It’s rare, but every once in a while you get those rook hands that you would be willing to bid so high with. What do you do if you opponent has bid 170 though? Do you bid higher?
Well, looking at the above rook hand, you obviously want to take the bid. You are going likely be of no help to your partner if they take the bid, or to even stop your opponent if they take the bid. So it is absolutely essential to win this bid. This particular hand, you are missing both the 14s in your suits, but you have both 1s and 13s in both the trump suit as well as your off suit. You even have the 10 covered in green, so you are likely to only loose say 10 points per hand if you lose the 14s in both colors.
You are going to trump any other color that is played, so you really don’t expect to loose points elsewhere. So really, I would be willing to bid up to 180 in a max 200 round, with the possibility of taking all the points if my partner or the kitty has 1 or both of the 14s missing.
There are times when you make a bid and you know you do not have the strongest of hands, but you are hoping that your partner has some help for you. Maybe some extra 1s or a bunch of your trump color. With these possibilities in mind, you set out to win a round that you typically would expect to loose.
The next thing you know, you partner has already shown that they are out of trumps, and not only that, one of your other opponents has already shown they are out as well. You count down the amount of trumps in your hand and you know the sad truth, one of your opponents has exactly the same amount of trumps as you.
Do not panic, just make sure you are paying extra attention to all the cards being played. You are going to need to know if your are able to slough that off-trump 9 or keep it and hope that it is actually going to win a trick.
A few things are extremely important to help avoid the inevitable set:
Know that if you trump in, you may be giving your opponent the last trick of the game if they are able to get the lead and lead trump to pull all of the trump from your hand.
Try your best to keep your opponent that has trump from getting the lead without them having to use trump.
Focus on getting the last trick primarily as it not only takes the 20 pts automatically, but it also takes the points in the kitty and the points of the trick (usually there are some nice points in the last trick).
If you have a choice between securing the rook or securing the last trick, choose the last trick and let them take the bird.
Count, count, count the points that have been taken. On rare occasions, the partner may not have a lot of points to give. So even though the opponent has a lot of trump and takes a lot of tricks, they may not have taken a lot of points.
You are not going to lose by simply losing a lot of tricks. You are going to lose if you do not try and minimize the losses. Conceding well timed losses may be the key to staying on track and not getting set.
Final note: Getting set is not the end of the world. It happens to the best of us. If you get set, don’t give up on the round. Who knows, the very next hand you may be shooting the moon!
I was recently asked if it was smart to bid up your opponent in a 4 player, set partner, rook game when your partner has passed and you clearly do not have a good enough hand to bid on. Notice, if your partner has already passed and you are the last one from your team in the bidding, you do not want to let your opponents off cheaply. Do not just pass to their early bids without giving a fight. It does not make any sense to give your opponents and easy chance at scoring some decent points without at least having to work for it, or having the possibility of getting set.
Personally, we have a standard bid we will typically go to with almost any hand. In our game of 200 pts per round including the 2s 3s and 4s, this bid is typically 145. Although this has fluctuated from night to night. Some nights the average bid is 155. Some nights it is 135. But most of the time, we are right around 145 on a base bid with marginal hands.
One thing to always keep in mind is your opponents could possibly be baiting you into bidding with powerhouse hands. On a number of occasions, to gain the advantage of a set, one of your opponents may puposefully pass early in the bidding wars to indicate they have a weak hand when in fact they have a strong hand and are likely to set you and your partner.
This all being said, bidding when you do not have a great hand is usually best when your opponents are about to win the game and you need to stop them from going out. You may sacrifice getting set for the opportunity that next round you will get dealt a monster hand that you could possibly shoot the moon with!