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An endgame hand
#1
Score is 488-439, NS ahead.  South is dealer.

          S KKQQJ
           H AAKKKQ
           D KKJJ
           C KKQTT

S QQJT     +-------+  S AKJTT
H AKJT     |   N   |  H AQQJT
D AKQTT    | W   E |  D AAQQJT
C AAAQQJT  |   S   |  C AKKQ
           +-------+

           S AAAKJT
           H QJJTT
           D AKQJT
           C JJJT


Pass 58 Pass 59
- pass

The first two actions by West and North are automatic, altho I've seen players bid 60 with that West hand, as a pure bluff.  IMO that's incredibly foolish;  West has some defense.  And it's just being a jerk of a partner, as it's obviously complete masterminding. 

I sat East.  I've got defense, but no offense.  I've seen players bid this...and, yeah, I'm going argh ugh oh man...give me a *little* more meld and I might try something even with no suit.  I've got tricks and it's double bidder out.  BUT, against that, I'm LOSING any meld contest;  it's a pellet gun against a 12 gauge.

The first debatable action is by South, bidding 59.  Meld absolutely does not matter.  Fine, I can see not passing as a safety measure, with those 4 aces.  But bid 60.  Show you *can* name trump, but don't even suggest you *want to*.  This is a common, lazy, unthinking error...oh, well, the opponents are out, I'll take it cheap, I won't tell partner anything.  WRONG.  

North's final pass is...it's not an error, necessarily.  First and foremost, it shows that if you want a good partnership, *talk about* auctions like this.  

--If N/S are thinking, then South's 59 shows a reasonable playing hand.  North should pass;  he's got no extra heart tricks and a square hand of his own.  South might only have TTKQJJ in diamonds, and things are not pretty, but when South differentiates between 59 and 60, with 59 showing more, that's his *absolute* minimum, and can *easily* have more.  If North bids, it shows *more* than what he'd have, when South's 59 shows something.

--If South isn't thinking...or if North isn't sure...I think North probably has to bid 60.  If thinking-South bids 60, should North bid 65?  Eww.  I think so.  So if clueless-South bids 59, I think North has to bid 60, as a precaution.  It's NOT clear-cut, but the double-ace, 6 card suit gives some insurance.  And South can bid 65 with something decent.  

The play went more or less as you might think:

SA SJ SK SJ
SA SQ SK SK
SA SQ SQ ST
SJ ST SJ SA             nothing any better for West to try, and he can't afford to sandbag
DQ DK DT DJ          fine, lead through strength.  Attack declarer's trump.  Good finesse by partner.
CT CQ CA CJ           he knows I've got the 4th.  I read this, BIG time, as "continue the trump suit"
HA HJ HK HQ          can't hold it any more, show it for partner.
DQ DA DQ DK         another attack through declarer.
SK DK SQ ST
HA HK HT HJ
HJ HA HJ HT          attack our losers.  More good defense from partner.  Next few tricks are all about this, by both sides
CK CQ CT CA
HT HA HQ HT
CK CK CJ CA
CQ CT CK CJ        not sure why pard did this;  he must've figured someone was ruffing...maybe me.
CT DT DJ CJ
HQ HQ DT HK      and the roof caves in for declarer
DA DJ DJ DQ
CA DK DA DT
DA ST CQ HK

Would North make the bid in hearts?  It's not clear.  If he leads a black Q, I have a MUCH harder time ducking, and I can't readily lead a trump *into* declarer.  That's much riskier than leading *through* declarer.  If East cashes, this will help declarer a great deal.

The hand's also interesting if East *does* choose to bid...60 would be best, IMO.  Does South bid 65 with only a 5 card suit?  If South passes, does North bid 65 with no hand?  That is the argument for East trying to bluff, but IMO it's just not percentage.

