There are many hands which are just throw-your-hands-up situations. I am listing here my recommendations for how to bid different types of hands. This post will continue to be supplemented as I get around to it.
If you are first for your team to bid, evaluate your hand carefully. Your decision is critical to the team’s success. Who has bid what, if anything, ahead of you should be taken into consideration as you decide whether to nil or declare a bid and how many tricks to declare.
If you do not have the ace or king and queen of spades and fewer than 5 spades total, all other things being equal, you should nil.
If you have two cards, ace high, in an off suit but no significant spades and no other significant cover, you should nil. Your partner may have a significantly better hand and successfully cover you, or — at the very least — bid more tricks so that in the event the nil is set, your team loses fewer points.
BID BLIND NIL:
There is large reward for a successful blind nil, but there is also enormous loss when it fails. Do not sabotage the game by blind nilling because you are 200 points behind. Blind nil should only be deployed if there appears to be a high likelihood of success based on the bid declarations or when it is the only thing that will put you in the lead at the conclusion of game hand.
An 8 bid by your partner is generally an indication that you should DN. If an opponent bids 8 and your partner bids before you and doesn’t nil, likewise, you should DN. If you are third or fourth to bid and the first bid is 6, the second bid is 5 or more, you should consider DN’ing, depending on the score and how the cards have been running.
If you have the requisite spades, or are forced to bid because your partner has nilled, when deciding what to bid you should consider the score. Ask yourself whether you should push or pull your bid, how critical is it to make the bid or avoid bags, how aggressive are the opponents likely to be given the score.
Consider the strength of your hand. If you have a weak hand but you are forcing your partner to blind nil, bid at least one trick higher than you are certain to take. As a rule, I do not like to bid lower than four. Given that there are 13 tricks, it’s unusual for even a weak hand to take fewer than that, especially given the high likelihood of nil failure.
If the first seat bids nil, the second player bids four and you are the third with a weak hand but are forced by having the ace of spades or a majority of face cards in off suits, you should consider that your partner may be holding a auto-set nil.
If you are forced to bid because of the ace or a king-queen combo or five spades but with no real off-suit cover (no aces or kings and/or a majority of cards under 10), I recommend bidding at least four — one for each suit.
The higher number of tricks you declare and make, the less you lose when your nil fails. It is not unusual for a game to be one without either team having made a single nil. The prevailing team will be the one whose score plummets less rapidly by losing fewer points each hand.