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Alternative hand valuations

#1 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2018-October-06, 00:17

Dear all

I know I call myself (and often play like) a beginner and I am posting n the beginner forum. However, I have played enough hands in my life to see the many shortcomings of basic 4-3-2-1, simple length counts in their true valuation of a hand. For example which is better between A65432 and KJ10987. I often feel that the linear point count for honours is not precise enough to truly value the cards and that cards like 10, 9 etc are not valued at all. Also I have read it overvalues some honours. I have been reading about quick tricks so started using them too. However I tend to adjust the value my hands myself up or down depending n intermediate values, what a hand looks like (a feel of a hand, how solid suits are), not just basic point + distribution. I would be interested in different ways people have tried to value hands. I know this may be a more advanced topic but to truly value a hand you cannot rely on HCP and distribution points alone

regards P
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#2 User is offline   mcphee 

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Posted 2018-October-06, 03:46

Check out ZAR points. Then read Adventures in Card Play after which you can pick with more hope.
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#3 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2018-October-06, 04:48

Thankyou!
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#4 User is online   The_Badger 

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Posted 2018-October-06, 05:04

https://www.larryco....nter/detail/671

http://www.bridgeweb...0Evaluation.pdf

http://www.jazclass....ndvaluation.htm

http://bridge.thomas...com/valuations/

And a BBO discussion on ZAR http://www.bridgebas...aste-of-energy/
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#5 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-October-06, 06:42

View Postthepossum, on 2018-October-06, 00:17, said:

Dear all

I know I call myself (and often play like) a beginner and I am posting n the beginner forum. However, I have played enough hands in my life to see the many shortcomings of basic 4-3-2-1, simple length counts in their true valuation of a hand. For example which is better between A65432 and KJ10987. I often feel that the linear point count for honours is not precise enough to truly value the cards and that cards like 10, 9 etc are not valued at all. Also I have read it overvalues some honours. I have been reading about quick tricks so started using them too. However I tend to adjust the value my hands myself up or down depending n intermediate values, what a hand looks like (a feel of a hand, how solid suits are), not just basic point + distribution. I would be interested in different ways people have tried to value hands. I know this may be a more advanced topic but to truly value a hand you cannot rely on HCP and distribution points alone

regards P


There are many factors involved in evaluation - the fact that you are aware is a positive sign; however, I sometimes think only experience helps. There are factors that raise or lower the expected value of some cards, like the bidding, the fit or lack of fit, strength between hands, entry considerations, etc.

Read a lot is my advice. You tend to get a little piece here and another there that helps you put together your own understanding.
This post sponsored by: All County Building Supply & Maintenance, Felo, NY.
Without truth it is impossible to speak truth to power, so there is only power.
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#6 User is offline   rhm 

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Posted 2018-October-06, 08:33

The 4-3-2-1 is actually quite precise for low level notrump contracts. If you upgrade with useful intermediates you will be doing fine.
It is not so good when it comes to high level suit contracts where first round controls are very important.
Given that you do not know where you will end up with in the bidding to concentrate too much on the perfect hand evaluation method is not worthwhile.
What matters more is to be flexible and understand what improves a hand and what makes your hand deteriorate in value. Visualization of partners hand is particularly important

I give you 2 examples.

Example one:

Which of the following hands do you prefer as dealer?

1) KQJ432 KQJ2 KQ2 -
2) AJ5432 AJ32 A32 -

The first hand has 17 HCP , the second 14 HCP. The distribution is the same.
Most players I know, whether good or bad, will prefer hand 1. Beginners in particular are mesmerized by the number of honor cards they hold.
I prefer hand 2. It is at least as good as hand number one.
Reasons: Both hands are very suit oriented because they are very distributional and have 10 cards in the majors. Point count is of little value when you expect to end up in a high-level suit contract.
Quacks are overrated. In fact an ace is as valuable as a king and a queen. There is no good reason valuing an ace as 4 HCP but a king and a queen as 5 HCP.

Example two (taken from a recent book on hand evaluation):

You have 3 hands (13 HCP) to choose from:

A) A8732 KJ85 T3 AJ
B) AT872 AJ85 9 A65
C) T8732 Q865 AK A6

You are third in hand. Which hand do you prefer and which one do you like least?

There is little doubt that B is best and C is the worst of the three hands. B has everything what is good. Aces, distribution, useful intermediates in spades and a valuable jack in hearts. C has 11 HCP in short suits. A is somewhat in the middle.

Now your partner passes and the bidding proceeds:

Pass 1
2-2
3-?

How do you value these hands now?

C has improved beyond recognition and you should simply bid 3NT
A could make 3NT, but it is against the odds.
B is now the worst hand to have. Pass and hope you are not down already.

A typical hand for partner would be xx Ax QTxxxx Kxx (not possible opposite B where he could have xx Kx QTxxxx KQx instead)

Rainer Herrmann
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#7 User is offline   HardVector 

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Posted 2018-October-06, 12:11

I've found that "Slam Bidding Made Easier" by Marty Bergen include a way of evaluating hands that is simple to use and fairly accurate to a more detailed point count system without having to add a bunch of fractions together.
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#8 User is offline   dave251164 

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Posted 2018-October-07, 03:51

You might like to try MIDMAC.

Here's a book on it.
https://www.amazon.c...n/dp/0713479140
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#9 User is offline   JanisW 

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Posted 2018-October-07, 12:44

View Postrhm, on 2018-October-06, 08:33, said:

Example one:

Which of the following hands do you prefer as dealer?

1) KQJ432 KQJ2 KQ2 -
2) AJ5432 AJ32 A32 -


I really like these example hands.
To evaluate the merits of a hand you always need to take into account what purpose you want to achieve.
As dealer the purpose is to open the bidding, which both hands easily qualify for.
I would even disagree on the fact, that Hand No2 is as good as No1 for that purpose because No1 has a much sturdier -suit and is, after all, a 3 Loser hand with a semi-self-sustaining suit.

Let's say the bidding goes
1 - 1NT
Now the purpose of our hand has changed. Now we need to decide at what level to show our -suit
Hand No1 should probably insist on game, while hand no2 should content itself on a passable 2-call

Of course, if the bidding goes
1 - 4
One can immediately see why No2 could be better than hand No1.

But let's say the bidding started
1 (2) pass (3)
Again the purpose of the hand has changed. The question is whether further competition is warranted and if so how.

I think we can agree that further competition is warranted. But I would argue that Hand No2 should (can) double while with hand No1 probably 3 is called for.
With hand No2 we should probably double for take-out. If P has KJTx in and not much else we are ready to do business with our 3 Aces and the X shows our red-suit holdings just fine.
If P has x,xx,KQxxxxx,xxxx we can raise his 4-bid to 5.

With hand No1 double is quite dangerous. If P has KJTx in and not much else we cannot blame him much for passing and will not beat 3s.
Bidding 3 has its own drawbacks because P might have x,xxx,AJxxxx,xxx and we will not make it to 5 and 4 (if we get there) is okay but far from save (Di-ruff(s)).

So we might conclude that Hand No2 is better to further compete than Hand no1.

So back to our first question what hand is better No1 or No2?
I hope I managed to argue that the strength of a hand is dependent on the purpose you are trying to achieve and not only described by HCPs LTC or adjustment for Aces and Tens vs Quacks
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#10 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2018-October-11, 05:28

Many thanks everyone!

It's a lot of great information to digest. To be honest what let's me down most at the moment is declarer play but I need good reading in bidding too. So thankyou!

P
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