The major point, tho, is South's largely thoughtless 59 bid.  It may well be that nothing was going to work, but he didn't give his side the best chances.
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#2
Harsh.
I don't know why South's 59 is deemed "thoughtless" and gives the impression of greater strength versus a 60 bid.
With the 58 bid, the auction has exceeded the "sweet spot" for simple meld bidding.
Hence 59 (Save Bid) and 60 (Lockout Bid) would be Declarer-type Bids.
I see no reason to credit the lesser declarer bid as higher strength.
I would have interpreted a 60 bid as a firmer declarer bid.
Strange stance.

South was saving, which is sensible.  North has no strength to relieve South.  In this bidder out survival scenario, East-West would need to bid over 100 to have any shot at the contract; and North-South would be happy to offload it for that price.  North-South, IMO, didn't err in the auction.  East-West were helpless to effectively manipulate the auction.

Only if (during the auction) North and South laid their hands on the table and got a chance to openly devise their plan for the next phase, would they possibly elect to nominate North as declarer and name Spades or Hearts as trump -- total fantasy.
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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#3
Simple meld bidding is only important when it's not clear how high your side can bid.  North gave 80 meld, so N/S is safe to bid to 100.

NO, 60 is NOT!!!!! NOT!!!! NOT!!! a lockout bid here!!  Even thinking it MIGHT be is incredibly and absolutely wrong.  It locks in on the number, and not the auction.

Pass - 54 - pass - 55   versus
Pass - 54 - pass - 56

56 flat-out says pard, I don't have much;  I *can* play it, but if you have something reasonable, feel free.  THERE IS NO REASON TO SHOW 20 MELD at this point.  The opponents are OUT of the auction, and the bidding has shown more than sufficient meld for our final level;  it won't be much higher than this.  The point now is to find a trump suit to try to save.  Similarly, compare

Pass - 50 and
Pass - 52

While neither implies strength, 50 is unlimited strength;  52 is limited.  52 is *weaker* in that sense.  Not necessarily a lot weaker because the need to show the meld is much greater than the need to precisely define strength...but that is NOT the case when the meld situation is still critically important.  The fundamental point of bidding is to exchange useful information.  There is no reason NOT to use this logic here, that I can see, and the VERY strong reason of systemic consistency to use it.  

And yes...even if South bids 60 as I suggest, North's pass would be reasonable.  At lower levels, it might even be automatic...but South is *heavily* pressured to not pass here, and risk having NO chance of saving.  It is on this basis that North can bid.  

Set aside for a moment whether 59 or 60 shows more.  That's a separate point.  When South gives the WEAKER bid, should North bid again with his hand?  If South can bid with the hand he has, then North has to consider rebidding because he has a fairly significantly *better* trump suit.  SHOULD North rebid?  That calculus is a little trickier.  North *is not* showing some awesome hand.  It goes back to the core point:  bidding is about the exchange of information.  South's *weakest* bid is Pass.  Knock even 1 spade ace out of South's hand, and *should* he even save here?  TOUGH call.  Knock 2 aces out, so he's only got a 5 card trump suit and 1 side ace...NO chance, really, of ever getting anywhere else...and he should pass, IMO.  Look at it:

AS TS XS XS XS XS XH XH XH XH XH XC XC XC XC AD TD KD QD JD

GULP!!!!!  South has to desperately hope North has something, or maybe, maybe name spades.  In diamonds?  North has to carry the load.  

So...*if South gives the weakest bid*...he could have

a)  weak but a semi-reasonable suit
b)  much more of a support hand

What he cannot have is, say, 

AS AS TS TS XS XS XH XH XH XH AC XC XC AD TD TD KD KD QD QD

NOT when he gave the weaker bid.  Even if you change a low diamond into a low heart:

AS AS TS TS XS XS XH XH XH XH XH AC XC XC AD TD TD KD QD QD

I wouldn't give the weaker bid because this hand has a clear plan of attack...cash the club, then 3 rounds of spades unless the cards played demand something else.  Use spades to give partner ruffs, OR to protect the short trump holding by forcing defensive ruffs.  I'll grant, this is really close, but the texture in the long suits would sway me.  

