Join Bridge Winners
Those things that mean so much.

It is possible to gain significant advantages at the bridge table.

1) If stationary (or arriving first), make sure that you and your partner are having a discussion about something when the opponents arrive - and fail to acknowledge them for at least 20 seconds - the subject of the conversation need not be bridge of course. Then welcome them profusely. This confuses them.

2) Conversely if a fast player, then arriving late is good technique for putting opponents under pressure - a good excuse is that you couldn't find the table or that you were delayed through having to make a very difficult contract on the last board.

3) Keeping tabs on what opponents have done on previous rounds can be very rewarding. Telling them that you noticed they threw a laydown game or slam on a previous board is usually good for an extra 1/2 trick - and then telling them how they could have made it can round that up to a whole one.

4) An innocent welcome to opponents can be utilised to forewarn partner that you are about to psyche, change to 3rd/ fifth or whatever. Expert oneupmanship players will have a series of responses lined up to to confirm their own plans.

5) If playing with screens then opportunities are more limited, but without them everyone should be accustomed to the 'quick' withdrawal of a call from the bidding box as opposed to a careful selection (obviously you don't hold your hand over the box dithering as that gives UI).

6) If you have an obvious lead then make it quickly. No one EVER calls the director because your lead (or call, or play) was quick.

7) The ability to have the cards from the current trick re-displayed before you turn yours over should not be missed - This can be used in many ways e.g. telling partner that the suit-preference signal you just gave was in fact inverted. Partner should be ready to turn their own card over quickly to provide an excuse - or to confirm their last play was as expected.

8) At any time during the play at your turn you may ask about the meaning of an opponent's call. Have a ready selection of formats available and you can tell partner you are switching to a singleton/ doubleton. This is particularly useful when the card you are about to lead could be otherwise confusing.

9) If playing beginners, controlled psyches are wonderful ways of garnering points. They should be used at every possible opportunity - see (4) for setting up the position in case only one of you knows their strength. Beginners won't have heard about either controlled psyching or fielding so this is pretty safe.

10) Watch out for players accidentally turning their card the wrong way - especially when indicating that they lost a trick they did in fact win. If both you and your partner switch yours around then it very unlikely that your claim for ownership of the trick will be disputed. Be ready for the 'Oh I think you have that the wrong way round' defence - and apologise if (rarely) the mistake is found out. (The fact that their partner cannot correct after the next trick is played provides additional protection.)

11) No one would EVER draw attention to an irregularity committed by their own side. Be ready to quickly agree the score and finish the hand/ round. Good technique would be to delay the actual play so that there is time pressure to complete the round.

12) Short hesitations when there is nothing to think about are useful tools for misleading opponents. With practice you can trick opponents without ever appearing to be unethical yourself.

13) If you make a claim and it is disputed then "Oh we'd better continue then", is a good try against inexperienced opponents. Similarly if you make an insufficient bid, then saying "No problem - I'll make it good" can save many an inconvenient director call. Proficient oneupmanship players can use this method to further define their hand strength - but do at your own risk.

14) There are several ways of shutting your partner up - without resorting to kicks under the table. Effusive apologies to opponents about the 'mistake' and regrettably telling your opponents that the laws say your partner must now pass can often avoid opponents finding out about Law 26 and law 23.

15) Obviously you need some camouflage for these techniques. If you do spot the need to call the director, or an opponent draws attention to one of your many irregularities that, due to inexperience, you failed to hide, then call the director pleasantly and co-operate in full - and you will retain your partnership reputation.

16) One final thing - once you have learnt how to apply these techniques. Please don't come to my club.

 

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