This is the first time I have had all seven doubles in my hand! I was the first to bid and I automatically called plunge (a convention meaning that you have four or more doubles in your hand and one of them is the six/six). Unfortunately, this was the wrong thing to do. The score was six to two and we were winning. The last player on the other team raised my bid to four marks. Which won the bid. And he also made me completely irrelevant by calling “doubles are a suit of their own”.
This is another reason why I hate 42. There are lay-down hands or even very-likely to succeed hands, and
yet you can just up the bid and try for a lucky chance. Like, for instance, that you partner holds the bone, or bones, that will stop you (this being a 1 in 3 chance).
One time I blind plunged. My partner hears this and raises the bid. He has the other three doubles and a punt (a bone that is not under one of his doubles). This was an automatic four point swing. With the game being the first to seven points, that is a huge jump.
Some of the conversations after a hand has been played still escapes me some times. As an example, I had the following hand today: 6:6 5:5 3:3 2:2 6:3 6:1 5:1. My partner, Paul, passes on the bid which is a bad sign. In our group, a bid of 30 means that you have a splash/plunge support hand. That is you can take three tricks and then punt with a low six. I still go for the plunge bid. Paul opens with the 1:1. I take some time to consider and finally play the 6:1. Paul then “gets creative,” and plays the 1:0. He assumed that there was a chance that I held both the 6:1 and the 5:1. We were able to squeak by when the 6:5 and 6:4 fell which allowed the 6:3 to walk.
There were people at the table who argued that I should have discarded the 5:1 on the first trick since the 6:1, and the 6:3 are both walkers under the 6:6. Which I still don’t understand. I kept the 5:1 as a possible walker under the 5:5. The 6:3 is still the weak bone in either case. It absolutely needs to walk under the 6:6. Wouldn’t you want more distance to when you are forced to play your walker? That way the opponents will have to decide to discard a potential stopper.
There were two interesting hands. The first was my first doubles as a suit of their own hand. I had the following: 6:6 5:5 3:3 2:2 6:4 3:1 2:0 and bid it as a 35. I lead off with the 6:4 as a 4. Next, I play the 6:6 and the 5:5. Thankfully the 4:4 falls which promote the 3:3 and 2:2 as winners. My partner dumps the 0:5 on one of the tricks and, surprisingly enough, the other team dumps the 4:1 on another trick. So I was able to show that I already claimed 33 points and with the 3:3 and 2:2 I could get at least two more points to make 35! Woo woo!
On the other interesting hand, my partner bids 34 and leads the 6:3 as a three. I have the 3:2 but I am worried that the 6:3 is a looser. However, the next player plays the 6:4 on it thinking the same thing. I hold off playing the 3:2 which was a mistake. My partner is already set if he loses that trick. Throwing more points on it does not hurt. And it actually is beneficial because I might not be able to throw him my 3:2 in a safe manner.
With six doubles in my hand, I just had to bid (6:6 5:5 4:4 3:3 1:1 0:0 6:1). The safe bid is a two-mark bid. If that goes around, I lead the 6:1 as a one with no trump and claim. Unbeatable. But I was in a risky mood and decided to plunge! I should have realized that, unless my partner has the other double, that he would not take a trick and punt. He could call some suit trump and hope that I had the top double. In this hand, he fortunately did not do that because he would have called twos trump and we would have been set. So he just punted to me in a six. Which I wanted, because it drew sixes out. And I needed to walk a low six at the end. My next play was a mistake. I played the 5:5. This lets people play their lowest fives and I need the 6:5 to fall. What I should have done was save the 4:4 and 5:5 for the third and second to last plays. Hopefully, by then, people will only have one of a number and be forced to play the 6:5 and 6:4. Sadly, only the 6:4 fell to my four and the 6:5 stopped me.
A couple of the 42 players talk about finessing. And I wonder just how often you are able to finesse in 42. After all, there are only seven tricks in the round. And the “cards” in your hand are members of two suits. Usually, the focus in this game is to take the point bones (3:2, 4:1, 5:0, 5:5, and 6:4). However, there are times where you are “booked” and points do not matter. You must take all of the remaining tricks.
It seems to me that the finesse in 42 is an all or nothing proposition. Definitely when you are “booked.” But also when the opposing team is looking for opportunities to dump points onto a loosing trick. You do not normally want to loose control of what is led since you often have losers that you might be forced to play.
Whereas, it might not be that case in bridge. With so many more cards, I think all might not be lost if your finesse fails. You can try some other strategy. Or am I wrong?
Today was the day of bad trump splits in 42. I was set in two hands because of it. In the first hand, I had 5 4’s including the boss trump (4:4). However I was missing the 6:4 and one other four. The person to my left had the remaining two to set me. In the other hand, I had a two-mark hand. I had three blanks (0:0, 0:6, and 0:4), doubles, and a potential walker under the double. And the person to my left had three blanks as well including the 0:5.
During the 42 session today, I was reminded again about a couple of the things that I do not like about 42. The first was the person overbidding what you really want to play. In this case, that person was me. The person to my right bid 41 and I was the last to bid. A bid of 41 means that you are going to only lose one trick and that trick will have no bones with points on them. Usually, the loosing trick will be a trump trick. However, my hand contained: 0:0, 5:5, 4:4, 4:5, 4:2, 4:1, and 4:0. In the unlikely 0:0:2 trump split I go down. So I overbid to one-mark. Which is pretty tame. It is definitely a two-mark bid. However, we were ahead and I did not want the other team to catch up more than necessary. Needless to say, I made my bid.
The other thing I do not like is the desperation bonus bid. The other team was behind 5 to 0. My partner passes. The first person on the other team bids plunge (a three-mark bid signifying that he has the 6:6 and three other doubles). I cannot over bid so I pass. And, John, the last person (the other person on the team) increases the bid to four-marks. This is a bonus mark! John is going to call trump suit and lead anyways thanks to the plunge convention. But now the opposing team will win four marks instead of three. If the score were 6 to 3, and if the opposing team made the bid, they would win the game! Flawed.