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Bridge Software Review

#1 User is offline   Rain 

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Posted 2009-February-23, 15:03

The long awaited companion to the "bridge book review" is finally here!
But seriously, if there were posts like these before, please tell me. I'll merge the posts.

Software I've really tried:

Bridge Master 2000, and BM Audray Grant. (CD and BBO version)
Mike Lawrence's Counting at Bridge and Private Bridge Lesson 1.
GIB and Bridge Baron (bought last year, forgot version)
Larry Cohen's My Fav 52

BM2k
~$59.95 + shipping mostly.
Really fantastic software. I like the BBO version better, since I don't like hearing the cheering sounds, and I like it to be the BBO size that I'm familiar with. I do levels 1-3, and consider level 3 advanced, and not intermediate.

In the CD version, the default "Ace" name is confusing. It's not that intuitive to realise you can just ignore the name Ace and just work on your deals.

If you're unfamiliar with this groundbreaking software, what happens is, you get 5 different skill levels, 36 deals at each level. You're always the declarer, and need to play the hand as best as you can. There is always a best way to play the hand, and if you can't find it, you won't make the hand. (Finesses fail, etc) Deals are challenging and very clearly explained. Only thing is, as I've said, I consider level 3 advanced, and level 2 intermediate.

GIB and BB
~$79.95 + shipping
I don't like either of these. If I had to choose one, I'd pick Bridge Baron. Fred has said GIB plays better, but I like how it's easier to start using BB. Both software have similar options, and frankly, neither are that intuitive.

Maybe it's just a personal preference here - I don't like bridge robots/engines. If there's a bridge robot program, I need it to be like the old Hoyle card game lol. With doggies, or old ladies, or whatever as avaters, and making funny remarks periodically.

My fav 52
~$19.95 + shipping
Larry Cohen is FUN to read. This software is extremely entertaining and instructive. He's a great author, and it comes across very well. In the software, Larry chooses 52 of his favourite hands from the ages, (he played every one of those) and narrates what happens each time, and what he's thinking as he made his bid/play. Unlike a few other authors, LC's hands don't just serve to show how marvellous he is :) He has some hilarious failure moments too.

I did wish there was more interactive-ness in the software, but it's really good for $20.


Mike Lawrence's CAB and PVBL1
~$34.95 + shipping each

Very instructive software, though the format is very dated. It's definitely more like an etextbook than the others. Mike Lawrence writes well too, but it's just less fun after Larry Cohen's humour.

I think both these titles are good, but overpriced. Should be closer to $20 than $30.
"More and more these days I find myself pondering how to reconcile my net income with my gross habits."

John Nelson.

#2 User is offline   mtvesuvius 

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Posted 2009-February-23, 15:05

deleted, I see you pinned it :)
Yay for the "Ignored Users" feature!
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#3 User is offline   Phil 

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Posted 2009-February-23, 18:02

Nice thread.

A must is all of Larry Cohen's Life Master Pairs Day 1, 2 and 3.
Where there's ink there's squid Phil.
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#4 User is offline   quiddity 

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Posted 2009-February-24, 19:42

Phil, on Feb 23 2009, 07:02 PM, said:

Nice thread.

A must is all of Larry Cohen's Life Master Pairs Day 1, 2 and 3.

Agreed. I enjoy BM2K, but it has no matchpoint scoring and no defensive problems. LMP fills that void to some extent. I prefer BM2K's presentation to LMP's though (which asks you only at critical moments to choose a card to play).
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#5 User is offline   CarlRitner 

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Posted 2009-August-15, 16:43

The software titles mentioned in the previous posts fall into two major categories. GIB and Bridge Baron are primarily designed for the entertainment of playing the game (rubber, duplicate or tournament), while the rest are primarily designed to be educational. There is a fair amount of overlap between the groups, but that distinction remains.


Marty Bergen had two earlier titles, Marty Sez and Points Schmoints. Both are designed by Fred Gitelman of Bridge Base and both are geared towards the intermediate and/or improver and not advanced players (like you). I'd rate them both high and very well worth the price (I believe they are under $25).


