Naughty Nils!

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Joe Andrews
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Naughty Nils!

Post by Joe Andrews » Sat Feb 23, 2008 11:17 am

Naughty Nils! :roll:

Spades is a game which is easy to learn, and requires many years of dedication to become an expert player. Having a regular partner is a big advantage. Then, again, there is the luck factor. It's not all about the deal of the cards. In time, this tends to balance off for for both sides. And then there is the frustrating Nil bid! Sometimes the Nil can be your friend; other times, it can bite you! It all depends how the the Nil hand and the "cover" (partner's) hand match up. We see this theme in the game of Bridge. And sometimes, in Spades, there is Duplication of Values or wasted high cards in the cover hand. Finally, it's just good old fashioned luck!

For example, what good are Aces, Kings, and Queens in your partner's (cover) hand, if those big cards are opposite your deuces, threes and fours in the same suits of your Nil bid? Do those big boys in the wrong suits help you out when you have a singleton nine or ten spot in another suit, and partner has two lower cards?
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You are coasting along with a 160 point lead, with one hand to go, in a ten hand game. Bags are not a factor. You and your partner each pick up balanced hands with two spades each, and junk in the other suits. Your spades are Ace, deuce. Your partner's spades are King - 9 . Your partner bids one, (does he try Nil in first seat with those spade cards, and a 140 point lead) - your right hand opponent bids NINE, you bid one, and your left hand opponent bids a rather enthusiastic "Nil". (It could be heard all the way across the room!)

The right hand (cover hand) opponent shows up with:

Spades - Q J 10 8 7 6 3 Hearts - A K Diamonds - A K Clubs - A 9

The opponent's Nil rolls, your side gets two tricks, and you lose the game. And you arfe eliminated in the TOC!

In the 2003 MSN Zone on line qualifier, the Prize was an all expenses paid trip to the Grand Prix World Series of Spades in Cincinnati, OH.

The winning Team, a very well known pair, were in a semifinals match, and were losing in the late stages of their match. One of them, in first seat, picked up a hand with with K - J - 7 of spades, Q - 9 of clubs, and safe cards in the red suits. He bid Nil immediately. (After all, his partner may have had the Ace of spades. ) The Nil bid was the ONLY hope here.

Sure enough, partner showed up with the A - Q - 8 of spades, and the A - 10 of clubs, and meaningless red suit cards. Switch the high cards of partner's (cover hand) black suits to either red suit, and Nil is busted!

Is this luck or skill? Was the Nil bid lucky, or a great bid? You be the judge.

Note - This was an "on line" game! LOL
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
In a "Cowboy and Leather" Spades Party (Cash Game) in Charlotte, NC in 2002, I was playing against my buddy Roger. It was the Semi Final game, and the winner was assured of at least 2nd place (the Finals), and a ton of dough!

Another close end game. Roger picks up this hand. (fourth seat). The bidding proceeds (5, (me) 5 (his partner), 1 (my partner). Now, Nil is his only chance. His (Roger's) hand:

Spades - Q 2, Hearts K Q J 10 2, Diamonds, 9 7 3 2, Clubs 6 3

Ugh! That is some kind of heart suit! No problem - his partner is served this hand:

Spades - A 10 8 7 5 4 3 Hearts - A - Diamonds 8 6 4 Clubs - 10 7

Yup, you guessed it - Spades broke 2 -2, The Ace picked up the Queen, and four hearts were ruffed by the cover hand. Nil - bid and made! Elimination for our side!

-----------------------------------------------------------------

On the other side of the "bridge", we have those infrequent "off the wall" _ _ _ _ Nils which succeed with hands like this:

Spades - K J 9, Hearts Q J 9, Diamonds - A K Q 10, Clubs K 10 9, (Bidding Nil!!!!)

as the partner ("cover hand" ) shows up with this:

Spades - A Q 10 8 7 6 5, Hearts A K 10, Diamonds - VOID !! Clubs - A Q J

The spade suit is covered, the heart suit is covered, the four diamonds are trumped, and the clubs are covered, and the trump suit is "breaking" 2 -1. Nil bid and made! Nice Nil bid - eh?

I wonder what the odds on this scenario are? I actaully saw a similar (not quite the same) Nil bid, covered, and made in the Atalnta, 01 "live Spades event!

