"Last Hand" Bid Decision

CogDis
Noob
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2007 11:05 am

"Last Hand" Bid Decision

Post by CogDis » Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:17 am

I played in a game last night where i was faced with the following situation:

Us: 293 (3 bags)
Them: 442 (2 bags)

Bidding:
Pard: 1, RHO: 4, Me: ? (that's the question...)

I hold:

Spades - K 10 x x x x x x x (yes - 9 spades)
Hearts - NONE
Diamonds - NONE
Clubs - K Q 10 9

What should I bid?

I will post my thinking and what I did in the next reply to this topic in case you don't want to see it before considering - if you even want to consider at all : ) .
"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant stuggle." - George Orwell

CogDis
Noob
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2007 11:05 am

Post by CogDis » Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:50 am

Firstly, I would consider that very conservatively, this hand will take at least 8 - probably 9 or even 10.

Unfortunately, the opponents are less than 60 points away from 500 and that must be taken into account.

My biggest concern is that my LHO will bid nil if I bid anything close to the true value of my hand. I would say that a bid of 6 or more (taking table total to 11) would be an engraved invitation for LHO to bid nil. And even a 5 bid would very possibly lead to a nil bid even considering LHO's natural reluctance having such a large lead.

Given my hand and RHO's 4 bid, I think it is amost certain that a nil bid would be successful. And even though I may be able to set the cover bid, that would still give the opps the points they need to get over 500. Therefore, I felt I needed to do something to avoid the nil bid if possible.

I decided that it would be worth considering how many count cards not in my hand were likely to be bid on. The A & K from the red suits. The club A, the spade A, and possibly the spade Q (though this may not be counted as a trick by the holder unless paired with the A, because of short spade length). I figured it was unlikely anyone would be bidding on spade length - with the possible exception of RHO. So, 6 or 7 seemed right to me. And 5 had already been bid - though pard may have been forced to bid one with nothing, because a nil by him would do no good in this situation. So, LHO probably had 1 or 2 count cards.

I considered bids of 5 or less.

5: It seemed to me that even a 5 bid was still very likely to elicit a nil from LHO (with table total of 10), so I shelved that idea.

4: A 4 bid seemed much less likely than the 5 bid to lead to a nil. I figured that LHO would bid either 1 or 2 if I bid 4, with 1 being more likely because he probably had a wacky distribution like mine and next to no spades. It should be noted that a set of opps 5 total bid is extremely likely, but not certain.

3: A 3 bid (making a table total of 8) seemed very unlikely to lead to a nil bid. The 3 bid has the added advantage of helping LHO to be a little bolder and bid the 2 needed to finish the game on this hand. An even further advantage is that with the opps bidding 6, my set was assured. The disadvantage, of course, is all the bags we would take (though only one more than if I bid 4).

I chose the 3 bid option and LHO bid 2 as expected. We set - as expected - unfortunately taking 10 tricks (yuk - hated those 2 extra bags).

We had a chance at the last hand - 2 hands later, but ended up being set on bags. Maybe I should have bid 4 , or even 5.

What do you think?

CogDis
"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant stuggle." - George Orwell

User avatar
Just_Ice
Grand Master
Posts: 2918
Joined: Mon May 19, 2003 8:51 am
Location: Ozarks

Post by Just_Ice » Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:26 am

When I first read your example, before reading your second post, I approached the hand very similar to you. But, you are only partly correct about bidding so high that the last bidder could nil. I think if you bid 8 or 9 here you would be in danger of them bidding nil, but a 6 or 7 bid sends an entirely different signal.

Remember that the 2 bid for W is very enticing, regardless of what he holds, and regardless of what you bid. He KNOWS that, and if he's any kind of player, he knows YOU know that.

It's very hard to do all this thinking during the last hand and not get beeped from the timer. I think you did very well in your thought process.

However, I believe you undervalued the last bidder's knowledge that a 2 bid was all he needed, and that he knew YOU knew that. I would have bid 6 (or 7) because the last bidder knows that you know all he has to do is bid 2 to win. He expects you to do the math and knows your OLNY options are 6 and 7. It would have been his choice to make to determine whether or not you actually had 6 or 7 tricks. After he did the math and saw his winning bid of 2 took the total to 13, I feel he would have bid the 2 regardless of what you bid, so long as he had 1 sure trick. But, if he held a good enough nil hand to nil in this situation, he would be inclined to bid it anyway.

