While their are many sites that list various Euchre strategies (see Links below), the Hoyle strategy is assumed to be known as the basis of any Euchre player. Building or varying from Hoyle strategy (Blocking to the Left, for instance) needs both partners to understand (and agree on) how each role works. If you haven't discussed strategy with your partner, playing Hoyle is the only way to be on the same page.
Some players don't know Hoyle strategy or how to implement it. This can lead to opponents thinking that you are cheating, partners that pass on good opportunities, partners or opponents leaving at the first opportunity and games that are completely lop-sided (above randomized cards).
Following Hoyle can get you Euchred or call straight into your opponents hand. Partners or opponents who don't know whats going on will either accuse you of cheating (very common and a tiresome event) or leave at the first opportunity (extremely common and tiresome event). Getting Euchred is the name of the game, having a partner who will be able to "get over it" is a very good thing. Playing Hoyle can also lead to "calling on nothing" in your hand in order to call "for your partner", which can lead to people calling you a cheat. Only you know if you are cheating or not, don't worry about ignorance.
Last note on being called a cheat: Their are many players who have played 500 and consider Euchre to be a simple version of 500. These players have a larger basis for instinct within Euchre and can pull off tricks and calls that completely defy imagination and Hoyle. For the most part (because of location), even their simplified version of 500 (Euchre) is played with 7's and 8's so Hardwood Euchre is simplified even more. Again, don't worry about ignorance if you are called a cheat because you know what to do and when to do it because of vast experience.
This is straight forward Hoyle strategy in plain English (with a few comments and notes thrown in). They are only good principals and not iron-clad. Also, it is very well known and many people BAG (pass even though they can call) because they can guess what you might call if you follow Hoyle strategy.
Hoyle is most famous for "calling for your partner" because it is based on what wasn't called rather than on your hand and you can "call into your partners hand" by going NEXT or CROSS at the right time. Calling in euchre is the best way to win because it prevents your opponents from calling anything, especially a loner.
No matter what you should be familiar with general principals of euchre not mentioned in Hoyle (see links below).
A suggestion is to play-test about 20 games or so without passing twice using only Hoyle strategy (make a new account name if you want) then start playing about 20 games or so just keeping Hoyle in mind.
Knowing Hoyle inside and out is a great tool because it’s the most commonly known strategy. In fact, it's assumed by all other strategies that you know it.
You should understand the Euchre Terminology used, especially what the "bridge" is and what "blocking" means.
Hoyle Calling StrategyEdit
1st seat on turn upEdit
Don't order up unless you have 3 for sure tricks AND you can't call 2 tricks in your hand if it’s turned down (especially if you have NEXT suit because you might be able to euchre if it’s picked up, or if it's turned down then you can call NEXT anyway).
Seldom order up a bower because it’s highly unlikely the dealer will turn it down. One exception to the first rule is if its 9 to 9, you have average trump strength, good OFF cards, and cannot make a NEXT call... It's better to risk the game on such a hand than have it turned down and nothing to call.
The exception to both rules is when you’re at the BRIDGE and BLOCK a possible lone hand, counting on getting the winning point on your deal. (They can't win if you call, so you get the deal, but they CAN win if they have a loner).
NOTE: Hoyle advises "blocking" only at the "bridge" point AND if you don't have a sure stop in your hand (guarded left, etc.) but Hoyle was written when the game only went to 5 points. There are other times when a 10 point game would call for blocking. People often BLOCK here, regardless whether they are at the BRIDGE or not, to prevent the drastic score change that a loner can have.
1st seat on turn downEdit
Once the calling passes the turn up card, it’s a general rule for 1st seat to call NEXT, since your opponents didn't have the jacks necessary to order up.
The exception is when you don't have anything in NEXT, 2 tricks in CROSS AND a good OFF card... It's good policy to not order CROSS unless you are reasonably certain of 3 tricks.
It’s safer to order a weak NEXT hand rather than a CROSS because it’s more likely your opponents will be strong in CROSS or they would have ordered up.
