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Balanced Point Requirement for Game

#1 User is offline   relknes 

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Posted 2011-April-03, 10:32

I was orrigingally taught, years ago, that with 2 balanced hands 26 points was needed for game, and that 25 could do in a pinch if the points were fairly evenly distributed. Later, I started hearing that, at imps, 24 points often belonged in game, even though it would often need a mistake by the defense or a favorable lead to pull through, because the gamble was worth it in the long run.
So my question is, does 15 oposite 9 typically belong in game? How about when one of the hands is unbalanced?

#2 User is offline   mtvesuvius 

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Posted 2011-April-03, 10:53

Guidelines are just that, guidelines. I would say generally all 25 combined pointers usually want to be in game unless they are exactly mirrored, bad spots, no stopper etc.

In the long run, 15 opposite 9 type games will make a lot more often than you'd expect. Using a double-dummy simulation here isn't really effective because often games like this require anywhere from a very slight, to major mis-defense to make. Sometimes something as simple as the wrong opening lead will make the difference. 15 vs 9 games are certainly pushy, but I think that in the long run, you will do quite well bidding them. It improve your play, and still does for me (and disaster management skills LOL), and once you become an excellent declarer, you'll see more situations and ways to bring these contracts home.

The final deciding factor is whether it is IMPs or MPs. At IMPs, pushing for the 24s will work much better than at MPs. At MPs, if you stop in 2N and are able to steal an extra trick, you'll still get a good board. So my general advice is take the push at IMPs, but be more reasonable at MPs.
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#3 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2011-April-03, 11:03

I think your guideline of 26 for game with 25 being okay in a pinch is about right if you want the game to make most of the time. At MP scoring that's what you want, so what you're doing is fine. But at IMP scoring, it's worth bidding game even when it's a slight underdog (the game bonus is big). Therefore I'd go about a point lighter.
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#4 User is offline   nigel_k 

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Posted 2011-April-03, 14:03

Adding up points only really works when both hands are balanced. When there is shape, all kinds of other factors are important and you can't have a HCP-based rule.

There is a difference between IMPS vul, IMPs nonvul and matchpoints but it is not as great as many people think. Anyway the difference is less than a full point, probably around half a point. I would aim for a method that normally avoids game with 23, normally reaches game with 25 and can go either way with 24.

#5 User is offline   Quantumcat 

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Posted 2011-April-03, 17:18

You are probably thinking about whether you should bid game with 9 HCP when your partner opens 1NT, or to just invite.

What you need to make 3NT on less than 26 is a good long suit to set up, and controls to prevent the opposition taking too many tricks. You can't know about the controls, but you can know about having a good suit to set up. If you have a decent five-card suit, bid game with 9. If you have a decent 6- or 7-card suit, bid game with 8 or even 7. If you are bidding it with 7, make sure it runs opposite an honour doubleton from partner. E.g. AQJT86 is great (if partner has a double stop in whatever they lead, that's seven tricks already and partner still has high cards in three more suits) but AK6543 is not. Although if you are playing matchpoints, probably don't be too enthusiastic about bidding game with the former because you will get a bottom whenever all the others are in 2 of your long suit, or in 1NT making 7 or 8 tricks. You don't need to be in a game to make a top at matchpoints, just taking all your tricks and being in the right partscore will do.

If you have a 4432 or 4333, probably best to just invite with 9 HCP. In this case since there are not likely to be any suits to set up, you won't be making tricks with any small cards, and you will need the full quota of HCP to make game.
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