Site hosted by Build your free website today!


Copyright 2004 by John Strichman (all rights reserved)

John Strichman is the author of
by JohnGalt Strichman

Karosa Publishing - Boulder, Colorado


I played this game this week in ladders with Tiger _Lancelot. For those of you who occasionally experience difficulty figuring out what to bid when sitting 3rd seat on the last hand of the game, this last hand provides a great example of the thought process that you need to employ.

You are sitting South, and the score is:
Your team 475
Opps 444

Your pard opens the bidding with a 3 bid, and East bids Nil.

You have the following hand:

7 9 10 J A
2 9
5 7 Q K
What should you bid?

First you need to determine the line of attack which is most likely to be a winner.

You will need to either set East’s Nil, or outscore the opps given a successful Nil.

You have a very strong hand, and even though East may have bid a desperation Nil, with your strength and a 3 bid from your pard already, there is a good chance that the Nil is legitimate. Counting on setting the Nil seems like kind of a long shot.

If your pard and East make their bids, that would put you behind by the score of 505 to 544. There are still 10 unbid tricks on the table, and in order to outscore the opps you would need to outbid and outscore West by 40 points out of those remaining 10 tricks.

As always, when trying to outscore the opps bidding 3rd on a last hand, you must bid high enough to force West to take the table bid to at least 13 in order to outscore your team, otherwise your job will be harder than it needs to be.

How many tricks to you need to bid to use up all of the remaining tricks while outscoring West by 40 points? Well, there are 10 tricks up for grabs, and 70 minus 30 equals 40, so a bid of 7 is your answer.

Any bid less than 7 will just allow West to bid lower than 4 and still win, which means that you would need to take even more tricks than 7 in order to set West.

Any bid higher than 7 would simply increase the demand on your team for no possible reason.

So, your options on this hand are to bid low and try to set the Nil, or to bid 7 and try to take 10 tricks as a team.

Is a 7 bid justifiable with your hand?

Maybe…..maybe not, but it appears that there is a greater chance that your team can take 10 tricks than there is that it will be able to set the Nil. In this case West will have to do everything possible to win 4 tricks while covering the Nil, and depending where certain cards lie, this may or may not be possible. It probably will depend on where the Diamond Ace and King, Club Ace, and the other 2 high Spades are.

After South bid 7, West bid 3. West actually could have bid anywhere from 1 to 4 and would have had the same chance to win the game, because if he cannot set the 10 bid the game is over no matter what he bids, unless he bids more tricks than is necessary for the set. In theory, the 4 bid is best as it minimizes West’s chance of bagging, but that is not a real concern in this situation.

It turned out that North had the Diamond Ace and King, so 2 diamond leads by South won 2 tricks, and North had the King of Spades as well.

Winning 10 tricks turned out to be easy for N/S, and they actually could have set West on his 3 bid. You should never set the opps for no reason (why rub it in), however, and North/South took their 10 tricks and won the game 575 to 574.

Proper third seat last hand bidding is a critical element of any successful Spader’s game. If you have trouble in this area, study this example and others in the Spades literature and forums, and once you gain a level of comfort here, you will be amazed at the impact that you see on your win/loss record.


  • Tiger_Galt's Previous Columns