Category Archives: Walkthrough

Walkthrough Wednesday #2

Continuing in our series highlighting hands played from expert players, this week we are again showcasing a hand played by me.

I think this is an interesting game because while I do have a good hand, it ends up being very close and it’s also a good example of when not to use bomb consisting of high cards if they could be better used individually in order to win more tricks.

Opening Deal

At this stage is it important to consider that the score is currently 10 to 12 in favour of my opponents. This is a prime scenario for considering placing a Grand Wodka since succeeding will get us to 15 points and while losing will guarantee a loss, losing this hand without placing a grand Wokda will likely also lead to a loss as well.

With that in mind, and considering with the red nine after placing a Grand Wodka I will have four kings, I place the bet.

Passing

The rest of the deal is also kind to me and I’m left with a great looking hand:

It’s certainly not unbeatable depending on what I get passed since most of my high cards are tried up in the bomb.

I decide the pass a two to each opponent and the three to my partner. In other circumstances you might look at this hand and think about passing the three and five to opponents, and the queen to my partner, which would leave me with a pair of twos, Jacks and aces plus the bomb, but given the Grand Wodka and the scoreline, my primary objective is to ensure I’m not giving an opponent a bomb so I split up my low pair. Additionally the three is the card I can pass to my partner to maximize the chance of them having a bomb to support me.

I receive the zero, a four and a king leaving me with the starting hand:

This is a very promising hand but I am concerned about bombs. Based on what I can see and was passed, I need to be concered about four of a kind bombs of:

  • Threes
  • Sixes
  • Sevens
  • Eights
  • Tens

I’m also looking out for potential pairs higher than my Jacks, which can only been queens and aces given that I hold all the kings.

The other concern is that my hand is blocking very few straight flush bombs so I do need to be watching out for those.

Thankfully my five kings can beat most bombs so even if we do see one I may have some counterplay.

The Play

The player to my left starts and leads with a singleton two.

My partner passes and the player to my right raises it to a seven.

This is good as it rules out a bomb of four sevens and as a middle value card it blocks out many black straight flush bombs.

I play my queen since knowing I’ve got all the kings I’ll either win with it or an opponent will need to use up an ace.

The player to my left beats this with the red ace on which everyone passes. I don’t want to use my bomb yet as I’m holding onto it to use as a counterbomb. Additionally I don’t want to play the red king until I’ve seen the last ace as giving an opponent the tsar could be a disaster.

They then lead the red four on which the player to my right plays an eight.

It seems unlikely I’m going to be gifted an opportunity to dump the four or five so I beat this with my first ace.

Nobody bombs this so I’m able to lead and I choose the play the pair Jack. We’ve now seen one ace so I know there can’t be a pair of aces but this is still a gamble as a pair queen is possible.

Unfortunately this is beaten by the player to my right with a pair queen.

They follow up with a pair two.

My partner beats this with a pair four however the player to my right beats this with a pair five.

At this stage they only have five cards left but bombing will leave me in a poor position as I’ll still have three low singletons:

I pass and my partner beats it with a pair nine.

Alarmingly the player to my right beats this with a bomb of sixes leaving them on only one card.

Unfortunately this is one of the bombs I cannot beat so I am forced to pass. We’ve not yet seen any threes and I did pass one to my partner so all I can do is hope they might have it. Luckily they do and they pass a card to the player to my right so they have now have two cards.

My partner leads with a ten.

The player to my right beats this with a Jack bringing him down to just one card again.

I assume this isn’t the card my partner passed him so hopefully they’ve now just got a low card. The red six was in his bomb and the red four has also been played which is positive. I do still have some low singletons so there will be singleton rounds but hopefully my partner is able to always raise it to something higher since they should know what the opponent is holding.

I now choose to beat this with a the red nine.

The player to my left beats this with the back ace.

At this point I’ve now seen all the aces so I know my kings can no longer be beaten as there are no more possible bombs. Therefore all I just need to regain control and hope the player to my right isn’t able to go out. I need to save two winners to cancel out my singleton four and five so I can play up to three kings regaining control which means I can’t use my bomb. This means I’m now only worried about large tricks like consecutive pairs or straights.

They lead consecutive triples including the red eight. This is scary since they can wish away the last card of the player to my right but thankfully they guess incorrectly and no cards exchange hands.

This is followed up with a single five which both my partner and the opponent to my right pass on.

This means I now know I’m almost certain to win so I can beat this with my last ace.

I lead my five on which the play to my left plays a nine.

This passes round to me and I beat this with a king, which officially breaks up my bomb.

