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Best book to learn how to play the cards What do you recommend?

#1 User is offline   xx1943 

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Posted 2004-September-27, 08:33

Hi all,

mentoring in BIL I want to recommend my students a systematic, easy to read book about all basic issues of declarer and defensive play.

My own favourites are:

1) Victor Mollo, Nico Gardener: Card play technique

2)Terence Reese, Roger Trezel: MASTER BRIDGE SERIES Volume 1-3

3) Robert Berthe, Norbert Lebely: "Pas A PAS" Volume 1-4

2) 3) are only available in German and/or French.

Please tell us, what book you would recommend a beginner and/or intermediate, who wants to improve his card play.

Many thanks

Regards

Al
Play Bridge for fun and entertainment and to meet nice people.
BAD bidding may be succesful due to excellent play, but not vice versa.
Teaching in the BIL TUE 8:00am CET.

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#2 User is offline   EricK 

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Posted 2004-September-27, 10:25

I think the "Expert" series by Danny Roth are very good. They painlessly lead even a total beginner to the point where they can make quite advanced plays. They encourage counting and so on from the word go, and don't teach rules, but ideas.

They are

The Expert Beginner
The Expert Improver
The Expert Advancer
The Expert Club Player

Eric
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#3 User is offline   jillybean 

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Posted 2004-September-27, 10:47

Bridge Master Audrey Grant edition (b/i) & Bridge Master 2000 are great for practicing declarer play and FUN.
Searching for your own mistakes is the only way to learn this game. - Fluffy

And no matter what methods you play, it is essential, for anyone aspiring to learn to be a good player, to learn the importance of bidding shape properly. - MikeH

SLOW DOWN! This is not a speedball :)
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#4 User is offline   xx1943 

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Posted 2004-September-27, 11:01

jillybean2, on Sep 27 2004, 06:47 PM, said:

Bridge Master Audrey Grant edition (b/i) & Bridge Master 2000 are great for practicing declarer play and FUN.

Hi Jilly
Rite you are for practizing and having fun.
these are the best bridge-software I've ever seen.

But to learn the play systematic you need a book too.

Many thanks Eric for your hint.

Quote

They encourage counting and so on from the word go, and don't teach rules, but ideas.

That exactly is what "counts" imo. :rolleyes:

sincerly

Al
Play Bridge for fun and entertainment and to meet nice people.
BAD bidding may be succesful due to excellent play, but not vice versa.
Teaching in the BIL TUE 8:00am CET.

Lessons available. For INFO look here: Play bridge with Al
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#5 User is offline   inquiry 

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Posted 2004-September-27, 11:27

xx1943, on Sep 27 2004, 10:33 AM, said:

Hi all,

mentoring in BIL I want to recommend my students a systematic, easy to read book about all basic issues of declarer and defensive play.

My own favourites are:

1) Victor Mollo, Nico Gardener: Card play technique

2)Terence Reese, Roger Trezel: MASTER BRIDGE SERIES Volume 1-3

3) Robert Berthe, Norbert Lebely: "Pas A PAS" Volume 1-4

2) 3) are only available in German and/or French.

Please tell us, what book you would recommend a beginner and/or intermediate, who wants to improve his card play.

Many thanks

Regards

Al

They never played bridge before (or essentially never before)? Watson, Play of the hand. Soft ware for them.. A. Grants, special edition of Bridge Master 2000

If they have played awhile and know all about suit establishment, finesses, and the like.. Kelsey's Bridge logic, declarer play, killing defense, and more killing defense. Software to get them, Bridge MAster 2000, level 1 and 2.

IF they know all about how to count the hand, then Clyde Love's Bridge Squeezes complete.. Software to get them, Bridge master level 3 and 4

If they are experts, or near experts who know all there is to know abou tthe game, then Ottik and Kelsey "adventrues in card play" Software to get them, Bridge master 2000, level 5

Ben
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#6 User is offline   whereagles 

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Posted 2004-September-27, 11:37

Actually, most card play books for beginners are didactically very, very bad. Even those wrote by the best players. Lack of systematization is their main problem. The authors always seem unable to categorize the various strategies possible, making the key ideas to appear messed up and disorganized. This, of course, confuses beginners.

