"As It Turns Out"

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Joe Andrews
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"As It Turns Out"

Post by Joe Andrews » Fri Feb 08, 2008 8:21 am


One of the most irritating habits that some Spades players have is called "Hindsight Analysis." A hand is done, and then, the self- proclaimed Spades Guru at the table, wants to dissect it, card by card. In Bridge circles, such individuals are referred to as "results merchants." The post- mortem discussion is a sure bet if a team has been set, or a "shaky" Nil is successful. Our Guru often decides what the correct line of play should have been after he sees all four hands.

Exhibit "A" - Aces and Spaces

Check out this hand. Not bad, eh? - You are the proud owner of four Aces!

Spades -A 3 2
Hearts - A 5 4 3
Diamonds - A 4 2
Clubs - A 5 3

You are in the middle of a close game, with your Team ahead, 262 - 253. Your partner is the dealer. The fellow on your right opens with a 3, and you bid 4. (Is there anyone out there who would not bid 4 with your hand)? LOL Another 3 bid follows you, and partner brings the total to 13 tricks, as he bids 3, as well. (I rarely push the table bid to 13 in fourth seat, unless the score dictates this move.)

The opening lead from my right is a low diamond. I am not worried about my Ace "running away", and I duck in 2nd seat. The ten of diamonds comes from the left, and partner wins the King. (I feel good). Now he plays his Queen of diamonds, which wins (I feel better). Then he tries for the Jack of dimes, which fetches a diamond from my right, (I feel GREAT). Up comes my Ace, and then down goes my Ace, as the four of spades is played by my left hand opponent. (I feel lousy).

To make a long story short, you win your other three Aces, (total of 3 tricks), and partner scores his King of spades, which was doubleton. His comments:

"Helloooooo - I made MY three tricks" (the K Q of dimes, and the K of spades)

"Why did you bid 4, partner - did you REALLY think you would take 4 tricks"?

"Don;t worry - next time I will bid one less trick than I have, and this will compensate"

Don't you just love it? :mrgreen:

Exhibit "B" (first deal of a new game))

You side has bid 6. The hand is coming down to the end (trick # 12), and you desperately need one more trick. In this two card ending, you hold the King and Jack of trump. The lead comes from your partner, who plays a small spade. The Ace - Queen of spades have not appeared. Your right hand opponent follows low - smoothly. You decide to play the Jack, (a finesse). It loses to the Queen on the left, and the Ace on the right drops your King. You are set! You partner tells you that (in THIS case), the King of spades was the correct play! He chides you for playing low when the Ace was on the RIGHT! :roll:

Suppose you decide to go up with the King. This time, the card "gods" are unkind, and the King loses to the Ace which is now on the LEFT. Your partner then tells you that you "as the cards lie", you should have played the Jack, instead! :roll: :roll: :roll:

Exhibit "C" (your lead 467 - 430)

You (dealer) pick up this holding:

Spades - A 4 2
Hearts - Q 10 9
Diamonds - J 10 9 7
Clubs - Q J 9

Nice, huh? The other players bid 3, 3, 2. You choose a 2 bid in last seat. And in the end, you get stuck with three bags, (and a bag set) as the ops have ducked a few of your middle card tricks, or the Aces and Kings were played right away, and your midle cards promoted.

Partner scolds you about the "luggage" you took, and your overly conservative bid. However, suppose you choose to bid three. NOW, the ops win their Aces and Kings separately, in those side suits, and the A - K - J of hearts is your left. They do not allow you to score your middle cards. Your bid is defeated as you are set. And partner NOW criticizes you for overbidding with those Queens and Jacks.

Exhibit "D" (your lead 431 – 413)

You (dealer) gather in this collection:

Spades - A K 2
Hearts - A Q 2
Diamonds - 10 5 4 3
Clubs - A 7 2

The bidding has proceeded: 4, 2, 1, and it is your turn. Do you bid 5 for the game? Do you play it safe? Will the heart finesse succeed?

The opponents are not threatening to win, and your partner has shown some weakness with his two bids. There is a four bid in back of you, and the King of hearts might be in that hand. Thus you play it safe and go in for a call of four. After all, there is another hand to play.