If South has the a) hand, North knows it's hopeless...pulling 20 is basically impossible.  If South has the b) hand, then *probably* North has the better trump suit, despite NOT having the texture.
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#4
Prior to this thread 60 has ALWAYS!!!!! ALWAYS!!!! ALWAYS!!! been a declarer type bid; usually with definitive playing strength.
A +1 bid (barring an Aces bid.  59 in this case.) is ALWAYS!!!!! ALWAYS!!!! ALWAYS!!! a bare minimum requirement declarer type bid -- it makes the least claim of strength. 

To campaign for the contrary is an effort to over complicate pinochle and fabricate fault where none exists.
If there is any point to this forum, we should be endeavoring to simplify pinochle tactics and understandings.

If South wanted to stay in the auction but express a poor playing hand, a bid of 65 or more (other than "100") would stand a higher chance of being interpreted as a bid not desiring declarership.
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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#5
Oh horse hockey.  YOU want 60 to be a declarer-type bid all the time, because 60 is some mystic number to you.  It often is...but that's bidding logic, it's nothing inherent in 60.  What is 60 in 50-58 (by opp)-60 to you...to play?  WHY?  What would 59 be, if not to play?  I wouldn't read 50-56-59 as double aces, I'd read it as 30 meld because the 30 meld bid is going to be useful FAR more often, especially when the opponent has shown a ton of meld.  And 50-56-60 has to be 40 meld.  WHY would 3rd seat jump to 60, cutting off partner who asked for meld, when the 4th seat opponent has already heard massive meld from his partner?  One can argue for 50-52-60 as trying to cut off 4th seat...but

a)  third seat can easily show medium and high levels of meld in this auction (not true after 50-56)
b)  2nd seat's meld isn't that high, so the opponents' upper limit *may well be* fairly low.

I'm not saying I like that style of bidding (50-52-60) but it can be advantageous.  50-56-60 to play is just foolish, as it is completely insufficient to really disrupt the opponents, while losing a constructive bid for us.

If there is any point to this forum, it is to teach people to think, to make the most effective use of the *extremely* limited bidding language.  Situations like this are not common, but not that unusual.  Another one...not that rare...would be 52-pass-54-pass...is there a difference between a rebid of 55 and 56?  There has to be, because meld's already been exchanged.  There's no point in repeating the messages, so one shifts modes in the messages to be sent.  (Also, 52-pass-54-55 by opp...opener's rebids of 56 and 57 must say very different things.)

And WHY would South EVER bid anything but pass, 59, or 60 over the 58, with the opps out of the auction?  OK, maybe 100 to show dbl aces, WITH a marriage but in a non-suit like AAKQ.  Insanely rare, but possible.  Why bid considerably higher to show doubt, and risk going set for that much more?  This is simply ridiculous.  I'm arguing for the +2 bid to be the weaker bid, because its base uses (giving 20) are promise less than any +1 bid...even a save.  You'll give 20 with, say:

TH TH KH JH JH JH KS QS JS JS TD TD KD JD JD TC KC KC QC JC

And showing 30, which is still fairly common, might be a double pinochle hand, with NO aces and NO marriage.  

This is why I lean to the system I'm suggesting...it's more consistent that these small jump bids show less.  Start with a very basic sequence:

pass - 52 - pass - 53 versus
pass - 52 - pass - 54

As I noted, *neither* bid promises much...but 54 actively *excludes* having an offensive hand here, which 53 does not.
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#6
CABS promotes a few "mystical" bids.
Opening 51 means Aces Around Hand.
Bidding 58/59 means Unlimited-Meld Hand / Double-Aces Hand ... or whatever you say it is.
Bidding 60 means Offensive Hand which also serves to remove single-increment bidding.

When the auction gets to some "mystical" level, say 56, the CABS bids: 58, 59, & 60 are now meant to lose their initial meaning.
Bear in mind, 56 is a number only discussed in this forum and may or may not be honored in real games.
Because 56 is not universally set as a distinguisher, CABS becomes ambiguous.
If 56 were to become an official distinguisher for bid interpretation, then auction tactics would become modified to attack it.

