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Expert Bridge Simplified: Arithmetic Shortcuts for Declarer. By Jeff Rubens

Poll: Expert Bridge Simplified: (11 member(s) have cast votes)

This books is suitable for which groups below (you can vote for more than one)

  1. Beginner (0 votes [0.00%])

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  2. Intermediate (4 votes [12.50%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 12.50%

  3. Advanced (5 votes [15.62%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 15.62%

  4. Advanced-Expert (8 votes [25.00%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 25.00%

  5. Expert (10 votes [31.25%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 31.25%

  6. World Class (5 votes [15.62%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 15.62%

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    Percentage of vote: 18.18%

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  4. Three Stars (3 votes [27.27%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 27.27%

  5. Four Stars (6 votes [54.55%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 54.55%

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#1 User is offline   inquiry 

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Posted 2011-February-14, 10:31

I have at least three, and I think four books dealing with the subject of math calculations at Bridge. The three I am certain of are Ruben's book being reviewed here, a little book entitled "bridge odds complete", and "Bridge Probability and Information" by Robert Mckinnon. Rubens and McKinnon are (or have been) both college math professors I believe.

This book is intended for people who want to know how to calculate bridge odds (it requires the ability to deal with at least some math).

Perhaps I will review the other ones later, but of the three, the one MUST buy for anyone even slightly interested in this subject is Ruben's "expert bridge simpified". I had let my Bridge World subscription laps for a year (an oversight), and I got an offer to renew it and get this book for "free" as a premium. I was not really all that interested in getting the book, because I thought I knew how to calculate the bridge odds, but I wanted to renew my subscription, so I got the book too.

Here the term "simplified" is used very loosely. It takes a lot of work to figure out the complexities of the chances of one line versus the other. I first began struggling with bridge probabilities after getting the first then the second editions of the ACBL Bridge Encylopedia, reading the sections on bridge math and trying to work out the calculations myself. I failed miserably. Ruben's book (decades later) lays out how to do the math and dozens of "short cuts" you can use to make the math easier. Some are obvious (at least if you think about it) like the following...

C(7,5) which is 7!/(5!*(7!-5!)) which expands to 7*6*5*4*3*2*1/(5*4*3*2*1)*(2*1), but the 5! on bottom cancels part of the 7! on top so it becomes 7*6/2 or 7*3 or 21. This is a fairly well known simplification that anyone working with combinations in their heads would apply. But he gives many others that i would have never thought of. The book is 417 pages (wow) with nine chapters and 18 practice exercises (with between 4 and 8 quizes to solve in each excerise). I missed way more of the exercises than I feel comfortable admitting (remember, I thought I knew how to calculate the odds), but, his clear explainations of when to apply what types of calculations in the examples (excerises) have improved my calculation abilities.

Word of caution... no speed reading here. Take it slow, spend a lot of time working out the excerises. Then, perhaps, re-read it. See if you can apply what you read about to problems you encounter in the real world. Check with others to make sure you "got it right". There is no doubt this book has improved the way I approach calculating the odds, and corrected some misconceptions I had.

I very highly recommend it for those interested in learning the correct way to calcuate bridge odds and how to apply it in the heat of battle, and that is from someone who didn't think he needed this book.
--Ben--

#2 User is offline   Phil 

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Posted 2012-November-15, 10:12

Similar to Ben, I also got Expert Bridge Simplified since I re-upped my BW subscription in 2012.

This is really a great book, and there is nothing simple about it. It reads like a college physics textbook. As Ben said, it is a very slow read, although my style is to read it at normal pace on the first pass, and then re-read it several times over (I just started my 2nd pass).

Along with the Rockwell Files and Maastricht Challenge, this is my favorite book I've received in the last five years.
Winner - BBO Challenge bracket #6 - February, 2017.
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#3 User is offline   Siegmund 

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Posted 2013-February-13, 00:28

I had hoped the book would cover a few more topics than it did -- I was dreaming Rubens had found a shortcut for how to decide what to believe when the distribution clues point one way and the high-card clues point the other way -- but it is an incredibly comprehensive look at how suits break, and how the break in one suit affects the break in another. Excellent examples and very readable if you take it at a slow enough pace.

Gets a two-thumbs-up for me.
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#4 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2013-February-16, 21:22

If you enjoy reading College Math books, you might enjoy this book.

I thought this comment says it all


"Word of caution... no speed reading here. Take it slow, spend a lot of time working out the excerises. Then, perhaps, re-read it. See if you can apply what you read about to problems you encounter in the real world. Check with others to make sure you "got it right"."
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