11 J-P Voilleque: Not your grandma's game: Why you should be playing bridge.


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There are 53,644,737,765,488,792,839,237,440,000 possible deals in contract bridge. If that's not enough to get your coder brain racing, consider this: bridge is a universal language (with regional dialects!), creates conversation, and is one of the deepest things you can do with a deck of cards. Naturally recession-proof, bridge teaches logic, improves memory, and involves snacks.

And despite what you may have heard, the basics are easy. One-minute-four-slides easy.

Join the legion of Portland techies who play bridge. (The legion currently has a membership of one, so there's ample opportunity for leadership roles!)

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11 J-P Voilleque: Not your grandma's game: Why you should be playing bridge.

  1. 1. Not Your Grandma’s Game: Why You Should Be Playing Bridge J-P Voillequé
  2. 2. The Rules, Abridged (ha!) All cards are dealt. The dealer is first to bid. Bidding continues until all pass. Player to the left of the declarer opens the play with any card. Highest trump wins any trick. Otherwise, highest card in the suit led wins the trick.You must play the suit led if you can. Whoever wins the trick starts play for the next trick. Scoring is based on suit of the contract. No Trump > Spades & Hearts > Diamonds & Clubs (Pun courtesy of @Metroknow)
  3. 3. The Horror Story 10 9 8 7 6 Learning Curve 5 Enthusiasm 4 Morale 3 2 1 0 0 1 2 3 4 5
  4. 4. © Cartoonbank.com
  5. 5. It’s Like Twitter! Bids Translation North: 1NT “I have a frickin’ awesome hand.” South: 2C “Really? What’s your best major suit?” North: 2D “Hearts, and you?” South: 3H “ZOMG, I have great Hearts! I will scream it to the rooftops!” North: 4H “Okay, let’s do that then.”
  6. 6. Specifically Geeky Reasons It’s code! It’s got standards! 53,644,737,765,488,792,839,237,440,000 AKQJT98xxxxxx: 5,197,480,921,767,366,548,160
  7. 7. More Geekiness “In terms of the game of bridge itself, computers can't play at any reasonable level. Even I can probably beat the best bridge software that exists today.” -Bill Gates, 1998
  8. 8. It Takes All Your Brain You will always know the distribution of half of the cards. The remainder of the information needs to be deduced or inferred, whether you’re defending or trying to make the contract.
  9. 9. The Basics (in Four Slides) Card Images by Jesse Fuchs and Tom Hart, based on David Bellot’s SVGs, and distributed under CC 2.5-by-sa
  10. 10. How Many Tricks Can I Take? Always assume 6 tricks! High Card Points (HCP): Ace = 4 King = 3 Queen = 2 Jack = 1 Ten = 0 (but we still love them) Minimum HCPs requred: 13 This hand: 15 points. We Can Bid! We Say, “One ______.”
  11. 11. What Do I Want to Be Trump? Bid Strong & Long! We Say, “One Spade!”
  12. 12. Your Dummy’s Hand Hand (Shoulda bid 1NT/2C)
  13. 13. But…What if Partner Bids Back? Good! They have at least 6 HCP and they’re trying to give you more information about what they’ve got. When you’re new, assume that all bids are “natural,” i.e., they’re not secret codes or big eyebrow- waggling events.
  14. 14. But What if My Opponents Bid? Don’t Panic. There’s a chance Oh no you didn’t. that they’re trying to mess with you, but it’s equally likely that they have a decent hand and want to tell their partner. Listen. Any bid contains information. That information is open to all – in fact, if your opponent’s bid means something other than the natural meaning, they’re required to explain. Bid Back. The contested auction is a minefield for both pairs. If you can, push back at them.
  15. 15. Created with Wordle.net
  16. 16. Back to the Graph 10 9 8 7 6 Learning Curve 5 Enthusiasm 4 Morale 3 2 1 0 0 1 2 3 4 5
  17. 17. What’s the Difference? Authentic learning environments. Distributed learning. Friends.
  18. 18. Places to Visit Eastside Bridge Club: http://www.trumpuonline.com Ace of Clubs: http://www.the-ace-of-clubs.com Bridge Base Online: http://www.bridgebase.com
  19. 19. Things to Read Bridge for Dummies, Eddie Kantar (Standard American Yellow Card) Anything by Victor Mollo, but especially Card Play Technique and Case for the Defense
  20. 20. Let’s Get It Started! jvoilleque@gmail.com @lawduck on Twitter http://voilleque.com