Social #19, Part 5, Takeout Doubles and Overcall Competitive Bridge Bidding

Welcome Bridge Friends!

In this whopping 2.5 hour show, we will look at new approaches to mastering the fundamentals of Bridge Overcalls and Takeout Double Bridge bidding including bids with a very good hand (18+ High Card Points) regardless of suit distribution.  After all, Bridge is a competitive game so when our Left Hand Opponent makes an opening bid with 12+ points, now may be our only chance to shoot in a call to either fight for a part score contract or perhaps find a game bid with your beloved partner!

So how many points do you need to make an overcall, anyway?
Does it matter if your opponent opened at the 1 level, or perhaps preemptively at the 2 or 3 level?
Does it matter if your honors are concentrated or distributed among the suits?

And what about Takeout Doubles – how many points do you need now?
Over to partner after our Takeout call, when do they make the cheapest bid, jump bid or go for game?
And finally, how many points do you need to first Double and then bid a new suit?  But why do that?

Upon completion of this lesson you will be ready to win more successful auctions, or perhaps push your opponents to bid into uncomfortable level and perhaps miss their contract – touche!

General Audience – Basics of Overcalls & competive bidding 19:30 minutes of video
Free, Premium, ULTRA, Part 2 Stepping it up with overcalls – 30:03 minutes of video

Premium & ULTRA Members click here to view Part 3 – Perfecting Overcalls – 26:26
Premium and Ultra Part 3b – Wrapping up Overcall bidding – 27:05 minutes of video
Premium and Ultra Part 4 – Our friend the Takeout Double – 48:23 minutes of video

Here at BridgeHands all of our Bridge hands are full of commentary (regardless of who is the declarer and defender) and analysis on hand evaluation, bidding and animated card play.   As always, our hand discussion offers a refreshingly rare glimpse of Bridge inside the minds of all four players at the table as play progresses, bid by bid, card by card.  Visitors are welcome to view the Part 1 series of our video lesson with nuances that will lead to quick and sound bidding without guesswork.  Those with the Free BridgeHands  membership may also watch Part 2 where we play more hands with provocative play tips and strategies, as well as way to improve skills by critiquing student players. As a Premium and ULTRA member, you are welcome to enjoy the entire five-part lesson segments with lots of hands, plus an opportunity to view future shows during your membership subscription period.   And as always, be sure to check out the hundreds of hours of videos in our archive that is growing by leaps and bounds, by clicking “Index to Videos” on the navigation above or simply click this link.

Bridge Teachers – you may download your personal copy of our copyrighted video lesson here:

Social Lesson 19 – Day 5, Part 1

Social Lesson 19 – Day 5, Part 2

Social Lesson 19 – Day 5, Part 3

Social Lesson 19 – Day 5, Part 3b

Social Lesson 19 – Day 5, Part 4

Happy Trails,

BridgeHands

Social #19, Part 4, Preemptive Bids, Relative Seat, RONF, Rule of 2-3-4

Aha, at last it’s time for some fun making sporty preemptive bids. That’s the good news, yet with great power come great responsibility. After all, Bridge *IS* a partnership game, right?

So having respectable values that properly convey our preemptive values, both hand shape and strength concentration becomes the prime directive to ensure you’re being a good partner. Okay – check (that’s a fine start).

But what about when one, two or three players are passed hands? When are the stars in the ideal position… or not so favorable, and why? And how about relative vulnerability, yours and your opponents? We’ll take a look at the “Rule of 2-3-4″ (actually more of a GUIDE, not a hard and fast Rule).

In this lesson we will also cover treatments when our partner raises our preempt, bids a new suit or makes a 2 Notrump call as well as our possible rebids. And finally, we will explore how and when to counteract the opponents preemptive bid and raise scenario.

In total, this 100+ minute lesson is chalk full of pithy discussions and scenarios along with lots of bidding and animated card play with stimulating commentary.

Ready, Aim, FIRE – on with the show…

Part 1 – Beginning with preemptive bidding basics & discipline – 35:42 minutes of video
Free, Premium, ULTRA, Part 2 on hand shape, honor placement & relative seat – 21:43 minutes of video

Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 3 on Raise Only Non Forcing & Rule of 2-3-4 – 27:49 minutes of video
Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 4 on upping preempts and how to counteractive opponents bid and raise – 18:16 minutes of video

And best yet, here at BridgeHands all of our Bridge hands are full of commentary (regardless of who is the declarer and defender) and analysis on hand evaluation, bidding and animated card play.   As always, our hand discussion offers a refreshingly rare glimpse of Bridge inside the minds of all four players at the table as play progresses, bid by bid, card by card.  Visitors are welcome to view the Part 1 series of our video lesson with nuances that will lead to quick and sound bidding without guesswork.  Those with the Free BridgeHands  membership may also watch Part 2 where we play more hands with provocative play tips and strategies, as well as way to improve skills by critiquing student players. As a Premium and ULTRA member, you are welcome to enjoy the entire four-part lesson segments with lots of hands, plus an opportunity to view future shows during your membership subscription period.   And as always, be sure to check out the hundreds of hours of videos in our archive that is growing by leaps and bounds, by clicking “Index to Videos” on the navigation above or simply click this link.

