By Joe Andrews, author of "The Complete Win At Euchre"
Other columns by Joe Andrews: Spades * Hearts
Euchre -- A Dozen Helpful Hints and Tips
12. When you are "at the Bridge" (score of 9 points), and the opponents have a score of 6 or 7 points, you must order (or pick up) trump in order to guard against a loner by the opponents. However, if you hold the Right or the guarded Left, or the Ace and two other small trump, you may pass.
11. Excluding the "Bridge" situation, the Eldest hand should not order up the trump, unless this player holds both Bowers or; a reasonably strong three-card trump suit, or two of the top three trump and a side Ace. The player to the dealer's right must a have a very strong hand (two of the top three trump) and a side Ace, if he chooses to order it up (after two passes).
10. Always assist (order it to your partner) when you have two reasonably sure tricks. Do not assist on "thin" hands, such as a holding with the (lone) Ace or King of trump and nothing else.
9. When the dealer turns down the trump,your best choice is to make it NEXT in suit (the same color as the trump suit). For example, if a Spade is the upcard and the dealer turns it down, you may conclude that neither of the Bowers were in either of your opponents' hands.
8. When you hold three middle or small trumps and two good side cards such as A-K or A-Q, or KQ, lead a trump with the hope of exhausting trump and promoting your side-suit winners.
7. If you or your partner has made the trump, it is usually a bad play to win the lead, unless you have a hand strong enough to go for a "sweep."
6. Always trust your partner! Do not ruff (trump) in second seat without a good reason for doing so. Discard a losing card from a side suit, and hope that partner can supply a trick for your side. For that measure, it's good advice to assume that your partner will supply a trick for your side…Most players count
on their partner for one trick.
5. If you hold the Left (Bower) , and your partner has picked up or named trump, play the Left as soon as you can (other than by trumping your partner's winning trick). If you win the first trick with a side suit Ace or low ruff, lead the Left.
4. If the game is close, you should assist (order to partner) with a light hand such as two middle trump, or the lone Ace of trump with a side Ace.
3. If you have the opening lead, and you hold two side-suit Aces, by all means, lead one of these Aces immediately! This will break up a possible guessing position toward the end of a hand. (If the dealer trumps your lead, you will know to keep the other Ace.)
2. When defending against a loner, lead the best card (other than a trump) that you have. This will prevent your partner from keeping the same suit. A strong play is to lead the color of the suit opposite that of the trump.
1. When the dealer takes the upcard, the Eldest hand is at a disadvantage. Do not lead a singleton side suit Ace, as it will often lead to a "squeeze" situation against your parther, who may hold the other two side suit Aces.
Bonus Tip -- Always be aware of the score! It will affect your bid or defensive strategy…