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All comments by Nate Munger
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It could be argued, yes, but that argument is fatuous. Your agreement is that 2 shows spades.

You seem to believe that it is wrong for a player to use their hand and/or the auction to conclude that their partner has deviated from their normal agreements. I do not believe that the laws support that belief.
Jan. 6, 2015
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Any time you skip 2+ levels of bidding to bid RKC at your second turn, you had better be sure of the best strain.
Jan. 2, 2015
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Perhaps if you judge this hand does not merit action at the 2 level, you should not wander in the auction at the 4 level having already passed? Or perhaps your judgment that this hand merits action at the 4 level is evidence that it may merit action 2 levels lower?
Jan. 2, 2015
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One of the benefits of continuing diamonds is that even when it appears to cost, as here, it may dissuade partner from leading the 9 from 9xx.
Dec. 3, 2014
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Low to a spot in your hand loses to 9x offside or stiff KQ9 but picks up every other relevant holding for 2 losers.

Low to J/10 blows to Hx offside, while ace low loses to 9x either hand, and KQ9x on.

This suit combination appears in Bridgemaster (level 4, A-31)
Sept. 15, 2014
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The first statement is clearly in context of the EV of keeping the door, as switching was never brought up in the article. Obviously Monty's reveal affects the EV of switching cases, but that was not at issue.

The author's second statement is correct. It is interesting that you mention that switching may not be optimal if Monty's offer to switch is contingent on your choice of door. For example, if Monty only offers a switch when I pick the prize, it would be foolish to switch. However, it is PRECISELY because Monty's choice of doors to reveal is based on my choice of door that switching is an effective strategy.

Imagine Monty offers me a choice of doors. Just as I am about to pick door 1, but before I open my mouth, Monty says “Stop! There is a donkey behind door #2.” Should I switch to door 3? No. The odds of success are now 50% but there is little to choose.

Imagine an audience member, who does NOT know what prizes are behind which doors, runs on stage and opens door 2, revealing a donkey before they can be apprehended. Should I switch? No.

It is PRECISELY because Monty will ALWAYS reveal a donkey that we should switch. If in fact Monty behaves like the crowd member, Phillip is correct.

Some more food for thought: Consider the game “Deal or No Deal” in which a participant picks a suitcase out of 30 (or so) and endeavors to find out what the case is worth by opening the remaining. If, by RANDOM elimination, they reach a situation where there are 2 cases left, $1 and $1,000,000, should they switch cases if offered?
Sept. 11, 2014
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4 spades is given.

C(7,4)C(7,3)C(5,2) for 4432

C(7,4)C(7,2)C(5,3) for 4423

Then divided both by 2 as per the assumptions.
Sept. 11, 2014
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You have used apriori odds when we can see our hand and dummy. With 7 outstanding diamonds it is vastly more likely that LHO has a stiff club than a stiff diamond. It is vastly more likely that they have 4 hearts than 4 clubs.

We obtain the following adjusted frequencies:

4441-2041.7
4414-408.3
4144-408.3
4324-1837.5
4234-1837.5
4342-6125
4243-3675
4432-6125
4423-3675
4333-12250

And the results for club length for LHO:
1: 5.3%
2: 31.9%
3: 51.0%
4: 11.7%

Edit: Antony's simulation is superior to this approach because it takes into account suit strength, but this is how one would calculate things analytically with very simple assumptions. In practice, it is easier to remember to generally hook the leader of an iffy 4 card suit for a missing honor especially if the opps have a better fit in an unlead suit.
Sept. 11, 2014
Nate Munger edited this comment Sept. 11, 2014
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The article is not wrong. It may help to read it.

Nowhere in the article is there a discussion of switching doors. In the opening problem, you are faced with keeping your door or accepting $40,000. You should accept $40,000 as the EV of your door is $33,333.33 assuming the booby prizes are worthless, and Monty will always show a booby prize.

Yes, the EV of the option “Switch to door 3” is now $66,666.67 assuming Monty always opens a booby prize & offers a switch, but that option was not on offer.
Sept. 11, 2014
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On board 8, another potential line is A, A small spade to 10. If it loses and the opponents win & play trump, overtake in hand, ruff ruff etc. If they tap you, ruff the club in dummy & overtake to pull trump. I think this guards against the risk of Jx winning and delivering a club ruff.
Aug. 26, 2014
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Sorry to everybody who voted-I wrote the spade suit twice.
A poll that has you opening 1N on a 17 count is here:

http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/bidding-problem-4764/
May 22, 2014
Nate Munger edited this comment May 22, 2014
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I was shocked to see I bid in that fashion. IMO that sequence 100% guarantees 5-5 (undiscussed at least, regardless of the merits of playing it differently) and whatever the drawbacks of starting with Stayman I don't think it's worth the strain worries when partner takes you for 5. As Jim said, there are reasons one might choose the sequence anyway, but that sort of “imaginative” thinking rarely occurs to me at the table.

