500 is a game of bidding to win, bidding to stop others winning and bidding to lose.
It has a unique feature that most other card games do not.
It lets people with a poor hand have a chance to win as well as the strong hand.
The risks are much greater as are the rewards.
This bid is called Misere and at a higher level, open misere.
Misere hands do not have any strong cards. The joker is a poison card, the first one to be thrown away if picked up in kitty.
The aim of misere is to successfully lose all 10 tricks.
Failure to do so could result in a loss of 250 points [normal misere] or 500 points [Open misere].
How to bid it.
Misere cannot be bid until a bid is made at the 7 level. Misere cannot be bid with a passed hand. This is why a very weak hand in first position can make a bid of 6 spades. If left in it does not lose very much , 40 points. If over called by a 7 bid or a 6 bid is raised by the opposition to the 7 level a bid of either misere can be made. It is over called by any 8 bid, even 8 spades which is worth slightly less.
When to bid it.
It is best bid when you have the lowest or near lowest cards , red 4’s black 5’s and a run of low supporting cards.
It should be bid to be made , but can also be used to stop an opponent going out
at a cost.
Some people get addicted to it which can be annoying to other players with good hands. I would recommend restrictions, even with friends, such a only 1 successful bid per round per person, but it is an essential and fun part of the game that everyone should use and know how to counter.
When playing the person who called misere must lead a card first. Usually this will be in an unbeatable or near unbeatable suit.
If it is high, like a 10 try to get under it. If you cannot get under it play the highest card you have, including the joker, then lead a low card in another suit hoping partner has a low one as well. Keep playing low card in suits the bidder has until he loses by putting a high card on.
Note the bidders partner takes no part on the game. In open misere the player has to put his hand down on the table after leading which helps the opposition see where the weak points are to attack.
Opener tactic, discards. Here it is OK to keep high cards A,K if you have enough small cards to keep safe. Build up weakness in length. Discard any high cards on their own picked up in kitty. You should not bid Misere if you have 3 loose high cards, Kitty is much less of a help in Misere than in trying to make a game.