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Whitefire

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Spades-palooza [Dial-up Warning. Many images within.] Reply to this Post
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Did you read the rules but are still lost on bidding and play strategy? Look no further than here for your spading resource. I will be posting various play formats, images of how hands are bid, images of how to play hands, etc. I encourage all experienced spaders to do the same.

Also, feel free to post screen shots of your hand if you want commentary from others on the best bid.

[size=9]Stickied by request! -Diamondblade.
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Whitefire

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Alternate Playing Formats


Mirror

Bid the number of a specific suit in your hand. The suit may be Spades, Hearts, Clubs or Diamonds. The total bid will always come out to 13.

Suicide

One team mate bids, the other goes nil. The first partner to bid decides who does which one.

Strip

You must play your cards, in order, from right to left. So you start with your highest diamond and work your way left to your lowest spade.

Reflection

You must bid the same number of tricks as your partner.

I will add more in later =D.


If you agree on an alt format, but forget to play by a rule, it is traditional that the person who messed up leaves the table and forfeits the game. But ask before you do this. People are forgiving (especially right now since so many players are new to the game) and will probably let the error go.
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by Whitefire at Nov 25, 2004 2:55:23 AM]
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Whitefire

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[size=16]Terminology

Bags - Another name for Overage Points

Bag Set - When a team recieves 10 bags (overage points) they lose 100 points.

(to) Break Spades - To break spades, you must play a spade as trump when you are void in the lead suit.

Control - After winning a trick you are given control. You are allowed to play any suit except Spades if it is not broken yet.

Counter - See Winner

High Cards - J, Q, K, A

Lead Suit - The suit of the first card played in a trick. You must play a card of the same suit unless you are void.

Long Suit - When you have 4 or more cards of a given suit

Low Cards - 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

Mid Cards - 7, 8, 9, 10

Nil - A special bid where a player says they will not win any tricks

Nil set - When a Nil bid wins a trick

Overage Points - The number of tricks your team wins over your combined bid.

Set - When a team does not win the number of tricks it bid

Short Suit - When you have 1 or 2 cards of a suit.

Sluff - To play a card you don't want on an off suit or when it loses to a higher valued card

Strong Suit - When you have a large proportion of high cards in a suit

Tricks - Each play of 4 cards is one trick. There are 13 tricks total in each hand.

Trump - The suit of Spades is considered trump. When trump is played, the highest one wins the trick.

Void - When you lack any cards of a suit

Weak Suit - When you have a large proportion of low and mid cards in a suit

Winner - A card that you count on to win a trick
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[Edit 4 times, last edit by Whitefire at Nov 25, 2004 5:11:50 AM]
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54x

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Cool. :) As a guide to quick bidding: An ace and, if you are feeling lucky, any cards that you have in a run from an ace are generally enough to bid one for each. (eg. if you have A, K, and Q) You are guarenteed to win with the Ace of Spades and any card in a run that connects to it. If you've got the queen and king of spades, you can afford to bid for one of them. Etc... When using these guidelines, don't bet over 6.

Bidding 3 is "safe": you are predicting that you'll perform averagely. If your hand looks especially bad, you should be bidding under 3. If it looks pretty good, you can start going up to 4 or maybe even 5. Keep in mind that there are twelve tricks, and you're bidding for only half of your partnership, so bidding six is effectively saying you'll play half of a perfect round.

Anyway, back to whitefire while he build a much more robust guide. Can't wait to see it mate :)
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Diamondblade, Cartographer, Crimson Tide.
from Midnight.
Dear sir or madam can you read my book, it took me years to write, will you take a look?
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by 54x at Nov 25, 2004 6:02:50 AM]
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Faulkston

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I thought there were 13 tricks.
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kaosfere

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54x wrote: 
As a guide to quick bidding: An ace and, if you are feeling lucky, any cards that you have in a run from an ace are generally enough to bid one for each. (eg. if you have A, K, and Q) You are guarenteed to win with the Ace of Spades and any card in a run that connects to it.