In the meantime, we have CABS -- a set of rules, each with a minimum of one exception.
Any system that has a number of excepts which is equal or greater than the number of rules is horrible, horrible system.

I suppose my angle here, isn't an attack on your beliefs, rather it is another attack on CABS and its convolution.
Convolution is not enjoyable to players and is one of the main reason why many people don't bother learning pinochle.

As for the original scenario:
True, 60 doesn't serve to pressurize the auction for the opponents.  However, I feel it is unintuitive to usurp 60's power role for this case.  Our beliefs just don't mesh here. 

As for my personal thoughts that do not align with CABS:
Yes, "50-58(by opp)-60 by me" means "Partner, I got this!".  Which is an important message to convey because auction language gets much more expensive to use above 60.  This is a distinction between 59 saying "I can become declarer." versus 60 saying "Back off, I am very confident of my offensive cache."

I don't like/use 59 as Double-Aces.  I use 100, but it's been years since I've had the chance to use it online.  I use 59 as Unlimited Meld.  If I don't want to utter 100 for any reason, I can hedge my communication and call 59 to signal that I have unlimited meld.  I don't personally have any mystical meaning behind 58.

I believe there is a decrease in ambiguity when:
If opening 51 : Aces Around Bid
Elseif +1 bid : Declarer Bid (if not the first declarer bid by this player, it expresses incrementally greater offensive strength)
Else {+2 or more bid} : 
     If 60 : Declarer Bid of notable strength -- "Lockout Bid"
     Elseif 59 : Minimum Meld Bid (actual meld amount may or may not exceed what is communicated mathematically)
     Else : Literal Meld Bid 

And for the record, I don't like that Aces Around can only be used by the auction opener.


Finally, an argument in your favor using my logic in your scenario:
If North was going to use 60 as a Lockout/Power Bid, then North would have skipped the 58 and just gone straight to 60.
But back to the 58 that actually happened, 60 by my interpretation would be a foolish bid.
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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#7
Quote:Yes, "50-58(by opp)-60 by me" means "Partner, I got this!".  Which is an important message to convey because auction language gets much more expensive to use above 60.  This is a distinction between 59 saying "I can become declarer." versus 60 saying "Back off, I am very confident of my offensive cache."

59 DOES NOT say "I can become declarer".  50 asked for meld.  It should, IMO, show *at least* a 35-7-6 hand...7 card trump suit, 6 playing tricks, and a total of 35 points between meld and play.  

What does "partner, I can become declarer" say?  That's a nothing statement.

50-58-59...that 59 needs to show a *more* offensively oriented hand than partner's 50.  With a semi-balanced hand, IMO, 59 shows an 8 card double ace run.  With a 2 suiter, both suits have to be good.  HIGH offensive orientation.  So it *already* seems to be saying what you want 60 to mean.

Plus, how are you going to give 20 meld, when you don't have an offensive hand?


Quote:I suppose my angle here, isn't an attack on your beliefs, rather it is another attack on CABS and its convolution.
Convolution is not enjoyable to players and is one of the main reason why many people don't bother learning pinochle.


Hooey.  There are several factors involved, some general and relating to all basic card games;  pinochle has some factors of its own, like the crazy melds, but probably #1 is, there's no way to learn the game.  No books.  No authority to lay out a *full* system.  After that, it takes this *weird* deck to play double deck;  you can play hearts, spades, and bridge with the same deck.  It's not a great game for kids because it's actually hard for them to hold 20 cards.  The *rules* are more complex...the crazy meld tables...than the principles of bidding.  And yes, bidding and play are more complex...because now it's supposed to be a partnership game.  

But the bidding notions...no, they are NOT rules...that you call convoluted, are not, as long as you work to understand the principles.  What I advocate is a situation-dependent, flexible approach...start from the basics, and grow into handling the more unusual.  You have never shown me that you have any basis.

I started with a fundamental purpose:

The purpose of pinochle bidding is to identify, as much as possible, who should play the hand, and the maximum prudent level to play.

