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A situational bidding hand
You sit South.  Score is E/W 480, N/S 200.

East opens 51.  Your bid with:


The question is:  would you give the 20, or pass?

Giving 20 only works if partner has a monster;  he'll have to pull 31, and you have probably 1 trick for him.  (Aces block him reaching you.  If clubs are trump, you'll probably win 1 club trick.  If diamonds are trump, you may get a club ruff, but odds are that club ace gets ruffed.  You're better off in hearts or spades, but they're considerably less likely to be partner's suit.)  PLUS:  if pard is really that good...if he's got that 10+ trick hand...he may bid anyway.

Passing pretty much requires that E/W don't have 20, or the *off* chance they don't have a marriage (or West's marriages are unbiddable, and East doesn't have one), or that they barely make 20, but pard has enough to prevent them from saving (they need 27 or so to save).  

Slim odds for either, I think I can safely say.  

I would just pass, for this reason.  Give pard say, 25 meld and 10 tricks...much more than this and he'll probably bid on his own.  Say it's in hearts, so you do pull 31.  Fine:  the score's 480-275ish.  You'll have to pull 31 on the next 2 hands...and more likely next 3 reach a bidder-out situation.  Or hope they go set.  I would guess that, before the cards are dealt, there's about a 1 in 4 chance or so that our side will get a pull-31.  That means 3 pull-31's in a row...about a 1 in 64 chance.  

So giving 20 needs great things to happen on 4 hands...this one and the next good things on the 5th.  If you can set them, they're back at 430.  Even if you don't score at all, you don't absolutely need to pull 31.  I'll grant that it's still very much against the odds, but you have some working room.  And, at 480, E/W can actually be a bit passive;  all they have to do is pull 20.  At 430, passive probably won't cut it.
Unless I'm missing something a scenario would be 53 bid for meld, pass, 54 from partner and pass. You'd be pulling 34 minus partner's meld.
Worse case is partner has a very weak trump suit and passes hoping either you can do better or East will bid again.
If all three pass then that's the breaks. A team can't win if one doesn't put their meld out there for partner to compete even when they can't (such as hand above).
Yes, you're missing everything.

The first point is, IT DOES NOT MATTER if your side saves.  If your side bids, they must pull 31 to stop the opponents.  Opponents pull 20, it's game over.  Your hand is total junk for that.

Sorry, wrong tone.  I *do* want to discuss this.

What you're saying, tho, is that the state of the game does not matter.  Just give 20.  Is this essentially correct?
It's a nasty situation indeed.
We don't even know what kind of meld/strength West is holding; any communicable support makes this hand even more ominous.

The reality is, barring a No Trump  or No Board Set for East-West, North-South will probably need to rake in 31 counters!
Both the Set and the denial outcomes are rather wishful.

If you want to rely on (pray for) luck, then pass and hope something miraculous/horrible happens to East-West.
If you want to go the skill route, then desperately stretch that feeble 16-18 meld hand and call 53, then hope like hell that North has SOMETHING resembling a biddable trump suit.  (oh, wait that would be lucky too Big Grin   )

When you KNOW you need to bank 31 counters to survive, it is better to be the offense than the defense.

The fact that East announced Aces Around, is seriously perilous news for North-South.  That's usually a minimum of 10-15 meld, and usually a minimum of 8-10 counters.  Perhaps sticking East-West with an unwanted bid is your only shot -- survival by technicality!

If I am South in this scenario, I would be silently asking myself why I deserve such a miserable hand when we are already up against the ropes.  Damn you, Pinochle!
It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing all your life. -- Mickey Mantle
Like I said, I must be missing something.
There is 20 meld, there's no stretching of 16-18 or whatever.
Both of you talk about pulling 31 points although it's bid minus 20 minus partner's meld, it should be a save.
And yes, TE, I give a meld bid when partner hasn't bid yet irregardless. I have no idea what partner has, but partner won't know he has meld help if I don't give it.

Oh, I see, you guys are talking about pulling 31 to keep opponents from saving and winning.
First, I play you have to win the bid and save to win the game. I know you don't, but whatever you guys are going on about is not part of my thinking.
Okay, I take it you are hoping they have a weak hand and you might set them which has better odds than you pulling 31 and keeping them from saving.
Yes, I can see where when teams are allowed to back into wins that that kind of thinking would take place.
When you must win bid to go out, then they can save but they won't win. So winning the bid is paramount, not passing and hoping they have a bad hand.
Whoops, missed the jacks.  20-22 depending on trump.  Not giving the meld bid runs the risk of "masterminding" as TE once called it.  A pass would be untruthful.

Because the most popular rule (online) permits winning without declaring, the focus on this hand is all about the Play Phase.  Because South has a dreadful playing hand, a Pass positions the team best and the untruth is forgivable.
It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing all your life. -- Mickey Mantle
I agree that it does risk masterminding.  Give me *3* aces and I'd probably show the 20.  Make the score closer...480-350, say...and I'd probably give the 20 even with only 1 ace.  If I'm bidding first...ergo I don't know about the aces to my right...I'd give the 20 and hope.  

Yeah, we're playing normal rules.  Your no-back-in rule is one I'd personally never play with;  IMO it's a bad rule;  it encourages bad bidding and discourages more sound bidding.  It also creates a major break in strategy.  Mind...there's a special rule in tournament backgammon.  A match is to a set number of points...the one I played was to 7 or 9, I forget which.  Key was, if a player hit 8 exactly, in the next game (and the next game ONLY), his opponent was barred from using the doubling cube.  (The doubling cube doubles the stakes, so the game is now worth at least 2 points.)  There's no reason for the player behind NOT to double, and do it immediately.  But that rule only applies to the first game.  If I take an 8-0 lead then you win the next game, you immediately use the double on your first move of every subsequent game.

So maybe, OK...can't back in once.  Give the trailing team maybe 1 reprieve.  But doing more than that is just too great a shift for my taste.  At those levels, you're saying the defender's meld and play points are always wiped out.  If you're at 460 or better and I'm it 425 or first bid would be 60 or 65, on darn near ANY excuse to do so.  No thanks.
oh yeah, sorry, not to stray but to clarify my comment, I've already posted the other part in the thread where this was initially discussed, going over 500 and setting the bid team is also a win. That is obvious requirement due to bidding whatever to deny win.

I wouldn't have guessed the back in rule had such major implications on strategy but it does. You actually avoid taking the bid unlress you have a chance pf pulling more than 30. That to me is really sad. But I understand where you guys are coming from.

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