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All comments by John D'Errico
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I've been known to lapse into a vegetative state, a couch potato. So now I have the perfect excuse! NOT MY FAULT! it must be in my DNA!
Oct. 22, 2015
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Ed said…. “In some jurisdictions, it is illegal to “explain” a call by naming a convention. IMO, this is good practice. Please are entitled to know what a call means. Naming it is not good enough.”

Long ago when I was just starting out in bridge. I made a Michaels cue bid. When asked what it was by one of the LOLs at our table, I described it as a Michaels cue bid. I did not know better at the time. Nothing more got said. How could I know that the LOL asker interpreted that to mean that one of us was named Michael?
Oct. 22, 2015
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My partner the rabbit was thinking about what to lead against a 4S contract the other week. As she thinks, I'm not sure how, but a small heart falls from her hand, face up on the table. It was completely unintentional, but she had no choice about leading that card, away from her Axx suit.

Of course, dummy had QTx, declarer three small hearts, and I had the KJxx. We quickly scored up 3 heart tricks, and she has the trump Kx laying offsides, so we set the contract. Nobody else found the heart lead, so we had a cold top.

Good lead partner.
Oct. 21, 2015
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I'm sorry. But if you are bored with the lengthy spiel about something you already know, then don't listen. :) It really is not that long.

The fact is, normal behavior by many people would tend to be NOT to tell you everything you need to know. After all, if you know more about their bidding systems, then you can defend/declare better! If you understand all of the nuances of why they did or did not take a specific action (as does your partner) then you may get a better result against them. So yes, indeed, active ethics IS something we very much need to practice to overcome those basal urges.

I think it is indeed quite important to make your opponents know what you know. Those little secrets, like the fact that I use attitude leads against notrumps contracts, instead of the classically standard 4th best leads. If some declarer does not bother to learn that fact and they are left uninformed, and assumes that my deuce is from a 4 card suit, then they may be in trouble declaring 3NT if they play based on the assumption of a 4th best lead. This information, like that we play UDCA signals, are things that should be told to every player who arrives at your table. Yes, these are things they should ask! But not everyone thinks to ask every question.

In fact, I was once nastily castigated by a visiting expert player for asking a question about a bid they did not alert. I was told that if they did not alert something, then I should assume that no alert was needed. I did report this as a zero tolerance violation to the head director.

If you want secrets, then play poker. If you want a good game of bridge, where everyone is on an even footing, and the winner is determined by who handles the hand best, then play bridge, and play it ethically!
Oct. 21, 2015
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All they would need to do is watch my play and bidding! Yup. He qualifies.
Oct. 20, 2015
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Well said Gavin! A response that is too good for me to only “like” it.
Oct. 20, 2015
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Gary makes a superb point. Allow Dean to return, and you create an environment where Dean becomes the norm, and then you will have others even worse than him on the spectrum of nastiness. BW is a place for civilized discussion. I love dissenting views, but do it with civility.
Oct. 20, 2015
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The point for me is that Dean was not only blunt, but aggressively attacked those who disagreed with him. He was rude, abusive, essentially, a bully.

A bully is a problem on this site, because while some of us have a thick enough skin to tolerate his crap, some might not. Do we want to have many individuals never come near the site again to allow one bully to stay?

I have absolutely no problem with calling an action bad, poor, terrible, obscene. This is not something directed at an individual. To call an appeals committee ruling wrong headed, even insane is fine. Again, this is not targeted at an individual. But when you target a person, for me, this is a problem. In some cases, the person who was targeted was not even present to defend their actions.

Whether or not Dean may have had a valid point was too often overwhelmed by the way he made his points.
Oct. 20, 2015
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:) Great response.
Oct. 19, 2015
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YES, we should definitely use a different scheme for dealing the cards. With that we have no disagreement at all.

Personally, I love the idea of pre-dealt hands. They have advantages like…

- they give you hand records
- they reduce the potential for cheating by stacking the deck
- they balance the matches in swiss events
- they speed up the game

Disadvantages of pre-dealt hands:

- they cost more, especially for big swiss events

Personally, I'd pay a dollar more per event if there were pre-dealt hands in ACBL tourney events.

The alternative seems to be a shuffle and shift system. Thus, one table shuffles a set of boards, but those teams do not play the hands they shuffled. Those hands are passed onto the next table. So you never play the hands you dealt.

This scheme will take a few seconds longer, since it requires a shift after those boards are shuffled. It does reduces the potential for cheating, making it a bit harder to slip in a stacked deck, or even to deal one particular card as you show.

Note that our unit tried pre-dealt hands for one sectional swiss event, but chose not to continue doing so for now. I think that decision was based mainly on the cost. If pre-dealt hands were not an option, I'd at least prefer to see some other scheme as you propose, but my guess is that most people think that cheating at lower levels is not a significant factor, so unit and regional management and the directors in charge of those events would rather not bother.

Of course, with any system, it is always possible to find a way around it. I'm sure that someone with good card handling “skills” could get around any system. Cheaters will always be on the lookout for ways to game the system, but making it harder is a good thing.
Oct. 19, 2015
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He knows the truth. Sounds like bridge has its own x-files.
Oct. 19, 2015
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Note that I am NOT someone who will fervently argue on behalf of those accused of cheating. For example, I am quite convinced that F-N and F-S cheated, and dd so blatantly. I would like to see clear evidence, some of which is starting to come out for other pairs.

However, gut feel is simply not enough evidence for me to convict someone. My gut has been wrong before, and while I tend to trust it, where the gut is concerned, I follow the policy of trust, but verify.

