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getting set due to a save bid?
#1
The following scenario played out with my bots. I was South and dealer was East. I passed, West made a "save" bid of 50, North passed, and East passed. But it worked out. West made the trump suit spades, and they saved with 52 points. Here is the hand history:

Code:
% Site "worldofcardgames.com"
% Date "2017.05.29"
% ID "14960884802861"
% Players "N-EV E-Hu S-ma W-To"
% tableid "8ec7a2f4-07f0-4f29-9acf-96e70fa907ff"

[GameScores "25:61"]
[Deal "E:CAATKKDTQQSTKKQJHAAAATKQ CTKQQJJDAATKKQSTTTJJHTTK CATTQQDAATKJSAKQQHTKJJJJ CAKJJDTKQJJJSAAAKQJHKQQQ"]
[Auction "S:Pass 50 Pass Pass"]
[Contract "W 50 S"]
[Melds "6:CDSKQHKQ 4:CKQDKQSH 8:CDJSKQH 20:CKDKQJSKQHKQ"]
[Play "W"]
AC KC KC QC W3
AS JS TS QS W2
AS QS TS QS W2
AS KS TS KS W4
JS KS JS AS S2
AC JC AC JC S2
AD JD TD QD S2
AD JD QD KD S2
QC KC AC JC N2
AH KH KH QH N3
AH TH TH QH N3
AH TH JH QH N2
TS JS KD QS N2
QD AD JD KD E2
QC TC JC KC S2
TC KS TC TC W4
JD QH AD TD E2
KD JH TD KH W3
QD TH TD JH E2
QC JH KH AH E4
[MeldScores "14:24"]
[PlayScores "22:28"]
[Result "SAVED"]
[HandScores "22:52"]

I looked at this history and thought there were a few problems, so I decided to fix it.

First, I reprogrammed West so it would give a meld bid. West has 18 meld, which is probably enough to bid 52. There's a thread by ToreadorElder which suggests that when dealer's left passes, giving a meld bid is a good thing: http://www.powerpinochle.com/forum/archi...d-952.html - hopefully I am not misinterpreting it.

I reran this hand with West giving a 52 bid. In this case, North passed, and East (the dealer) passed, and the bots still saved, but just barely.

However, this still seemed wrong to me. East left West hanging by not responding to the meld bid. West may have no good suit. So East should really bid +1, right?

When I reprogrammed the bots to bid +1 in this scenario, there's no happy outcome. They get set. If West insists on bidding +1 again, their bid is 54, and they get set.

I'm trying to program the bots to "do the right thing" when it comes to signalling, but in this case it gets them set. It looks like I should have left them alone.

I thought the correct way to play this is to have dealer's partner show meld (52), then dealer "saves" the meld bid (+1), then dealer's partner bids +1 again (maybe, I'm not sure about this). But as soon as the dealer bids +1, it results in the pair getting set. It's possible that they're getting set due to poor playing skills, but it looks like it's still a pretty close call.

Am I doing something wrong, or is this one of those edge cases where doing the right thing just doesn't work? Any feedback is very welcome!
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#2
oops...halfway through this post actually, then I'm getting interrupted...man, I wish I'd seen that severe thuderstorm warning a half hour ago.  Got some young herbs that haven't been outside long, and they're getting HAMMERED.  But it's POURING right now, and I don't feel like getting *drenched* just taking a few moments to get them onto the patio....

OK, going through 1 step at a time.

West does have 18 and 4 aces, and has no suit.  West would give as his first action in ALL cases where showing meld makes sense...first seat, second seat after any bid from South below 58, 3rd and 4th seat if East has bid anything and West can still show 20.

East's action depends on West's action.

a)  If West opens 50, East must pass.  East does not have a run;  can't give meld;  and doesn't have some major play monster hand with about 14 meld, going "please please please pard get me on the board!!!!"  Something like

AC AC AC TC TC TC KC KC QC QC AD AD QD AS QS  TH TH QH QH JH

b)  If West bids 52, then East should bid 53.

West's 50 is a save bid.  East's 53 is a save bid.

East's 51 (over West's 50), and West's 54 (over East's 53), are NOT save bids.  These are what I call checkback bids.  A save bid can have as little as TTKQJJ as a trump suit, but may have much more.  Italic bids are saves;  bold are checkbacks.

1.  pass - 50 - pass - 51 
2.  pass - 52 - pass - 53  -- 54

The save bid
a)  absolutely does not promise a rebid.
b)  shows at least the suit described above, but can be better when, for example, there's no meld to give.

The checkback has to be better.  That's first and foremost:  a better trump suit.  Then...how much do you know, and what do you need?

pass-50-pass-51:  first, you don't even know if you can make 20.  West has not shown anything more than a marriage.  So, FIRST thing for East to ask is, do I have 20?  West may have a run and it may be the only way to make the board.

pass-52-pass-53- -54:  West gave 20, so he should've been close.  OK, we should make the board.  But EW is presumably looking at pulling in the high 20s to low 30s.  EAST may have a run for his save, tho...which means EW should only need 20.  So, here, West probably needs...let's say something like

AC AC TC TC KC QC QC AD AD KD QD TS TS TS KS QS JS AH KH QH

and this is minimum, with no run, I think.  And note, this is almost a 30 meld bid.  My gut says that's 

But here:

pass-53-pass-54- - 55

Now, this checkback needs a suit.  Here, meld shouldn't be problem...yeah, it might be close, but mostly the concern is pulling 20.  Ergo, West here needs a suit.  Something like

AC TC TC KC KC KC QC AD QD JD JD AS QS QS QS TH KH KH JH JH

is fine.  

The basic point is, you have to base your actions based on what your partner has told you.  This is why I advocate that you DON'T save on junk like TKQJ in the vast majority of cases.  If partner saves, he's showing TTKQJJ or better.  So you have to have better...OR in some cases, a run when that's critical.
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#3
So, when is a bid a checkback?

When partner may be forced to play just a save bid.

What does the checkback show?

It promises some cover for the most pressing need known so far.  The first need is meld, either to make the board or to have a reasonable shot at pulling enough to make the bid.  If meld isn't a problem, it's generally showing a better trump suit.  Yes, you have to listen to, and consider, the entire auction so far.

I've got some other comments elsewhere on checkbacks that are worth reading.  It's a somewhat tricky subject, tho.  Check out some of the other threads, and think about it.  If things aren't clear then, we can get down to cases.
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#4
Thanks very much for the detailed feedback, ToreadorElder! This gives me some more test cases to write. I did a search of the site for "save bids" but I couldn't really find the info I needed.

BTW it looked like you got interrupted in one of your sentences, maybe when you ran out for your plants -

(05-30-2017, 10:59 PM)ToreadorElder Wrote:  ....
and this is minimum, with no run, I think.  And note, this is almost a 30 meld bid.  My gut says that's 

But here:

pass-53-pass-54- - 55

Your gut says??
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#5
So... East has made a save bid of 53. Just for clarity, East's hand was:
TC KC QC QC JC JC AD AD TD KD KD QD TS TS TS JS JS TH TH KH

West has the hand below:
AC KC JC JC TD KD QD JD JD JD AS AS AS KS QS JS KH QH QH QH

West should pass now, is that correct?
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#6
Yeah, I got sidetracked.

I think the tail end of that was, you probably can't bid in that sequence unless you were quite close to bidding 30 in the first place.

If West bids 52 and East bids 53, yes, West has to pass. First concern is meld; West has no run, so hope East does, or it's pull 31 time. Second, West has no *extra* tricks by naming spades. The 3 aces, yes, but nothing else.
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