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98 meld, weak hand - how to bid?
#1
Here's a tricky bidding scenario...  I have 96 meld (98 if you include the royal marriage bonus) and my longest suit is 6 spades (the link is to my Facebook post, which you should be able to read since it doesn't require a login).

How should I bid? I didn't think my hand was strong enough to declare trump. I wanted to give a meld bid, but if I did this, I should bid 60 (100 meld, divide by 10, add 10 to 50). But 60 signals you want the bid, and I didn't. Should I have just bid 59?

Here's a link to the Meld Calculator for this hand.
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#2
I'll give my answer, but may be at odds with different approaches than others.
Your priorities on first bid if your partner hasn't already passed is 1) see if you should go it alone (no, not with 6 trump), 2) give your partner your meld bid.
If still in 50's bid 59 to show as much meld as you can, although if severely limited, say last bid was 58, then my game has a convention for that and I believe I've seen mention of similar here. In my convention, going up by 15 indicates 30 meld or more. It is rarely done when still in 50's, usually it's to bid over a 60 or 65 from opponents. Since it only indicates 30 or more, even a 57 to 59 would indicate 20 and is close enough. Also I'm not sure that I would decipher a 58 to 75 correctly as a 30 meld bid. If I don't it should do it.

Could that convention be expanded where 20,25, 30 more indicates higher levels of meld? It's possible to consider expanding it. Or maybe the other conventions mentioned here are better and I should implement that. Note that there is an explicit 100 bid convention for double aces which I don't support (ie, program doesn't recognize it as such), but that doesn't deal with 98 meld from whatever.

Now on to the trickier part. Your partner may have a worse trump suit than you, and yours is weak. Partner is obligated to bid once more over your meld bid (unless an opponent did) to cover your meld if they have anything much at all to call trump. If all they had was a 5 card trump suit it would be disastrous to even indicate they could call trump so possibly wouldn't cover partner's meld. But partner could literally have no marriage and instant board set. Don't know which is worse.

Now let's say you bid 59 and was able to indicate some amount of meld , not all 90, but as much as you could, and partner bid 60 to try to protect you (cover your meld), and opponents passed. What do you do with 6 trump?

In that case given that in my logic partner wouldn't venture out there to cover meld with an extremely weak hand, I would say if he can venture out odds are partner has at least as good a hand as you. At this point you have to look at strength of aces as well whether your team can pull 20. In the quality count convention , you would need 4 aces to have an estimated 20 points and save. In the trick counting convention, I think they're saying your have to be able to count 9 or 10 tricks. If essentially you are also weak in aces, I wouldn't venture out past the meld bid.

It's possible partner is also just as weak as you are and you get set trying to give and save a meld bid but that's price to pay for aggressively trying to call your team's best suit and save a lot of meld and run up your score.
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#3
I agree with rdwrites that this is not a good "Declarer hand." First of all, not only do you only have 6 cards in your long suit - you are also fairly well-balanced, so there is less of a chance to win some tricks by trumping with your low trump cards. Second, you do not have good power - 3 aces total to go along with your 6 trump.

Assuming I were first to bid (or my RHO has passed to me), I would bid 58. As you indicate, 60 is a "lockout" bid indicating "I want to declare trump and have enough meld/power to take it on my own." As far as I'm concerned, 59 is the first choice for double aces around - so until you get in a position where there isn't enough room to make meaningful meld bids below this (my rule is when the prior bid is below 56), 59 should be reserved for this. So that leaves 58.

It's also important to note that when you have that much meld, accuracy doesn't really matter that much. Your 58 bid shows at least 80 meld, which in most cases is more than enough for your partner to easily go to at least 115-120 (your 80 meld plus 20 to save, plus at least 4 meld - probably more - from your partner). How many bidding wars have you seen that go above 100?

What did you decide? How did it work out?
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#4
I like the idea of bidding 58, and I will do that in the future.

FWIW, I decided to bid 60 Smile

We managed to win without much trouble, possibly because of the bot flaws. Note that all other players were bots except for me. Here's the hand history, for the curious.

Code:
% Format "PPN 1.0"
% Site "worldofcardgames.com"
% Date "2016.04.02"
% ID "14596325830100"
% Players "N-Ca E-ma S-T- W-MC"
% tableid "a2e56dd2-cd19-4c62-a507-dfda25a8cae2"

[GameScores "0:0"]
[Deal "N:CATTKQQJDTKSATKJJHATTKJJ CATKKQDATKKQSAKKQQQHKKQJ CAKJJDAQQJJSATTTJHAAKQQQ CATQJDAATTKQJJSAKQJHATTJ"]
[Auction "E:60 Pass Pass Pass"]
[Contract "E 60 S"]
[Melds "10:CKQDKSKHK 100:CKKQDKKQSKKQQHKKQ 12:CADASAHAKQ 24:CAJDAKQJSAKQJHAJ"]
[Play "E"]
AD JD KD KD E3
AC JC TC JC E2
QH AH JH KH S2
AC JC KC QC S2
AD JD TD QD S2
AH TH TH JH S3
AS JS KS QS S2
JC AC QC KC W2
AH JH KH QH W2
AD TS KD JD N3
AS QS TS QS N2
QC KC KC QC E2
TC TS AS TC W4
JD JS KD QD N1
JS AS JS KS E2
TD QD AD JH W2
QD TC QS TS S2
QH TH AH KH N3
TH KS QH TD E3
KS KH TD AC E6
[MeldScores "22:124"]
[PlayScores "22:28"]
[Result "SAVED"]
[HandScores "44:152"]
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#5
I'd call that aggressive bidding. Smile

congrats on the win. (yes, they were your bots and they do what you tell them to but hey, take a win where you can get it).
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#6
Now imagine you had bid 58...look at your partner's holding in diamonds. It is quite possible with that hand that if you had given a meld bid and your partner took the bid, you would have shut out your opponents as well. That would have been extra sweet!
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#7
(04-02-2016, 06:20 PM)TigreLXIX Wrote:  Now imagine you had bid 58...look at your partner's holding in diamonds.  It is quite possible with that hand that if you had given a meld bid and your partner took the bid, you would have shut out your opponents as well.  That would have been extra sweet!