I've read many books on expert play, and a few on beginner play. It is my experience that the few books that are well-written and fit for beginners are those of the French bridge university.

The situation is a bit better when it comes to books on bidding. The French school still provides the most systematic and logic books, but the competition from other schools is acceptable.
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#7 User is offline   inquiry 

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Posted 2004-September-27, 11:48

whereagles, on Sep 27 2004, 01:37 PM, said:

Actually, most card play books for beginners are didactically very, very bad. Even those wrote by the best players. Lack of systematization is their main problem. The authors always seem unable to categorize the various strategies possible, making the key ideas to appear messed up and disorganized. This, of course, confuses beginners.

Well, Watson's "Play of the Hand" is clearly the best book for students to learn the fundamentals of card play. It starts out painfully slow... just what the neophyte needs, and then builds from there. Card combinations, defense, and more esotic plays (eventually). It was written in the 1930's but those basics haven't changed, And it will not get the student bogged down with backwash squeezes and the liek, becasue in the 1930's they didn't "exist"

Trust me on this one. You can't go wrong with Watson.. and to be quite frank, a lot of our experts on the BBO would benefit greeatly by reading it, carefully.

Ben
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#8 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2004-September-27, 12:57

So far Ive read 27 books on Bridge. (That doesnt make me an expert, but I enjoy reading Bridge books!)

How to Defend a Bridge Hand by William Root is an excellent intoduction to defense. I recommend it for beginners through internediates. I like it better than Kantars Modern Bridge Defense and Advanced Bridge Defense, but they are both good and worth reading.

How to Play a Bridge Hand William Root is a very solid book on declarer play. I recommend it for beginners through internediates. I prefer it to Kantars Topics in Declarer Play which is an ok book.

Each of the Root books have 300+ example hands for the reader to folliow, and around 100 problems.

[William Root also has: Modern Bridge Conventions and Common Sense Bididng, both well written and of value toa beginner/intermediate player.]

I recommend these books over Watsons Play of the Hand. Watsons book covers some more advanced topics but is less enjoyable to read. I also prefer Victor Mollos Card Play technique over the Watson book, as I find it much more readable.
(I dont think beginners need to worry too much about how to execute Squeze plays. They should learn when to/not finesse, the danger hand, elimination plays, etc)

[Note: I am not knocking The Watson book, and its considered a classic. But I find other books more enjoyable to read, and they also cover most of the same material.]

Bridge Master is a great learning tool, because the player experiences the lesson rather than just reads about it. The level 5 problems are very difficult, and beyond my level. Beginners will certainly benefit from levels 1 and 2. You can buy additional sets of 30 lessons here at BBO for $10 each. That works out to about $5 and hour for some fun lessons. And you can always redo them 6 months later, so the real cost is closer to $2.50 an hour


The Mike Lawrence software is excellent, but I think a player should hold off a bit if they are just a beginner. Play a bit, read some of books, then try it.


[After reading those books on the basics try Points, Schmoints by Marty Bergen.
And the Law of Total Tricks by Larry Cohen, and its sequel Following the Law.]
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#9 User is offline   sceptic 

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Posted 2004-September-27, 13:16

I have just been given William Root, Play of the hand, I am only on chapter one but it seems like a sound book to me
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#10 User is offline   fred 

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Posted 2004-September-27, 13:22

You might want to try the card play chapters in Learn to Play Bridge 1 & 2. This material is available for free through Explore Bridge! (or you can download the programs from free through www.acbl.org).

If the introductory stuff is too basic for you, skip ahead.

There are several Bridge Master hands (plus a lot of text and examples) in each of the chapters on declarer play in these programs.

When I was learning my favorite textbook on play of the hand was a book by Blackwood that I think was called "The Play of the Hand". It was a thick book with a black cover. I have no idea if this book is still in print or not, but it was excellent.

