Henword - Already a high caliber Bridge and Chess player, Henword has taken a special interest in Euchre within the last five years.
He has multiple online handles on Yahoo! that legitimately rank over 2200.
The K-9 Kicker is entirely his creation, but without a friend like Harvey, you would probably not be reading about it.
The K-9 kicker is a "reverse next" strategy. The bid is made on a theoretical guess that you have a good chance of scoring a trick under the circumstances.
The situation arises in the hand of the dealer's partner (2nd seat) when all players pass the first round, the dealer also turns down and the first opponent does not bid anything.
The reverse next bid can theoretically be made by the dealer's partner on a relatively weak hand. The assumption is that the dealer might have some help in the opposite color of the suit that he turned down. Adding to that, the right- hand-opponent probably doesn't have much, otherwise he wouldn't have passed.
Just how weak does one bid reverse next exactly?
This is the question that the K-9 Kicker tries to answer. Henword proposes that theK-9 is the minimum requirement one should possess to make this bid.
Natty Bumppo's book, "The Columbus Book of Euchre", describes the concept of "reverse next";
"Do not be afraid to order a K-9 kicker or better in a reverse next situation. You'll often either make the trick, prevent a loner from third seat or both."
Harvey Lapp comments- euchrelinks.com;
When I first heard of the K-9 Kicker bidding idea of Henword's, I actually thought it was a little bit too weak to be consistent, but very soon I found that the call worked quite frequently.
Why not the Q-9 Kicker? I mean, how did Henword come to the conclusion that it had to be a King and Nine with a side-Ace without any mathematical breakdown? I had my doubts.
However, this hand seems to work. Strangely, a hand with slightly less than the K-9 gets euchred consistently.
Also, I found that when you fail to bid in this scenario, the other team's chances of scoring two points or better seem to increase. Attempting to score a desperation point here seems better than passing anyway, no matter what the score.
What is a K-9 Kicker?
- The K-9 Kicker has (at least) a King and Nine suited in the opposite color of the former upcard. The King / Nine will become the trump suit.
- It has at least one side Ace that is the same color as the former upcard.
- The K-9 Kicker contains three suits and one void.
- This bid should only be made when the K-9 is in the second seat (the dealer's partner's hand) after everyone has passed to him.
Experimenting with reverse next is rather difficult. Even though it is easy to set up hands that qualify as a K-9 Kicker on Euchre Laboratoryand randomly shuffle the other cards and play them, many hands won't qualify. In many scenarios, one of the players will receive a hand that will obligate them to order up the upcard. Other times 1st seat will have an inevitable call. You have to throw all these hands out because 2nd seat won't have a chance to bid.
When you do find situations where there will likely be five passes, the play of the hand is difficult to determine. The choice of leads following other player's tricks will often make the difference in the outcome of the hand but they are all too unpredictable.
The Real McCoy:
Not long before I decided to post Henword's strategy, he showed me an actual hand that he had played on Yahoo! the previous night that qualified as a K-9 kicker.
Henword was playing under Kobebarfsession here. This hand contained two side aces, making things seem a little easier. Below is a visual demonstration on how this hand actually played out.
Henword's partner turned down the Queen of Clubs and first seat passed. With the King, Nine of Diamonds and two side Aces, Henword ordered Diamonds: Start the Demo
1. First seat leads the Ace of Clubs which Henword takes with the King of Diamonds, hoping to force third seat to overruff if possible.
As it turns out, third seat must follow with the Nine of Clubs in this case.
2. Henword leads trump; the Nine of Diamonds. Third seat takes with the
Right Bower and Henword's partner is forced to play the Left.
First seat tosses the Ten of Diamonds and things look rather bad for Henword.
3. Third hand leads the King of Hearts and the dealer must follow with the Ten. The player in first seat (who has probably not read the commandment; "Thou shalt trumpeth thy partner's King") discards the Ten of Clubs which allows Henword to take with the Ace of Hearts.
4. Henword leads the Ace of Spades which walks. Seat three discards the Nine of Hearts and the others follow with the Ten and Queen of Spades. Even though first seat holds the Ace of Diamonds, Henword has already made good on his bid.
The K-9 Kicker should be attempted whenever the conditions require it.
It will likely prevent your left-hand-opponent from scoring 2 or 4. Go for it!
Playing the Hand:
We find that it generally works best to lead the low trump at the first opportunity. Although this trick is often lost, your partner might surprise you with a bower. The lead of trump also helps make the side Ace good.
Give your partner a chance to take a trick early. Don't ruff your RHO's lead of off-suit King or less, unless the opponents have two tricks already.
If possible, save your trump King to take the Ace of your void-suit.
Hopefully, trick 5 will be you leading your unchallenged side-Ace!
"If the player to the left of the dealer does not call "next", it is often wise for the dealer's partner to call a suit of the other color- even if he has nothing of strength in the suit. There was a reason his partner turned the first color down. Even if the dealer has no support (because he has no hand), and the call results in a euchre, it may avoid a loner by third hand."
Harvey Lapp - Learned to play euchre at an early age in Buffalo, NY.
Besides creating and operating this website; euchrelinks.com, Harvey has taken a special interest in breaking down euchre strategy and sharing it on the internet.
He is a professional casino dealer in Las Vegas.
Harvey Rabbit Lapp
When I originally posted this page in 2002, the concept of reverse next was not new to me, but having a minimum holding to call it with was.
As I said above, I thought a King and 9 was simply not enough trump to call with. What I didn't take into account was the fact that the dealer had turned down the other color and the first opponent had passed. I also had an off- Ace (hopefully to lead with on trick five when trump is exhausted) and a void suit I might be able to cash my trump 9 with.
This concept is reinforced by the "count on your partner for one" proverb and vice versa.
In 2005, I don't even question the K-9 Kicker (or better) in this situation. I use it automatically and find that it works like magic most of the time. Sometimes I end up ordering a hand that my opponent has enough help to go alone in it, but hindsight is useless here simply because my partner will not likely get a chance to bid. Somebody's holding, might be the kitty, but possibly in third seat. Don't let them call it.
I regularly use the K-9 Kicker for my minimum call of next from first seat. So far the jury is still out on the minimum hand to call next on, because I feel that it depends partially on the rank of the upcard.
In the meantime however, use the K-9 fearlessly in reverse next situations.