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Number of posts : 32
Age : 41
Registration date : 2006-12-06

PostSubject: SPADES   Wed Dec 20, 2006 8:25 am


This is my Bid system Don’t worry about underbidding(too much)—overbidding is far worse.


I bid an Ace if I have 7 or fewer of that suit
I bid a King if I have 2-5 of that suit


If you have fewer than 3 of a suit, and have a spade to trump each fewer, bid 1 for each (3 if void and have 3 spades, 2 if singleton and have 2 spades, 1 if doubleton and have 1 spade)


Not counting spades you have already earmarked for shorts, count all your sure points—in other words, always the Ace, the King if you have something to lost to the Ace, Queen if you have 2 cards to lose to the Ace, King, etc. obviously if you have the cards above the card you’re bidding you don’t need spades to lose to it….

Team Bidding

Go through your hand and come up with an estimate of what you can get i.e. “2 or 3”. The first person of the team that bids bids the lower number…. The second person bids the higher number of their estimate. This way there is a safety trick just in case one of either partner’s tricks loses.

The “5 Bid”

This is a convention that many players use, even though it likely doesn’t come up that often. If the first person bids a 5, it signals the second bidder that they have a high spade (preferably King or Ace of Spades), at least 5 tricks, and a good hand for covering a nil. Then if the second person has a possible nil, it makes the choice easier. This is something we can use or not. Or we can play without and eventually incorporate it. If we do use it, the first person never bids 5 if they have a “5 or 6” bid (from above). In this case they would bid a 4 or a 6 depending on the strength of their 6 bid.


One quick strategy is that during the hand, if the player in the second position cannot win the trick outright, they should always play their lowest card. This forces the player in the third position to play their highest card (which you should always do in this position if you cannot win the trick outright, but have a card that could win). Otherwise the 4th player will get an easy trick… This is called “second hand low, third hand high”

To break a nil:
Lead low cards before the niller, play your highest cards after. Exception: If you can play the next highest card to beat the person covering the niller, do it (for instance, they lead a King, you play an Ace, then the niller can’t throw a card in the “gap”).

If you’re out of a suit and your partner likely will take a trick (for instance, the Ace has been played, you’re out of the suit and your partner leads the King), then throw a card in the suit that you want lead—something you will go void on, or that you have a good certain winning lead…

Play Based on Bids

If the total table bid is 12 or higher, play to set. Do this by taking every possible trick until you are sure you can set them, then throw as many cards as you can.

If the total bid is 11 or lower, you want to take the tricks you bid and no more. Do this by only winning with the cards you bid, and throwing the rest. Example: I never bid a queen, so if there is an 11 bid or lower, I will throw it the first chance I get. If you lose a trick you expected to win, then play to win until you recover. If you take a trick you expected to lose, choose one of your bid cards to throw if you can.

If the other team goes nil, and the total bid is 11 or higher, play to set the person covering the niller. If bid is 10 or less, try to break the nil.

If one of us goes nil, and the total bid is 12 or more, and they bid 7 or more, niller should play to win. They should take the earliest trick possible to show the other person that they are playing to win….

End Game Bidding and Play

This can get pretty complicated, so do your best if you’re in the position of bidding when the other team is about to win.

If opponents are close to winning, there are two major scenarios:

We Bid First…

This one we don’t really have a chance to influence. We do our normal bid, but once we see their bid, our bid does not matter. We must play to win. Here I must make a distinction between our “actual” bid and the “winning” bid. The actual bid is what we would bid if we were playing normally. The winning bid is the bid we would have to make to win, or at least stop the opponents from winning. In this case, the winning bid will never see the table, but it will be in our heads… 3 scenarios here…

1) If both teams make their bids, we will win… Play the actual bid, or if we are not in bag trouble, play the minimum necessary to win.
2) If they have 7 or more bags, and the table bid leaves enough bags for them to go over, we play to bag them.
3) If their bid will beat us and they are not in bag trouble, we play to set, and take as many tricks as we can until we are sure they cannot make their bid.

Sometimes this leaves us with impossible tasks, like taking 6 tricks when we bid 2, and they aren’t in bag trouble… However, it’s better to have a one in a million chance than no chance.

We Bid Last…

This is the complicated one. Again, three basic scenarios, but this time, the final player has the chance to make the “winning” bid for the team (the one we were playing with in mind above). Sometimes this leads to ridiculous bids, but again, it’s better to have a chance than none.

1) Same as above, if our actual bid will win it for us, bid it, or the lowest possible bid to win if we aren’t in bag danger.
2) Our actual bid, won’t win it for us, I make a choice (this is a decision I usually make as “how many bags do they need to go over” vs. “how many tricks do we need to set them?”. Whichever one is lower we will play that strategy. So figure out how many tricks we need to win to set them (14 minus their bid), and how many we need to bag them (10 minus their bags). Whichever is lower we proceed with and the 4th bidder makes that bid… However, if we play to bag make sure it is possible. In other words if they bid 7 and they have 3 bags, even if they take all the tricks, they would only bag 6 for a total of 9. In this case we would bid a 7 to set them (always make your bid so that the table bid adds to 14 to set)

This part is decently complicated, and I’m sure I could explain it easier. Usually this will never come up, but when you are the last bidder when the other team is about to win, do your best to figure out if it’s easier to set or bag, then make a bid that if we get it, makes that true.

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