The Big 5

Do you use the Big 5?

Yes
4
24%
No
9
53%
Only with certian Pards
4
24%
 
Total votes: 17

User avatar
Dust In The Wind
Guide
Posts: 5343
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 1:29 pm
Location: North Ga Mts

Post by Dust In The Wind » Tue Nov 20, 2007 7:31 pm

Yes throwing that king Spade was flamboyant, but he played according to the bid and the cards played, in my opinion with what was outlined here no....

JUST DUST

PS - Note had East noticed the same convention he would have known that north was out of clubs.
TO BE OR NOT TO BE..... NOW WHAT KIND OF QUESTION IS THAT??? TO BE OF COURSE!!!!!

User avatar
dustin7609
Active Poster
Posts: 95
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:22 pm

Post by dustin7609 » Tue Nov 20, 2007 9:28 pm

Hi all,

Been a long time!

@ Joe Andrews and Jon Galt

Great to see Joe Andrews and Jon Galt still alive and kickin! You guys are old school! I know I used to talk a lot of trash back "in the day", but hopefully we can all let it go and get back to discussing spades strategy.

The Big 5

Folks, with the current rules of spades, bidding conventions (such as the big 5) are not illegal bids. I personally think bidding conventions should be stated to the opposition, but this is only my opinion -- there is no rule against not stating your conventions. It's as simple as that.

That being said, I also have not found enough benefit to this particular convention to warrant adding it to my arsenal. The reason? i'm a numbers guy -- I want to see percentages and results.

Over several hundred games I took notes. For those of you who don't know me, I'm a HUGE spades geek -- a major perfectionist when it comes to this game http://masterspades.home.att.net/strategy.htm#stout. I've spent many years perfecting my game to an extremely high level.

Anyway, I noted each hand where the big 5 was applicable and whether it would have benefited my team or hurt us. In the long run, it cost us more points than gained. Why? Several reasons. First, stretching that 4 bid to 5 ends up getting you set many times (especially if pard nils)-- that's very detrimental.....a net loss of 100 points minimum, depending on partner's bid. Second, you will lose 10 points each time you have a real 6 bid and are reducing it to 5 to conform to the convention. The above two points will cost you many points over the course of several thousand games utilizing the big 5. The very few hands where my partner knew to nil and had the K or Q of spades were far and few between. Yes, there were a few hands that we could have saved ourselves on a busted nil (me having a 5 bid without the A or K and partner having the Q of spades) but because these benefits were so rare, I didn't feel they justified the implementation of such a bidding convention from a statistics standpoint.

Just some thoughts :)

I fully endorse the use of conventions. I'm glad to see people are thinking about them more than 5 years ago. Good to see the game progress. While gadgets are fun and can be beneficial, the true spades expert doesn't utilize a plethora of gadgets in the game of Spades.

Btw, hope to play some of you in the league as I reclaim my top spot :)
Last edited by dustin7609 on Wed Nov 21, 2007 4:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Openshut
Active Poster
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 3:56 am

Post by Openshut » Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:07 am

So he Niled With K2 of spades because his partner bids 5. Yup it's cheating. Regarding the "reverse nil signal", I was doing this before I even knew the term convention existed in Spades, it is only logical.

Any reasonable convention is tied to logic. This is something many players may not know. The whole notion towards the widely known playing tips or conventions as they may be called is just simply good sense. Technically they are guidelines exacted from statistical odds.

Other conventions such as attitude, suit preference and count are merely a way to utilize our potential wasted cards to communicate and if it is to be a team game this is exactly what we wish to do.

I have no problem with any convention in the bidding process as long as it does not attempt to bypass table talk. It is quite simple, do not discuss cards you hold in the biding process. Placing a bag over my head and telling me it is night simply will not fly.

If the so called Big-5 convention is not tied to logic nor statistics, me thinks its clearly tied to cheating!

User avatar
Joe Andrews
Active Poster
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2004 10:48 pm
Contact:

Comments...

Post by Joe Andrews » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:37 am

This has been a GREAT debate. I respect the opinions of all who have posted. According to the "survey" (which has had a small number or responses), 50% of those who responded do not use the Big -5 convention, and 50% do use it (with half of those restricting that use to "certain" partners".)

It seems that Big 5 has been dubbed as a form of cheating. There is no law or rule on this or any site which restricts the use of the Big 5. Nor do any of the relatively few "live" events restrict the Big 5 bid. And even if they did have such a Rule, how could it be proven that a player who bid Nil (with the Queen or King of spades) opposite his partner's previous Big 5 was cheating? Would you tell a player - "no Nil bid after partner's 5 bid"? Or would you DQ a player who bid "5" and happened to hold the A or K of spades in his hand? After all the odds of making a Nil with the Q of spades in your hand are approximately 54%, and the odds of making Nil with K of spades are 33%. Players take chances. Spades has risks. Of course, there are other factors, such as the accompanying spades in the Nil hand, the opponents' bids, the score, etc.

