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Bad Points on the Point System

Jane when she first knew of Bridge was taught by a fellow friend Joshua about how to count points of one's hand and see if it is strong against the opponent. For Joshua such system guided him over winning. To him it was like predicting the opponents' chances. Jane was a bit skeptical. She should be.

Did anyone advised about point systems in bridge? Warning, not all points are equally valuable. Yes, nobody ever won a trick with a point. One wins tricks with high cards, long suits and trumps. The point count is just a good attempt in translating these three types of values in to a single simple case.

Let us have a singleton king as an example. Should it be counted as three points for a king and another two (a total of five) for being a singleton? Is it not exaggerating the value of one card? There is a solution though in such cases when a card can have more than one point classification, meet midway. Like as for the singleton king, its value would be anywhere between three and five so four does it nicely.

That is not all. What about in the case of a queen plus a number card of the same suit, how should one count the point? Is it proper to add one point for doubleton to the high card? Do not do so. A queen and any card of same suit in an opponent's hand are no better than two cards of same suit but with lesser value. But when this queen and any card of same suits is in one's partner's hand then it comes as handy as an ace.

A hand with queen, jack, seven and four of spades plus queen, jack and five of hearts plus queen, jack and six of diamonds with queen, jack and three of clubs can have the same points of 12 with a hand consists of spade ace, seven, four and two plus heart ace, six and five plus diamond ace, six and five and club seven, three and two.

These hands cannot be equal for aces are way about valuable than a queen and jack. Aces and kings are very good for slams and for trump contracts. The queens, jacks and even tens and nines are precious for no-trumps contracts below the slam level.

In the 4-3-2-1 point system, jacks and queen are given extreme values. In such cases it would be too possible to make the wrong analysis. Through practice one may be able to correct the system but it would not be that easy any more. Make one's intuition built by practice guide in meeting the inadequacies of this system.

Now what should one do when the system itself has flaws? For beginners, forget the flaw and continue using it. Do not be worried, most of the time it works. The trouble only comes when there are some high cards that come in singles or paired with another of the same suit (singleton and doubleton, as they are called in bridge).

If one is way above the beginner level, experienced, make a mental note when one's hand is worth more or less than the point count; one's experience will be the guideline in borderline decisions.

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