Working with Doubletons

Beginner Euchre players are only concerned with how many Trumps and Aces they have, because they think those are the only cards that can win tricks. Even as they learn various Euchre strategies, they fail to appreciate the remaining cards in their hand. They simply look at their hand, and think “I have two trump, an Ace, and two cards that are worthless.” They fail to take time and learn how to use doubletons properly.

In this lesson, we will learn how to make the most of your Doubletons. You will learn how to squeeze an extra trick, and to make that last minute stop.

The diagram below displays the 15 Doubletons that exist in a game of Euchre. Instead of naming each one individually, we can group doubletons into 2 different categories, Runners and Protected cards.

Runner ProtectedKing ProtectedQueen ProtectedJack ProtectedTen
Ace-King Doubleton King-Queen Doubleton Queen Jack Doubleton Jack Ten Doubleton Ten-Nine Doubleton/doughboys
Ace-Queen Doubleton King Jack Doubleton Queen Ten Doubleton Jack Nine Doubleton
Ace Jack Doubleton King Ten Doubleton Queen Nine Doubleton
Ace Ten Doubleton King Nine Doubleton
Ace Nine Doubleton

 

Runner

A runner, sometimes referred to as an Ace-Runner, is any set of two cards where one of the cards is an Ace. This doubleton is extremely effective if you or your partner calls trump. You are able to win a trick with the Ace, and then follow it up with the “runner” to win the second trick.

Let’s look at simply example of a runner in action.

North

K
Q
K 10
 Q

Up-Card 10

West

 Q
A K
A
 10

Euchre Table

East (Dealer)

 A J
void
Q 9
K

South

void
J 9
J
A 9

 

South tells the dealer to pick up the 10, and says that he is going alone.

South leads both his bowers and West play both his trumps, and East discards the 10 and J.

South realizes that nearly all the trump have been played, except for the outstanding Q.  South plays the A. West plays the 10 and East the K.

South has earned one point, but now is going for 4 points. Since he played his Ace, it cleared most of the clubs out of play, He then “runs” with the 9 squeezing out an extra trick. East and West are powerless to stop South, because they don’t have any trump nor clubs that can beat that once lowly nine. South then played the 9 earning the 4 points.

The key to working with any Runner is to play the Ace, and only then play the “runner” at a time when it has an excellent chance of winning a trick. Obviously, this was a very simple example given, but if you learn to apply the technique of using a runner to more complex hands, you will start to notice that you will win that extra trick.

 

Protected King, Queen, Jack, Ten

All of the “Protected” Cards are played in a very similar fashion. When the first time the suit is led, you want to play the lower ranked card, in order to use it as a sacrificial lamb. Then when you regain the right to lead, you want lead the “Protected” card. Given that nearly all of the trump have been played, it will be the highest ranked card. Allowing you to win that necessary trick.

Let’s modify the above example. I have swapped two clubs around giving North the A, East the Q and the South has the K.

North

K
Q
K 10
 A

Up-Card 10

West

 Q
A K
A
 10

Euchre Table

East (Dealer)

 A J
void
Q 9
 Q

South

void
J 9
J
 K 9

 

 

This time south does not go alone, but still tells the dealer to pick up the 10. Again,  South leads both his bowers, forcing West to play his hearts. North plays Q and K East gives up his 10 and Q.

South then leads the 9 , knowing two outcomes can happen. Either North will have the Ace and win the trick, or it will force his opponents to play the Ace. After South led the 9, everyone followed suit, and North wins the trick. The point is made, but North and South are going for more.

North then leads his 10,  East plays his J, and South trumps it his 9. West plays the A.

Since South led his 9, and all of the trump have been played. South leads the K, knowing that nobody can touch it. Given North and South two points.

 

Defending

North and South have been having all the fun. Now let’s change the same example slightly again, and lets see how East and West can stop North and South from making 2 points. The example below has now given K to East and South now has a “Protected Jack”. North has the A.  West now has a “Protected Queen”, and he will use this to Queen to stop North and South from earning 2 points.

North

K
Q
K 10
 A

Up-Card 10

West

 void
A K
A
 Q 9

Euchre Table

East (Dealer)

 A J
void
Q 9
 K

South

void
J 9
J
 J 10

 

 

 

South again tells the dealer to pick up the dealer to pick up the 10, and he leads both bowers.

West follows suit, and North give ups the Q and K. East plays the 10 and J.

South then leads the 10 in order to draw out the other clubs, in hopes of “running” with the J.

West plays 9. Notice how West avoided the trap of playing the Q. The queen will not likely win the trick, so West should play this card “Second Hand Low“. North dumps off is A. East follows suit.

North leads the 10 and East follows suit. South trumps with the 9 and West plays the A.

South then plays his last card the JWest plays the Q, and stops North and South from earning that extra point.

It may seem like pure luck that West was able to stop South, but this is not the case. East was able to recognize very quickly that the 9 should be played because North or South could eventually lead the J. One card may not seem like a big deal, but in this case, it was the difference of an entire point.

Using doubletons in order to stop your opponent from gaining their 5th or even 3rd trick is not a rarity, in fact it happens quite often. The important part to remember is that each card led, especially by the maker, has meaning and a purpose. In order to make these point saving stops, remember which suits was led by your opponents. It is likely they have a “runner” or a “protected card” with them. Also, you should discard suits your opponents are void in. If your opponents don’t have any clubs, for example, then you should be void in clubs as well. You should protect cards in your hand that your opponents are likely to have. This will increase your chances of stopping your opponents. Best of luck to you, in using your doubletons.

 

 

Speak Your Mind

*