Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Euchre Ladder Hall of Fame

I dropped by the Advanced Lounge Five yesterday to catch up on a Euchre gaming ladder that I hadn't played in for some time. In between my college graduation and my first teaching job, I burned a summer climbing to #1 on the ladder. Back then there were thousands of active participants (there appear to be about 200 now), the rooms were always full, and anyone in the top 20 or so could play all day.

I'm always sad to see that the "Hall of Fame" feature really only tabulates longevity rather than making any attempt to identify the best players from different eras. Also, as various people have passed on, it has apparently become customary for people to post losses to them in "tribute," skewing the statistical records.

So here's one man's totally subjective opinion about who would be in my Internet Euchre Hall of Fame.

Tdeem1--A lot of people hated this guy, but he made it to #1 something like four or five times back when cracking the top ten was still a big deal. He was one of the first to break down the strategy of the LADDER (as opposed to just the card game) and articulated such simple premises as "defend during the day and rise at night" (realizing that it was harder for people to jump you if they had already played their up games and that you had to maximize your chances of playing up games twice in succession if you weren't simply going to lose the ground you gained waiting for players to show up. Never cheated around me (nor asked me to cheat) at the tables, but I did know him to have multiple accounts at one point. If he had a flaw, it was that he could sometimes be stubborn about his strategy and would rarely make adjustments based on score or opposition. One of the first (and only) to scout opposition, he was one of a handful of players who could tell you another player's tendencies.

Klykey2--I think I partnered with him once...in my first best of three match to make it to number one. That's how much I thought of him. He was a model of consistency; I never saw him make a misclick or mistake. He had an inherent understanding of position, and a knack for giving his partner an opportunity to take a trick if he had a sure stopper in order to increase the likelihood of a set.

Taco46--I don't claim that Taco46 was the best player, but if one mark of a hall of famer is legacy, Taco introduced innovations to the way the game was played. Taco was one of the first players to go loner crazy, helping to institute the hyper-aggressive style that came to characterize the venue for awhile and is still practice by many at that site. It was a rare game that Taco46 didn't attempt at lest two loners (sometimes more) and if that occasionally cost him points for missed marches, it often had the same effect as a vertical passing game in football--putting people on the defensive.

Breebrat2005--I didn't meet this player, I think, until my second stint in the Euchre rooms, but she is, hands down, the best partner I've ever played with. Combining a rock solid grasp of strategy with a Malcolm Gladwellesque ability to "thin slice" (intuitively factor in multiple variables to know when to deviate from the standard textbook play), she consistently makes decisions based on what will give the team the best opportunity to win. Most good Euchre players will win 53-54% of their games. The best might win 55%. When Breebrat2005 is your partner you'll probably win 57-60. That doesn't sound like alot, one or two games out of a 100, but in any collection of 100 games there are going to be maybe 80 that are pretty much determined by the cards that are dealt (assuming roughly even competition).

Jacmajor--Yea, he could be brutal with a partner (I've sat across from him a few times), but he can flat out play. Another model of consistency, Jacmajor's only real weakness was an inability to find and keep a partner. Perhaps because of that, he was one of the best at adjusting his game to fit his partner.

kenmorefield--went to #1 without a steady partner in what was an age primarily monopolized by cheating and Survivor-like coalitions. Lacks the absolute consistency of a Jacmajor or Klykey2 but will see a line that others miss because of a chess like ability to think three tricks ahead or anticipate where cards lay based on what was (or wasn't) bid. Like Breebrat2005, a master at adjustments based on score, position, and opposition. 56% winning percentage speaks for itself and is tough to equal over the course of over 3000 games. Oh and a 172-72 tournament record doesn't hurt, either. [Dontcha love people who talk about themselves in the third person?] Yeah, it's vain to vote for yourself, but if I had a vote, I'd put me in on this very short list...

Honorable mention/also deserving consideration: hudie62, jaw1582, thenamelessbard8, debs301, GoWingz, lshep_, ldywldkat,

Alright, so I know I'm forgetting someone....sorry about that, like I say, one man's opinion...

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