I always like to put the guess work on the opponents. Make HIM wonder if you really have the 6 or 7.

This scenerio saves you from so many bags in case it works and gives you a better chance to win on the next hand.

If you were playing with advanced players a 7 bid might be more effective because they know a set has to happen in order to extend the game. So, by the last bidder taking the total to 14, it forces a set. It makes no difference what you bid if they bid and pull 6 tricks.

Again, it is very hard to consider all the options during a last hand bid situation. I think you did very well and considered the proper options. I only think you undervalued the knowledge of the last bidder that he had last bid and that you would be forced to bid 6 or 7, regardless of what you held.

I think a low bid of 3 or 4 might be successful against unskilled players to make last bidder not nil, but it adds bag risk for the next hand if it works. Hind sight is always 20/20, but I always opt for giving the tough decisions to the opponenets. That allows you to bid your hand more closely and have less risk. And, I always try to use what's known against the opponenets when I can.

In summary, do the math and you see here that they need 6 to win. Take the total to 13 (14 is better especially against stronger opponents) and use the known bid total against them. Since everyone knows they need 2 to win, last bidder will *think* you bid what you HAD to and not what you held.

CogDis
Noob
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2007 11:05 am

Post by CogDis » Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:03 am

Just Ice,

I can't argue very much with the end result of your reasoning (a bid of 6 or 7), since it would have almost certainly led to my side winning the game. : )

The only (lame) excuse I guess I have is that I knew that W was only an average player. I had played with him before, and doubt that he was familiar with the strategy of 3rd bidder forcing the total to 14. His pard, E, was much better and she would definitely have thought along the lines you expressed. All that being said, you are probably still right as events showed.

It turned out that W held the club A J x & the singleton spade A. Obviously, he wasn't going to nil and probably would have bid 2 even if I bid 6 or 7. E held the heart & dime A K and singleton spade Q. W took all 3 tricks that the opps got. E went "nil". My pard had a bunch of junk, but surely saw no point in a nil bid, hence his one bid.

I made the mistake of assuming a little too much. I kind of figured E for the spade A, based on the 4 bid. And then I figured that it was likely that whatever count cards W held were probably covered with several small cards. In the end, I was too worried about W going nil.

One other side issue. Personally, I would not have been in such a hurry to bid 2 in W's place even if I had a reasonably solid 2 if S bids 6 or 7. Really, the pressure is on N/S, not E/W. Even if both sides make their bids, E/W are still in a very commanding lead (494-373).

I do appreciate your comments and believe that your strategy is more likely to result in success than the one I chose.

I would like to hear comments from any others who are interested.

Thanks,
CogDis
"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant stuggle." - George Orwell

User avatar
Galt
Grand Master
Posts: 1484
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2002 10:57 am
Contact:

Post by Galt » Mon Oct 08, 2007 12:16 pm

There are good points on both sides.

I would bid low, however. I think that having 293 here plays an important role in West's decision.

If West is torn between 1 and Nil here, there is good motivation to bid 1 given that our team is so far from 500. I would do pretty much all that I could to lead him away from a Nil bid.

I think I'd bid 4, go for the set if West does bid 1 or 2, and deal with the bags later.... I am just hoping that there is a later.

Nice to see you her CD.
Image

Manic
Active Poster
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:08 am
Location: UP or DOWN

Post by Manic » Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:03 pm

Cog, i think your instincts were very sharp.
IMHO i think you made the right bid.

It had to be either 3 or 4.
A 4 bid may have swayed the last bidder to bid only 1 or at worst a nil
while a 3 bid would have encouraged to stretch that 1 extra, and i doubt that there would be any need for them to try a nil.

Priority 1: avoid them nilling, because ur hand will cover almost every nil.

With the strong hand u have its enevitable that you will set them.
Taking the bags is something u have to cop on the chin, or risk losing the game right then and there.

You cannot look back in hindsight and say you should have bid a few more because you just happened to bag out later down the track.

You did 100% correct thing.
Flirting with a 4 bid or 5 bid would have been a gamble, but you may have screwed the pooch in your attempts.

You just have to make the right bid on the present hand, and then deal with the penalties later on.