Not necessarily. Generally, if you have many (more than 3 or 4) cards of a non-trump suit, you have to devalue your high cards -- odds are, if you try to play them all out, someone is going to trump you. Inversely, if you have many trumps, you can inflate the value of lower cards, especially if you have one or two short-suits that you know you can cut early.
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Smackey

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Whoo, I love spades :).

Generally, I'll try getting pics up later on how many to bid well, but for now just a run over on a few things.

Bidding: All right. Bidding is the most important part of the game, and everyone has their own certain strategies when it comes to it. Usually if you have 3 of some suit, and ye have the ace, that's a good trick to count in. Ace and King of the same suit - Well, it depends on how many you have. If you have 6 of that suit, I wouldn't count on getting A and K. Chances are that due to your having a bunch, one of your opposition has a paucity of that suit, and he will trump it if he desires. Queens - I hardly count them as a trick, unless I have the King (And a low amount of cards in that suit) to back it up. And I'd call that pair 1 trick. If ye got one of a suit and 4 or more spades, I'd consider that a trick. Because once that card gets played out, you can trump (Spade) the following if you desire.

A common fault to new players: Bidding the number of spades you have. Wrongo. It does happen sometimes, but it's pretty much rare. If you know you have the ability to trump a lot of stuff coming out with your plethora of spades, you should conside rthem tricks. You can take good estimated guesses how many times it will suceed by lookng at your number of cards in each other suit. Or maybe in how many spades you do have :)

I don't like nil. I never play it IRL, since it's silly. So that's why I generally avoid it. Plus, it's only 50 points. It's much better to go 2 and set the other team than to bid nil and make your not-so-whopping 50 points.

If you're playing with a partner you've never played before, you should under bid. Why? It's better to be safe than sorry. Ye don't know how he plays. Ye don't know if he knows the game well. Ye don't know if he's bidding the amount of spades he has :P. It's good to bid 1 or 2, depending on how many tricks are on the table, under than what you should be able to make.

Don't bid too many when you don't have to. The best way I can explain this is by these settings.

1. You are the last person to bid, and there are 12 tricks already bidded. You have a damn good 5 bid - do not bid 5!. Chances are that someone overbidded, and it might even be your partner. I would go 2 in this case. It would be okay to bag, since you would be setting them. Plus, if you got set, because you bid 5 and wanted to make it a 17 trick hand, then you will be stomping yourself in the foot when it fails :P. This can apply to many situations when there are already a high amount of tricks being played. That doesn't mean you go nil, you know :P.

2. You need 40 to win the game, and your partner bids 2, and you have a good 4 bid - don't bid 4 :P. Ye got no reason too, and maybe your opposition was underbidding to trap you. Just bid the 2 (Or 3 if you must/have to/cannot resist), and wathc out the the bags. Excepts are when the game is close. In this case, go the 4 to make sure you have enough points to like, you know, win the game properly.


In game tips:

1. Setting - Go for the set (Taking enough tricks so your opposition's hand doesn't make its required tricks) when it's a 12 or 13 bid. Try to get as many as possible and also try setting it up. 11 - You should focus on how many sand bags you have left, untill you lose 100. Generally, just watch how the hand is being played on an 11. If it looks like you won't set them, then you should try bagging them after you've accomplished your trick requirement.

2. Reading how many cards of a suit a person has - Let's say it's a 14 trick hand (As in there is a combined bidding of 14) where you must go for every single trick, and it's appearent to all players that ye have to.

The Setting:
Bob (Team one) throws Ace of Hearts on second play of diamonds.
Jordan (Team two) throws a 7 of hearts.
Richard (Team one) throws a 9 of hearts.
Billy (Team two) throws a King of Hearts.

Chances are Billy has no more hearts after that, so it would be beneficial to not throw any more hearts. That, or Billy is a silly person :P. It doesn't have to be the first play or even a 14 trick hand. But if you have a great feeling that your opposition is depserate for tricks and then throw away high cards, chances are they have no more left. I know this might be confusing, but I'll try to get pics. And if ye see it done more often, ye will know what I'm talking about.