Bridge Teachers – you may download your personal copy of our copyrighted video lesson here:

Social Lesson 19 – Day 4, Part 1

Social Lesson 19 – Day 4, Part 2

Social Lesson 19 – Day 4, Part 3

Social Lesson 19 – Day 4, Part 4

Happy Trails,

BridgeHands

 

Social #19, Part 3, Opening Leads – Count, Inferences, Algorithms

With our lesson #19, Day 1 on Bridge hand evaluation (High Card Points, distribution for length and shortness) beyond us, probably the next most important factor to improve our game is… YOU!  On Day 2 we learned all about…YOU!  Self-awareness, situational awareness, focus, awareness and more.  And while everyone loves to bid, first let’s take a look at opening leads.

On average we defend half of all Bridge hands, so we make the opening lead 25 percent of the time.  That’s a lot – enough that it’s worth our time to make our best lead before the play of the hand is given to the declarer on a silver platter.

In this lesson we introduce the C.I.A.!  No not that CIA – we are referring to the opening leaders ability to consider:
Count,   Inferences,    Algorithms

When the opponents merrily bid back and forth, perhaps stopping in a partscore contract, game, or even up to a glorious slam contract, they are giving their best assessment of their strength and suit length to their partner.  So as a good “counter-intelligence” agent, it is incumbent on us to Look and Listen to each of their bids rather than pout about why we didn’t get cards with chunky honors.  After all, it doesn’t cost anything and we are happy that they are sharing lots of juicy details that will help us defend against their contract.

In this lesson, we will count, Count, COUNT – making an assessment of their likely honors as well as their hand shape, suit by suit.  And capitalizing on our prior lesson 2, it may pay handsome dividends to glance for the opponents gestures, mannerisms, body language, pauses, hesitations, utterances and whatever to possibly give us more “secrets” about their hand assessment and impressions of the auction!

But wait, there’s more!  Once you or partner makes the opening lead, now is a great time to turn your head 45 degrees and admire the dummy.  Do we agree with the dummy’s bidding?  Does it match our assessment prior to the opening lead.  Now how do we feel about the lead?  And the card the declarer chose from the dummy?  Was it a fast decision or slow after considerable consternation?   Okay, enough talk – its time to tune in to this two hour, 4 part lesson with a few dozen slides, punctuated by 15 hand of animated bidding and play.    Okay, let’s do it…

Part 1 – Beginning with lead basics and counting the opponents points – 17:03 minutes of video
Free, Premium, ULTRA, click here to view Part 2 on how to count the inferences – 31:32 minutes of video

Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 3 on lead algorithms and more – 30:38 minutes of video
Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 4 playing lots more hands – 29:23 minutes of video

And best yet, here at BridgeHands all of our Bridge hands are full of commentary (regardless of who is the declarer and defender) and analysis on hand evaluation, bidding and animated card play.   As always, our hand discussion offers a refreshingly rare glimpse of Bridge inside the minds of all four players at the table as play progresses, bid by bid, card by card.  Visitors are welcome to view the Part 1 series of our video lesson with nuances that will lead to quick and sound bidding without guesswork.  Those with the Free BridgeHands  membership may also watch Part 2 where we play more hands with provocative play tips and strategies, as well as way to improve skills by critiquing student players. As a Premium and ULTRA member, you are welcome to enjoy the entire four-part lesson segments with lots of hands, plus an opportunity to view future shows during your membership subscription period.   And as always, be sure to check out the hundreds of hours of videos in our archive that is growing by leaps and bounds, by clicking “Index to Videos” on the navigation above or simply click this link.

