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How much edge do you need to justify variance?

Last night at matchpoints I played a 4 contract that I judged to be perfectly normal, and, in a relatively small field, was in fact bid at every table. From the early play I "knew" (accurately, it turned out) that a side suit was breaking 6-2, and my lines diverged depending on whether I played for 3-2 or 4-1 trumps. Guessing that the field would either 1) not play for 4-1 trumps, or 2) not know how to play against 4-1 trumps (it was a mildly complicated line), I chose to back my judgment and play for the bad split. Not only were trumps 3-2, but the doubleton included the card I needed to make the 3-2 line superior to the 4-1 line. 

Being unable to calculate the odds at the table (absent giving my opponents a round off while I did so) I went back to check my intuition today. In 60% of the cases, the line was irrelevant. Of the remaining 40%, in 22% my line was superior, and in 18% the field's line was superior. (Don't try to reproduce the numbers, as it was also relevant where a side Ace and the nine of trumps resided.) This is a judgment poll; if you knew those probabilities in advance of choosing a line, would you take the edge given the high variance of it? In fact I got a zero for my line, so presumably I would have gotten a top had it worked. Was the edge worth it?

From past experience in this field, our median session result would be about 85th percentile (top 15%).

Interested in all comments.



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