You THINK you were cheated, but you have only weak circumstantial evidence to back up that statement. There are other reasons for what happened that you seem to be excluding for no good reason.
Oct. 18, 2015
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No. Sorry, but I don't trust your gut. The fact is, you have no idea what the smirk was based on, and only a foggy recollection of the hand itself.

For example, perhaps you flashed your hand to this opponent, completely without realizing that you did it. I recall once in a team game when our opponent made a contract by a play that was insane on the face of it. As he was walking away, I heard him comment to his partner why. My partner apparently flashed his hand to this fellow. He knew where the important cards were.

Is an opponent cheating when you tell him what you have? Is it unethical to take advantage of such information? Yes. But that does not mean they stacked the deck, only that you may have been foolish and gave them information, of which they took advantage.

You know only that there was a smirk.
Oct. 18, 2015
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The fact is, you seem to be slightly fuzzy on the details. Only now do we learn that it happened early in the hand. You did not write down the hand. So we have no evidence except your claim that you were cheated.

On the other hand, it is pretty easy to construct a hand where declarer might decide early in the hand that it was necessary to take an early finesse, that at first glance, might seem non-standard. I was kibbing a hand the other day, where I my telepathy was screaming for declarer to do exactly that. And that non-standard finesse actually had a great deal of logic behind it. Declarer did not read my mind however, and misplayed the hand (in my opinion.)

Or I can give the example of how, in my very early days, I held AJTxxx in clubs in dummy, I decided for some obscure reason, that my RHO held the king, and I had the Q9 doubleton in hand. So I cashed the ace, smoothly playing the queen under it. Then I led a low club from dummy. East did indeed hold the king, and since it appeared that I was going to ruff, she ducked the trick. When the 9 won, I looked at her with a sheepish smile (we were friends, and got to be better friends after this hand) and we both broke out laughing. I was certainly not cheating. My smile was an indication that I got away with stealing a trick, and doing so legally.

The point is, there MAY have been something happening here that you missed. There MAY have been cheating involved. We have no evidence of cheating, except your feeling. Why did declarer play as they did? The gut is not always right, and one event is not sufficient evidence, especially when you cannot provide any details beyond your apparently foggy memory on this point.

I totally agree with the utility of pre-dealt hands. They solve many problems beyond just cheating, such as the inequities between matches. If one match was wild hands, and another entirely flat hands, the teams in that second match have little opportunity to make up ground in a swiss event.

However, even with pre-dealt hands, there will still be cheaters who will find a way. And shuffle and shift schemes, while they may reduce the probability of cheating, cannot eliminate it. You might have collusion between friends for example.
Oct. 18, 2015
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NO. I see only evidence that he is not completely clear about what happened. That post is the first place where he makes any statement about even when in the play that it happened. That post also makes it very clear that it is a bit lost in the fog. What was the hand? was there perhaps some reason for why declarer did something non-standard? We don't know that, or anything about the hand, only that he THINKS he was cheated. With no information provided beyond his vague statements, there is no real reason to KNOW that he was cheated. Claiming it to be 100% is wildly far from impossible.
Oct. 18, 2015
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Yes, he has earned SOME slack. But the plain and simple fact is, I have done EXACTLY the same thing at times in the past. Mostly when I first learned how to run a squeeze. I would no longer do it now, because it is a bit immature. But there need be no cheating involved.

The point is, you run some pretty squeeze, coup, what ever. As it is wrapping up, you are proud of what you did. As you finish the hand, to prove that you knew what you were doing, you claim before the last trick.

This is not evidence of cheating, but merely that the declarer was proud of their achievement, and wanted to show off that skill. It is showboating, not really any different from the football player who spikes the ball after they cross the goal line.

I think all of us have become sensitive to the possibility of being cheated after these last few months. I know that I have become more so. But it is not always the case. One hand like this is not proof at all.

Think about it from declarer's point if view. HAD they done exactly this, cheated, perhaps by inserting a cold deck, they surely would not have given it away on the last trick. But instead, suppose this was the first time that you had intentionally played for some pretty criss-cross squeeze that you knew now was panning out. As it is working at the end, you get a burst of endorphins. A sneaky smile crosses your lips. And the only one at the table who you can show off to is the person who just got squeezed.
Oct. 18, 2015
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Your claim, that since declarer “knew” you had the queen of some suit, that you were cheated? All this potentially means is the declarer was good enough to know how to count cards, count points, run a squeeze, etc. It means that declarer was showing off to you a bit, but so what? This is not proof of being cheated. Probably just an indication that declarer was decent, AND a smart aleck.

You have not shown the actual hand, nor the bidding. Did the bidding give it away? Did you signals? Was there just a squeeze? Most likely one or more of these things was true.
Oct. 17, 2015
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Joel is right on here. Consider pro baseball players, earning many millions of dollars per yesr, yet some will take hormones to hit yet more home runs. Lance Armstrong cheated not just one year, but many years.
Oct. 15, 2015
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Gary - well they might do something different, if they follow through on the thinly veiled threats made against those who try to do something about the problem.
Oct. 9, 2015
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Nick - So Lance Armstrong (current estimated net worth 125 million) pr Barry Bonds (current estimated net worth 80 million) will both be asked to give up their fortunes, as they both apparently cheated?

At most there may be lawsuits, from those who paid them income for ill-gotten gains. But those lawsuits may be difficult to win. And not every sponsor will choose to initiate a suit. One would need to prove that they were cheating while you played with them, AND that “you”, as a sponsor who hired them, knew nothing about their ways despite rumors floating around about their bad habits.

That they be expelled immediately is the simplest solution.
Sept. 29, 2015
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