I am curious as to why your partner didnt try a DN bidding before you. that would have made the hand a lot more interesting.
Just imagine the bidding as follows:

DN,4,10...what would the last bidder do? Bid a copy DN?
IF they just bid nil they would have sunk their Funship
Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect

User avatar
Galt
Grand Master
Posts: 1484
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2002 10:57 am
Contact:

Post by Galt » Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:31 pm

Knowing CD, I would be very surprised if he plays any DN games.
Image

User avatar
x MISSY x
Big Poster
Posts: 608
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2004 12:00 pm
Contact:

Post by x MISSY x » Mon Oct 08, 2007 10:16 pm

I would have bid prolly 7 n after the last bidder went realized that another possible bid woulda been to underbid so they go for their needed 6 tricks.
Image

User avatar
Just_Ice
Grand Master
Posts: 2918
Joined: Mon May 19, 2003 8:51 am
Location: Ozarks

Post by Just_Ice » Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:28 pm

If you knew that West is just an average player, that certainly lends weight to bidding lower.

However, I still believe I'd bid 7 in this position and let West try to reason himself out of the fact that I didn't bid what I HAD to in order to stretch the game. Because all indications, especially after knowing his hand, point to me doing just that.

My guess is he would bid 1 or 2 in most cases. Nil seems like a very unlikely possibility here with a commanding lead.

CogDis
Noob
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2007 11:05 am

Post by CogDis » Tue Oct 09, 2007 3:09 am

Support for the low bid (3 or 4) and support for the high bid (7) is tied at 2-2. Maybe someone will break the tie. Really, the arguments are good both ways. I should have at least given more consideration to the 7 bid even if I eventually opted for the other gambit.

What a game - bids from 3-7 are defensible in a given score/bidding/card holding situation. And if the score and/or bidding were different, bids up to 10 may look good. No wonder we love spades.

I had to chuckle at Galt's comment about DN. He is correct. DN was not allowed in this game and I do not like DN games.

HOWEVER ... As chance would have it, the same night that I played this game I also played in a tourney. A regular pard of mine asked me to play in a tourney and I said SURE! After we were registered and awaiting our table assignment, they posted the rules again. Pard and I found out that DN was allowed. I commented, "yuk - I hate DN". But we didn't back out, of course. So, we made it to the the final. In that game we got behind early from a busted nil and did not catch up. So, on the last hand my pard bid DN and luckily I had a monster hand allowing us to make and win. Sweet irony.

That experience did not change my mind about the DN option (still yuk) and maybe the end result of the hand we've been discussing should not change my mind about whether bidding low was the better choice. But, Just Ice does have a good argument.

CogDis
"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant stuggle." - George Orwell

Manic
Active Poster
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:08 am
Location: UP or DOWN

Post by Manic » Tue Oct 09, 2007 3:59 am

Yes having a considerable lead is going to sway bidding nil. BUT, its not as simple as that.

With the current conditions 1,4,7 bid...thats 12 bid total.
Not only that 11 bids are going to play before the nil, increasing the cover.

If west was short in spades as will be the case because u have 9, then west will think long and hard about whether their pard can cover their 1 bid.

Like all good players, typically they underbid by 1 before their partner to cover potential nil busts etc...BUT here West will prolly know that the spades distribution is skewed. They know that ur 7 bid if i bid that high, and playing after the 4 bid. This weakens the 4 bid in terms of position.

So if they bid 1, without a Sure trick, they know their partner must overcome a POOR spades split. So how strong do they think their tream bid of (4,1) 5 bid will be?

Not near as strong now...
Because ur hand is so strong and its going to cover almost every nil...it also means West is going to have a much better nill.

Bidding 7 will enevitably persuade West to nil.
The good thing here is that even if the cover bid of 4 is set, then they will still have enough pts to win. this is considerable pressure on the opps.

IF West thinks their team bid of 5 would get set, thats -50 compared to a nil which even if goes down is only -60 theres not too much diff.

When u consider that if they do get set, the score will be much closer, i would be much more directed to bidding nil...

Having a 7 bid to my right as nil with a 4 bid cover is going to increase my chances of making nil 10 fold.

I would take the nil 9 times out of 10 and im not a poor player.

If my RHO bid on 3-4 im not going to attempt a nil because i dont need 1, im going to either bid 1-2.

