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Copyright 2004 by John Strichman (all rights reserved)

John Strichman is the author of
by JohnGalt Strichman

Karosa Publishing - Boulder, Colorado

How Good are my Cards?

I recently was faced with the following bidding situation:

The score was 384 for us and 479 for the opps (4 and 9 bags).

The bids coming to me were…

West 1, my pard 2, and East 4. My hand was…

2 4 9 10 J K
8 K
6 8 A
7 J
What would you bid here? Does the bidding pattern affect your decision? Give it some thought and then see if you agree with my thinking.

OK. First I want to rule out some bids.

A 6 bid is worthless here as you will lose if you make it on the nose.

Next, I would not bid 5 and here is why. A 5 bid forces you to play a perfect hand… giving the 1 and only bag to the opps. If you can the score will be 454 for you and 430 for the opps.

If you drop your bid to 4 and make the hand easier to play, and say you split the bags, the score will be 445 for you and 430 for the opps.

Is the chance of winning the game up 454 to 430 versus 445 to 430 that much greater to warrant forcing your side to play the hand perfectly? I think that in general it would not be sufficiently higher to take on the much higher risk associated with making the hand a 12 bid versus an 11 bid affair.

In both cases, if you can bag the opps, the likelihood of winning will be somewhat over 50%, and a little bit higher in one case than the other.

There really isn’t any good argument for bidding less than 4.

I bid 7 on the hand. I figured that there was a pretty good shot at setting the opps, and doing so would almost insure a win from 474 to 429.

I made this call because the missing strength on the hand was to my right with the 4 bid.

It increases the value of my Heart King and of my high Spades. I would not make this bid if the 4 bid was to my left… I would bid 4 instead.

We were fortunate to set the opps and go on to win the game. This does not mean that my bid was clearly the correct bid. It turned out to be right in this case. Maybe next time would be a different story.

I thought that this was an interesting example, and a good one for showing how the placement of the opps’ strength should be a consideration when asking yourself -- how good are my cards?

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