Bridge Baron (current version 19) is upgraded every year and supports over 130 conventions or treatments. It plays SAYC, 2/1, Precision and several other base systems. It has skill settings from the most minimalistic heuristics up to extensive simulation for both bidding and card play. I think most beginners and intermediates would benefit from and enjoy this program. Advanced players can use it to see the effect of various conventions, as deals can be filtered to accentuate the deals where specified conventions come into play.
Cheers,
Carl
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#6 User is offline   babalu1997 

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Posted 2009-August-15, 18:00

I have several of the bridge masters online versions, and I really like them all levels and i like it that i can acess them from different computers.

Needless to say the LTPB is really good and my first introduction to bridge.

I really dislike Bridge Baron because they do not have the variants of Bridge Conventions.

But truly, my fabourite is Kit Woolsey`s Partnership Defense. The program on CD makes things really really easy.

View PostFree, on 2011-May-10, 03:57, said:

Babalu just wanted a shoulder to cry on, is that too much to ask for?
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#7 User is offline   pdmunro 

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Posted 2009-November-11, 06:23

EasyBridge download link:

http://www.boardgame...file/info/13285

I don't know if it is the Easy Bridge referred to above.
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#8 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2009-November-28, 14:46

If I may put in another plug for someting I keep pushing:

I like Mile Lawrence "Conventions", available through bbo. It's pretty decent, but that's not my point. Rather I recommend it for the same reason I recommend buying a Honda at a Honda store instead of buying wheels, an engine a driveshaft, and so on and assembling it yourself. Imagine saying to a partner: "Let's play Reverse Drury as described on the Lawrence disk" and imagine he says "OK". You now know when it is on and when it is off, you know that 2C is the only Drury bid, you know what raising a third hand 1M to 3M means (distributional lr, so not real trash) and so on.


Obviously what I have said could be applied to disks other than Lawrence. I happen to like ML, but mostly it would be really nice to have a way to easily form agreements that get beyond reciting someone's name or an acronym.
Ken
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#9 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2009-December-07, 09:02

>>Mike Lawrence's CAB and PVBL1
~$34.95 + shipping each

Very instructive software, though the format is very dated. It's definitely more like an etextbook than the others. Mike Lawrence writes well too, but it's just less fun after Larry Cohen's humour.

I think both these titles are good, but overpriced. Should be closer to $20 than $30.



I disagree that they are over priced, their content is fantastic (for the intended audience - intermediate level players). They are superior to all other bridge lessons that I have seen.

The format is "dated" visually, but not in content.
There is a newer version of the BridgeBase engine available that looks nicer. But the visual presentation of these disks is still fine.


An analogy woould be would you rather buy a great bridge book for 50% more than a good bridge book, and the great book has an ugly cover.


>>play Reverse Drury as described on the Lawrence disk" and imagine he says "OK". You now know when it is on and when it is off, you know that 2C is the only Drury bid, you know what raising a third hand 1M to 3M means (distributional lr, so not real trash) and so on.


What I like about ML is he emphasizes all the follow ups and what to do over enemy interference. You better know all that and practice is.
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#10 User is offline   dustinst22 

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Posted 2010-August-26, 16:21

Has anyone used the Two Over One software by Lawrence and Gitelman?

Thinking of getting this.
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#11 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2010-September-10, 13:39

>.Has anyone used the Two Over One software by Lawrence and Gitelman?


Its pretty good. A little mor eupdated than his book.
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#12 User is offline   Phil 

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Posted 2010-September-10, 14:38

Sathya sent me a copy of Jack (what a pard!).

I really enjoy using it.
Where there's ink there's squid Phil.
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#13 User is offline   hanp 

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Posted 2010-September-10, 16:02

Phil, on Sep 10 2010, 03:38 PM, said:

Sathya sent me a copy of Jack (what a pard!).

I really enjoy using it.

It would be nice if you could post some single dummy simulations with jack sometime. If it seems useful then I might buy it myself too.
and the result can be plotted on a graph.
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#14 User is offline   Phil 

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Posted 2010-September-10, 16:27

hanp, on Sep 10 2010, 05:02 PM, said:

Phil, on Sep 10 2010, 03:38 PM, said:

Sathya sent me a copy of Jack (what a pard!).

I really enjoy using it.

