Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I'm not interested

What does it take to win 3340 masterpoints online in one year? You have to play well, play a lot and (apparently) you have to mix it up. This player who won all these points has entered enough tournaments that he must have a figured out a good strategy for playing with the robots, right?

I looked at a recent online 12-board tournament from the player who set the record. He was playing against robots for ACBL masterpoints on BBO.

See if you can match bids with the champ:

Board No. 4 - you hold:
K 9 4 K Q 9 6 A 8 9 6 43
The bidding is Pass Pass 1 to you. What's your choice?

* * *

Board No. 9 - you hold:
K Q Q 10 6 A Q 10 9 8 6 6 2
The auction goes Pass, your RHO opens 1 and you?

* * *

Board No. 10 - you hold:
K Q J 10 K Q J 8 5 Q J 4 2
Your right-hand opponent passes. What would you open (assume you don't play Flannery)?

* * *

Board No. 12 - you hold:
A Q 7 3 7 A 8 4 2 A Q 5 2
Three passes to you in fourth seat. What would you bid?

* * *

In all the cases, the online record-holder opened or overcalled 1NT.

I like to get tops as much as the next guy. I love to be the declarer. At the risk of sounding righteous, if this is what it takes to win online, I'm not interested. I'm just sayin'.

What do you think?

This was tournament No. 3177 held last Monday. You can see all the boards for yourself if you click here.


  1. I think you think something fishy was going on here, but I'm not sure what that was. I agree with you, though.

    Are you saying that some bridge players might push certain ethical limits?

  2. I don't think he's suggesting that anything fishy is going on, simply that the winning strategy seems to be to play bad bridge in order to ensure you declare most hands.

  3. @Jacob: Yes, anonymous is correct in answer to your great question.

    It's like in poker if your strategy was to move all in on every hand. It can work, but it's now how I prefer to play.

  4. My guess is he has given up on ever being able to play a proper system with a load of strange partners....especially when he's no idea as to how they bid or even play. So he making a bid that covers all bases. Clever, hoggish bids which will of course
    bring about many profitable swings. Yours HBJ

  5. It seems like he's exploiting a flaw in the progamming, believes that he plays the hand better than the robots, and wants to play NT as much as possible. However, if he is bidding NT on all these hands, then he has an agreement with himself that is different than what the robots are expecting (they are assuming the humans play the same system as them). So I think the solution would be to make the robots adapt and tag this player as having a different range of hands for bidding 1NT, then adapt their bidding and play accordingly.

  6. @Dana: I agree with you. Also, if you bid your hand accurately, the robots can make better simulations and defend better. The way he bids, the defending bots often don't get a lot of information to work with.

    I'm not saying his strategy is bad -- after all, it's working. I am saying, however, I don't care to play that way. It's just not "fun."