Fred Gitelman
Bridge Base Inc.
www.bridgebase.com

#11 User is offline   luke warm 

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Posted 2004-September-27, 17:16

i agree with ben, watson's classic is what i'd give a beginning bridge/card player... i also agree with the bridgemaster cd... you can even order extra deals of whatever level you feel best suits you
"Paul Krugman is a stupid person's idea of what a smart person sounds like." Newt Gingrich (paraphrased)
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#12 User is offline   xx1943 

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Posted 2004-September-28, 03:16

fred, on Sep 27 2004, 09:22 PM, said:

You might want to try the card play chapters in Learn to Play Bridge 1 & 2. This material is available for free through Explore Bridge! (or you can download the programs from free through www.acbl.org).

Fred Gitelman
Bridge Base Inc.
www.bridgebase.com

Hi FG
Many thanks for the hints.
I tried to download from www.acbl.org´. Alas the link to the download was not valid.
Regards
Al
Play Bridge for fun and entertainment and to meet nice people.
BAD bidding may be succesful due to excellent play, but not vice versa.
Teaching in the BIL TUE 8:00am CET.

Lessons available. For INFO look here: Play bridge with Al
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#13 User is offline   xx1943 

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Posted 2004-September-28, 03:19

ArcLight, on Sep 27 2004, 08:57 PM, said:

[Note: I am not knocking The Watson book, and its considered a classic.  But I find other books more enjoyable to read, and they also cover most of the same material.]

Hi
After rereading Watsons book inspired from this thread, I found this is exactly the point.
Al
Play Bridge for fun and entertainment and to meet nice people.
BAD bidding may be succesful due to excellent play, but not vice versa.
Teaching in the BIL TUE 8:00am CET.

Lessons available. For INFO look here: Play bridge with Al
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#14 User is offline   luke warm 

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Posted 2004-September-28, 04:02

i imagine that's because you aren't a beginner... the first half of his book is, to me, priceless for someone who has never played

there are better books that cover individual aspects of his... squeezes, end plays, leads, etc... but i'd still give his to a beginner
"Paul Krugman is a stupid person's idea of what a smart person sounds like." Newt Gingrich (paraphrased)
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#15 User is offline   flytoox 

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Posted 2004-September-28, 05:22

Mike Lawrence's Dynamic Defense at Bridge, a book tell you how world players defend simple but tricky hands. The best book on defense. Worth 5times reading.

I have read it for 3 times, and I learn sth new everytime I read it.

Hongjun
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#16 User is offline   sceptic 

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Posted 2004-September-28, 06:11

I have bth bridge master and audrey grants edition

I have completed both (it only took me 7 months and the explanations are excellent) all levels.

I started to do bridge master again and it may still take me another 7 months at this rate and I still need to look at the solutions at times, but it is a very smart piece if software and very helpful for someone learning , I would recommend this to all it is also a lot of FUN
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#17 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2004-September-28, 06:41

Kelsey's "Winning Card Play" is a very good book. It covers everything, from simple fineses to the devil's coup, and explains it in depth. It does not say much about signalling and matchpoint strategies, though.
... most of the new ideas I get are pretty "boring", mostly focusing on constructive methods rather than destructive ones --- Kungsgeten
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#18 User is offline   ArcLight 

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Posted 2004-November-23, 13:30

I just finished Mike Lawrences "Complete Book of Hand Evaluation" and Marty Bergens "Hand Evaluation". I enjoyed reading them together. The Bergen book is a much faster read, with a few formulas, and hand evaluation problems. The Lawrence book was slower going as he presents the reader with many auctions. As the aution progresses he explains how your hand changes in value. He tries to get you in the habit of estimating the other players holdings in all 4 suits.

I recommend both books for beginners through intermediates.
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#19 User is offline   Flame 

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Posted 2004-November-23, 13:37

I just love mike lawrence's books on play.
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#20 User is offline   jikl 

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Posted 2004-November-23, 16:42

An interesting book on the 4 handed games is Dormer on Deduction by Albert Dormer.

Sean
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