Friday, November 19, 2010

Increase Your Yahoo Spades Ratings

The online version of the popular table game has  somewhat of a "luck" factor applied, that can be difficult to overcome. In an effort to keep games competitive, card distribution tends to favor the team that's losing. Good players still have great success and average players can improve their rating by following these 7 easy tips! (If you’re reading this list, it is assumed that you know the basics of the game, and the list is provided to increase your chances of winning online!)

Card counters, stalling, and cheat methods won’t work for long. Cheating may help your short term rating, but at some point, you will be exposed.  The spades community is well aware of who can play, and who can’t. Card counters are not really necessary if the game keeps a nice pace. Don't waste your money or time by downloading them.

(1)Bid Good Nils! Rely on your nil being true, rather than true if your partner covers you "right".  Nil bidders love to blame their partners for a bad cover, but TRUE NILS NEED NO COVER! Just as you shouldn’t rely on your partner to make your bid tricks for you, you shouldn't rely on them to cover your Nil. Rely on the nil being true, rather than true if someone covers it the right way. Eliminate b ad Nils from your arsenal and you’ll increase your chances of winning.  Exception; if you need to make a play to get back in the game, you may have to attempt a risky nil.  If the game is close, stay safe and bid 1.  

(2)Force Forfeits!  It sounds simple, but taking a forfeit will cost you dearly. Forfeits are ratings killers, and they are often followed by days and days of bad cards. Tip; allow a minimum of 2 hours from the time you press start for your game to finish.  Inevitably, the one time you start a game 25 minutes before you have to leave for work, someone will stall you. Never advertise that you only have 15 or 20 minutes to play a game, because someone will take advantage of that! While two hours might seem like a lot of time to allot for a game, the alternative is ending up in a 3 minute game that you have to leave!  


 (5)Excessive Sandbagging! The key here is proper bidding! Sandbagging your opponent is not really a good strategy to winning. Deliberate sandbagging will lose you more games than you will win.  You wont consistently beat good players by applying this strategy. When you deliberately or unintentionally underbid your hand, you are giving away bid points unnecessarily.  If your team has an actual han d value of 7, or (70 pts), and you bid 4 total, you’re giving away 30 pts on that hand. Given normal card distributions, you’re going to need those 30 points at some point during the game, or at the very least, wish you had those 30 pts. Good players will at the very least split bags with you, and you are giving away your points!

(7)Play Smart! Keep an eye on the score, and always play to win.   Bidding the 4 spade Nil is a sucker bid that should rarely be tried. In a normal card distribution, simple math suggest that the "4 spade niller" has the most trump. The odds are stacked against you making, although it seems to work about 25% of the time. If the game is out of hand, or you find yourself running out of time to catch up, you may not have a choice but to attempt a 4 spade nil. Use discretion!  Use the same discretion in keeping a "cool head". Upset your partner and you’re almost assuring yourself a loss.  While it is sometimes appropriate to mention a bad play to your p, you should use a bit of tact when doing so.  Excessive abuse will almost certainly lead to stalling or 13 bids.  The result will be easy rating points for your opponents, and they will love you for it.  Your opponent might even instigate a disruption between you and your partner. Be careful!

Check back with us for more in-depth strategies to take advantage of the “chance” element of the game.  Who you play, is just as important as how you play.  Keep that in mind and Happy Spading! 
(6)Don’t hide cards! The practice of hiding or tucking cards is never really a good idea.  In other words, hiding aces, kings and queens won't win you any brownie points with your partner. Hiding cards usually comes into play when someone is hiding trump cards! Look for signs that your partner is asking you to show a card.  Low or intermediate spade leads are typically a sign that someone wants you to expose an Ace, King or Queen of Spades. Nothing is more frustrating than to set yourself because you and your partner bumped high trump cards at the end of a hand!
(3)When in doubt, Lead Spades! Regardless of how or where you learned the game of spades, leading trump is usually a good thing! Leading trump helps with bag control, and can help set your opponent! Leading trump usually helps the bags fall where they should. Leading a spade forces your opponent to make decisions about the hand! One wrong play and they could set themselves! If your opponents planned on trumping suits, you could take their trump and set them. 

(4)Lead What You Want To See!
If you’re nil, and short in the diamond suit, then lead dimes to your partner. If you’re on a bid hand, lead the suit you’re short in so you can trump the next time that suit shows on the board.  

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