3. Bagging - If it's a 10 trick hand, you probably wanna go for bagging them. Generally, I usually like taking our tricks first (Unless I have the Ace, or a plethora of spades); then I go for bagging them. Basic "Better to be Safe than Sorry" standard here. It's tough to explain by words, so I'll try get some pics up in volume 2 to illustrate what I'm trying to say.


4. Covering the nil - If you have a myriad of a suit (Usually 5 or more), and some high of it, use that to help your pard dump whatever he has high of another suit. There are cases where both partners have the same high number of the same suit, but it's rare. Don't rely on your partner to have lower! If you can take a suit and/or have a great chance of covering your pard, by all means, do it. If the opposition happens to cover your partner on a play, this is a great time to dump any low cards of that suit or another suit. There is no reason to take a trick when you don't have to, unless you happen to NEED that trick to cover your own bid. Keep the high cards; discard the low cards (When safe) - that's a pretty good general rule to follow when trying to cover your pard's nil.

Alright, the next time I write something this big, it will probably have pics in it to make it a bit more easier to comprehend.

More input from more people please :)
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"There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal."- Friedrich Hayek
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[Edit 2 times, last edit by Smackey at Nov 25, 2004 10:01:30 AM]
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DevineHL2

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Hmm. now what happens when (i apologize if this doesn't make sense, i'm full from thanksgiving dinner) player 1 throw a non-spade suit down... player 2 throws the same suit but higher than the first card played, player 3 (me) throws a spade, player 4 throws the same suit as player 1 and 2. I should win the trick right cause i've thrown the spade? But, a few times last nigh,t i don't remember the exact cards played, but player 2 or 4 won the trick each time (the other team).

Are there any rules i've missed where something beats a spade (or was it a booch?)? i thought only a higher spade could win a trick where a spade was thrown.

Thanks! :-D

(Sorry if this is in the wrong thread.)
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--A Folkie for all oceans (but mostly Malachite these days)
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54x

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Only higher spades will beat a spade. Did you perhaps accidentally miss that one was a spade because clubs was the leading suit?

Think of it this way: Cards are valued:

(cards not of leading suit and not spades) < 2-10 of leading suit < J Q K A of leading suit < 2-10 of spades < J Q K A of spades.

And, of course, removing the last two bits if spades is the leading suit :)

edit: removed incorrect "n't"
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Diamondblade, Cartographer, Crimson Tide.
from Midnight.
Dear sir or madam can you read my book, it took me years to write, will you take a look?
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by 54x at Nov 25, 2004 10:56:11 AM]
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DevineHL2

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hmm, that's what i thought. the rest of the cards definitely weren't spades... (they were either hearts or diamonds) and somehow , after i bid the only spade, the other team got the trick... i wish i had taken a screen shot of this. it had happened a few times. bah, well, i'll take a screen shot next time.
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54x

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DevineHL2 wrote: 
hmm, that's what i thought. the rest of the cards definitely weren't spades... (they were either hearts or diamonds) and somehow , after i bid the only spade, the other team got the trick... i wish i had taken a screen shot of this. it had happened a few times. bah, well, i'll take a screen shot next time.


Bidding = declaring how many tricks you think you can win. You were after "played" ;)

Are you positive that you didn't accidentally play a club? :/ I don't see how that could happen. If you notice it again, you might want to /bug it.
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from Midnight.
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DevineHL2

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nope -- it was definitely a spade, it happened a few times and the table all noticed, but as we were all new players, we thought it might have been a rule that was overlooked. Thanks fer the info mate!
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--A Folkie for all oceans (but mostly Malachite these days)
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Gloraelin

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here's something that i've started doing, maybe you all can tell me if this is good or not.

when i get to the bid screen, i look at my cards. i start with the number of aces i have for my bid. then i look at the other high cards. say i have 3 aces (spades, hearts, and diamonds) and a queen of spades, a king of hearts, and nothing extra in diamond or clubs. with that hand i will usually bid 4-5, depending on my mood.

is this a good way to bet?
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Smackey

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Gloraelin wrote: 
here's something that i've started doing, maybe you all can tell me if this is good or not.

when i get to the bid screen, i look at my cards. i start with the number of aces i have for my bid. then i look at the other high cards. say i have 3 aces (spades, hearts, and diamonds) and a queen of spades, a king of hearts, and nothing extra in diamond or clubs. with that hand i will usually bid 4-5, depending on my mood.

is this a good way to bet?


