Team Bidder!

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Openshut
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Team Bidder!

Post by Openshut » Mon Nov 18, 2013 7:48 pm

Bidding well easily takes up the largest portion of the skill aspect of the game. Good bidding easily leads to better playing, when you and your partner both bid well it is harder to fall victim to opponent and incidental occurrences. This is because both you and your partner see a communal picture, as one hand. There are those that think it is best to be a wild horse when it comes to bidding. To this I say if you have the right hand go for it; however this will not be the case hand after hand. Hence it is wise to use each hand to its potential vs being dead locked into tactical notions such as underbidding each hand.



Better bidding and bag management are a happy marriage of ideas. One should not simply bid without taking note of the score. There is a condition known as end game. Some will wait until after the game as gotten to around 400 points to take note. Most will pay attention around 340 points. This is because a nil combo bid could end the game. In reality End Game should begin before you place your first bid. In each hand we press to create or preserve our advantage. Here are five considerations we should jockey with in order to determine our bid and the likely course of play.



I) Maximize score.

II) Minimize set on team.

III) Maximize set opportunity on opponents.

IV) Minimize bag toll on Team.

V) Maximize bag toll on opponents.



Maximizing score:

This relates to looking at how we can safely bid aggressively. When you bid before your partner you may have a hand that could become aggressive so you may chose to bid 3 over bidding 2 thus to help your partner understand that you can offense some offensive power. When your bidding after your partner have bid you can at time bid 1 or 2 more than you could safely determine on your own power.



Minimize set on your team:

It may be apparent that your hand have clues that you could inject weakness into your partner’s hand. You may have a hand that is geared towards cutting while having long suits and little to no replacement incase you open new suits that could cause your partners kings to be taken. So a hand that could normally help your partner decide to be more aggressive because you chose to bid such that they are more confident to bid on your power can hurt your p if your hand is not geared to back your partner up. As opposed to choosing an aggressive intonation you would be wise to choose a defensive one. So while you could say make 3 under favorable conditions. You may choose to bid 2 because you simply have no way to help your partner. Also you may have limited spades count and may choose to wisely devalue your hand.

There is also a play component to this. You want to play in a way you can safely make your bid. So if you have vulnerable winners you don’t want to wait until it is too late to take yours. If you have low trumps but many. You must play them early so they can develop other wise you could easily have your small trumps trampled on via the opponents crossing their trump. Forcing trump lead will burn their trump up and keep you safe.



Maximize set opportunity on opponents:

Here we avoid telling the opponents we have favorable condition to set them in the bidding process, if it’s something unusual. Hence we must bid our hands like everything was normal bidding less than normal could trigger them to think it’s a bag war and they may in turn bid less. If you have a blunt hand that simply going to take a lot of tricks little point in trying to fool the opponents to bid more when they can clearly see they have nothing to fake a bid on. Here we simply bid on or direct strength. Other hands are more nuanced and serve more as wiliness to be active in the game and your actions can be made clear even after a less than aggressive bid. There are many times we fail to make sensible set attempts on the opponents just because the bid is 11. Usually this is because we may fear going set too much, or because we fail to capitalize on our hands strength. Learn how to finesse, simply allowing the opponents to win their tricks freely increases the chance they will set us or bag us.

On occasions the bid may be 10 and it becomes apparently early you can set the opponents; unless the greater chances of winning is reduced best set them. You can bag out regardless anyway so running from setting the opponents is generally bad! This situation could even develop after you had a clear understanding you are playing a bag war. As the opponents may have tossed away so much strength they are now settable due to your remaining team strength. Plans can and do change.



Minimize bag toll on Team:

Sometime we have limited strategic options we either get bagged or get set. Clearly the vast majority of times we are going to choose to make our bid however we can often increase our bid by one. The main problem with this is when we have partners that are too quick to assume low bids means we automatically start to bag the opponents. I hope it is clear that bagging is not to be anything more than a tactical tool to be used sparingly and in return will increase your success rate when you initiate it. Another clever thing we can do in uncertain situations is to simply split the bags.



Maximize bag toll on opponents:

One of the best ways to maximize bags on the opponents is to be more concerned with making them earn their bid and less about bagging them. We only bag them when the opponents chose to not get set this defensive act forces them to be more susceptible to taking bags. This simple strategy can also be effective in low bids, least we can find that after we have expended all our low cards we are now inescapably doomed to eat the bags. Please bear in mind active participation from both partners increase our flexibility in all circumstances.

SSstar
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Re: Team Bidder!