--------------------------------------------------------------------
Then we have Nils that are set with junk like a singleton six of spades in the Nil hand, as partner as only one lower spade, or my all time favorite hand which is this:

Nil Hand - (South)

Spades - 5 4 2
Hearts - A 7 4 3 2
Diamonds - 10 6 3 2
Clubs - 3

Partner's Hand -

Spades - None
Hearts - 9 8 6
Diamonds - A K Q 9 7
Clubs - K Q J 7 5

With the K of hearts lead coming from the East hand (South's Right hand opponent), South ducks with the seven (obviously), as West discards a club. Now, and in succession, the Q J 10 of hearts are played by East, pulling South's low spots, as West still dumps useless side suit cards. . Hearts are breaking 5 - 5 - 0 - 3 with the zero applying to West. However, it is the spade VOID in partner's hand that is a real beast here. Now the last heart in the East hand snags South's Ace, as West dumps an off suit card, and North helplessly watches the set of the Nil. Maybe A 7 4 3 2 in a side suit is a risk to a Nil! :lol:

Ahhhhh. - the Joy of Spades!!!!

And the fun it brings to its players..... (smile)
Last edited by Joe Andrews on Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Spadesomniac
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Re: Avoid this Nil!

Post by Spadesomniac » Tue Feb 26, 2008 9:36 pm

Wow, I sure want to know the answer.

The only way I can think of that it could be set is if your partner has one or no spades and the opponents throw off all their spades so you get set on the last round on the 2 or 3.

But I'm guessing there's more to it since you say 'avoid this nil' as if there were something special about it.

--Spadesomniac

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Re: Avoid this Nil!

Post by Dust In The Wind » Tue Feb 26, 2008 11:26 pm

Even though there was a history of this being set, I would still bid a nil in first seat...... sorry.

JUST DUST
TO BE OR NOT TO BE..... NOW WHAT KIND OF QUESTION IS THAT??? TO BE OF COURSE!!!!!

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Re: Avoid this Nil!

Post by Galt » Tue Feb 26, 2008 11:52 pm

One way is the following:

The Niller leads a Heart or Diamond.

One opp is void in Hearts, the other Diamonds. Each has 5 spades.

Opp 1 trumps trick 1 and leads the other suit. Opp 2 trumps that trick.

They crossruff up and back for 4 rounds of each suit.

They now each have 1 spade remaining. The cover has 1 and the Niller has 2.

One lead of Spades clears the suit except for the Niller who has one remaining.
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Re: Avoid this Nil!

Post by Joe Andrews » Wed Feb 27, 2008 7:48 am

Yes, Jack....

Your solution is correct. The hand was observed in the Orlando, 2000 Grand Prix event. And the Nil bidder was set. (It was followed by some of the most incredible sounds of anguish :cry: by the defeated Nil bidder, remniscent of cries :cry: heard from a wildebeest under attack by a pride of lions on the Serengeti preservbe in Tanzania.)

Let us assume the East hand is dealer, and South (the Nil bidder) has first call. He bids Nil, as described above. The other bids (in order) are 5, 1, and 5. The partner of the Nil bidder has the Ace of spades singleton, 5 hearts, 5 diamonds, and 2 low clubs. East holds 5 spades, 4 hearts, no diamonds, and 4 clubs. West holds 5 spades, no hearts, 4 diamonds, and four clubs. As Jack described, the red suit voids are the key to the hand.

It does not matter what South (the Nil hand) leads. A red suit leads starts the cross ruff immediately. A club lead is taken by either opponent, followed by a red suit shift.

The waters could really be muddled if East and West have the top three cards
(AKQ), in the diamond and hearts suits, respectively, as well as the AK of clubs between them (in addition to their 5 card trump holdings)! Would they stop at five bids each? Would East trump the Ace of hearts if West plays this card on the first lead of hearts? Would West trump the Ace of dimes lead by East on the first lead of that suit? :?:

Fascinating....
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Re: Avoid this Nil!

Post by Galt » Wed Feb 27, 2008 9:27 am

The classic Hose Job I guess.
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Re: Avoid this Nil!

Post by _S_X_Eian_ » Wed Feb 27, 2008 10:53 am

I had a very same situation thrown upon me in a game of duplicate many years ago. This was when duplicate was first being run by you Joe and the hands in this case were preset according to bridge charts of some sort. Maybe you threw this one in there to be sadistic since you had seen this in the past lol but I had the same reaction. I kind of thought it was fishy by the look of it but I bit and here is what happened. I was sitting with first bid with the following hand.