Too ambiguous to tell acurately.

It depends how many of those suit you have. It also depends on how many tricks have already been bidded, more specifically, your partner's.
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"There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal."- Friedrich Hayek
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Whitefire

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Smackey wrote: 
I don't like nil. I never play it IRL, since it's silly. So that's why I generally avoid it. Plus, it's only 50 points. It's much better to go 2 and set the other team than to bid nil and make your not-so-whopping 50 points


50 points is better than 20 points. And if you have a good partner, you can usually bag the other team into a bag set. Not niling is a good way to lose. And blind nil will garner you 100 points, not 50.
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Smackey

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Whitefire wrote: 
Smackey wrote: 
I don't like nil. I never play it IRL, since it's silly. So that's why I generally avoid it. Plus, it's only 50 points. It's much better to go 2 and set the other team than to bid nil and make your not-so-whopping 50 points


50 points is better than 20 points. And if you have a good partner, you can usually bag the other team into a bag set. Not niling is a good way to lose.


Minus whatever they have (Assuming it's 30 or over) as points is better than 20 points. As you know, Spades is a very situational game. But anyway, if I have somewhat good nil hand, but there is 11 tricks on the board, I'm not gonna go nil. I'll go for the set. Ya, it really does depend on your partner for a lot of things.

Anyway, I personally cannot give much tips about Nil, aside from obvious ones, because it's not in the rules that I've played for over 4 or so years. I don't know what it is, but it just never appealed to me or the people I played with. I really think it's a silly rule in spades, but that doesn't mean I'm asking for the Devs to change it or whatever.
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Whitefire

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Basic Biding Strategy: Part 1

Biding is a very deep concept in Spades. How you bid is a major way of communicating with your partner. This post and the next will be basic guides of how to count your cards without factoring the other aspects. I will go over percentages, odds, bidding conventions, etc. in later, more advanced posts.

Hand 1



Weak length in Spades and short in Hearts. The Aces of Spades and Diamonds are both winners. With your length in Spades you will pick up 1-3 extra tricks.

Whitefire's bid - 4

Hand 2



Shortness in Spades will make you wish to Nil, but your strength in every other suit is an almost a garunteed set. Your A is a winner, and you should be able to pick off 2-3 other tricks before the trump is played.

Whitefire's bid - 3

Hand 3



Short in Spades and Hearts, long in Diamonds. The A of spades is a winner. The regular deal of 3 clubs means your A and K are both likely winners. The length in Diamonds means the K is likely to be trumped. Shortness in Diamonds should let you convert your low Spade into a winner.

Whitefire's bid - 4

Hand 4



Here we have a very strong hand. Regular distribution in all of your suits implies a high chance of trump being played on each suit's third lead. All 3 clubs should be counted as winners, as well as the two other A's and the K of diamonds. If the Q of clubs or the K of diamonds is trumped, the middling spades in combination with the A will let you snipe an extra trick. (I'll cover this playing strategy later).

Whitefire's bid - 6

Hand 5



I accidentally played a card before I took the SS v_v.

Short in spades, but with a strong card. Short in Diamonds and useless length in the other suits. This hand is a pure nil except for the Diamonds and lonely spade (frustrating, I know). the A is a winner and the Q of spades should convert into a trick on the short suited diamonds.

Whitefire's bid - 2

Hand 6



This is one of those hands that will pull your hair out. The amount of low cards you have make you want to nil, but the Q6 pair in diamonds scream set. You can bid 1 for sure, a risky nil or a long shot of 2.

