Hello my fellow eliter's
Just recently someone at elite and a newbie to spade had asked me if there was any guidelines I follow when bidding, playing if there were any specific strategies involved with spades. I have asked them to read a post I had made about a year or so ago (post 30928) which highlights a few simple tips and strategies for beginners. Here is a follow up, which covers most of the strategies and tips in much more detail. I have compiled this from various sources, experience and tips from some of the better spades players I have played with.
I am sure 99% of the people won’t take the time to read through this, deem it useful or agree with the strategies but in some shape or form it helps even a single player out it serves its purpose.
This is a team game. you win as a team and you lose as a team.
Never give up. The cards always change and anything can happen.
Do not make mistakes. Making mistakes are the number one reason most people are beat. Taking risky nils, making risky bids, under bidding, bagging, missing sets and getting set etc. These are also the hardest things not to do. Take for example if your team underbids an average of 2 over a course of a normal Elite 5-hand game, your team takes 10 bags. Your team is losing 100 points due to bagging, plus the 100 points for not bidding your tricks.
Sometimes a 1 bid is a good bid. Don't start taking risky nil's until you absolutely have to. Do not nil with the Ace third in. You might be able to make it if you are short in a suit, you lead first and your partner's bid is over six but not always worth the risk.
Always worry about your bid first. Worry about bagging or setting next. Getting set on a 5 bid is equal to going back on bags.
If it is a 12 bid, go for the set. If it is an 11 bid evaluate your hand and who bid what. If you might be able to take one or two extra, think about setting. Always watch what your partner takes or most importantly what he throws off. If your partner trumps an Ace and/or a King, or over trumps your opponent, you may have a good chance of setting. If one or both of your opponents trump with high spades they are opening themselves up to get set. On the other hand if your partner is throwing off when he has a chance to cut, he is trying to bag and does not want to set. If your team is bagging, you can sometimes catch your opponents trying to bag you out and open themselves to being set, if this is the case go for the set. Setting a 5 bid costs your opponents 100 pts; going back on bags costs your team 100 pts (actually only 90 points due to bags being worth 1 point each). On the other hand if your opponents are likely to go back on bags they are more likely to overbid their hands and more likely to sluff their tricks, making them perfect targets of a set. (In 5 hand games you must first evaluate the score, bid accordingly and then set or bag as needed to do what it takes to win).
End of part 1