Some players DO like to take extreme chances. I have seen some atrocious Nil bids (one comes to mind with a player who held the K J 8 of spades in first seat on the first hand of a game) - and found his partener with the A Q 9 of trump!!!!! :lol: At some of the "live" events I have attended or directed, I have seen some equally as brutal Nils made with cards you would not believe! :lol: I ought to know those, - at one "live" event, my parter and I were bounced from the TOC by two of those most incredible Nils you will ever see! Ditto for on line events, too.

If a player happens to bid 5 with a high spade in his hand, is his partner, who might considering a Nil with a bad spade in his hand, restricted from bidding that Nil? What about those endgame positions in which Nil is the only way to salvage a lost game?

Is the Big 5 bid to be placed in the same "cheating" category as using the phone, two computers, or some IM communication in an on line game?
Or subtle body language in a "live" event.

There IS a rule / law for most Internet sites which clearly states that players should not cheat. It is a code of honor, as no one can police what a Spades player who is doing on line in the comfort of his home. Until there is language which Specifically includes the Big 5 bid as a clear form of cheating, we are left to grapple with the issue. And we might as well thrown in all of the other carding systems which provide information. (Suit Preference signals, and Rusinow leads come to mind).

Maybe, the ultimate solution is to play a "Round Robin" Individual's format, in which players changed partners after every four hands? This has worked well for Bridge, Euchre, and Pinochle.

Soooo, it's time to let this Big Five stuff go. My goodness, there are other topics which can be explored. Still, it has been fun! A good debate is good for the mind!

And...., it's only a game. If a player wants to win, there are much easier ways than waiting for ideal time for a Big 5 bid!

Enjoy the Holidays! And get away from the computers and watch the Packers and Cowboys continue their great seasons! :lol:
Image

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

Post by _S_X_Eian_ » Wed Nov 21, 2007 8:04 am

I am finished talking about this as cheating knowing openshut he is going to continue this argument and won't be swayed so we will agree to disagree and that is fine.

To dustin, a few things you didn't include in your statistics that I would be interested to see. First off, if I bid 5 with a 4 bid and my partner doesn't nil, he lowers his bid by 1 to adjust for the 4 bid. If I have a 6 bid and I want a Nil I push to a 7 bid which is my partnerships means the same as a 5 bid and again if my partner for whatever reason does not nil he bids 1 less to adjust. I can count on 1 hand the number of times I have been set with regular pards because of using this convention. My pards know what it means and adjust for it. I think this would alter the stats. I also would be curious as to the number of sets that would be included in these stats. And the number of bag sets. All of these I am sure would make the stats a little closer. I am a stats guy to and I can say with utmost certainty that this has won me more games then lost. If I give up 10 points for underbidding to eventually win the game by 90 rather then 100 I would still think it is worth it.

Just mean to add to the conversation I have changed the normal usage of the big 5 around to and odd/even system which each means its own thing. I can see how on alot of occasions the big 5 might not be needed because your partner would be unable to bid nil anyway but if my partner underbids their hand by 1 to make up for a 4-5 or 6-7 bid. My 5 bids are 5 bids and my 7 bids are 7 bids I push my 8's to 9's and so on and so forth. I also don't risk a 5 bid if I don't have a good cover hand. I have bid 4 with the A before because of a weak side suit. I can appreciate a stats person but this would be a pretty complicated thing to do stats on because there are alot of outside factors depending on the partnership. It would be interesting to know though. I might keep track of the times I use this over the next little bit and try and record the outcomes but I would also be interested in games won/lost instead of just points won lost. If I lose 500 points over time but it is 20 points a game for 25 games in which I have won 24 then the 500 points is not important. If I have given up 200 points by underbidding 1 on 20 hands but on those 20 hands the number of bags I have given to the opponents adds up to a subtraction of 300 then giving up those 20 tricks was worth it in the long run. I guess I can stop now. Again not trying to sway anyones vote just pointing out some other things that could be included in a true analysis of the stats of the big 5 because I think my results would come to a different conclusion then you.

Todd

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

Post by Galt » Wed Nov 21, 2007 10:19 am

Hey Dustin, Nice to see you!

I have one question about your data analysis (and that is a really good way to evaluate any strategy)

I stopped using the standard Big 5 definition a long time ago. As I mentioned earlier, I never understood the rationale of bidding 5 with less than 5 tricks, espeically when trying to encourage a Nil bid, due to the fact that if pard does bid Nil that further weakens the trick taking potential of one's hand, and the resulting +50 on the hand is just a waste of a nice deal.

Does your analysis of the Big 5 change if we limit its use to 5 or more tricks?

