Saturday, October 9, 2010

Robots: A true love-hate relationship

I still play with the robots, but haven't blogged much about it lately. They are not great, but not the worst either -- they are what they are, and you have to accept it. One advantage of playing with a bot is that if you do something bad, they don't yell at you, although one time one of them raised an eyebrow at me.

When you play with the bots, one of the conditions is that you always get the best hand. Sometimes, you can use that to your advantage. This morning I held:
Q 10 7 3 Q 10 4 3 K 7 A J 8.
I opened 1, left-hand opponent bid 2 and my robotic partner bid 2. RHO passed and it was my turn. What would you do?

At "real" bridge I guess you should raise to 3 or maybe bid 2NT. I didn't do either one -- I passed!

Remember my partner had a worse hand than mine. Yes, he could have the right 10 or 11 points to make game, but more often (I think), he'll bid game after I raise and go set -- the bots are aggressive game bidders.

I was rewarded more than I deserved when a heart was won by the ace, a heart was returned, ruffed, and they took two more diamond tricks and the ace of trumps -- making exactly 2 for a 92.59% score for me. Here are the hands (rotated):

I bid a trivial slam on the North-South hands below. West led the Q! I drew two rounds of trumps, then played clubs and ruffed my fourth-round in the dummy -- the East hand with four clubs had the third trump. This was a no-cost play -- if a club is ruffed, I would still make six, and that was all I could ever make.

This was a 95.16% board. Four of us bid 6 and made seven. Five bid 6NT, and made six. Twelve players bid 6, but made only six. Eight players were in game and three were in part-scores!

You can see all the deals from this session if you click here, then click on "show boards."


  1. one time one of them raised an eyebrow at me.

    That had to be right after you ate that special brownie the hippie gave you.

  2. Wow, intense tournament. Of course I have no knowledge about bridge but can only believe a deep knowledge of a complex game such as bridge can only transcend other endeavors.

  3. Do you ever get mad and yell at a Bot like I would?

  4. Whenever you post about bridge I am reminded of my time in Paris -- lots of printed material I did not understand. : o )

  5. Hope your week is going well!

  6. Just curious or maybe unobservant...

    If your hand is the blind, does the robot play or do you get switched to play the hand? I'd guess the latter.

  7. @KenP: Good question. At some online sites, they let you switch. On BBO, the bot gets to play the hand. Because of this, players tend to try and hog the dummy (this means they bid in an unorthodox way to try to be declarer).

    @lightning: I've played for 40 years, and sometimes it's still Greek to me!

    @Jacob: thanks.

    @NewinNov: yeah, intense, but fun.

  8. That BBO method seems kinda stupid. You watch a big part of the game in the hands of a collection of algorithms. Your playing it out would be educational and far less frustrating when it miss what you might of done and ends up down.

  9. Re your comment on Ocala DP: Nope! I was driving. Lois Anne was gripping the door handle with white knuckles, eyes wide open, screaming "Watch the road! Watch the road!"