the host does not know the right answers).

For more links, visit the Euchre Ring and the “euchre search engine”
EuchreSites.com.


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 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 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!

Scott's Double Deck Bid Euchre (differ-
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
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? Are you listening, Ya-
hoo!
? 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-
tedscore 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:

Dr. Doug’s Gigarrific Cosmic Euchre is
for 16th and 21st century geeks who have not
quite outgrown Dungeons & Dragons (this is
“hardware” and not free, but there’s a demo).

The Euchre Board is another set of hard-
ware you might find amusing (it’s not free, ei-
ther; but the description is). The board comes
with a deck of cards, a set of rules, scoring
“chips,” and a “trump cube”; and it has specif-
ic spaces for the deck, tricks, and drinks! The
inventor, John Hughes, says, “I didn't invent eu-
chre, I just made it easier to play!” We’re not
so sure he didn’t make it harder! But you de-
cide.


  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-
nament Euchre Chart
– a colorful “dry
erasable” placard you can hang on a wall
or mount on a post. Both these devices
provide for a maximum of four tables (16
players), but they’re quite handy for family
and small club tourneys.

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.


back to The Columbus Book of Euchre Excerpts New appendix

Advanced euchre strategies: Read the author’s columns (archives)

Reviews of other books on euchre Guestbook: Sign / Comment View


“Over hamburgers sold!”