- See Introduction
- Please Support
This set of strategies, tips, and rules of thumb, complements the basic set of tips provided in the introduction.
- Encourage other players to understand all strategies and tips and rules-of-thumb. Better to expose this knowledge. Your group of players will improve, and the level of collaboration will be raised. It is not what one knows that matters, but how well that knowledge is used.
- Do not try to learn everything at once. Nash Whist is a lifelong learning.
- Try to remember which cards have been played and what remains in each suit. At least always do this for the trump suit.
- It is difficult to remember which cards have not yet been played. To start with, just silently count the number of cards that have been played. Subtract that from thirteen to know how many remain. Subtract the number held in your hand, to know how many cards are outstanding.
- A technique to assist with counting cards is to remember tricks where a player is void. So with two tricks where everyone followed suit, and one trick where one player was void (4 + 4 + 3) means 11 cards have been played.
- Nash Whist is designed to be fast and efficient. If the next deck of cards is sitting in front of you, then you have a job to do. This is the hot seat for this round: first to bid, first to lead, next to deal.
- Do not get disappointed if you do not seem to be dealt good hands. The aim of this game is really about the defence team collaborating well. If each of the defenders can win two or three tricks, then your team might be able to take the declarer down.
- Take note of whether you will have the initial lead. For example, with no-trumps and misere bids this can be important.
- Try to visualise the hands of other people, based on your holding and your impression of others from the bidding phase.
- There are not many books about Solo Whist available, There are two old two books by Joyce Nicholson that are relevant for further tips and strategies: "How to Play Solo" (ISBN: 0980389321) and "The Way to Play".
Teaching and learning
- Make it enjoyable for your friends. Do not try to teach too much at once.
- For absolute beginners, play some straight Whist hands, i.e. no bidding phase; trumps is the turned-up suit; each player on their own; just play what you are dealt. Get used to the rank of cards, how to follow suit, notice discarding opportunities, notice voids in other hands, etcetera.
- Play some Nash hands open on the table. Explain the assessment and bidding for each hand. Explain the general play techniques.
- If someone is unsure of whether their bid is correct, then during the game each player tallies their played tricks in front of them (as is done in Bridge). This enables review of each hand at the end of each game.
- Play some games as three-handed. The fourth player can walk around the table and observe how other people assess, bid, and play. Similarly in five-handed and six-handed, the extra players can learn by observation how the game operates and how others play.
- It is a life-long mission, constantly improving with this game, learning from your partners. Don't get competitive with yourself.
Hand assessment and bidding
- Sort and fan your hand out so that it is easy to see. Join the bottom left-hand corners, then hold the set lightly between thumb and fore-finger. Relax.
- As you fan them, sort the cards into the different suits and value order. Best to separate the suits with alternate red and black. Count that you have the full thirteen cards exposed and so none accidentally hidden.
- If all hands are balanced (i.e. roughly equal distribution in all hands) then the fourth card in a suit is usually a winner. Consider for example that your holding in a particular suit is: King, Queen, Ten, Nine, Five (K, Q, 10, 9, 5). For the first trick in this suit, the King would lose to the Ace. Four cards would be played. For the next trick the Queen is the highest card so it should win. Now eight cards have been played (again assuming things are balanced). Total thirteen cards in the suit, so subtract eight, and subtract the three that you hold, means that two cards are outstanding (the Jack and another rag). The Jack will beat your Ten. The rest of your cards will be winners. So in that suit you can estimate three winners. You might even find that the Jack falls on one of the earlier tricks, however cannot really count on that.
- The Five-in bid is difficult to estimate (see below). A void might help to utilise a small trump which would otherwise be a loser. With a couple of additional tricks in the off-suits, getting close. If too risky then consider Prop-and-Cop.
- Be aware of whether you will have the initial lead.
- If there is no obvious bid then be happy to be on the defence team. Your two or three winning tricks will assist your team if you collaborate well.
- See some example hand assessments.
Declarer play in general
- When you gain control, it is often useful to lead trumps so as to draw out the opposition trumps. If evenly distributed, then you will be drawing out three of their trumps for one of yours. Two rounds would ideally remove eight cards. If you hold another three, then there are only two outstanding (13 - 8 - 3 = 2).
- Always count trumps.
Defence play in general
- Remember that you have partners.
- Always count trumps.
- Be aware of voids in the hands of your partners. This provides a trumping opportunity.
- Position is important. Take note of where you sit in relation to the declarer. It can be powerful to win the trick even if you do not need to, so that you can play through the declarer to your partners.
- Return your partner's lead.
- Be aware of the discards of your partners. Their first discard is probably what they want led back.
- Cover a declarer's honour with an honour.
- The leads are the key. This is always difficult.
- A possible defence opening lead might indicate your strength, e.g. play a low card to indicate that you want that suit led back to you later (you might have a high card or perhaps have shortage).
- If the declarer sits to your left, then perhaps lead from your weak suit, through the declarer to the possible strength of your partners.
- If other leads would damage your hand (and the declarer sits to your left) then leading a trump.
- This is the minimum lone bid. It is near to being Five-No-Trumps. Often the declarer does not hold lots of trumps.
- This bid is surprisingly difficult to make. It often means that all hands are of similar strength.
Prop-and-Cop minimal partnership
- When drawing out trumps, be careful not to play too many rounds which would just extract your partner's trumps.
- Draw their trumps (usually two tricks) as soon as possible, unless you are short. Not leading trumps would indicate to your partner that you do not have many, and so would rather use them on a short suit.
- Misere is a French word meaning destitution or misery.
- You can hold winning cards, as long as you have sufficient length in that suit to survive enough tricks with playing your losers.
- In a long suit, it is beneficial that you hold the Two card (i.e. the lowest).
- Ideal to have to have a void suit. This provides an opportunity to discard a troublesome card.
- Take note of whether you will have the initial lead. This can be detrimental for you.
- Take note of any other bids. This might indicate who has the length in each suit.
- Only in the three-handed game.
- Triste is a French word meaning sadness, so not as bad as Misere.
- You can take one trick.
- Be careful with this bid if you are in the hot seat, as you will be first to lead.
- Remember that when you take your winning (i.e. losing) trick, then you will need to lead again.
- Do not leave it too late in the game if you really will win that trick. Otherwise, you may find that others have a void when it comes to time for you to lead.
- Utilise various Bridge signals, such as Lavinthal (McKenney) suit preference.
- Explain the signals to your fellow players. Be careful not to overwhelm new players.
- To indicate a doubleton, discard the higher card on one trick and the lower on another trick.