The hand proceeds with a low Diamond lead. Partner cashes his only two winners, the Ace, and the King of dimes, and then plunks down a heart. You decide to finesse the Queen for "giggles", and of course, this time, it works. When you later rake in your fifth trick, partner's blood boils, and calls of "chicken", "wimp", "rookie", and "coward" are uttered across the table. And the opponents win the game on the next hand. You are chastised for an overly conservative call.

NOW, let's look at alternate scenario # 2. The deal and bidding is the same, as the call comes around to you in last seat. This time, you "go for the gold" with bravado and gusto and bid 5 to win. Partner takes the diamond Ace and King, his two tricks, and plays a low heart. Your only realistic chance for that all important fifth trick is the 50/50 heart finesse. And it loses.

Now you must hope that the ten of diamonds will promote or that you might get to cut a fourth lead in hearts or clubs. Chances? Slim and None! Down you go, as you fall one trick short. And cries of anguish appear from a distressed partner who proclaims that your overbid and subsequent set has handed the opponents the game on a silver platter. And they reel in the match on the next hand.

Another vote for hindsight analysis!

Exhibit "E" (first hand of the game)

A 13 bid has hit the table, no Nil bids by anyone. You hold:

Spades - 8 2
Hearts - 7 5 3 2
Diamonds - A 7 3
Clubs - A Q 6 5

Partner (first bidder) says "3", followed a bid of 4, as you bid 2, and the guy on the left (delaler) closes out the auction with a "gutsy" bid of 4. (Here we go again with another bid to 13 in fourth seat!)). Partner leads a low heart, and your right hand opponent wins the King of hearts (it is obvious he has the heart Ace). Now he leads the five of diamonds, and you play low. You whisper to yourself the old adage -"second hand low, third hand high" .... If partner has the Queen of dimes, this may promote to a winner.

The King of dimes now appears on your left, and it holds the trick. A small heart is played. The fellow on your right wins his Ace, and plays a small diamond. You rise with the big boy, and your Ace is rudely trumped by a small spade. (A singleton King stole trick one - oh my God!) Now you must hope to win two clubs. The opponent now plays a low trump and partner wins the spade Ace, and then plays the 5 of clubs, and the seven of clubs is next. Of course, your Queen of clubs loses to the King. To make a long story short, partner makes his 3 bid, you fall one trick short, and down you go!

And your hear, "I knew I should have bid one less trick to cover you, partner" - AND -
"A bot would have taken that Ace of diamonds like a flash - too bad you aren't programmed to take your winners, too".

Partners says it all when he quotes the Bridge expression —"When the King is singleton, ALWAYS play the Ace!" His final comment is - "as it turns out, ducking in 2nd seat was very foolish".

Ahh, results merchants — the "stuff" that good players are made of"! :mrgreen:

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Last edited by Joe Andrews on Sat Feb 09, 2008 7:43 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: "As It Turns Out"

Post by Rugrat22 » Fri Feb 08, 2008 9:14 am

Great article Joe... its so easy to make the right decision after the outcome is known, isn't it?!

Everyone is an expert under those conditions!!

One of the most frustrating things I've endured in Spades is making "finesse" plays that my partner really doesn't understand.. only to be scolded afterwards.. lol....

I just take it as a Spades rite of passage...!!!

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Re: "As It Turns Out"

Post by Dust In The Wind » Fri Feb 08, 2008 6:32 pm

LOL I love hindsight......... would of. could of, should of... only if I knew what I knew now.....

Great one Joe, yes always better on the field of play if you know that #32 is weeping to the left behind LT and the fake up the middle or that the serve is going to the right with a lot of top spin.... damn where's my crystalball????


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Re: "As It Turns Out"

Post by Spadesomniac » Thu Apr 10, 2008 12:30 pm

Good post--

One of the things I appreciate most in a partner is the ability to know when you made the right move even if it didn't pan out. I actually like good constructive criticism but only from people who are looking at the big picture, not just on how that particular hand turned out.

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