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Hand Evaluation

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The ability to evaluate the hand is essential for successful auctions. It is not - contrary to what you might think - important that you assess your hand in exactly the same way as your partner does, or even in a similar manner. You just need to know partner's way of doing it. Can you learn how to do this? You not only can, you have to. This book is dedicated to that end.

Factors in hand evaluation include: High Card Points (A=4, K=3, Q=2, J=1); shape - from 4333 to 7600; possession of 10s, 9s and 8s; the quality of honours - in suit contracts aces and kings are more desirable, in notrumps lower honours become valuable. Evaluation of the distribution of honours will change as more information from the bidding becomes available. Suit quality: the trump suit in suit contracts, the main source of tricks in notrump.

The process of hand evaluation leads to making bidding decisions. Good decisions are partly a function of experience. But can the art of making the right decision be learned? Yes, it can. Moreover, it must be learned. First of all, you have to know your partner's style and temperament, as well as the style and the level of aggressiveness of your opponents. In order to make a decision you must use your imagination. If you manage to visualize three possible hands for partner (based on the bidding so far):

  • a favourable one
  • an average one
  • an unfavourable one

you can also estimate the results of the decision you are about to make and correct the mistake you are about to make in beforehand.

The book contains hundred bidding problems, mainly from the area of competitive bidding. When you have decided what to bid and then read the suggested action, your ability to make successful bidding decisions will no doubt improve.


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