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The Videos Speak: Sky Masterson

When I was a young man about to go out into the world, my father says to me a very valuable thing. He says to me like this.

"Son," the old guy says, "I am sorry that I am not able to bank roll you to a very large start, but not having any potatoes which to give you, I am now going to stake you to some very valuable advice.

"One of these days in your travels, a guy is going to come to you and show you a nice, brand new deck of cards on which the seal has not yet been broken. This man is going to offer to bet you that he can make the jack of spades jump out of that deck and squirt cider in your ear.

"Now son, you do not take this bet, for as sure as you stand there, you are going to wind up with an earful of cider."

Since that day, Sky Masterson has exhibited this habit every time he plays cards: when his hand contains the jack of spades, he puts his finger in his ear. He also puts his finger in his ear when he has something in his ear that he wishes to remove, whether or not he has the jack of spades.

His luck at poker having (for some reason) deserted him, he has taken up bridge.

Using your skill and judgement, answer the following questions.

(1) Is Sky Masterson cheating at bridge whoever his partner may be, solely because of this habit?

(2) Sky Masterson's regular partner, Miss Sarah Brown, is utterly unaware of this habit. Is the partnership cheating at bridge when it plays together?

(3) Sky's occasional partner, Nicely-Nicely Johnson, is aware of this habit. Unknown to Sky, Nicely has on occasion used this awareness to solve certain problems in bidding and defence. Is Sky Masterson cheating at bridge when he plays with Nicely?

(4) When Nicely is Sky's opponent and not his partner, Nicely also uses the awareness described in (3) above. Is Nicely cheating at bridge?

Any and all works of reference may be consulted while completing your answers. Attention is particularly drawn to Laws 16 and 73 in the 2008 edition of the Laws of Duplicate Bridge.

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