It’s been a while, but I’d like to finally wrap up my discussion of bidding in Spades. For this final part I’d like to look at some of the strategic aspects of bidding.
To start, let’s look at some positional considerations. Here’s an example hand from Part 1:
We had said that this hand is worth 3 or 4 tricks. Whether it’s 3 or 4 (or even more than that) can be decided by your position. If you’re the last bidder and the three other players have bid 3, 4, and 4, that’s a total of 11 tricks leaving only 2 for you. So you should be conservative and just bid 3 (assuming you’re playing against competent bidders!). If the three bids before you were 2, 2, and 4 for a total of 8 you would definitely want to bid 4 or maybe even 5. If the bidding before you only equaled 7 tricks that would mean there are 6 more out there and you should definitely bid 5.
Remember, there are 13 tricks every hand and someone has to get them! If no one else is bidding than you should go ahead and be aggressive and try to pick them up. Well-timed aggression is always good in any game. In the above hand, you could possibly pick up another Diamond trick, or a Spade, or even another Club. Just be aware of the bidding so far and how many tricks are left to be taken.
Another thing to remember is that people tend to underbid, so I like to be a little aggressive in my bidding. If you’re the first or second bidder you won’t know how many tricks the other players are going to commit to, so in that case I like to just bid a little high.
Sometimes your partner’s bid can affect your bid. If your partner bids nil or double nil you’re going to want to help him out as much as you can during the play by playing your high cards so he can get rid of his high cards. If the bidding goes 3, nil (partner), 4 you need to realize there are 6 tricks left to take and you’re probably going to take a lot of them since you’ll be playing high cards (it will be hard for you to lose tricks on purpose because you need to play high cards to protect partner’s nil bid).
Speaking of losing tricks on purpose, you should always look at the total number of tricks bid and adjust your play accordingly. If there have been a total of 15 tricks bid you know tricks are going to be at a premium and you have to play to maximize your tricks. On the other hand if the total bids are only 10 you know there are plenty of tricks available and you should start throwing away big cards right away. Say you have this hand as the first bidder:
You decide to be aggressive and bid 4, but the other players only bid 6 more, leaving a total of 10. You know that tricks will be plentiful, so you should start losing tricks right away since you’ve got 2 that are absolutely guaranteed (the Ace and King of Spades). If the Ace of Diamonds is led you should throw your King on it! There is always the slight possibility you’ll do your job of losing tricks on purpose too well and end up not making your bid, but that’s pretty unlikely. Occasionally missing your bid will hurt, but not as much as picking up all those extra bags.
Alrighty, I think I’ve covered all the basics of bidding that I wanted to go over. There’s also the play of course, and I might talk about that in a future post, or I’m also thinking about a general “trick taking” post that would cover games such as Hearts, Spades, and Pinochle. Thanks for reading!