2nd seat on turn upEdit
The 2nd seat should order up on OFF aces rather than on trumps.
One consideration is that if a jack is turned up, then ordering up the jack prevents the dealer from going alone (Especially if you’re on 6 or 7).
If your side is at the bridge (9-6) you must be prepared to BLOCK the 3rd seat from going alone.
2nd seat on turn downEdit
The general rule is for you to call CROSS since your partner couldn't pick it up and should be weak in NEXT.
If you DO want to call NEXT then you may want to consider going alone since both your partner and the 1st seat are weak in NEXT (1st seat passed NEXT up).
The other consideration is that everyone so far has passed and 3rd seat may have a loner. It is better to CROSS just to BLOCK 3rd from calling.
3rd seat on turn upEdit
Much the same as 1st seat on turn up... Don't order up unless you have 3 for sure tricks AND you cant call 2 tricks in your hand if it’s turned down (especially if you have NEXT suit and can maybe euchre if it’s picked up).
The exception here is when you have strong trumps AND a partner that BLOCKS (Having a sure stop for the opponent’s lone hand on your side as well)... you can order up the dealer knowing you should get the point.
NOTE: This is only at the BRIDGE unless your partner BLOCKS regardless of points (see above note on 1st seat on turn up).
3rd seat on turn downEdit
Hoyle says to never call here unless you can call a loner by assuming everyone is weak since they passed AND it’s your partner’s job to BLOCK.
Hoyle also says to be wary of BAGGING here since everyone has passed twice except the dealer who passed once.
Comment: You CAN call CROSS here since your partner didn't call NEXT and 2nd seat didn't call CROSS. Also, NEXT is not out of the question either, since you partner might have good OFF cards and the opponents should be weak in NEXT (Keep in mind your partner has the lead).
Dealer on turn upEdit
Discarding a suit is a must unless it’s an ace. You should pick it up if it makes 3 trumps in your hand OR 2 strong trumps and a good OFF card.
It is also better to pick it up if it lets you only have 2 suits in your hand even if the trumps are weak... instead of having 2 strong trumps and 2 weak OFF suits.
If you have a chance in NEXT suit or a bower in CROSS, you should turn it down.
At 9-9 it’s useless to turn anything down unless you have a certain euchre in NEXT suit AND nothing in the turn up suit.
Dealer on turn downEdit
Hoyle has nothing to say about this... We can assume someone is BAGGING or is split with both red and black jacks.
Comment: You CAN call NEXT since your opponents didn't and your partner didn't CROSS... Also, CROSS is not out of the question either since your partner might have good OFF cards.
NOTE: this is much the same as 3rd seat on turn down... but in reverse (be wary of either position when calling). If its stick the dealer then good luck!
The following are COMMENTS AND STRATEGY that would bog down the basics above.
IF YOU ARE PLAYING WITH PEOPLE WHO DON'T KNOW HOYLE STRATEGY...
NOTE: These also apply to opponents who are deliberately playing against Hoyle in order to BAG you or just don't know how to call.
The more people pass, the more Hoyle starts assuming what is in their hand. Much of the strategy is still the same but some assumptions have to be thrown out.
I.e... 1st seat might NOT call a weak (or even moderate) NEXT hand, etc.
Its up to you to read Hoyle and think outside the box… determine if what is stated means anything if someone is not playing Hoyle or trying to trick you.
Lastly, you can BLOCK from any position if you know your partner doesn't BLOCK at all.
NOTES ON BLOCKING... When Hoyle was written the game was only to 5 points... This meant that a lone hand making it would almost certainly win the game AND that blocking when NOT AT THE BRIDGE was foolhardy (a 2 point euchre from blocking would be almost half the game).
In modern euchre the game is to 10 points (not including variations such as British or New Zealand which are higher than 10 points).
This has opened up blocking when NOT AT THE BRIDGE for 2 main reasons.....
1... A 2 point euchre from a block can have a low impact on the game as a whole (a lone hand making all 4 points can not claim low impact on a game unless they are losing badly or its early in the game).
