Sunday, October 07, 2007

Euchre Whining--"You're a Sandbagger"

I've been playing at a different site than I normally do recently, and I've run across the reemergence of the social player who enters tournaments and then grouses about things that competitive (i.e. good) players do to try to win.

I had one player pitch a fit when I donated (called up a euchre to avoid a loner). I've run into a culture that holds on to the old rube that calling alone with 8 points is poor sportsmanship. And I've seen an increase of people getting euchred complaining about "sandbaggers"

Sandbagging is passing when you could call.

The majority of accusations of sandbagging are inherently contradictory since the order proceeds in a clockwise direction. I've heard people accuse others of sandbagging when the person calling actually was to the right of the alleged sandbagger. That means the person called before the other person had an opportunity to call. This by definition is not sandbagging. For example, I had a person call into me from first base (I was dealer), and then accuse me of sandbagging? Huh?

But that's not really my complaint. My complaint is that there can be strategic reasons for passing when you could call and make a point. Like going alone at 8, this is not evidence of poor sportsmanship, it is evidence of skill.

Say I'm at first base and the ace of space is turned up. I have the two black jacks, the king of spades, the ace of clubs and the 9 of hearts. I could very easily call into my opponents hand and be reasonably sure of getting a point (I might even go alone depending on the score). If I pass and and fortunate enough to have my opponents call, I get two points for euchring them (and a pretty good idea of where the remaining trump are based on who called). If they don't call, I still get first bid on second go round and can call clubs (again, maybe even alone) for a guaranteed point. My contention is that any player who doesn't "sandbag" here is just a poor (or social) player and not somebody I'd want as my partner.

Another obvious situation for sandbagging is if you are sitting third base and playing stick the dealer. You may have two sure trick and maybe a third. Would it be better to make a borderline call or to force your opponent to make a call and get two points for making three tricks instead of one?

People who don't like sandbagging should NEVER play stick the dealer, since absent stick the dealer one can punish the sandbagger by simply throwing in the hand (making the bagger lose the opportunity to get a point).

In my experience, the players who complain the most about sandbagging are infrequent or intermediate players who are frustrated at getting set on a bid they are used to making--one which would probably fly if there were an even trump distribution. Consciously or not, they think the fact that someone didn't call is a guarantee that the trump is evenly distributed and hence feel safe(r) calling a thin hand.

In general I believe the more aggressive team usually wins and that one should call if one can. An underrated component of the game, however, is knowing your opponent. If you know your opponent likes to call thin, sometimes the lost opportunities for borderline points can be made up for by euchres.

Players who complain about sandbagging are like a football team that is behind complaining that the other team is playing a prevent defense when they normally blitz or claiming that it is unsportsmanlike for an offensive line to let a defensive lineman get by in order to set up a screen pass. It makes no sense.

5 comments:

Patrick said...

Thank You... I just got called a sandbagger because i had all 4 J's and an extra club... it was clubs and it was stick the dealer... If we set the team we win 10-8... If i call there is a possibility i only get one point...

So I pass it knowing it will go to the deal since it is stick the dealer, he happens to call clubs and i set him... we get into an argument, he called me a sand bagging son of a bitch and i was like why the hell are you getting mad at me that was a great play according to the rules... i passed on the chance to win 2 points by taking all 5 knowing i would only have to take 3 hands... How is this considered dishonest? It seems like a hell of a play to me

Anonymous said...

I agree. I was just called a Sandbagger in Euchre in Yahoo games at the Intermediate level. WTF?
This isn't Bridge where you are supposed to be civilized and bid according to established rules! If I didn't have a strong hand, I stayed back - that's all I was doing.
A lot of odd people playing on line!

Genee' Cosby said...

TTTTTTTTTTTHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK YYYYYYYYYYYYYOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!

POGO PLAYERS GET SOOOO OFFENDED WHEN I SANDBAG. I'M SORRY I'M TRYING TO WIN. PLEASE FORGIVE ME!
ALSO, GOING ALONE ON 8 IS A PERFECTLY GOOD CALL BECAUSE YOUR PARTNER MAY NOT BE ABLE TO GET BACK IN YOU HAND. ESPECIALLY IF ITS 8 ALL AND THEY HAVE THE NEXT DEAL!!!

Excellent post btw!

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU!!!!!
THE PEOPLE ON POGO JUST DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS AND GET SOOOO OFFENDED.

ALSO GOING ALONE ON 8 IS PERFECTLY FINE. ESPECIALLY IF ITS TIED @ 8 AND THE OPPONENTS DEAL AFTERWARDS.


Excellent post btw!!

Jamie Carpenter said...

I just got called this as well and had no idea what it was. Btw the other team lost and was extrely bitter for playing a free online game. Thanks for the great post and explaination.