Euchre Strategy: Trump Management, The Cross Ruff

It’s back to basics, as we explore a familiar motif in the game of Euchre. Trump management is part of the game. In order to be a successful player, you must observe the cards that have been played, especially in the trump suit. In addition to this, you will need to determine when it is time to extract the opponent’s trump, and when it’s proper to win trump separately. Let us observe a few illustrative examples:

You are playing a standard 10-point game limit, and your side is on the short end of a 9-8 score. Fortunately, it is your deal, and you pick up this collection (the turned card is the King of Spades):

J 10 9 K 10


You decide to pick up the King of Spades and discard the 9 of Hearts. After all, three trump are three trump! The opening lead from your left is the Ace of Hearts, followed by partner’s Jack of Hearts, and the Heart Queen from the next player. You trump with the 10, and immediately place the Right on the table. This fetches the Ace of Spades from the opponent on your left, the ninespot from across the table, and the Jack of Clubs (the Left) from the fellow on your right.

A lazy player might be tempted to continue with trump, assuming that one of the opponents held the Spade Queen. In the end, the 10 of Clubs is conceded, and 1 point is earned for your side. Good, yes — but not good enough. Why not try for the win? It will not cost your side anything.

A smart player notes the opponents’ drop of the Ace of trump, as well as the Left. This implies strongly that the enemy has no more trumps. Yes, a clever opponent may have disguised the presence of the Spade Queen with the drop of a higher trump. That is not the point. The King of Spades is still the master trump. With 1 point guaranteed, the time has come to explore. You thus lead your low spot card in Clubs, followed by the King. Now your pard trumps with the Spade Queen.

What a pleasant surprise! Back comes a Heart, and now you burn your last trump. Finally, Lady Luck smiles on you, as your King of Diamonds walks through for a march, and 2 points. (The Ace of dimes was buried in the “kitty.”) What a vast improvement over the routine cashing of your last trump on trick #3.

A new game begins, and this time you (dealer) and your partner hold these hands:


A None K 10 Q 9



Q K Q Q 10


The Jack of Spades is turned. You have a marginal hand, at best. Furthermore, you fear a next (Clubs) Loner. Adhering to the principle of “Turn down a Bower and lose for an hour,” you take in the Right, naming Spades as trump, while you discard the singleton Club. The Ace of Clubs is led, as partner drops his 9, and the fellow on your right chucks the King. You are thrilled to trump with the Spade Queen.

Now the key play — the King of Hearts. It is covered with the Ace, and your glorious partner trumps with his singleton Ace of trump! Your right-hand opponent produces a low Heart, (whew!) and you get home with the Right! The lead of a Heart on trick #2 was a much better play than the premature lead of the Right. Once again, a little luck, and a little discipline saved the day…

One day later, this incredible deal occurs: You are sitting South, as dealer, and the Jack of Diamonds is turned. The score is tied, 9-9. Here is the layout:


K Q 10 J None A


9 None A Q K Q


A None K 10 9 10

South(You – Dealer)

None K Q 9 None J (9)


The final hand of a match has been dealt. West passes, and partner displays guts and recklessness, as he orders the Right into your hand. Looking at all four hands, you will soon observe that this is going to be a tough road to travel. You discard the 9 of Clubs. West opens with his King of Clubs, as partner wins the Ace. Fearing a possible singleton trump in your hand, he tries a bold play of the King of Spades. This catches the Ace from East, and you burn your Right on this trick!

You exit with a high Heart, as West desperately trumps with the Ace of dimes. Your partner bangs the Left on the table, and that is that! “Gimme a break” declares East, as he disgustedly tables his hand with those three beautiful trump. Highway robbery to be sure! However, partner knew you held the Right. He knew your Right was always going to win a trick. He merely wanted to avoid clashing the two Bowers together!Make the effort to count and observe, and your game will improve by leaps and bounds.

Play Championship Euchre Now

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