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All comments by David Caprera
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This is ALL about partnership. With the crap we open, I bid 2H and hope to go plus and that 140 beats the 130's or 120's. But playing with a downtown money rubber bridge player who would never open what we do, you would owe him at least 3D.
Oct. 21
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Running 6 clubs is never theoritically superior. Not the point. I am not good enough, but against the average regional opponents, some of my pro friends get it right by doing so. And your immediate reaction may be “they cheat” but I can tell you that they do not. They just have developed a very good table pressence.

If you pay attention, the average player shows you their hand. No, I am not talking about clocking her hand or reading her open convention card, this is all above board. For example, you take advantage of an opponents hesitation at your own risk. But if you have a very high batting average in terms of reading what a hesitation means, you can often score very well.
Oct. 21
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Bridge was much easier in the old days. All you needed to know was, “Fast or slow?” Now you need so much more information. “Left hand or right?” “Was his wrist cocked?” “Did anyone cough?” “Was his hand clocked?” “Where is the score pencil? The convention card? The coffee cup?”
Oct. 21
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You discrimination against precision auctions notwithstanding,
1D (2 plus D, 11-15 hcp)-2D (inverted)
2H (11-13 balanced)-2S (puppet to 2N)
3D (forcing)-3S (spade card, no heart card)
4H (kcb diamonds)-4S (0-3)
?
At this point North knows South has a balanced hand, three aces, and at most an outside J. An optimistic North could bid 6N but it would not be unreasonable to play opener for
Axxx, xxx, Axx, Axx and stop short.

Rather than 4H, North could bid 4N quant and South would bid 6C accepting and showing a 5th piece but North could not be sure of 3 aces.

So, I don't see how precision does better than standard. But symmetric relay, that's a different story.
Oct. 21
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Thank you Samuel. I buy the beer.
Oct. 21
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Not keycard without suit agreement. Our default when it is not defined as natural, quant, keycard, last train, takeout, minors, replacement cue, or exclusion (all of these have definition) is straight aces blackwood.
Oct. 21
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I think that this can be understood in terms of “equity.” When you have a weak hand, you have “negative equity”, your expected outcome is minus. When the opponents preempt, they are admitting to negative equity. Their expected value is minus. So, your RHO says, “I have a weak distributional hand”. What is the value in saying, “So do I.” Preempts take away the opponents bidding steps. When it is their hand, you want to do that. When it is your hand, you want to preserve steps. So, if RHO preempts and you also have a weak distributional hand, the answer is not obvious. My own view is that jumps can show good suits and offensive potential but do not promise the world's fair.
Oct. 20
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I have always been fascinated by game theory applications to bridge. I studied game theory at Princeton under A.W. Tucker, Nash's thesis advisor. I have posted several mixed strategy problems on Bridge Winners but they have had little traction. When I approached Jeff Rubens about a Bridge World article on mixed strategy game theory problems, his answer was, “too little interest.”

Kit, your “intuition” that this is a mixed strategy problem comports with mine. But I don't think declarer's hand needs to be known, it just needs to be prescribed with probabilistic boundaries.
Oct. 20
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Yeah, but give partner Kxx, Kx, xxx, AQxxx, not the worst double I have seen in the “modern style”, (and this is not the worst hand by any means), and if they double you can give them your car keys.
Oct. 20
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I may vote for other. Depending on the venue and quality of my opponents, I would be very tempted to win the spade in hand and ram 6 rounds of clubs at them. This is clearly not the best percentage play in the abstract, but against less than top opponents I am willing to bet my table read against a double heart hook.
Oct. 20
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I don't claim to have answers here, hence my desire to “clear up” lebensohl sequences. I would guess that our lebensohl agreements are “pretty standard” but can obviously be improved upon. I am reticent to get too esoteric for sequences which have very low frequency. For example, while John's suggestion with respect to 4H works fine when they preempt in hearts and we have spades, it doesn't work as well when they preempt spades and we have hearts (unless you have 5 level safety.) Similarly, Frances' suggestion of a 4m “raptor” is appealing if you are certain you want to give up on 3N (which I am not sure I am.) And Dar's suggestion to play transfers (I assume “transfer around their suit, cue is stayman”) gives up a constructive club bid in favor of an invite+ transfer into the other major.

On the hand posted, I don't see that the methods are what is presenting the problem. 60% of the respondents are opting to overbid, hoping to get lucky in pursuit of a white game. But none of the alternative agreements suggested are clearly superior for resolving the “go high or go low problem”. You pay your money and you take your chance. Feel lucky, punk?
Oct. 20
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Not really. Nor do I think that transfers are the panacea here either. 3H is game forcing. What else can you bid with a big hand, less than four spades and no heart stop, for example, KQx, xx, AKxx, KQxx? Similarly, with 5 spades and a slam try, we start with 3H and then bid spades. The double is expected to have 3+ spades so this should not result in a poor contract being reached.
Oct. 20
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Victor, this may be the right answer but as my eighth grade math teacher would have said, “Show your work.” Please include the solution for declarer. Assume the SQ is equally likely with either defender.
Oct. 20
David Caprera edited this comment Oct. 20
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I considered whether or not this is more appropriate as a bidding poll. After 17 respondents had answered, I edited the post to add a second question as to whether a bidding poll is an appropriate forum given the multi-part answers. It would mean the answers would include something like, “Bid 7D if you would bid 2N and 3D; bid 7H if you would bid 2N and 3H…” Personally, I find those polls as confusing and I think they are unpopular. But Phil, certainly a fair comment.
Oct. 20
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The mixed strategy solution must take into account the imp scoring and an assumption as to the score at the other table. A likely result at the other table is 3N down one and declarer knows this at the time he has to decide his spade play. If East retained a club, when a spade is played, declarer has to decide to take down two versus down one or down three. Down one is a push, down two is lose 2, down three is lose 3. Declarer is getting two to one imp odds to duck. I have no idea how to use that in a traditional Nash equilibrium mixed strategy solution. I will gladly buy the beer in San Francisco for the first person who posts the mixed strategy answer.
Oct. 20
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Bramley used to play with Mathe. That explains a lot.
Oct. 20
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Steve, point well taken. One down in a grand no difference. 2 down and doubled, and if that is possible, then 56% is too low (unless as you note it is an 11 or 13 hand.) Different result with respect to all the cowboys who think you should bid all 37% vul games.
Oct. 19
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The two situations are different because you got a correct ruling in one but not the other. So long as in both cases the director believed the agreement was properly described but the player misbid, the result stands.
Oct. 19
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My go to book with beginners is “Bridge for Dummies” by Eddie Kantar. While there are many good beginning books, I choose this one for two reasons. One, Kantar is funny. Most bridge books are boring. That can be particularly deadly for beginners. Two, the yellow and black covered “XYZ for Dummies” series is readily available and can be found in most book stores (at least in the U.S.)
Oct. 19
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Isn't it a bit more than 56%. That assumes they never double and you never go down more than 1 trick. The guy on opening lead holding an ace may disabuse you of that notion.
Oct. 19
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