Monday, October 26, 2009

Gambling at the 4-Level--Updated

I'm not sure what my fascination is with high-level bidding decisions. I guess part of it could be an overall love for excitement, gambling, and adventure, which all play their parts when your bidding space is sparse. I just got back from Lake Geneva--it was a fun weekend and generally successful tournament. I got some solid practice time in with my partners for the upcoming NABC in San Diego. Hopefully this will be the first of a few posts about the tournament.

I'll do this one in the form of a poll...what do you like on this auction?
Love all-
xx
QTxxxx
x
AQxx


Ax
AKxx
xx
KT9xx

The above hands are North and South respectively. West opens 4 Diamonds (natural) in front of the North hand. The scoring is IMPs and here are your options for entering the auction (I'll let you know my own opinions later, which could certainly change...actually i don't think any of these choices are insane, so please don't feel bashful about stating your opinion!)
a) North should overcall 4 Hearts.
b) If North passes, South should balance with 4 Hearts
c) If North passes, South should balance with a double
d) Everyone should pass--the preempt worked this time
Let me know what you think...if you choose a, let me know if you would also agree with b or c! This is fun. I must be sick :).

Thanks for the comments. Situations like this don't pop up all that often, but my general experience has told me that it's right on hands like these to bid aggressively with distribution. That is why, though most of you seem to shudder at the thought of overcalling with the north cards in this example, I personally don't think overcalling is that bad. In fact, throw in the jack of hearts and jack of clubs and I would call the hand a sound minimum 4 heart overcall. The reason I think bidding with distribution is important is that often your partner will have some kind of decent balanced hand, perhaps with 3 of the enemy suit and have no safe-looking action available. Picture Axx Axx Axx Kxxx. I would feel very nervous bidding over a 4 level preempt with this, even in balancing seat...opposite the north hand with the two jacks thrown in, you will be odds on to make 6 hearts, and opposite the actual north hand 4 hearts would be a very resonable contract. The consequence of this line of thinking is that as partner of the overcaller in this type of situation you have to give a lot of leeway. It's a little bit analagous to responding to a 3rd seat opening...be careful not to hang your partner for acting aggressively. If a slam is there, you know that the other table may well face the same difficulty and guesses in the bidding. Indeed on this hand getting to game would have been plenty. At my table I help the 2-4-2-5 hand and faced the auction 4d-p-4s-?. I should probably have doubled, but I passed...we set it 3 for what looked like a horrible result. We gained 3 imps when the auction was 4d-p-p-p at the other table.

4 comments:

kennyz said...

For obvious reasons, I will keep my opinion to myself for now. Other than to agree with your last sentence :)

Jonathan Weinstein said...

I think the only issue is if South should double or pass. Yikes, it's easy to envision disaster either way. Partner is likely to have a 5-bagger if he bids 4S, but could still get mauled. But the actual hand is a disaster for pass. Which is more likely? Dunno, but I'll vote for double.

Mike said...

i vote for dbl...i'm willing to pull 4s to 5c if pard can't act directly he should give me a little lattitude for by dbl and 5c bid over 4s....passing seems likes a major wimp move to me.

Jeff said...

Since a 4H overcall is crazy, I think you should have posed it as a problem for South. I agree with double and pull 4S to 5C, but we are all influenced by seeing the hand.

I am not passing this in balancing seat.