Again, it is nice to see you back. I think that we have all undergone some changes since 2000.
Image

Openshut
Active Poster
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 3:56 am

Post by Openshut » Wed Nov 21, 2007 10:39 am

The issue regarding the Big-5 is about Ethics and any other incarnation of the concept, the same applies.

If you wish to do a bad nil or a good one do it on your own accord.

The Big-5 is a rationalization for cheaters. There is no reason beyond an unfair advantage to be stating what particular power spades you have in the bidding process.

If team A wants to cheat, should team B feel that they must also?
The answer is no.

There is a Rule! Do not discuss cards that you hold. It matters not that it is done subversively. It is simply wrong. To suggest that the rule needs to clearly state the particular way you wish to violate it; shows just how much integrity is lacking in this world. There is a term, Spirit of the law. Look it up!

Lastly, Spades is anything but just a game. It clearly is more about our human and social weakness. It exposes your mentality as well as your strengths. It clearly depicts what kind of person you are emanating from the core.

Then again, one would need to have a real sophisticated language set for this game to properly grasp my rantings. It matters little to me how I am viewed, I stand for Integrity and Ethics. If this makes me look poorly, it is not a reflection of me... is it now?

P.S. Ty for the confidence, p0is0ned_fl0wer.
The thing I like the best is seeing the Ladies talk Spades, Nice going to all the forum contributors.

User avatar
dustin7609
Active Poster
Posts: 95
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:22 pm

Post by dustin7609 » Wed Nov 21, 2007 12:42 pm

_S_X_Eian_ wrote:
To dustin, a few things you didn't include in your statistics that I would be interested to see. First off, if I bid 5 with a 4 bid and my partner doesn't nil, he lowers his bid by 1 to adjust for the 4 bid. Todd
Correct, if you are using the n-1 convention, in such cases (where partner doesn't nil) you are only losing 20 points each time (-10 for your hand and -10 for partners). Still, a 20 point loss is costly.

_S_X_Eian_ wrote: If I have a 6 bid and I want a Nil I push to a 7 bid which is my partnerships means the same as a 5 bid and again if my partner for whatever reason does not nil he bids 1 less to adjust. Todd
Interesting, but I wouldn't implement this personally. Cover bids are subject to being set quite frequently against a decent opposition -- even without a push. Sometimes all it takes is one king that you counted which gets captured. Pushing a bid to 7 is a risky proposition and can net a significant loss (140 points to be exact). In my opinion, from a statistics and risk versus reward standpoint, it's just not worth it in the long run.

Part of the consideration whether or not to implement such conventions should be the skill of the opposition. The weaker the opponents, the more effective such conventions are.

User avatar
dustin7609
Active Poster
Posts: 95
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:22 pm

Post by dustin7609 » Wed Nov 21, 2007 12:57 pm

Galt wrote:Hey Dustin, Nice to see you!

I have one question about your data analysis (and that is a really good way to evaluate any strategy)

I stopped using the standard Big 5 definition a long time ago. As I mentioned earlier, I never understood the rationale of bidding 5 with less than 5 tricks, espeically when trying to encourage a Nil bid, due to the fact that if pard does bid Nil that further weakens the trick taking potential of one's hand, and the resulting +50 on the hand is just a waste of a nice deal.

Does your analysis of the Big 5 change if we limit its use to 5 or more tricks?

Again, it is nice to see you back. I think that we have all undergone some changes since 2000.
Hey Galt, I'll have to go and look back at my notes to see whether a 5+ scenario would be beneficial in the long run. In this case, the only time you really lose is when you must reduce your bid to 5. The real killer in my opinion, were those hands where you knew partner would likely nil (rich in high cards, good texture) and could bid accordingly. Without the convention, in many cases when I could predict a likely nil, I'd bid safely enough to where I wasn't dependent on unprotected kings. But with the big 5, the rule is to bid it even if your hand is something such as:

S: K1052
H: K42
D: A92
C: K32

I'm sensing a very possible nil from partner here. Even if we adjust the big 5 to only be applicable when you have 5+ tricks, here you are supposed to bid 5. I don't like this as there is a good chance of me getting set if partner nils. Hearts and clubs are at risk on both sides of the table -- the nil and my bid! I'd like to bid 4 here.

I might add that I've yet to see a bidding convention system for the game of Spades that I'd recommend and implement. This includes n-1. Again, I took notes on this system as well and my data shows it costs more in the long run.

I know Jay was in the process of creating various types, but I've yet to see one implemented and be successful in the long term.

User avatar
Dust In The Wind
Guide
Posts: 5343
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 1:29 pm
Location: North Ga Mts

Post by Dust In The Wind » Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:13 pm

I wouldn't bid 5 on that hand Big 5 or not, you can't cover and weak in each suit. A 5 would be a set more than likely and more than likely a nil set. 4 bid at best and that could even go sour. Truth be said I would bid a 3 to let pard know not to nil, no cover and sluff the bags. But that might be cheating since I'm telling pard no cover with a 3 bid.


