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Hello from So. Cal.
Hi there,

I'm fairly new to Pinochle and do love playing. I learned mostly from my in-laws, who have been playing a very long time, and also from the IOS pinochle app. I think I'm picking it up pretty well, although there are differences in the way my in-laws play vs. the app. especially in the jump bids, which cost me almost a year's worth of playing to learn there was a difference. Finally talked it over with my father-in-law, who is just about always my partner, and found that they don't really jump the bid. Example, a bid of 52, means you have 20 meld, and next bid of 55 means you have 30 meld. The app shows this jump as only 20 meld.

I've been struggling with my bidding in that I'm very timid in bidding. I can count meld and such, but knowing when to bid with authority is few and far between.

We played last night for example and it's usually my father-in-law and me against his two other children. They're ruthless in play and always do their best to beat their daddy. We ended up playing two games to 500 and got killed the first game. Just had no hands that could bid nor had any meld to even try to save. The second game, we came back and kicked some tail.

What I'd like to get from this site is more understanding of how to bid and play. I'm OK with a good hand, but not great at all when I have a bad or mediocre hand.

(03-19-2018, 06:38 PM)Yablonsky Wrote:  there are differences in the way my in-laws play vs. the app. especially in the jump bids, which cost me almost a year's worth of playing to learn there was a difference. Finally talked it over with my father-in-law, who is just about always my partner, and found that they don't really jump the bid.
Hi Ken,

Thanks for the interesting story about your background in Pinochle!

I am curious to know why it took you a year to get around to talking with your main partner about bidding  Smile (not trying to be annoying, I'm honestly curious). I've noticed that people don't seem to do this very much (?). Maybe it's because I'm 100% playing online, so there's not a good opportunity to discuss strategy, as people mostly see each other during the game. Chatting about bids is considered table talk... unless everyone is extremely friendly, it's a no-no. So, I understand why this happens at websites. But I always figured if people were seeing each other in "meatspace" that they'd have a discussion about how to bid, and get everything sorted out before playing their first game as partners.

Also I am curious to know if you have a formula for bidding. When I started playing online, my friend Tigre told me a formula that I find helpful in deciding whether to make a "captaincy" bid. I know you have to be careful with using formulas, but as a non-expert, it's a crutch that I need.

Play Pinochle at World of Card Games!
Hi Marya,

Firstly, we don't play every week or even every's months in between any games. The father and mother in-law moved to Texas so it got even further in between.

My father-in-law is very sure of himself and we did talk about the game and bidding and such. To put this into perspective, he always claims he's the worlds best pinochle player and his partner (me) is #2, regardless of how often or how badly we lost. He would always call his opponents two mannequins and we just couldn't loose to two mannequins...If they won, it was some fluke of the deal. LOL

Initially we were doing pretty good Keeping our heads above water, so to speak, but eventually we got to the point that we were being killed just about every game. My in-laws are all sure of themselves with their bidding, so it was very common for any/all of them to start the bid at 65 or 70 or even higher. Very uncommon for them to bid with any kind of signalling system. Well, after about 10-15 meetups, I was bidding and giving my father-in-law too much meld. I finally caught on when he mentioned how I had given him 30 meld. I distinctly remember giving him 20...That rang the proverbial bell. I had been using the bidding system from the app, which gives extra for a jump meld bid. I discussed this with him and he clarified that is not how they play.

Needless to say, our game improved the next time and from then on. We had been going a long time loosing two out of three quite often.

As for a formula, I've kind of developed my own. We don't get much time together so if we're not playing, we're having family time and not really talking game.

I can throw out a meld bid, but when it comes to taking the bid, I've gotta have a pretty great hand. I've been learning quite a bit from this site in the last few days, since I found the site.

I start by counting my meld...both with and without my runs. I still tend to bid with an info bid...trying to let my partner provide info or take the bid himself. If he gives info or I have a good/great hand, and he leaves me some room, I'll over-bid him and let him know I want the bid.

If I'm trying to take the bid:
Count my meld, including run, add 20 (because I have to have 20 to make bid), then add any meld my partner gives or I'll throw in maybe 10. This is my starting point. just in case a bid gets dropped on me. If my partner gives me meld bid, I'll add that and figure what I can bid. I do just automatically add the 20, but try to keep in my mind that my partner will likely, hopefully be able to pull 10 counters. I'll see what I can pull by counting my aces and tens (only for trump suit and only if I have quite a few trump and some aces).

I know this is maybe not the best way, and I'm sure there are better methods, but you'd be surprised how difficult it is to find a simple explanation of bidding anywhere. Google can only help so much.

There's an entire section of this board dedicated to just bidding.

You may want to go back to some of the earlier posts on the 2nd and 3rd pages.

Those provide the basis for me.
Hi Ken,

Thanks for the clarification, that's fun to read about Smile - and fair warning to partners to discuss their bidding strategy in detail if they want to win!

You did not mention whether you have a formula that you use to bid for "captaincy". Not sure if you use the concept of "captaincy" in bidding in your family. I'm familiar with the concept from reading posts on this forum. The idea is that one person may have a strong hand (lots of aces or a good suit with a marriage and numerous potential trump cards). But they may not have enough meld to carry the hand. So they'll make a captaincy bid of +1 (or start the bid at 50). This is their way of saying "I want to declare the trump suit, partner, can you give me any meld to support me?". Based on the bid from their partner, and the cards in their hand, then they use a formula to decide how high they should keep bidding.

So... do you use a formula, or is it more guesswork/gut feeling?

I'm far from expert at Pinochle, so anyone else who wants to step in and comment, feel free!

Play Pinochle at World of Card Games!
ToreadorElder, thank you for jumping in.

Sorry about my previous post! Somehow, I missed the fact that a couple of extra posts were made when I was replying.

Ken, there's a post on this site that gives a formula which can be used for computing your "max bid" when making a "captaincy" bid. It was written by ToreadorElder some time ago. It's the "Basics: Assessing your hand" post. Take a look there. It's a gem. You may have to read it a few times (I did) to get the gist of it. You will want to consult with your partner to make sure you are in agreement on bidding, of course, but I found this post super useful.
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