I then lead my four.

Surprisingly everyone passes so I can lead my remaining triple kings followed by the zero to secure the win.

Walkthrough Wednesday #1

One of the best ways to learn can be from watching a master at work. With that in mind I thought it would be a useful feature to go through a hand I’ve recently played and explain my thought processes.

Opening Deal

My first eight cards are promising with the three of a kind Jacks plus the red three but there is still too much risk to place a Grand Wodka.

Passing

The next 5 cards set my hand up really nicely. Consecutive pairs with the red three, a triple eight including the wish and of course the bomb of four Jacks. This does leave me with only three unmentioned cards, two of which are the highest cards in my hand.

At this stage I’m thinking that this is a possible Wodka but not yet guaranteed. The bomb is of course great but it’s only a single winner and winning with the other tricks aren’t assured.

I considered two possible approaches to passing:

  1. Pass the green and blue eights to my opponents and the red eight to my partner.
    This would leave me with only one unaccounted low singleton and the red eight on my partner could be helpful.
  2. Pass the seven and queen to my opponents and the king to my partner.
    This leaves me with only the tricks previously described but obviously passing a queen to an opponent is an unusual move. This approach also keeps the possibility of being passed the fourth eight to create a second bomb.

In this instance I decided to go with the second option. In most scenarios where you are considering placing a Wodka you would pass the lower of the two cards to the right. However in this case I decided the pass the queen to the right since if that player was going first, I’d rather them be less likely to have multiple sevens as after passing I may be able to unload a card on a single seven.

I was passed a four, five and an ace from my partner:

From this I think that my partner likely isn’t considering placing a Wodka and I have a pretty good shot. Neither the consecutive pairs or triple eights are guaranteed winners though so I do need to see how the hand plays out. Additionally I don’t want to get a low card with the red eight to ruin my day.

The Play

My partner goes first and leads with a five card straight:

This goes round and they follow up with a singleton eight on which the player to my right plays a nine.

At this point if I place a Wodka and beat it with my ace, I am reliant on several things going my way:

  • Either my consecutive pairs or triple eights goes unbeaten
  • Nobody else has a bomb
  • I don’t get something bad with the red eight

The odds on this don’t look great so I pass. Everyone else also passes and the player to my right leads a singleton four.

This is the opportunity that I’ve been waiting for so I place a Wodka and play the five.

The player to my left plays a seven on which my partner plays a nine.

I choose to pass as while I’m in a better position than before I’m still reliant on two out of the three things above going my way.

The player to my left plays the red ace which I’m not too concerned about as it’s likely they’ll immediately be able to combo out having just been given a new card into their hand.

They then lead a pair three onto which my partner plays a pair six with the red six.

I could choose to play either my pair twos or threes but as I can play them both at once later and it looks like my partner will likely win this trick I choose to pass.

My partner leads a pair seven including the red seven which leaves him on just three cards. At this point he likely can’t offer me any more support but I do know as he’s no longer holding the red seven he is a potential wish target if I want to attempt to not get a card.

The player to my right plays a pair ten on which I pass. This is starting to get a little worrying as they have nine cards left but I figure with a bomb it’s probably safe to let it through.

He follows up with a pair six which I also pass on.

Playing a pair eight wouldn’t have been productive as it wouldn’t lower the number of tricks required to for me to go out and could have been beaten. At this point from my counting of cards I knew there were still two aces, three kings and four queens out there, not counting the blue king my partner was still holding.

The player to my right leads a five which I choose the play my ace on.

Given the suspicious lack of queens played so far I am worried about a four of a kind bomb of queens but since the person I passed a queen to has only six cards left I know I can’t wait any longer. Thankfully my ace isn’t bombed and I can lead the triple eight.

Now from counting blue cards I know the only two which aren’t either in my hand or my partners hand are the Jack and the queen so I wish a blue card from the player to my right. This is because if he has a bomb of queens he will either be forced to break it, or will give me my fifth Jack with which I can beat his bomb. At this point this is the only possible bomb my opponents could have so I know with this wish I have fulfilled two out the three criteria that needed to be done in order for me to go out first.

He passes me a queen which means I now know I can go out without worry.

Everyone passes on the eights so I simply follow up with the consecutive fours passing away the four.

This is beaten by consecutive nines and tens by the player to my left who picks up the red three.

At this point I know there can’t be any other bombs out there so I can safely play mine and go out with the queen.

Summary

This has been a look at some of the thought processes that go into passing and choosing when to, and when not to play, along with saving the eight until a moment where I knew it could only benefit me.