Hints to Tyros
from "The Law and Practice of the Game of Euchre" by A. Professor -1862
"Upon this hint I spake." - Shakespeare.
"What could I more?
I warn'd thee, I admonish'd thee, foretold the danger, and the lurking enemy That lay in wait." - Milton.
"Euchre and Life Own their losses and gains in ephemeral strife. 'Play alone,' when you hold the 'good cards' in the pack;
'Assist,' with the Ace, or the King and a Jack.
'Pass,' holding 'both Bowers' - on refusal to take,
You can 'make' it 'the next' and can 'play what you make;'
Look out for the 'bridges,' and cross if you choose, But with Euchre and Life, play to win, not to lose."
- Pettes.
The ensuing hints, confidingly and confidently suggested to novices in our highly scientific and gleesome game, result from an experience gained in many a "glorious and well-foughten field," and although not pretending in these premises to be Sir Oracle yet haud inexpertus loquor. We hope they will be kindly taken, as meant. Should they appear trite and simple to players of a certain degree of skill, we beg permission to remind them that the hints are offered only to novitiates, with a desire fully to explain to them some of the most approved points of play.
We venture to invite attention to a few words by way of prelude.
As the principle which guides us in social intercourse (if we remember our early education aright) is politeness - the observance of those pleasing amenities which tend so much to make life agreeable - so that which should guide us at the card table is good humor - that card-inal virtue.
Adhere undeviatingly and persistently to the law in each and every case made and provided, and remember "there is no power in Venice can alter a decree established." Play the right game always - coute qui coute - and insist on the strict play of the game by your opponents, for no option in playing, at variance with prescribed precepts, can be tolerated; and, if your partner commits an error, require the other side to avail themselves of the advantage attained by it - for the mistake of one party is the game of the other, fairly. Eschew especially every circumstance and act that has a tendency to produce confusion or misunderstanding in play.
Acquire the habit - it is easily accomplished - of determining whether you pass, or order up, without unnecessary suspense, and "hesitate not to say." Promptness and a quick response - "when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly" - should be part and parcel of the play; it is better to decide wrongly a few times than mislead your partner by hesitation. Nothing can be more irksome than to see a player - especially if one's partner - boggling over his cards, hesitating and undecided what to do. Such indecision, besides, betrays your hand. Holding but five cards, a glance at them, simply, enables a quick judgment to declare whether he will pass, or not. "Speak quick - it is the strength of the game;" is the favorite ejaculation of a favorite friend of ours.
Never exhibit peevishness and ill-temper - reserve it for home- consumption - when you lose, nor too great elation of joy when you win; nor permit the calm expression of your face to be ruffled by the appearance of your hand; and bear all reverses with Christian fortitude and Jewish resignation.
So, if your hand - we mean the cards you hold, gentle tyro - should happen to be as red as the saints' days in a Romish calendar, or as black as the concentrated essence of midnight, when the opposite colors are trumps, pursue the even tenor of your play, with placid demeanor - with columbine innocence and serpentine wisdom - and "publish it not" with impatient demonstrations, or vituperative expressions against ill- luck; for cards, at times will obstinately run as chance directs.
"'Tis not in mortals to command success," you know - if you do not, it is time you did, you understand.
"O there be players, that I have seen play," who grumble and fault-find as much over the card table, as they would chaffering and caviling in a market house with a huckster! - as if cards were not invented for recreation and amusement- "very reverend sport truly."
Should your partner make an occasional misplay, take it kindly, and avoid, by all means, that horrid practice of fault-finding and censure - every one, you know, except ourselves, commits blunders, and mistakes are inevitable.
Should you be eminently successful in winning from your adversaries, don't twit them too often and persistently with their defeat, but enjoy it secretly and quietly as we enjoy love and poetry, for "modesty," says the renowned Munchausen, "forbids individuals to arrogate to themselves great successes or victories."
It may hap - once in a while - that you will find yourself associated with a partner who is a novice in the philosophy and mysteries of our noble game, and when you "do begin to perceive" that he is one of those unfortunate individuals of neglected erudition, whose intense ignorance of the play is disheartening - displaying the most marvelous ingenuity in preventing you from winning, and a cruelly tantalizing facility in helping your opponents to defeat you - smile, if you can; - we always do. "Illuc Ionicus."
In such a case, if no other kind of amusement can be resorted to, suggest refreshment, you will find it a great relief; and, besides, some one may then offer to take your place at the card table, or your partner "for worse" may obtain some more suitable employment.
Never give in and grow faint-hearted - hard as it sometimes is to lose when near winning - but console yourself with the comfortable reflection that while the combat continues, victory is uncertain.
Although, at this game, the advantage rather depends on skillful combinations, and a quick calculation of chances at the various periods of play, than on high cards, yet the most unskillful novice at the game may frequently hold such commanding cards during an entire seance that he must necessarily win all the tricks, even from experienced experts, for Bowers will defeat Aces, and Aces will capture Kings. Avoid too much elation at a run of luck, for, "the hood-wink'd goddess" must succumb to persistent skill: moreover, you will soon find but little excitement in like easy skirmishes. But, when cards do range out equally and high on either side in groups of threatening and overwhelming strength, good scuffling hands, - "I love a hand that meets mine own," - affording fine scope for combinations of chance and skill, arousing the accomplished adept's valor to the strife for victory, "then comes the tug of war." We have known players when holding such hands to play a series of several hundred games, without making a single error in play, or failing to win every trick on the cards. "Think of that Master Brooks," and be emulous.
Always consult the score of the game, playing accordingly, and remember that the policy of your antagonists is at variance with your own. Never let your face betray your hand. An air of coldness, and impassibility of feature, are indispensable qualities in play.
There are many other circumstances of play which we might assume to hint at that cannot well be demonstrated by rules; but deference to the opinions of others - older, if not better soldiers, - your knowledge of the refined observances and established usages of society, and a certain natural tact, will guide and counsel you, we fancy, better than any suggestions of ours. Skill, of course is only acquired by practice.
Once more we earnestly recommend, nay beseech you, to give no indications by gesture or expression of the strength or weakness of your cards, but preserve a stoical placidity of countenance, eschewing in every manner all species of unfairness; and we hope it may be our fortune, "oft in the stilly night," to meet you in friendly conflict on the "velvet plain."   continue
Note: In A. Professor's day, the common Euchre game in the U.S.A. was played with a 32 card deck (7's up to Aces) and the game ended when a side reached five points.