Happy Trails,

BridgeHands

Social #19, Part 2, Look/Listen @ Auction/Play, Focus, Awareness, Countermeasures

With our lesson #19, Day 1 on Bridge hand evaluation (High Card Points, distribution for length and shortness) beyond us, probably the next most important factor to improve our game is… YOU!  But what does that mean and what can I do about it?  Read on…

Bridge is far more than just a logical game with fixed algorithms, cold statistical odds and players who all follow pre-programmed “If This – Than That” drone rules.  On the contrary, part of the secret sauce to winning Bridge is exuding a modicum of flair, full of the “X Factor” and as the French would say, “je ne sais quoi” (extraordinary indescribable quality).

To start, it helps if we are at least self-aware, “Knowing Thyself” as Socrates would say.  Yet going beyond our own SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threat) and our ego is imperative since Bridge is much more than just ourselves.   Enter situational awareness  - being aware of our environment, perception/interactions./reputation (to and from others).

And just playing one hand involves over 100 factors and attendant decisions – whew!  So over 3+ hours of Bridge, we’ve made thousands of decisions and that can be taxing as well as stressful in the face of competition.  Add to that our self awareness, distractions, focusing on the wrong thing or fixated elsewhere… well, you get the idea.

In this lesson, we will focus on learning to focus at the table, providing clear signals (to partner at least), learning countermeasures when we become fatigued, stressed or face distractions including an occasional devious opponent.  And that including dealing with emotions around the table (theirs and yours), awareness of basic Bridge odds associated with suit splits, awareness of game forcing/1 round forcing/freebids/signoff bids, etc.

But wait, there’s more!  Whether you and your partner play various defensive signals or not, your better opponents probably do.  So doesn’t it at least make sense to be aware of the basic types of signals used by those competing against you?  Okay, enough talk – its time to tune in to this 100 minute, 4 part lesson with a few dozen slides, punctuated by animated bidding and play.  And oh, by the way, in this lesson we will overlook student bidding and play on these actual hands!  Okay, let’s do it…

Part 1 – Entering into the mind of the Bridge player – 20:35 minutes of video
Free, Premium, ULTRA, click here to view Part 2 on focus and awareness – 10:43 minutes of video

Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 3 on countermeasures – 37:41 minutes of video
Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 4 playing several hands – 31:53 minutes of video

And best yet, here at BridgeHands all of our Bridge hands are full of commentary (regardless of who is the declarer and defender) and analysis on hand evaluation, bidding and animated card play.   As always, our hand discussion offers a refreshingly rare glimpse of Bridge inside the minds of all four players at the table as play progresses, bid by bid, card by card.  Visitors are welcome to view the Part 1 series of our video lesson with nuances that will lead to quick and sound bidding without guesswork.  Those with the Free BridgeHands  membership may also watch Part 2 where we play more hands with provocative play tips and strategies, as well as way to improve skills by critiquing student players. As a Premium and ULTRA member, you are welcome to enjoy the entire four-part lesson segments with lots of hands, plus an opportunity to view future shows during your membership subscription period.   And as always, be sure to check out the hundreds of hours of videos in our archive that is growing by leaps and bounds, by clicking “Index to Videos” on the navigation above or simply click this link.

Happy Trails,

BridgeHands

Social Lesson 19 – Bridge hand evaluation, HCP, Losing Trick Count, Cover Cards

Bridge hand evaluation is where it all starts.  Counting High Card Points is a good start, Ace=4, King=3, Queen=2, and Jack=1 (maybe).  But wait, don’t forget to count extra distribution points when you have a “nice” 5+ card suit, assuming the suit is promotable with a few (2) good working honors in the suit.   And when responder has a good trump fit as well as shortness in a side suit, that’s also work extra points since the responder’s hand provide ruffing opportunities for the opener’s side suit losers.

And until Ron Klinger promoted the notion of Losing Trick Count, that was pretty much the state of the art for hand evaluation for the next 60 years.  Fortunately, better players came to realize the advantage of using LTC and began tweaking fine points to both leverage its benefits, simplifying responder’s methodology (Cover Cards) as well as refinements to more accurately bid games and slam.

Additionally, Bridge players came up with other guides to find opportunities to open the bidding including opening an 11 HCP hand with a 5-4-3-1 shape (or other singleton/void distributional hands), opening in the 4th (and possibly 3rd seat) with a “Rule of 15″ hand calculated by adding the number of Spades combined with the player’s HCP, and even the “Rule of 20″ figured by adding the players HCP and the combined length of the two longest suit.

This is the first of a 6 part lesson series where advancing Bridge players learn the ins and outs of hand evaluation.

 

In this 2 hour video lesson, in Part 1 we will start with the fundamentals of the who, what, when, where and why of hand evaluation by opener and responder.  If you are already up to speed in the basics of HCP (High Card Points and distribution/shape) and signoff/invitational bids, feel free to start with Part 2 where we get into the nitty gritty details of LTC and CC.  In Part 3 and Part 3b, we will bid and play a wide variety of hand, validating when we should be bidding game… as well as knowing when we should be satisfied in a part score contract.