Hearts 2,3,4,6
DIamonds 2,3,4,6
Clubs 2,3,4
Spades 7

My partner had no clubs and held 4 spades lower then a 7. My opponents each had 4 spades including the A through 8 and the one low i think the 6. I had lead and lead out a heart. The rest has already been written. Slightly different but same outcome. Each opp cut hearts/diamonds with their 4 spades and I was left with the boss spade even though my partner still had 4 in his hand. It originally turned me off the concept of duplicate but I have played since using random hands dealt at the beginning and then used by each opponent in turn and the results compared and have since started to enjoy the occasional game at gaming peak. So I can understand their frustration. It's quite amazing to have that kind of a deal in a live tournament though I am sure they are rare.

Todd

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Re: Avoid this Nil!

Post by Joe Andrews » Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:10 pm

Hello, Todd...

Two similar hands, to be sure...

The hand illustrated (the original post) above occurred in Orlando in December of 2000. I think you played Duplicate at a different event /city, (maybe Atlanta, 2001 or Cincinnati, 2002) which also had the same format. In those days, the hands were fresh dealt at the table before the beginning of Round 1. Nowadays, we use ACBL hands, which are played in their "live" Bridge tournaments. In this way, we will have hand records, in case a board gets fouled, or someone inadvertently puts a card into the wrong pocket on the board. The hand you describe is somewhat different from the original (Orlando) Nil hand illustrated above.

Although the red suits in your "specimen" are almost identical, the Nil hand (above) has two small spades (instead of one), and the hand below has TWELVE cards instead of 13. (That makes it different, to be sure.) :lol: You obviously forgot a card - probably another club.

Hearts 2,3,4,6
DIamonds 2,3,4,6
Clubs 2,3,4
Spades 7


As for the fresh deal concept, any hand can be dealt. The Orlando Nil hand is somewhat unusual; however, having two low Spades, two four card red suits with all low cards, and three low clubs is not as extraordinary as it may initially seem. The 4 - 4 -3 - 2 shape is the most common distribution pattern.

Thanks for your response.

Also, what is the difference bewtween REPLICATE Spades and DUPLICATE Spades. They sound like the same game to me.....

Team of 4 is a much different concept than the standard multi table Partners Duplicate game. Duplicate Spades works well with a multi table game, using a Mitchell Bridge movement, with 2 or 4 hands each round, and standard Bridge match- pointing.

As for Team of 4 Replicate becoming the method for determining the National Championship - well, I will dead and buried before that ever happens! Because Spades experienced its greatest growth on line with the 500 point standard game. Team of 4 will have a limited (but dedicated, to be sure) following for the foreseeable future.

I hope you can come to Vegas for the World Series of Spades. I would be thrilled to hand a large check to you and your partner, and welcome you to the fraternity of past Winners! Just ask "Cree and Higgy" how good that feeling is!

Meanwhile, carry on with your Team of 4 Project. Kudos to Gaming peak for taking the time to promote Duplicate, errr, Replicate Spades. I wish them well.

Your posts are always informative and entertaining!

Cheerio!
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Re: Avoid this Nil!

Post by p0is0ned_fl0wer » Mon Mar 03, 2008 10:03 am

Of course it's settable any nil is settable dependent on card distribution. I have been set on a similar hand, I had something which looked very easy 8/5/2 hearts and equally low in other suits. My bid and play was first , of course i bid nil as pretty much anyone would also bid nil on the hand you proposed.I played the 5 hearts ..west played his 3 of hearts my partner had the lone 4 of hearts and although you would think this still would not be settable..east had NO hearts so no matter how good a nil looks.. anything can happen.
"There is no such thing as equal"

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Re: Avoid this Nil!

Post by Joe Andrews » Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:53 pm

Hi there "Flower"..

Yes, And I do agree that most Nils are settable. Your example with the 8 - 5 - 2
of hearts is amazing? Maybe, as it turns out, you should have considered leading another one of your side suits! :lol:

Is this a "settable" Nil?