I have, IMO, 3 core notions that I believe are very valuable in this:

#1:  until partner says something different, assume he'll contribute 15 points total...generally, this means 10 meld and 5 points in play, but that 15 works.  First corollary to this:  if partner shows meld, assume he'll kick in 5 points in the play, in addition.

#2:  35-7-6.  

#3:  Adjusted meld...because telling partner your *meld* is meaningless.  You want to convey how many total points you'll kick in.  Meld is the largest factor most of the time, BUT strength beyond the expectation is also crucial.

I'm not saying I invented them;  I will say, I formulated #2 and #3 on my own.  The "passed pard has 10 meld" is common, but the full extension to dealing with overall support...that's mine.  The others...I never saw them in a book or on a web site;  I wasn't taught them when I learned at the table.  I will NEVER say they're ideal and perfect, mechanically.  I will always say that, if you are NOT using something very like these...you should.  

Strength-first bidding flows from the purpose itself.  "Who should play the hand" is completely lost in meld-first bidding, and if the bidding gets too high, it can never be recovered well.  If there are strength-showing bids, there has to be some defined basic strength...ergo, notion #2.  Notion #3 is just saying, raw meld's only PART of the story that needs to be conveyed, to fulfill the purpose of bidding.

Going back to some points brought up about the 'bidding anomalies'...another principle that derives directly from the purpose:  opening bids of 60 and 65 should be based on massive playing strength, such that the bidder has a strong presumption that his hand is better than his partner's hand.  I bring that up to say, well, if this applies to opening 60, 65, 70, maybe 75...then opening 100 to show double aces surely feels like that should also be to play, as well.  Why risk a really, really big set?  Bidding 100 darn well should have at least a clear-cut plan.  Well then...how would you show double aces in a flat hand, a support hand...even a marriageless hand??  That's why 59 exists as a 'conventional' bid.  It also fits well with the rest of the meld bids.

So look at the differences:
a)  59
b)  52-59;  50-52-59;  52-pass-59
c)  50-56-59;  52-54-56-59;  50-52-56-59; 53-54-56-59

a)  double aces.  This is the base agreement
b)  still double aces.  Why?  There is little or no point in having it be a meld bid.  58 would show 60.  If 59 is not double aces, then...what?  70?  How often will distinguishing between 60 and 70 meld matter?  OTOH...showing the double aces is clearly of massive importance.
c)  STOPS being double aces.  Why?  How do you show 30 meld, if not by bidding 59?  Of the 3 sample auctions, the first is rare just because showing 60 meld is rare...but the last 3, where 59's the 4th bid, happen sometimes.  A slavish adherence to 59 as a "double aces" bid here is wrong because double aces are just too rare.  30 meld hands are not rare.
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#8
(09-30-2016, 04:35 PM)ToreadorElder Wrote:  
Quote:Yes, "50-58(by opp)-60 by me" means "Partner, I got this!".  Which is an important message to convey because auction language gets much more expensive to use above 60.  This is a distinction between 59 saying "I can become declarer." versus 60 saying "Back off, I am very confident of my offensive cache."

59 DOES NOT say "I can become declarer".  50 asked for meld.  It should, IMO, show *at least* a 35-7-6 hand...7 card trump suit, 6 playing tricks, and a total of 35 points between meld and play.  

What does "partner, I can become declarer" say?  That's a nothing statement.

50-58-59...that 59 needs to show a *more* offensively oriented hand than partner's 50.  With a semi-balanced hand, IMO, 59 shows an 8 card double ace run.  With a 2 suiter, both suits have to be good.  HIGH offensive orientation.  So it *already* seems to be saying what you want 60 to mean.

Plus, how are you going to give 20 meld, when you don't have an offensive hand?

I'll wear that logic.  I didn't use the best phrasing to describe my thoughts.  In whatever way a player interprets their hands strength, the 59 says "I've got a playing hand stronger than what opening with 50 generally claims."