I don't remember this hand and so don't remember if I decided to take a position by bidding 2-3 or just had a mental lapse. (Note that I am NOT implying one has to have mental lapse to follow the recommended sequence, I'm sure playing the way Steve does has merit, but since I personally have never played that 3 can be a 4 card suit I doubt I would have bid that way unless I decided to take a position or was distracted by a flying cow) Anyway, if it was a flying cow, as seems likely, that flying cow certainly had my back. People have long suspected be of being related to the Rueful Rabbit…
April 25, 2014
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Possibly the pair was playing a version of Overcall Structure: 1NT is a light takeout and 1 level overcalls tend to be light/4 cards common.
April 21, 2014
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Issue an appeal without merit warning and keep the deposit.
April 18, 2014
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On the actual hand, if we assume PARTNER finds the club shift, for a spade to allow the contract through declarer must have both black 8s.

If we shift to a spade and declarer plays the 10, we blow the suit and get declarer up to 3 1. If partner then finds the club shift, declarer can duck twice, the blockage keeping us on lead, and force us to give up a red suit trick, we probably choose hearts. We will be used as a stepping stone to get back to the diamonds…

If partner has the 8 of clubs, partner can shift to a club later in the hand. We cannot be left on lead because partner can overtake to run the clubs.

If partner has the 8 of spades, our spade shift does not cost and will set the contract 2 tricks assuming that partner shifts to a club once declarer (probably) flies K to protect their entries.

This by no means indicates that a spade is good defense. Certainly on this hand I'd rather shift to a club. I just thought the bit about the spots was somewhat interesting, as was the position when declarer has both 8s.
Feb. 27, 2014
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Sitting down with a random junior and agreeing “UDCA” I would not expect to be on firm ground in the vast majority of these situations. To me, like Greg, “UDCA” just means that our regular count and attitude signals are upside-down but anything more nuanced needs specific discussion.

All things equal I prefer to have my second play in partner's led suit to be standard present count whether I am discarding, following suit, or returning the suit. It feels natural to be signalling with the card that I would return.
Feb. 12, 2014
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I suck at defense problems, but if declarer has a min of 15 HCP and we are beating this, I think declarer's hand looks something like AKQxx Q108 x Axxx with continuing hearts squeezing partner in the minors. I can't think of a reason to shift to clubs as opposed to diamonds but I might be wrong about the hand and partner could have club ace.
Feb. 12, 2014
Nate Munger edited this comment Feb. 12, 2014
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I would think partner would default to not leading hearts on this auction.
Feb. 7, 2014
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The argument presented in the article does not terribly affect the odds of your play here. The info about the heart suit is biased information, but not so biased. The early play appears to mark West with QJxxx of an unbid suit, which is an attractive lead. Therefore, we cannot infer that much about the REST of the hand based on the heart lead.

However, if on a different hand you get a lead shown to be from Jxxx, you can infer not only the distribution of the led suit, but also can infer that the leader had no attractive lead options. Certainly they ought not to have 5 to an honor in an unbid suit, etc.

Using Phillip's method outlined in the article, (neglecting 4-0 splits) we assume that W would always lead their longest suit and would choose randomly from suits of equal length.

Scaling the odds to ignore 4-0 splits, we obtain that playing for the drop succeeds 60% of the time, and finessing East succeeds 60.4% of the time. Under these assumptions, the odds are (VERY) slightly in favor of the finesse.

If we do NOT apply those set of assumptions to the lead, and only examine the odds of success knowing hearts split 5-3, playing for the drop succeeds 59.3% of the time and finessing East succeeds 61.9% of the time.

I suspect that if West had led from a known 4 card heart suit, Phillip's method would suggest that you should finesse West for the diamond queen. A lead from a 4 card holding often suggests the absence of a 5 card holding elsewhere, and under the assumptions stated in the article, we assume that a player would never lead from a 4 card suit holding a 5 carder.

TL;DR is I think your play is correct even taking into account the Monty Hall Trap.

P.S. If anybody would like to check my numbers, feel free to do so.
Aug. 19, 2013
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