Spades - None
Hearts - 6 5 4 3 2
Diamonds - 5 4 3 2
Clubs - 5 4 3 2

If it is, please show the way it can be set, other than by a revoke (renege) by the Nil hand (in a "live" event).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Naughty Nils!

Spades is a game which is easy to learn, and requires many years of dedication to become an expert player. Having a regular partner is a big advantage. Then, again, there is the luck factor. It's not all about the deal of the cards. In time, this tends to balance off for for both sides. And then there is the frustrating Nil bid! Sometimes the Nil can be your friend; other times, it can bite you! It all depends how the the Nil hand and the "cover" (partner's) hand match up. We see this theme in the game of Bridge. And sometimes, in Spades, there is Duplication of Values or wasted high cards in the cover hand. Finally, it's just good old fashioned luck!

For example, what good are Aces, Kings, and Queens in your partner's (cover) hand, if those big cards are opposite your deuces, threes and fours in the same suits of your Nil bid? Do those big boys in the wrong suits help you out when you have a singleton nine or ten spot in another suit, and partner has two lower cards?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

You are coasting along with a 160 point lead, with one hand to go, in a ten hand game. Bags are not a factor. You and your partner each pick up balanced hands with two spades each, and junk in the other suits. Your spades are Ace, deuce. Your partner's spades are King - 9 . Your partner bids one, (does he try Nil in first seat with those spade cards, and a 140 point lead) - your right hand opponent bids NINE, you bid one, and your left hand opponent bids a rather enthusiastic "Nil". (It could be heard all the way across the room!)

The right hand (cover hand) opponent shows up with:

Spades - Q J 10 8 7 6 3 Hearts - A K Diamonds - A K Clubs - A 9

The opponent's Nil rolls, your side gets two tricks, and you lose the game. And you arfe eliminated in the TOC!

In the 2003 MSN Zone on line qualifier, the Prize was an all expenses paid trip to the Grand Prix World Series of Spades in Cincinnati, OH.

The winning Team, a very well known pair, were in a semifinals match, and were losing in the late stages of their match. One of them, in first seat, picked up a hand with with K - J - 7 of spades, Q - 9 of clubs, and safe cards in the red suits. He bid Nil immediately. (After all, his partner may have had the Ace of spades. ) The Nil bid was the ONLY hope here.

Sure enough, partner showed up with the A - Q - 8 of spades, and the A - 10 of clubs, and meaningless red suit cards. Switch the high cards of partner's (cover hand) black suits to either red suit, and Nil is busted!

Is this luck or skill? Was the Nil bid lucky, or a great bid? You be the judge.

Note - This was an "on line" game! LOL
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
In a "Cowboy and Leather" Spades Party (Cash Game) in Charlotte, NC in 2002, I was playing against my buddy Roger. It was the Semi Final game, and the winner was assured of at least 2nd place (the Finals), and a ton of dough!

Another close end game. Roger picks up this hand. (fourth seat). The bidding proceeds (5, (me) 5 (his partner), 1 (my partner). Now, Nil is his only chance. His (Roger's) hand:

Spades - Q 2, Hearts K Q J 10 2, Diamonds, 9 7 3 2, Clubs 6 3

Ugh! That is some kind of heart suit! No problem - his partner is served this hand:

Spades - A 10 8 7 5 4 3 Hearts - A - Diamonds 8 6 4 Clubs - 10 7

Yup, you guessed it - Spades broke 2 -2, The Ace picked up the Queen, and four hearts were ruffed by the cover hand. Nil - bid and made! Elimination for our side!

-----------------------------------------------------------------

On the other side of the "bridge", we have those infrequent "off the wall" _ _ _ _ Nils which succeed with hands like this:

Spades - K J 9, Hearts Q J 9, Diamonds - A K Q 10, Clubs K 10 9, (Bidding Nil!!!!)

as the partner ("cover hand" ) shows up with this:

Spades - A Q 10 8 7 6 5, Hearts A K 10, Diamonds - VOID !! Clubs - A Q J

The spade suit is covered, the heart suit is covered, the four diamonds are trumped, and the clubs are covered, and the trump suit is "breaking" 2 -1. Nil bid and made! Nice Nil bid - eh?

I wonder what the odds on this scenario are? I actaully saw a similar (not quite the same) Nil bid, covered, and made in the Atalnta, 01 "live Spades event!