I'm also saying that the 58 bid has effectively removed the capability of seat3 to offer a 20-meld bid.  Tough cookies.  This type of thing happens in pinochle all the time.
If seat2 is offering 80-meld, then communicating 20-meld to seat1 is pretty much useless anyhow.  Conveniently for me in this case, figuring out who has the better playing hand is the priority anyhow.
59 says "I think my hand plays better than yours.  If you don't think so, you are welcome to overbid me.  (...but if yours is so sweet perhaps you should have opened 60)
60 says "I have a monster and I'm not going to waste time talking it out."
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
So what is the point of bidding 60 when you have an 80 meld bid against you?  How is that going to advance winning the bid?  Partner won't be able to give meld.  Plus, *why* have 2 bids with such strong overlap?  Partner bid 50.  He may have a run, a honkin' big suit, and not much more.  Your 59 basically HAS to be 20+ meld to get on the board, at least the double ace 8 card run, and 9 tricks reasonably, or 8 with extra chances...say:

AD AD TD KD KD QD QD JD AC TC TC XC XC XC AH AH XH XH XS XS

Once you bid 60, you've completely eliminated any chance partner can give 20, altho that might be gone already.  50-58-59-pass-65...what does 65 show?  It SHOULD be meld, but how much?

You're also missing the full system:

50-58-?

60:  20 meld
65:  30 meld
70:  40 meld

and so on.  There's a simplifying principle:  *anything but* the cheapest bid shows MELD when your partner has asked for meld.  It is not to play.  The rest just becomes a very simple exercise in steps.  

And yes, 58 is a PITA.  But what about 50-56?  How do you show more than 20 meld?  You didn't mention the frequency point, so...let's say, for argument, that 59 would show 30.  Makes more sense to have 60 show 40 meld.  The system naturally extending itself.  And showing 40 *does* give partner a pretty good shot to win the bid.  Bidding 60, ONLY giving the message "I have a really good hand!" is NOT going to work unless YOU can outbid 60 meld on your own.  50-56-57 MAY allow partner to show 20 or 30;  4th seat might have nothing on which to bid.  50-56-60 doesn't block anyone but your partner.  50-57 follows most of the same arguments...59 shows 20, so 60 shows 30, and 65 shows 40, but I think everything else is the same.

All of this is consistent, and all of this is constructive, partnership-oriented bidding.  Yes, the system needs *1* bid to show OMG I Have A Big Hand...but not 2.
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#10
Here's another situation, just came up a few minutes ago:

           S KQQJT
           H AKQ
           D KJJTTT
           C AAKQQJ

S AAKQ     +-------+  S AKJJTTT
H AAKT     |   N   |  H AJJ
D AKQQQ    | W   E |  D AAKKJJT
C AAKQQJT  |   S   |  C KJT
           +-------+

           S AKQJ
           H KKQQQJJTTT
           D AQ
           C KJTT

[Auction "N"]
Pass 50 59 70
- 75 Pass Pass

#1:  West screwed up trying to be cute, bidding 59.  He's got a mountain, his partner's already passed.  37 meld, 9 or 10 tricks...so, around 60 in hand.  65 would be perfectly reasonable as a blocking bid, intending to bid 75;  70 to provide major blocking but also being safer;  or 75 for max blockage but some risk.  

Granted...it would work quite a bit.  But I had the North hand.  60 to play...65 has to show 30 because partner only saved.  70 to show 40 is not clear-cut safe, but I do have a bit more meld, and I'm not broke.  I could also play 70 if I had to.

Bingo.

Pard pulled 30, despite our side only having 5 aces.

Related to this thread, the point is...hey, the cases when you CAN give meld like this might be unusual...and risky because it was in a save auction...but this is still by and large the MOST likely approach to succeed in the end.  The sidebar was, West got spanked for trying something that (having played with/against this player in the past) I think was trying to jerk us around first and foremost.  The hand score turned out to be 86-48 for us;  if he'd bid 70, the best combination of safety and aggressiveness, I think it would've been around 73-0 for them, pretty much...I don't think that we can save if I pass (pard's obviously passing if I do), and I think I simply can't bid. (I have 50 support, but force to 85. Pard just saved, so I'd be betting that he had a full opening bid, or the rare freak like this.) That's a 100 point swing.
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