Saturday, September 3, 2022

Was this Spades bid too high?

A modest bid of 2 still got set!

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium, but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

Someone sent me a Spades hand history from World of Card Games to ask what I thought: Was their bid too high? The player is “West” in the screenshot above. They were first to bid, so they had no information about anyone else’s bids.

When I’m first to bid, I’ll usually err on the side of caution. So let’s see what we have here. The player bid 2. Do I agree?

At first glance, I’d say it was entirely reasonable. As you can see from the screenshot above, they’ve got the king of spades and one extra trump card. That king of spades is very likely to take a trick, but there’s a small possibility that it might be trumped by the ace, with some bad luck.

Clearly, the player was also counting on their king of clubs taking a trick. I also think this is reasonable. They’ve got three clubs. It’s always possible that someone else is long in clubs, and that might result in their king of clubs getting trumped. But on average, I think it’s usually safe to count that king as taking a trick, with only three of the suit in my hand.

However, this turned out to be one of those cases where the odds were not in favor of West. Late in the hand, when West tried to take a trick by trumping over their right-hand opponent using their king of spades, the left-hand opponent took the opportunity to trump that card with the ace of spades! This was the worst-case scenario that they didn’t really anticipate. If they had held the king and just discarded a hearts card, they might have saved their bid.

Overall, I still think the bid was good, and this team just had a bit of bad luck. What do you think? You can view the hand history here or take a look at the replayer of this Spades hand at YouTube.