--------------------------------------------------------------------
Then we have Nils that are set with junk like a singleton six of spades in the Nil hand, as partner as only one lower spade, or my all time favorite hand which is this:

Nil Hand - (South)

Spades - 5 4 2
Hearts - A 7 4 3 2
Diamonds - 10 6 3 2
Clubs - 3

Partner's Hand -

Spades - None
Hearts - 9 8 6
Diamonds - A K Q 9 7
Clubs - K Q J 7 5

With the K of hearts lead coming from the East hand (South's Right hand opponent), South ducks with the seven (obviously), as West discards a club. Now, and in succession, the Q J 10 of hearts are played by East, pulling South's low spots, as West still dumps useless side suit cards. . Hearts are breaking 5 - 5 - 0 - 3 with the zero applying to West. However, it is the spade VOID in partner's hand that is a real beast here. Now the last heart in the East hand snags South's Ace, as West dumps an off suit card, and North helplessly watches the set of the Nil. Maybe A 7 4 3 2 in a side suit is a risk to a Nil! :lol:

Ahhhhh. - the Joy of Spades!!!!

And the fun it brings to its players..... (smile)


Spades - K J 9, Hearts Q J 9, Diamonds - A K Q 10, Clubs K 10 9, (Bidding Nil!!!!)

as partner ("cover hand" ) shows up with this:

Spades - A Q 10 8 7 6 5, Hearts A K 10, Diamonds - VOID !! Clubs - A Q J :mrgreen:

The spade suit is covered, the heart suit is covered, the four diamonds are trumped, and the clubs are covered, and the trump suit is "breaking" 2 -1. Nil bid and made! Nice Nil bid - eh?

--------------------------------------------------------------------
The we have Nils that are set with crap like a singleton six of spades in the Nil hand, as partner as only one lower spade, or my all time favorite hand which is this:

Is this a "settable" Nil? LOL

Spades - None
Hearts - 6 5 4 3 2
Diamonds - 5 4 3 2
Clubs - 5 4 3 2

If it is, please show the way it can be set, other than by a revoke (renege) by the Nil hand (in a "live" event).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
On the other side of the "bridge", we have those infrequent "crap" or Bul_ _ _ _ _ Nils which succeed with hands like this:

Spades - K J 9, Hearts Q J 9, Diamonds - A K Q 10, Clubs K 10 9, (Bidding Nil!!!!)

as the partner ("cover hand" ) shows up with this:

Spades - A Q 10 8 7 6 5, Hearts A K 10, Diamonds - VOID !! Clubs - A Q J

The spade suit is covered, the heart suit is covered, the four diamonds are trumped, and the clubs are covered, and the trump suit is "breaking" 2 -1. Nil bid and made! Nice Nil bid - eh?

I wonder what the odds on this scenario are?

--------------------------------------------------------------------
Then we have Nils that are set with junk like a singleton six of spades in the Nil hand, as partner as only one lower spade, or my all time favorite hand which is this:

Nil Hand - (South)

Spades - 5 4 2
Hearts - A 7 4 3 2
Diamonds - 10 6 3 2
Clubs - 3

Partner's Hand -

Spades - None
Hearts - 9 8 6
Diamonds - A K Q 9 7
Clubs - K Q J 7 5

With the K of hearts lead coming from the East hand (South's Right hand opponent), South ducks with the seven (obviously), as West discards a club. Now, and in succession, the Q J 10 of hearts are played by East, pulling South's low spots, as West dumps useless side suit cards. . Hearts are breaking 5 - 5 - 0 - 3 with the zero applying to West. However, it is the spade VOID in partner's hand that is a real beast here. Now the last heart in the East hand snags South's Ace, as West dumps an off suit, and North helplessly watches the set of the Nil. Maybe A 7 4 3 2 in a side suit is a risk to a Nil! :lol:

Ahhhhh. - the Joy of Spades!!!!

And the fun it brings to its players..... (smile)
Last edited by Joe Andrews on Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Naughty Nils!

Post by YankeDoodleDandy » Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:33 am

I must say to all of the wonderful posts of the games in the past....wow I just hope and pray that I am as knowledgeable and skillful as the thoughts of just throwing the cards down on the page and understanding what it all means. As I as well as many of my friends lately have been try to do is approve our games, I took a deck of cards to show each example that you spade gods just showed. I really appreciated the insite.

Thanks, Chris

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