JUST DUST
Last edited by Dust In The Wind on Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
TO BE OR NOT TO BE..... NOW WHAT KIND OF QUESTION IS THAT??? TO BE OF COURSE!!!!!

gtbanuh
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:07 pm

another thing

Post by gtbanuh » Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:16 pm

lol@calling that cheating. that is like saying you and your comrades should not discuss strategy before u go to war. just head out there and start shooting, u guys will figure something out.

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

Post by Galt » Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:34 pm

Ya, I wouldn't bid 5 on that one either. That would be like letting the tail wag the dog.
Image

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

Post by _S_X_Eian_ » Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:39 pm

I to would bid 3 or 4 depending on score. As I have mentioned I don't use the traditional big 5. I use it as an attitude towards a nil. If I have the A or K but don't want partner to bid Nil I won't bid 5. If I have a mitful of spades but no A or K I bid 6 or 8 again showing a no to a nil. Pard makes their own decision they might not be worried about spades and be relatively safe in most side suits and decide to bid anyway but even is bad in terms of nil and odd is good in terms of nil. I don't just randomly bid 5 because I have the A or K I think that is senseless and I guess that is why I believe my stats would be different then yours.

Todd

User avatar
grandmaS
Grand Master
Posts: 5705
Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2002 4:23 pm
Location: Washington State
Contact:

Post by grandmaS » Wed Nov 21, 2007 3:45 pm

Ok all I have to remove several posts and send PM's for personal bashing PLEASE stop this and stick to the subject. Or conclude that you are never going to agree and just stop posting.

BUT, no personal bashing will be allowed

Thank you
Image

I am woman I am strong

User avatar
Joe Andrews
Active Poster
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2004 10:48 pm
Contact:

The Debate

Post by Joe Andrews » Thu Nov 22, 2007 10:48 am

Happy Holidays to everyone. Can you imagine that there are more important things in life than Spades? :lol:

Yes, "Grandma", this thread has become very contentious, with some sharp commentary by both sides.

Maybe HW should decree that the Big 5 is illegal! Ditto for any carding or signalling convention. That includes discards to show suit preference, opening leads, Nil reverse plays, etc. It would really be fun to try to ascertain if a 5 bid was the Big 5, or maybe just a standard 5 bid which happens to contain a high trump! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

It is rather obvious (an understatement) that there are two camps, here.
Those who like the Big 5 and those who don't. No middle ground, no fence - sitting, no waffling like some of the political candidates out there. There are times that a possible Big 5 (by one member of a Team) becomes immaterial, as his partner is not considering Nil due to the nature of his hand - or - does not hold the Q or K of spades. And if the partner does hold the K or Q of spades, bids Nil, and is rescued by the covering spade in his partner's hand, he can always say, "Wow - I took a chance, and thank Goodness you had the high covering spade. "

This would be the response to an accusation of cheating. Then again, the Big 5 bid may slide through unnoticed, or as a regular bid of five. I sure hope that Jay Tomlinson weighs in with his opinion of these conventions, especially the Big 5. Can't wait to see hi post!

And yes, while I am at it, I do agree with the observation that the Big 5 is not automatically used just because you hold the A or K of spades, and 4 - 6 tricks, and bid in 1st or 2nd seat. Devotees of the Big 5 bid are flexible and realize flawed hands. There are some "Big 5" hands which are not ideal for covering Nils...

For example let's look at Exhibit "A':

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

And Exhibit "B"

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

"A" is a solid Big 5 Bid with 4 Aces and the King Of hearts.

"B" has the same high card strength and shape; however, the low cards in the all of the suits are very troublesome. WHEN YOU HOLD THE DEUCE OF A SUIT, AND YOU ARE COVERING A NIL, YOU ARE NOT COMFORTABLE LEADING THAT SUIT IF YOU HAVE ONE TOP CARD AND TWO VERY LOW CARDS. And here we have "Aces and spaces" - and FOUR deuces. In hand "B" the best bid is four, as you cannot bid five if your partner is using the Big 5 system. This is why the stronger players who advocate the use of the Big 5 must be SELECTIVE. It is not meant to be thrown out there by conditioned reflex.

I wonder if Carney and DeNino (the "creators" of the Big 5 bid) are laughing now, if they are reading all of this debate! :lol:

I have reached the point, where the criticism of the Big 5 is meaningless, as there is no enforcement mechanism or governing body for Spades. - or - to use the old expression -

"Jimmy crack corn but I don't care"!

Play Spades, have fun.

Have a nice weekend, and bon appetit!

- J
Image

Locked