In terms of prolonging the game, you must not give any encouragement to a nil bid, else ur just going to lose.

a 7 bid is going to work much worse against good players.
Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect

_S_X_Eian_
Active Poster
Posts: 75
Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2006 6:33 am

Post by _S_X_Eian_ » Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:11 am

Well alot can be taken into consideration when making your bid. Is there a hand limit (am assuming not don't believe it was mentioned), what could the potential nil hold, what could the cover be bidding on, have they been strong players or weak players all things mentioned so far. If there is not a hand limit I think you have to concentrate on prolonging the game. If West has a nil they are probably going to do it no matter. If their nil is kinda risky then giving them the option to bid 1 or 2 and keep their lead is a good idea. A good player is probably not going to fall for a trap with such a commanding lead. When I am in this position I watch for any possible tricks by the opps because they need a "miracle" in order to win. Without a set and with no DN available they will lose the game. Since they are watching for this I would make it blatently obvious that it is what we are trying. I would bid 5 making them look like I want them to bid game so hopefully they bid a conservative 1 and go for game on next hand. With a 4 bid from their partner which more then likely means a 5 if they are as strong as has been mentioned then their bid in their partners eyes is strong. If you push to 6 or 7 then I am sure that a nil would be enticing with such strong bids ahead of them. Another thing to pop into my head would be the possible cards the nil could have. The main spades out are the A,Q,J. The chances are good the nil has 1 of these and doesn't have much with it. A lone Q of spades with a mix of power is a hard risk to take when you don't have to. With a bid of 6 or 7 making the table bid 11 or 12 to you then a lone Q doesn't feel as risky but is still a chance with such a big lead. A bid of 5 keeps the option of bidding 1 or a more unlikely 2 as possible alternatives to a nil. Bidding to low will be very transparent to a skilled player. A bid of 3 or 4 I think would raise alarms in the last bidders head as to where the power is. If their pard had it they would bid it since they only need a team 6 bid for game. This means that the power is with the opponents and the low bid loses its effectiveness so why take the extra bags. A 5 bid is my bid leaving as many options as possible for the opponents not to nil.

Eian

User avatar
Just_Ice
Grand Master
Posts: 2918
Joined: Mon May 19, 2003 8:51 am
Location: Ozarks

Post by Just_Ice » Tue Oct 09, 2007 3:49 pm

_S_X_Eian_ wrote:If West has a nil they are probably going to do it no matter. If their nil is kinda risky then giving them the option to bid 1 or 2 and keep their lead is a good idea.
This is my thinking.

I like the 5 bid better than 4 or 3. Even if you do fool them into bidding to game, your bag count is likely going to lose the game for you anyway.

With this commanding of a lead there is no justification for West to Nil and risk losing the game, when a 1 or 2 bid are almost guaranteed to get a win.

I think many are not giving enough weight to the point that West KNOWS that South knows that all he has to do is bid 2. He's expecting South to figure his 2 bid already into the equation. A 7 bid would simply say, "This is my only choice." I would NOT be swayed to bid Nil as West if South bids 7... UNLESS I held a perfect Nil hand, which I would bid it anyway with my pard showing good cover.

Good discussion.

Manic
Active Poster
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:08 am
Location: UP or DOWN

Post by Manic » Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:33 pm

ok lets take into account the bidding sequence:

1,4,7....West?

West looks @ her hand, and sees very low hand...maybe mild trouble in a sidesuit with T85 - thats not a bad nil but its a little dense

With the bids around the table though the concentration of strength on her right, its going to make it a much better nil.

Is west going to think, south doesnt have a 7 bid? it seems to look real doesnt it?

West is NOT going to push a 2 bid because the bid is so high is she?
not with the 7 bid sitting after her partner, thats a huge thorn in EAST's side, it has extremely devalued east's hand.

A set looks like a very probable occurance dont u think? West is going to be considering it a very strong possibily. Distribution is skewed and south is in prime situation for finessing east.

A nil becomes a much better bid here...regardless of the lead it now becomes one of rationalizing, and whether its better to get set -50 or chance a GOOD nil for a win.

Lets take this bidding sequence:
1,4,5... West???

now West will be thinking hmm, ive got a terriblely low hand, i dont want to nil, and they havent got enough to bid 2. They will most likely bid 1.

some may take a game bid here bidding 2, but it all depends on how many spades west has, and whether they have 1 sure trick.
Given south's hand the possibilty of this would be far less wouldnt u think?

however with 1,4,5 sequence there is still a slight possiblity that a nil might be a good bid.

