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Fundamental Bidding Principles
The purpose of bidding is to exchange information. Every bid you make, should be saying something.

A bid doesn't have a single meaning; the language of pinochle bidding is too restrictive. It defines a box: a range of hand types into which your hand fits. The box is what you said, and by what you *didn't* say. For example, when you're in first seat and open 50 to ask for meld, you don't have a hand good enough to open 60.

When your partner bids, you assume he meets the minimum requirements for that bid...which, with casual partners, may not be the same as yours...or a bit better. This is to allow for the fact that it can be MUCH better. If my partner opens 50 in first seat, I'm going to assume the following:

a) He has at least 6 tricks.
b) He has at least a 7 card trump suit.
c) He has at least 35 total points, between meld and play, in his hand.

So, a hand like

is NOT good enough to open 50, in first seat, in most cases. It has 7 trump; it has 6 tricks. But with only 15 meld, the 6 tricks only adds 15 more. This hand's only got about 30 total points. If you open 50 and it gets passed out, you'll need too much help from partner to make. So, this is not enough. Now, if it's double bidder out...maybe. But generally, pass.

Flip the situation. Partner opens 50 in first seat. The only thing I'd have to add to the hand above, is queens around...or jacks around, because that would add a pinochle. Either would give him a 35 hand. But this is about the worst hand, from a play perspective, he can have. That spade suit could easily be ASASASTSKSQSJS. When I have a potential trump suit of my own, I have to keep that in mind. His absolute minimum that I'll read is the 7 card, 19 point run; his maximum is something a WHOLE lot better. Smile So if my suit is, say, AGAGTGTGKGQGJG, that's better than his minimum...but not much. Not enough for me to say, I'd rather play in my suit, particularly when I have something more constructive to say, unless I have extra offense. A few quick hands to illustrate; we're North with South bidding 50 in first seat, and West passing.


Don't bid 51, bid 52 to give the 20.


This is a close call between bidding 51 (the clubs are now notably better than partner's typical trump suit) and giving 20. I'd probably give 20 first, in case East decides to bid 60. If East passes, partner will bid 53, and I can bid 54 and feel I've described my hand.


Now I'll bid 51. Partner's only shown 7-5-4-4 or similar. I have a second source of tricks he doesn't, in diamonds. He may have a hand where his trump suit is worth more tricks, but I've got those 2-3 potential extra tricks in diamonds he often won't have. Between clubs and diamonds, I may win 9 tricks.

Other initial bids define their own boxes, with minimum, maximum, and typical situations.

--A save bid (pass-50) ONLY requires a 6 card suit, TTKQJJ. There is no minimum number of tricks or meld. It's insanely loose, but the rules force this. The maximum is, again...not bidding 60. It's hard to define a typical bid, because it may not be one. If I'm dealer, I have to *read it* as potentially just a save bid, but it could be a very good hand. We won't know for a while.

--A meld bid generally shows the meld. It doesn't promise a marriage, it certainly doesn't promise a trump suit. The upper bound is based on the fact that the bidder didn't ask for meld first.

And these carry on into future rounds. Each bid refines the box you're in. Sometimes it raises the minimum:

50 typically shows 7-5-5-3 or 7-5-4-4. 51 asked for meld, and should be showing extra offense. 52 needs to be saying, partner, I heard you, but I still think I have a better offensive hand.

Sometimes it shows something that can't be read from your earlier bidding:
52 shows 20, and denies enough offense to start with 51. Opener's 53 usually ends the bidding, but when partner bids 54...he started by showing 20, now he's asking to play it. His typical hand is the nice 8-4-4-4 hand discussed earlier. Opener can pass if he's got no extra offense.

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