Brent and I finished third in the Stratified Open Pairs at the Tunica Regional (bridge) yesterday. We have nobody to blame, but ourselves (for not winning). We were barely above average in the afternoon, then had a monster game at night. There were three 15-table sections, so 90 pairs. Regional pair games are really getting small -- everyone wants to play the KO Teams.
"Are you going to put a spell on me?" asked a woman bridge player as she sat down at my table.
For a second, I was taken aback, then remembered I had on one of my mojo tee shirts. Sure enough on the second board I played 1NT making four! At one point in the hand, she was on lead (on my left), and played ♣A and another club. Dummy had two low, and my holding was: ♣K Q 8 6 2. As play continued, her partner sluffed a club and now the suit ran. I guess I put a spell on him, too. That was a 9 on a 12 top.
Many of the good boards from the evening session were ones in which the opponents lost their minds. One pair had a 27% score. I've played bridge for forty years, and I don't believe I've seen one this bad. We got our quota against them -- two 11s (12 top). On one I opened a 10--12 point 1NT and they played 2♠ in a 4-2 fit, down 300. On the other, they played 1♠, making one, when Deep Finesse says they can make 4♥. Yikes.
On another round, a lady playing with a pro held:
♠8 ♥K 10 9 6 2 ♦A ♣Q 10 9 8 7 5.
Her left-hand oppenent (moi) opened 1♦ Mr. Pro doubled and her RHO bid 2NT, Alerted as a preemptive diamond raise. What would you do? Many players would bid 4♥, but she bid only 3♥. This was passed out and she made six, for an ugly score of plus 230. Here are all four hands:
♠ A 5 2
♥ Q J 8 4
♦ 8 6
♣ A J 4 3
♠ Q 10 9 6 ♠ K J 7 4 3
♥ A 3 ♥ 7 5
♦ K Q 10 3 2 ♦ J 9 7 5 4
♣ K 6 ♣ 2
♥ K 10 9 6 2
♣ Q 10 9 8 7 5
Now, Mr. Hotshot Pro began fussing at her. Her defense was "I only had 9 points." Then she said: "I didn't know you had all those clubs with me." Mr. HSP fussed some more.
Let's get this straight. She's paying him good money to play, she's a nice lady, she made a bad bid. Yes, they got a 2 on a 12 top, so giving her a hard time will change that, right? Doing that will bolster her confidence and make her play better the rest of the session, right?
What should have happened? After the session, Mr. HSP should grab a hand record, sit down, and go over the boards. That's part of what he's being paid to do. Should he then immediately bring up this deal? No, absolutely not. First he should go over some boards where she did something correctly -- reinforce good stuff. Then he should discuss this hand. Yes, you only had 9 points in high-cards. Remember when I double, however, I have hearts and clubs with you, so you should add points for your distribution, the double fit, blah, blah. Teach her to evaluate a hand accurately, rather than be a slave to point count.
Mr. HSP is a bright guy. He has a Harvard law degree. He co-authored this well-received poker book with Mike Caro. He's an occasional columnist in Card Player magazine. He has a zillion masterpoints. He must be smart, right? Wrong, he's
Image is Sam's Town Casino taken by MOJO with my point-and-shoot.