Whitefire's bid - Nil

After this hand, our opponent froze, so we didn't get to end the game. (The score was 450 us to 320 them, so it was over anyways).
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Whitefire

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Basic Biding Strategy: Part 2

Hand 1



A nice hand. Length in Spades and short strength in two other suits. Your K's are winners, and you should be able to convert two of the middling Spades into tricks.

Whitefire's Bid - 5

Hand 2



The opposite of the previous hand; length in off suits and short strength in Spades. Your K♠ is a likely winner, and your K♣ should convert.

Whitefire's Bid - 2

Hand 3



The A♠ and the two K's are all winners. You may be able to convert the Q♥ or the middling Spades into another trick.

Whitefire's Bid - 3, 4 if you know how to control the A♠

Hand 4



A very, very nice hand (I ended up taking 7 tricks with this hand). Length and strength in Spades means a garunteed 3 tricks. The shortness of Clubs means your low Spades can convert, and your K of Diamonds may also pick up a trick.

Whitefire's Bid - 5

Hand 5



The A♥ is a winner. The K♥ is iffy. The A♣ is also a winner, and the shortness in that suit should let you convert a Spade.

Whitefire's Bid - 4

Hand 6



Length and strength in Spades implies two tricks. The A♥ is a winner and you should be able to convert a low Spade in your short suits.

Whitefire's Bid - 4, 5 if you're a gambler.

Hand 7



Another nice hand. Again we have length in spades, along with the fabulous AK♥ duo. A solo A in Diamonds and the Q♠ will both likely convert as winners. With your shortness in Diamonds and length and strength in Spades, you should be able to convert 4 of the Spades into winners.

Whitefire's Bid - 5, 6 or 7 if you know how to use the A♠

Hand 8



Nothing special here. The two K's should convert with a possible pick up of a third with the abundance of mid-cards.

Whitefire's Bid - 2

Hand 9



A decent non-trump powered hand. The A's will convert, with the K♥ and Q♣ being possible winners. Shortness in Diamonds should convert one of your low trumps.

Whitefire's Bid - 4
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Lizthegrey
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*blushes* - Whitefire, you were a wonderful partner. If you had let me know you were preparing bidding guides, I could have contributed from my end (after the round was over, obviously).
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Whitefire

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lizthegrey wrote: 
*blushes* - Whitefire, you were a wonderful partner. If you had let me know you were preparing bidding guides, I could have contributed from my end (after the round was over, obviously).


Thats like advanced playing lesson 4. Let's get people used to how to count tricks before we show how the hands play out =P.
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Amosko

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This is a very specific situation that I was in earlier but is about bidding.

On counting tricks:

If either team will be winning on the next round and you are last to bid, call just enough to win so long as you can take the sandbags.

For example:
You have 285 and the other team has 284.
They have bid a total of 5 and your partner has bid 3.
Don't bid more than 2. You can take still take the sandbags and not go over. This way as long as you don't bust, you win.

[size=7]Sadly, this exact situation happened to me and my partner busted.

Also. if your partner is going nil, bid a reasonable number. Bidding one is not a good idea in this case because you'll likely win a few just covering your partner's nil.

[size=7]Sadly this happened to me as well. We got 5 sandbags that round.
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[Nov 25, 2004 3:28:59 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Gloraelin

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all right then. last night i played for about 2 1/2 - 3 hours. i know, it's a long time, but it was fun.

i managed to get some screenies, and i hoped that people might give me some tips.

this one i wound up bidding 4. was that wise?



on this one, i bid 2, as it says



this one only got maybe a 2



and this one was a blind nil.


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[Nov 26, 2004 2:39:08 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    http://www.livejournal.com/users/gloraelin/    gloraelin    gloraelin [Link]  Go to top 
Whitefire

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Gloraelin wrote: 
this one i wound up bidding 4. was that wise?



Next time warn us when you have already played a trick ;D.

Straight up analysis would say to bid 4 on that. One of your Queens should convert, with a long shot of both pulling tricks giving you 5. If you were the last bidder you should have gone 5 since there are so many bags out there.

Gloraelin wrote: 
on this one, i bid 2, as it says



2 is safe, 3 is risky (length in clubs means your K is likely to be cut).