Post by SSstar » Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:21 pm

It seems like most of the players I've played against are only looking to bid on cards that they are absolutely sure are going to win the book (nothing lower than a King in most cases). Players like this cause issues for the rest of the players. After they get rid of their Aces and KIngs, they will hold on to their Jacks and Queens as to not add bags to their score and then throw off and waste those Q's and J's when they can. This ends up making 10's, 9's and lower cards capable of winning books at the end of the hand when they shouldn't. Those unaccounted for books end up bagging you out. People will have to realize this with the players that they're playing with, and try to overcome their underbidding somehow.

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dustin7609
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Re: Team Bidder!

Post by dustin7609 » Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:06 pm

Disagree with this very strongly. I can teach someone to bid well in less than a few hours. Of course they'll improve over time and with experience, but it's a very easy skill to learn.

Play of the hand is by far the more complex part of any partnership card game and takes many many years to become an expert at, and something you can never master.

In my opinion, in Spades 10% is bidding and 90% play of the hand.

The argument might go like this: "But if you aren't bidding to the right spot, you'll never have success! And you can still misplay and win!"

While the above statement is true, this argument doesn't negate the point I'm making. You don't need to bid with super precision in Spades to be successful, you just need to be roughly correct most of the time and avoid overbidding when it's not needed from an equity standpoint. On the other hand, accurate card play will win board after board after board.

That said, there is room for great tactical bids that are very difficult to teach and require some creativity/psychology, but this is a relatively small part of the game.

Bridge has more of a balance to it because the bidding is so much more complex, but still the play of the hand (Defense and Declaring) is the most difficult aspect to become proficient at (and keep in mind that in Bridge it can takes weeks to learn enough about bidding just to sit down and play -- still, bidding is the easier part of the game to learn). In Spades, because the bidding is so simple, the only complicated aspect is the situational considerations, which can be learned quite easily imo.

The main problem is that even the best Spades players don't realize how bad their card play really is. And trust me, its astonishingly bad. Mistakes are made on every single hand, literally. Multiple errors. Even in "top games". The only reason I was so successful in Spades is simply because everyone else was so bad, not that I was so good. Once I started playing a lot of Bridge, I realized how bad of a card player I was, even though I won nationals in Spades. It was a humbling experience. Now when I go back to see top level spades, I just shake my head at how bad the play is.....

If anyone wants to really get good at this game, all you need to do is study proper card play technique from a number of good books. Then practice practice practice. The way Spades is structured it's very difficult to see your errors (because you can't compare how you played a deal to other players, and it's difficult to analyze every single hand you played diligently). Really the only way to get great at card play is to honestly analyze every hand you play thoroughly and objectively, ideally with an expert.

But It's very difficult and time consuming to do this because of the nature of the game (hands where you had success but still misplayed will be overlooked, hindsight will be difficult to ignore, you probably won't be able to recognize most of your errros, etc). In the game of Bridge, it's much easier because you have hand records, the deals are duplicated, and its much easier to find true expert players to analyze what you did wrong. Because of this, the only way to get good at card play imo is to actually play the game of Bridge, lol. Of course by that point you won't want to Spade anymore, so I digress...

Openshut
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Re: Team Bidder!

Post by Openshut » Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:37 pm

Here is the problem Dustin.

You are welcome to disagree with me and even when your ideas are right it still will not matter.

Every thing is this life comes down to strategy. The mechanic that takes 8 hours to diagnose a problem by the book vs. one that realizes the problem is much simpler than it has been made out and finds the issues in 15 minutes.


So to focus on one point and miss the entire argument does no one any good.


The ability to gain true focus takes us into the reason of using our education to create new pathways vs. being dead locked into traditional/ conventional thinking.


You have admitted defeat already when you have stated that your approach needs years. Well kind sir mine only requires 6-9 months.

If we create a contextual frame work, that is essentially training wheels, then we can use a well known teaching technique to build skills called scaffolding.

Choosing not to see the forest for the trees will simply leave one with an incomplete if not an absolutely inadequate picture.

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dustin7609
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Re: Team Bidder!

Post by dustin7609 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:35 pm

Reread your very first statement on this thread. That is the point I strongly disagree with. For the reasons I stated. The beauty of partnership trick taking games (imo) is the complexity of the card play and the challenge to master it, that is where the real skill lies. Most neglect this aspect of their game simply because it's so damn hard to get good at.

Now if you wanted to change your main point to:

"The quickest and easiest/non painful way to increase your winning % in spades is to improve your bidding"
you MIGHT have a case for argument.

Even still, I think spending an hour with someone on card play would have a greater impact on winning. All of the students I've worked with -- it was working on their lead choices and trick maximization that had the greatest impact on their game.

Openshut
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Re: Team Bidder!

Post by Openshut » Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:24 pm

Bid and play are inextricably link failure to recognize this leads to much wasted time!

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dustin7609
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Re: Team Bidder!

Post by dustin7609 » Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:56 pm

No one stated otherwise....

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