It would be nice if you could post some single dummy simulations with jack sometime. If it seems useful then I might buy it myself too.

I've been using Dealmaster when I'm at the club but its kind of cumbersome.

I'll see how Jack is at these things.
Where there's ink there's squid Phil.
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#15 User is offline   hanp 

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Posted 2010-September-10, 16:28

My version of Dealmaster pro only does double dummy analysis.
and the result can be plotted on a graph.
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#16 User is offline   dustinst22 

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Posted 2010-September-13, 09:49

ArcLight, on Sep 10 2010, 02:39 PM, said:

>.Has anyone used the Two Over One software by Lawrence and Gitelman?


Its pretty good. A little mor eupdated than his book.

Thanks, going through it now. It's definitely helping to clean up things my partner and I were doing before.
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#17 User is offline   Phil 

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Posted 2010-September-13, 10:42

hanp, on Sep 10 2010, 05:28 PM, said:

My version of Dealmaster pro only does double dummy analysis.

True; I read your post too fast.

I'm playing with Jack now - there is function for "Analyze Position" and "Analyze Bidding" that returns EV in the score for different choices.

If someone can tell me how to paste a screenshot I'll show you what it looks like.
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#18 User is offline   CarlRitner 

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Posted 2010-October-30, 09:05



Bridge Baron version 21 is now available. I have no business relationship other than being a consumer and beta tester.

The program offers Standard American, 2/1, Precision and quite a few others which I simply don't have the time to explore. The 2/1 is a 100% (Hardy style) major-suit game force but uses the SA approach to 1D - 2C. There are three pre-programmed 2/1 cards which you can use as is or modify to your own tastes. Some of the exotics (spiral scan) are missing but the basics are there with most usual options. For example, Blackwood can be plain Blackwood (dear me), Key-card, 1430, Specific King ask, etc.

This program plays a multitude of conventions, 140 or so. Often it does not play the convention exactly the way I want to, but then neither do most of my club partners. There are still a few (in my opinion) errors, like keeping inverted minors ON in competition. At least having an ON/OFF option would be nice, and is probably forthcoming (hint, hint). Most of the conventions I have used are faithful to common sense and general practice of today. By that I mean the experts are still arguing.

A good source of fun are the 40+ tournaments you can play and compare your score against the field. If you find yourself consistently beating Bridge Baron (even after adjusting the skill level), try these tournaments on for size. I'm just guessing there are over 5000 boards in all, enough that when I am all done I can start over and see how many I remember (sad to say, not many). These are included for free and you can purchase even more tournies.

The utilities included are great for generating practice hands for one or more conventions at a time, or any combination of hand strength, shape, whatever. The program is updated every year and now has a much faster double-dummy solver then last year, although still running behind the Bo.

I'll be happy to answer any specific questions if I can. I suspect most readers here feel they are beyond using Bridge Baron as a learning tool, but it was a handy thing to have while crossing the Atlantic. Probably one of the most enjoyable aspects of this product is the ability to interact with the programmers via the help/ticket desk. They listen to their customers and are ACTIVE in keeping the product up to date and glitch free. The bidding database gets better every year.

This is my first post on the newly-configured forum so I hope this looks like it used to!

Cheers,
Carl
Cheers,
Carl
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#19 User is offline   kevlarsen 

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Posted 2010-October-31, 15:56

I was wondering what people think of the software Jack and how it compares to Bridge Baron.
I just wrote a blog post about it here and was wondering what people thought of it. (Jack and Bridge Baron)

On another note, Jack just won the Computer Bridge Championship (again) so I find it interesting to know what people think of Jack.
Kevin Larsen
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#20 User is offline   Tcyk 

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Posted 2010-November-12, 18:52

I have never been disappointed in any software I bought from BBO. Unfortunately, I lost one of my favorite programs due to a computer crash. I can't remember the name and have been unable to find it. I know the nae starts with a C. It is shareware and I liked it so well, I paid for it.

It deals constrained and random hands. It does double dummy analysis. It reads pbn and BBO files. It lets you bid and modify hands. It saves hands in pdn, pdf, and html formates. It is fast and the display is very nice. I believe I first learned of it from an email.

I sure would appreciate any help in finding the program.
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