Going Alone in Euchre: 4 Signs It's Time to Make the Move

by John Amato

So, you’re deep into a game of euchre, battling for the win. The opposing team is dropping trump cards, but none are enough to claim victory. Then suddenly, the euchre gods smile down upon you and grant you an indomitable hand. 

You smile at your partner, and they know victory is imminent as you declare that you're going alone. But wait, is that the right move? Should you really make the solo dash for the finish line, or might it be better to stick with your partner? Euchre is supposed to be a team game, after all. 

You’re in luck because today, we answer these questions and more as we delve into euchre gameplay and strategies to figure out the best time to go alone. By the time we’re done, you’ll be able to:

  • Spot a winning euchre hand and make the best play to win
  • Assess the risk versus rewards of going solo in different scenarios
  • Make the best game calls for yourself and your partner

Let’s kick off your euchre winning streak with the easiest sign to go solo, that is ….

1 - When You Have an Unbeatable Hand

If you have five trump cards, consider going alone, especially if you have the Right. 

There are only seven potential trump cards in a game of euchre, so having five guarantees you at least three tricks

If you find yourself in this situation, you can go alone, whether you have the Right or the Left

If you have the Right and five trump cards, the only things that can stop you are an over-trump or a protected Left. If you have the Left and five trump cards, the only things that can stop you are the Right, an over-trump, or a protected Ace

On the other hand, if your partner has the Right in the above situation, you’ll likely take all five tricks without your partner, as the highest card will be buried in their hand, and you have the Left. 

But if the opposition has the Right, they’ll take a trick regardless of whether your partner plays with you, so you may as well go alone. 

Expert Tip: If you have the lowest five trump cards, you’ll need either your partner or the Kitty to have both the Right and Left. 

On the one hand, you have a guaranteed three tricks, but on the other, you take away the possibility that your partner will have the Right to cancel out an opponent's potential Left. 

In such situations, you need to consider other factors such as the score and your table position

See Also: Euchre Terms 101: Understanding the Game's Vocabulary

2 - When You Have Fewer Suits in Your Hand

hand of euchre cards

Generally, having fewer suits in your hand is better when playing euchre. For instance, if you have three guaranteed tricks but at least three or four suits, then it might be harder to go alone. 

This is especially true if you don’t have any Aces in your off-suit cards because that means your opponent likely has them. If you have many off-suit cards, your opponent has a better chance of trumping them.

However, if you have only two suits, you’re more likely to take all the tricks or not receive help from your partner, so you should go alone. 

For example, if you have a nine off-suit, which may seem weak, but also have the Ace of that suit, you can lead trump initially and bleed out everyone’s trump. 

This way, the only thing that can stop you is if the opposition has two cards in that suit and does not discard one when the trump is being bled.

Expert Tip: If you have three guaranteed tricks, including the Right or Left, then you may consider going alone.

3 - When You Have Strong Off-Suit Cards

If you have weak off-suit cards, say Queens and lower, do not go alone. In this case, your partner may be able to help you because they might:

  • Have the Ace of your off-suit
  • Be void of that suit and be able to use their trump

This way, you may be able to earn two points for taking five tricks instead of only one point for taking three or four tricks. 

On the other hand, if you have high off-suit cards, such as Aces or Kings, and three high trump cards, then it's time to declare, “pick it up, I’m going alone!” Aces are especially important because they can beat other high-ranking cards of the same suit. 

But remember, going alone in euchre is riskier because you won't have the support of your partner, and if you fail to take enough tricks, you can lose more points than usual. But then again, high risk, high reward.

Expert Tip: Euchre is a game of information, so keep track of the cards that have been played. Use this information to make better decisions about which cards to play and which strategies to use.

See Also: Euchre Night: 4 Essentials for a Memorable Game Night

with a wide selection of euchre-theme apparel

4 - You Have the First Table Position

Going alone in euchre is a good strategy if you are in first position. This allows you to bleed trump straight off the bat, significantly reducing the chances of getting over-trumped. This neutralizes one of the best defenses the opposition may have to stop your loner hand. 

It also reduces the chance of your opponent being able to use their trump cards to take tricks from you. 

The second best position for going alone is when you’re the dealer. This protects you from being over-trumped on the first trick, as there will be no players after you. 

However, this is not as strong a position as the first because you will not be able to lead with a trump card on the first trick. As such, you may have to use a trump card to take a trick instead of bleeding out cards. 

But then, this will open up the possibility of having your suit card trumped.

Expert Tip: In the second position, there’s an advantage to keeping your partner because they may be able to over-trump a player who’d otherwise trump your Ace. However, this minimal advantage must not factor heavily into your decision to go alone. 

Bonus: Keep an Eye on the Up Card

Better in Toledo Playing Card Deck

Always pay attention to what the Up Card is, whether it’s picked up or not—this refers to the card that's turned up after the dealer deals the first four cards.

If you plan to order a Right Bower, there’s little reason to go alone because your opponent will automatically have one trick. Keeping your partner and working together to obtain three tricks is a better play. 

If the Right Bower is turned down, it may become the Left Bower of another suit, potentially making the loner's hands in that suit stronger. Additionally, if an Up Card Ace is turned down, that makes the King of that suit the highest card.

Note: The impact of Up Cards varies depending on the specific circumstances of the game. It's important to consider the strength of your hand and your opponent's defense before deciding on whether to go alone or keep your partner.

The table below shows a summary of factors to consider when going alone in euchre.

Factor Pros Cons
Having an unbeatable hand Increase chances of winning all five tricks Risk of opponent over-trumping
Having fewer suits in your hand Opportunity to take all the tricks and prevent your opponent from winning Losing potential help from partner
Opponent’s trump cards (if they have Right or Left Bower) Increased chance of winning all five tricks Risk of opponent over-trumping
Table position (first position) Potential to control the game Risk of opponent over-trumping

See Also: Euchre in the Barn: 5 Simple Steps to Hosting an Unforgettable Game Night

Celebrate Your Winning Streak With Jupmode’s Euchre Collection

So, there you have it: your “cheat sheet” to going alone and blasting the opposition out of the water. Now all you need is a fitting way to celebrate your winning streak or maybe a gift for the opposition to make the loss sting a little less. 

After all, isn’t euchre all about bringing people together and making memories?

Thankfully, we know exactly where to find just the thing: Jupmode’s Euchre Clothing and Gifts collection

With our wide selection of euchre-themed apparel and gift items, you're guaranteed to find something for your euchre-loving friends and family. 

To help start your search, below are three of our favorite euchre tees and what some people had to say about them.

Jupmode’s Here for the Euchre Shirt

Here for the Euchre Shirt

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Jupmode’s Euchre Dream Team Shirt

Euchre Dream Team Shirt

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Jupmode’s going alone shirt

Pick It Up Euchre Shirt

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“Bought this for my hubby, who always leaves me hanging to go alone. He loved it …”
- Kimberly S., United States | ★★★★★

“My father is a huge Euchre nut and loves going alone if he has the slightest chance … this gift elicited a great chuckle!”
- Justin B., United States | ★★★★★

“Such a fun gift for my Euchre-playing dad. I waited until he actually said these words in the course of a game then brought out the shirt … Epic family memory created.”
- Kat M., United States | ★★★★★

For more fun euchre-themed shirts and gift items, check out our website, or better yet, visit us in our Adams Street store in Uptown Toledo.

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