Yup! I wasn't wearing my x-ray goggles, alas.

Anyway, you made me look. I reran this scenario with a bid of 58. My partner bid +2 as a meld bid (was that good?). I let him take it (was that good?), and we set the opponents as you expected. I actually played it a couple different ways, and both times we were able to set them. Here's the hand history for one case:


Code:
% Format "PPN 1.0"
% Site "worldofcardgames.com"
% Date "2016.04.02"
% ID "14596470982090"
% Players "N-Me E-ma S-Ro W-C-"
% tableid "10cd65ac-03af-4233-beb5-7940ad8d1a63"

[GameScores "0:0"]
[Deal "N:CATTKQQJDTKSATKJJHATTKJJ CATKKQDATKKQSAKKQQQHKKQJ CAKJJDAQQJJSATTTJHAAKQQQ CATQJDAATTKQJJSAKQJHATTJ"]
[Auction "E:58 Pass 60 Pass Pass"]
[Contract "W 60 D"]
[Melds "10:CKQDKSKHK 98:CKKQDKKQSKKQQHKKQ 12:CADASAHAKQ 35:CAJDATKQJSAKQJHAJ"]
[Play "W"]
AC JC KC JC W2
AS JS KS JS W2
AH JH KH QH W2
AD KD KD JD W3
AD TD KD JD W3
JD JH QD AD S1
AC JC KC QC S2
AS JS KS QS S2
AH JH KH JH S2
AH TH TH QH S3
QH TH AH KH N3
AS QS TS QS N2
AC KC KC QC N3
QC TC JC TC E2
AC QD KD QC W2
JD JS AD QD E1
AS TS KS TS E4
QS TS QD TC W2
[MeldScores "22:133"]
[PlayScores "18:32"]
[Result "SAVED"]
[HandScores "0:165"]
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#8
Before seeing the hand history, the simple answer starts with the Beginner's Hand Classifier.
Fortunately, this CABS question is handled well by the program.

Here is Marya's hand preloaded into the Beginner's Hand Classifier.

As for the correct Meld Bid that corresponds to the hand's "class", ToreadorElder affirms that CABS uses:
  • 59 = Double Aces Around
  • 58 = Unlimited Meld or in other words "meld that cannot be accurately expressed under 59"
source: Pinochle Bidding Forum - Types of Bids Thread - Post #2

It is never a mistake when you act with the best intentions using all currently available information.

In first seat, it is too pessimistic to avoid giving meld for fear of your partner not offering a Save Bid.
Clearly, the best advice for your power-poor and meld-rich hand, is a "58" Meld Bid.

After seeing the hand history, TigreLXIX is 100% correct.
This is an open & shut case if everyone plays "appropriately".
  • East (Marya) opens 58.
  • South is power-poor and meld-poor and must Pass; unless South wants to be cheeky and run up the Bid for sport (pretty much futile considering East's meld bid, and carries a much larger risk than reward).
  • West's power-rich hand is a perfect compliment to East's meld-rich hand.  West's desire for captaincy is a no-brainer; unless South bids something over 100, West is REQUIRED to Save Bid.
  • North, assuming South has Passed, simply doesn't have the meld support to compete with Team East-West.
Re-scripting the Auction:
East 58
South Pass
West 60
North Pass
East Pass
West declares Diamonds

New Meld Results:
North-South: 22 (10 , 12)
East-West: 133 (98 , 35)

Expected Play Breakdown:

West leads  AC AS AH in any order, and exits with  QD to show length/strength/confidence in trump.
North throws  KD and East takes trick with  AD and proceeds to cash AC AS .
East exits with  QD , forcing South's AD to win the trick.  While South becomes Trick Leader, West now has complete trump control.

Outside of Diamonds, this hand is very evenly split.  East-West will have to temporarily suffer through North-South's next 7 Winners until East-West can trump in.

With all of the Aces played, West will be reduced to pure trump and TRAM like mad!
By my count, East-West collects 35 counters, and North-South collects 15.

Expected Hand Result:
North-South: 0 points
East-West: 168 points
It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing all your life. -- Mickey Mantle
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#9
Right on the money Mickster.
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#10
(04-02-2016, 09:42 PM)marya Wrote:  Anyway, you made me look. I reran this scenario with a bid of 58. My partner bid +2 as a meld bid (was that good?). I let him take it (was that good?), and we set the opponents as you expected.

In this case, I wouldn't consider 60 to be indicative of 20 meld.  This is a strong captaincy bid.  (This forces North to think hard about going to 65, if at all possible, knowing that West would most likely outbid him anyway since East showed 80+ meld.)  It's hard to say what the bot was "thinking" but that's the way I'd look at it.  So the answer to both questions is yes.
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