Gloraelin wrote: 
this one only got maybe a 2



This hand is entirely dependent on what the other 3 people bid. Straight up analysis says 2, maybe 3. If Zeil had gone nil you could have bid 4.

Gloraelin wrote: 
and this one was a blind nil.



You should pass the J♠ and the A.

Your partner should have passed back following these rules:

    ? Always pass cards under 8
    ? Never pass cards in a suit you have 5 or more in (unless you only have low cards in that suit)
    ? If you have length in spades, pass to void yourself in a suit that your partner doesn't pass to you.[/list:u:c7155ffbd4]

    There are a few more, but I can't remember them off the top of my head.
[Nov 26, 2004 3:11:26 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Markoman

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Eh, funny little screenie I liked. We won by one point. Which brings up the question, what do you do in the event of a tie?


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SonnyZ



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It just says it's a tie.
I don't have a screenie, but it happened to me about 20 minutes ago.
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stefsorceror

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A lil thing I want to say: If you want, nil is always possible. In a previous game I bidded blind nil, and found out I had all 4 aces. The trick is to get the spade ace gone, and get a void. That way you can play an ace when another suit is used, and you won't win the trick.
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Odm



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A useful guide, but my main question for spades is, how do you stop someone from blind niling? Playing a low card means that their partner wins, whereas playing a high card just let's them get rid of one.

Any advice?
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[Nov 27, 2004 12:10:01 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
damienroc

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Breaking a nil is something that takes team coordination, and will probably happen later in the round.

Generally the ideal scenario will happen like this:

Nil partner will play a low card in a suit.
Your partner will play to lose.
Nil player will play some card that beats their partner's card (effectively, there's a bit of luck here)
You play something under the nil player.

Forcing the issue can be difficult. If you're really good at reading cards and such, you can try to calculate where the nil player has "hanging power." Then the game is trying to force the issue. Whether this is easier with Nil (which they bid because they saw their hand first, and saw that they could play it to lose) or Blind Nil (where they didn't see the hand before the bet, but get to ditch two cards.) Of course, in both cases, the nil player will usually bet third or fourth (so after their partner and at least one of the other players) so they should have a good feeling about the "power" of the table.

Now, with respect to Glorailin's hands. My analysis is roughly the same as Whitefire's, except in the second, I probably would have bid three no matter what. Generally speaking, I'd expect most suits to go around twice before someone starts trumping. Effectively ace and king wins. Granted, depending on how the hand plays, the Ace might not hit before the second trick. Even so, average distribution is going to have three players with three cards in the suit, and one player with four. Not only that, but you've also got a nice amount of Spades. With the short hearts, You can probably expect to convert two of them and the king. I'd consider three normal, and two conservative.

Note that with bidding, your partner can make a big difference. If your partner tends to bid risky, you might want to bid conservative. And vice versa. (This can be difficult to tell with random partners.)
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[Nov 27, 2004 12:40:21 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    http://damienroc.sandwich.net    AryaTheFaceless [Link]  Go to top 
Nity



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Few things from the posts I saw that I just wanted to add/correct :)

Set - When a team does not win the number of tricks it bid

~should add that they lose the amount they initially bet. If they bid 4, they would then lose 40 pts

From the bidding post - Hand 3 "Short in Spades and Hearts, long in Diamonds. The A of spades is a winner. The regular deal of 3 clubs means your A and K are both likely winners. The length in Diamonds means the K is likely to be trumped. Shortness in Diamonds should let you convert your low Spade into a winner."

~You were short in hearts sweets, not diamonds :)
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Smolder

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Another Term (i kinda stole it from hearts)

Flushing: Flushing is where you play a specific card with the hopes that you will draw out a certian card played by an opponent.

Example: I have 10 J K of clubs. I dont want to throw out my highest club because I know that the ace will beat me. Instead, i throw out the jack, hoping that the player holding the A of clubs doesn't also have the Q, and wants to take that trick.

It's a tricky strategy, but can be very useful when you dont have aces or other high cards.
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