Part 1 – Review of classic hand evaluation methods – 36:12 minutes of video
Free, Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 2 on Losing Trick Count – 21:51 minutes of video

Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 2b on Cover Cards – 18:36 minutes of video
Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 3 playing hands – 18:37 minutes of video
Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 3b playing more hands – 21:14 minutes of video

And best yet, here at BridgeHands all of our Bridge hands are full of commentary (regardless of who is the declarer and defender) and analysis on hand evaluation, bidding and play with over 2 hours of animated card play.   As always, our hand discussion offers a refreshingly rare glimpse of Bridge inside the minds of all four players at the table as play progresses, bid by bid, card by card.  Visitors are welcome to view the Part 1 series of our video lesson with nuances that will lead to quick and sound bidding without guesswork.  Those with the Free BridgeHands  membership may also watch Part 2 where we review another three hands with provocative play tips and strategies to ensure you bring home the contract. As a Premium and ULTRA member, you are welcome to enjoy the entire five-part lesson segments with lots of hands, plus an opportunity to view future shows during your membership subscription period.   And as always, be sure to check out the hundreds of hours of videos in our archive that is growing by leaps and bounds, by clicking “Index to Videos” on the navigation above or simply click this link.

Happy Trails,

BridgeHands

Social #18 – Forth Suit Forcing Bids, BridgeHands

Conventions – love them or hate them, there is a time, place and season for every Bridge bid.  So what about when you and partner do not seem to be able to find a suit fit?  Or when you as responder have game-going values and are stuck to find a rebid? Enter the world of the Fourth Suit Forcing rebid by our beloved responder.

So as unpassed hands, the auction typically begins with opener bidding a minor suit and responder following with 1 of a major suit.  Next opener either rebids a major or 2 of a lower ranking suit then their first bid:

1C – 1H;
1S – ?

1D – 1H;
2C – ?

1H – 1S;
2C – ?

1C – 1D;
1H – ?

In this 2 hour video lesson, in Part 1 we will start with the fundamentals of the who, what, when, where and why of Fourth Suit Forcing bids.  If you are already up to speed with with the need and basics of FSF (Fourth Suit Forcing) bids, why they are alertable by partner, etc, then feel free to start with Part 2 where we review various opener and responder hands and bidding scenarios.  And in Part 3 and Part 3b, the second hour of videos covers actual hands, situations when we should and should not use FSF calls.  But wait – there’s more as we play through a dozen hand variations covering common situations when we are playing in 3 Notrump, 4 of a major suit or even some slam hand!

Part 1 – Introduction to Fourth Suit Forcing bids – 27:30 minutes of video
Free, Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 2 – 19:30 minutes of video

Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 3 – 31:07 minutes of video
Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 3b – 36:01 minutes of video

And best yet, here at BridgeHands all of our Bridge hands are full of commentary (regardless of who is the declarer and defender) and analysis on hand evaluation, bidding and play with over 2 hours of animated card play.   As always, our hand discussion offers a refreshingly rare glimpse of Bridge inside the minds of all four players at the table as play progresses, bid by bid, card by card.  Visitors are welcome to view the Part 1 series of our video lesson with several hands including critical decisions that will influence our card play.  Those with the Free BridgeHands  membership may also watch Part 2 where we review another three hands with provocative play tips and strategies to ensure you bring home the contract. As a Premium and ULTRA member, you are welcome to enjoy the entire five-part lesson segments with dozens of hands, plus an opportunity to view future shows during your membership subscription period.   And as always, be sure to check out the hundreds of hours of videos in our archive that is growing by leaps and bounds, by clicking “Index to Videos” on the navigation above or simply click this link.

Happy Trails,

BridgeHands

Social Lesson #17, Competitive Bidding – Overcalls & Preempts

Hello Bridge Friends!

Love it or hate it, competitive Bridge bidding is the spice of life at the table. So once we have a solid grasp on the basics of non-competitive auctions, it’s time for us to step-up and delve into both the exciting and darker side of Bridge bidding.

And how about you?  Once your Right Hand Opponents has opened the auction, in the second seat are you ready to overcall a wide variety of hands with various strengths and suit lengths?  How many points: 12+, 8-9,  or perhaps only 6-7 High Card Points at the 1 level?  Does vulnerability matter and how about your distribution of honors – do you need good working honors in your long suit?  And if not at the 1 level (1D, 1H or 1S), do you need better working honors if you overcall at the 2 level if making a non-jump bid?  So if it’s a preemptive jump bid, now maybe?    We welcome you to tune in to our first in a series of episodes on competitive overcall bids, starting off with suit overcalls in the second seat – be it at the 1, 2 or 3 level.