2... There can be several mini-bridge points in the game... The main bridge is when you're one point from winning and the opponents are one lone hand from winning, i.e. 9 to 6 or 7..... While a mini-bridge is when you are 3 or 4 points above the opponents, i.e. 6 to 2 or 3......OR 7 to 3 or 4..... etc.
Thus risking a euchre of 2 points would allow your side to still be ahead BUT if they make a lone hand then the game will be even or worse.
This makes it stronger to block at a mini-bridge point.
A suggestion is to always block at the main bridge point (not having a stopper, of course), and as for the rest of the time.....
1. Use the score to guide you (if you’re on 9 and they have 3 then there is no need to block, or if you’re at a mini-bridge then it’s stronger to block, etc.).
2. When you block regardless of score, you have to use your gut instinct (look to your off's for stoppers as well) and if you’re wrong then don’t worry about it and get a partner who wont worry about it as well.
BLOCKING ORDER IN HOYLE (MAIN BRIDGE IN MODERN EUCHRE)Edit
While it is embedded in the rules above, knowing when to block deserves separate mention so no one double blocks.
I.e... If your 3rd seat and your partner doesn’t block AT THE BRIDGE then they have the stopper and there is no reason to block.
If you do then you are double blocking which is a horrible strategy.
Hoyle sets up a blocking system (what you and your partner are supposed to do) AT THE BRIDGE according to where you’re seated at the time...
Turn up round...
1st seat... block both opponents (to the left and right): this is the only blocker on this team and the main time to block
2nd seat... block third seat (to the left)
3rd seat... do nothing (your partner has the stopper)
Dealer... sadly Hoyle says nothing about this but definitely consider blocking 1st seat (to the left)
Turn down round...
1st seat... sadly Hoyle says nothing about this but definitely consider blocking both ways (to the left and right)
2nd seat... block third seat (to the left) (Hoyle suggests calling cross)
3rd seat... do nothing (your partner has the stopper)
Basically 1st seat blocks for their team right away on the turn up suit (and later for the other suits), while 3rd seat trusts in the judgment of their partner.
While the dealers team blocks to the left (2nd seat blocks to the left on the turn up card, if needed, then they just block to the left for the other suits).
I.e..... If your 1st seat, at the bridge, then your supposed to order up to block both opponents (if you don’t have a stopper) while your partner is not supposed to block at all (knowing you have the stopper), etc.....
If your 2nd seat, at the bridge, then your supposed to order up to block 3rd seat (if you don’t have a stopper) while your partner is supposed to pick up to block 1st seat from other suits (mainly next) if they don’t have a stopper, etc.
Note: Blocking as the dealers team should not be done when the opponents have 7 points because it would give a 2 point euchre and the deal to the other team, which is a more probable win for them than making a lone hand.
BLOCKING ORDER FOR MODERN EUCHRE (WHEN NOT AT THE BRIDGE)Edit
Then modern variation used when NOT AT THE BRIDGE is much the same as above except that 2nd seat should NEVER call up on the turn up round in order to block 3rd seat.
The reason is because the dealer has the position that is most likely to be able to call a loner.
It is more advantageous for the 2nd seat not to block at all when NOT AT THE BRIDGE, especially since 2nd seat is the easiest seat to call up the turn up card, i.e... you will be blocking your partner on legitimate calls anyway.
This is not mentioned in Hoyle AT ALL, so it’s a vague thing that is understood by some players while other players have little knowledge of it.
The problem is that there are still some strict Hoyle players that still block when NOT AT THE BRIDGE as 2nd seat (or just call up on off aces), blocking their partner from going alone!
Even if they are not "strict Hoyle" players, 2nd seat sometimes blocks 1st seat from calling next (which is not a bad strategy, if you feel you need to, but you have to wonder why they don’t trust their partner).
Sound advice is to get your partner to not block as 2nd seat when NOT AT THE BRIDGE or just talk to your partner and work out a system that you agree on and that won’t invite double blocking.