“Advanced players know the rules. Experts know when to break the rules.” – Anonymous
Perhaps the most prevalent trend in bidding in recent years is increased aggression. Players are opening, responding, overcalling, and preempting lighter than ever before. Among other reasons, this puts a lot of pressure on the opponents in the bidding. Decisions become more difficult in competition than they otherwise would have been. As such, players often feel compelled to act with marginal values in competition, lest the opponents be “stealing”.
That’s all well and good, and I don’t disagree with a strategy that prevents the opponents from robbing me blind. But it is not always desirable to act even though your values make it appear automatic at first glance. The best option may be to pass with a decent hand. I will look at some situations in which passing with reasonable values is, in my view, a winning strategy. Specifically I want to examine competitive situations. The only likely reason to pass on a good (in context) hand in a non-competitive auction would be due to a misfit being discovered. And in that case, our hand is not as good as we thought it was.