See what the most important thing here, is making sure WEST doesnt have any reason to bid nil. While they r in the lead, and usually will not be thinking of a nil, with the powerful hand of south, theres a very good chance WEST has almost a cake nil.

If you AGREE that if WEST bids nil u will lose, then i think its very important to prevent that happening.

correct me if i am wrong cog, but its giving WEST a more relaxed bid and saying, sure someone has underbid, and its prolly not my partner, but... will i bid nil here? the answer would be no...they would much rather consider a 1 bid or maybe if ur lucky push a 2bid.

im sure most players as WEST would be much more happier to bid a 1 or 2 bid if the bidding sequence was:
1,4,3....west???

i think those who want to bid as far as 7 would be dealing with danger here, and u underestimate the fact West prolly as a good nil hand to start with, giving that extra push would be horrific.

With this commanding of a lead there is no justification for West to Nil and risk losing the game, when a 1 or 2 bid are almost guaranteed to get a win.
if i was sitting with a relatively good nil and the bid before me was 1,4,7...??? im going to justify a nil by thinking, if our team gets set, we lose 50 pts and the opps take 80 pts. the scores are much closer and now it could be anyones game. so now i am extremely justified...

if my nil has a very good chance of making and its already 95% nil im going to take it for the win...why wouldnt u? ud be silly not to

however if the bid was 1,4,3 or 1,4,5 to a certain extent this is going to make me less concerned about our team going down, -50 and i would quite happy to bid 1 with a poor hand.

As south id rather set my opps and pull them back as far as i can and give myself more time, so as south a 3 bid is the best chance to persuade West bidding game bid of 2, and we can take a guaranteed -60 in a set.
Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect

User avatar
Just_Ice
Grand Master
Posts: 2918
Joined: Mon May 19, 2003 8:51 am
Location: Ozarks

Post by Just_Ice » Tue Oct 09, 2007 11:28 pm

Manic wrote:ok lets take into account the bidding sequence:

1,4,7....West?

West looks @ her hand, and sees very low hand...maybe mild trouble in a sidesuit with T85 - thats not a bad nil but its a little dense.
Everyone has their own styles. I'm not saying many people don't take this approach.

However, the approach I take is I figure what bid I need to win the game on the coming hand. That bid is 2, even before South makes a 7 bid; even before he or I look at our cards. I know that South's ONLY chance to prevent us from winning is to set our 6 bid. That means they MUST pull 8 tricks if we bid 6, REGARDLESS of what they bid. If they bid 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7, they still need to pull 8 if I bid to win. It's the exact same reasoning behind why I wouldn't bid 3 as West even if I felt they were SURE tricks. The 2 bid wins the game.

As West, since N/S CANNOT win the game with their 8 total bid on the coming hand, there is no reason to bid Nil. Bidding Nil here is, perhaps, the best way to allow N/S to catch up. I am going for the 2 bid unless I am absolutely sure I can not pull 2, then I bid 1 and put myself in the drivers seat for the next hand.

Again, unless I have one of those rare perfect Nil hands, I will not bid Nil here. The risk FAR out weighs any reward. The only way I consider bidding Nil here as West is if I need it in order to win the game. This is not the case. N/S cannot win the game on the coming hand and either a 1 or 2 bid puts my team in the best position to win.

In fact, if I force West into a risky Nil by bidding high, that might be my best scenario as N/S.
Manic wrote:Is west going to think, south doesnt have a 7 bid? it seems to look real doesnt it?
Ignore what it "looks like" and turn to what the math says. The math says that a 2 bid is the ideal bid, and South knows it. Odds are they bid 7 KNOWING they had to set to continue the game.
CogDis wrote:It turned out that W held the club A J x & the singleton spade A.
To your question: No, in this case it didn't. Now you may say hind sight is 20/20 and it could very well be that West had a good Nil hand. Well, my point is that IF it were the case then they will probably bid it anyway.

I would understand your Nil argument if N/S could win on the coming hand. Since they cannot, a Nil is the highest risk bid West can make, and will lead to them losing this game more times than either a 1 or 2 bid. I play the odds.

Post Reply