Part 1 – Introduction to Overcalls for all audiences – click here to view 18 minutes of video
Free, Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 2 – 30 minutes of video

Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 3 – 17 minutes of video
Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 4 – 33 minutes of video
Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 5 – 32 minutes of video

[Read more...]

Social Lesson #16 – Bridge Partscore Contracts – Gaining Entries, Finesses, Unblocking, Endplays

Greetings Bridge Friends!

At long last, we conclude our series on Bridge promotion plays looking at partscore contracts and focusing our attention on gaining entries.  And while it might seem easy to make a contract when not playing for a game bonus, our opponents have other ideas – particularly when THEY have their fair share of honors.  In this lesson we begin with 10 hands, yet before the play is through, we expand the hand permutations and associated play to a whopping 35 hand variations.  So while sometimes a less than perfect line of play might turn out okay, be careful – on the next hand the opponents line of play may improve, our their card distribution might change and all is lost!

Part 1 – Entries and Promotion Play for all audiences – click here to view 23 minutes of video 
Free, Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 2 – 18 minutes of video

Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 3 – 19 minutes of video
Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 4 – 27 minutes of video
Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 5 – 28 minutes of video
Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 6 – 17 minutes of video

[Read more...]

Social Lesson #15 – Bridge Suit Promotion Part II, Rule of 7, Hold Back, Endplay, Loser on Loser, Safety Plays, the Dangerous Opponent and more

Greetings Bridge Friends!

Here we go again with more on promotion plays and another 24 challenging yet glorious hands to quench your declarer thirst to bring home that game, slam or even a grandslam contract.  As always, we start off by considering our objective.  In a suit contract we begin by counting our losers, while in a Notrump contract we count our winners – desperate to first win our tricks before the opponents promote THEIR suit.  Depending on factors like our quick tricks, running suits, shortage, leads, bids and the like, after long (or even short honor-bound) suit promotion, we begin by considering ruffing and finesse plays.  As in our prior lesson, we will start off seeing the consequence when the declarer makes a quick play without evaluating the best line of play to make their objective.  Then we will carefully cover the best line of play declarer to proudly bring home our contract.

Part 1 – Promotion play for all audiences – click here to view 29 minutes of video
Free, Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 2 – 34 minutes of video
Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 3 – 35 minutes of video
Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 4 – 41 minutes of video
Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 5 – 40 minutes of video

[Read more...]

Social Lesson #14 – Bridge Suit Promotion, Rule of 7, Hold Back, Endplay, Loser on Loser, Safety Plays, the Dangerous Opponent and more

Between promotion, ruffing and finesse plays, certainly promotion plays gain us the most tricks hand over hand.  And when promotion plays are used in connection other plays, we rack up even more tricks.   In this two-episode MEGA lesson (Lesson 14 and 15), we will cover a whopping 37+ hands.  And if that is not enough, for each hand we will take 2 (or more) attempts, first illustrating the problem when we do not use our arsenal of suit promotion options, second where we us e one of a handful of suit promotion techniques .

As expected, you will see the Rule of 7 come into play on a fair number of Notrump contracts.  However, over the series of 16 hands (plus several warm-up hands) in Lesson 14 Day 3, we will learn that like all so-called “rules,” it pays to carefully consider other factors before blindly playing hands by rote.  Ditto on holdback plays when the opponent s lead a side suit where we have a 5 or 6 card suit – while we worry that the opponents may soon ruff the suit, when holding Ace-third opposite 2 or 3 little, sometimes we ought to duck winning the first trick.

Regarding safety plays, we will reinforce the wisdom of playing unfavorable odds (like 4-1 opponent suit splits) when we need to make a critical contract.   Then there’s the spooky “dangerous opponent,” the situation when our house of cards would fall apart (figuratively) should we let a certain opponent on the lead.  The consequence will likely lead the opponents to trap our finessable honors, promote THEIR suit, or both!

Loser on loser plays make sense when giving up a losing trick will gain more than one trick elsewhere (including avoiding a dangerous opponent).

Part 1 – Promotion play for all audiences – click here to view 40 minutes of video

Free, Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 2 – 27 minutes of video

Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 3 – 32 minutes of video

Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 4 – 33 minutes of video

Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 5 – 30 minutes of video on how to make challenging slam contracts and other tricky plays

[Read more...]