The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XXXI: Reading an Opponent
By Ray Adams
Knowing one’s opponent can be very helpful, and Poor Frank has certainly had a lot of experience playing against Lucky Archie. The Lucky One has been warned many times by his bridge friends that his expression often gives away too much information. But even so, he proved just the other night that he is still unable to maintain a poker face for very long. This was the hand:Dealer: South North South West North East Vulnerable: None ♠ QJ43 1NT Pass 2♣ Pass ♥ K1052 2♠ Pass 4♠ All pass. ♦ Q1043 ♣ 7 West East (Lucky Archie) ♠ void ♠ K8765 ♥ 9863 ♥ A7 ♦ J985 ♦ 762 ♣ AK864 ♣ 1093 South (Poor Frank) ♠ A1092 ♥ QJ4 ♦ AK ♣ QJ52
When North bid 4♠, Lucky Archie, sitting East, smiled and hesitated. He eventually passed, but Poor Frank read a lot into his actions. When West led the ace of clubs and dummy came down, Poor Frank surmised that Lucky Archie had been contemplating a double. Since he obviously did not hold the ace and king of clubs, this could only mean that he must have the ace of hearts and probably the missing five spades. Frank then proceeded to play the hand based on this assumption.
After cashing the ♣A, West switched to a heart. East won the ace and continued a heart, won by declarer’s queen. Poor Frank ruffed a club in dummy and returned to hand with the ace of diamonds. He cashed the king of diamonds and ruffed another club. Next came the queen of diamonds on which declarer tossed his last heart. He then led the queen of spades, ducked all around.
East ruffed the subsequent diamond lead, and this was overruffed by Poor Frank. Declarer now led his last club and ruffed with dummy’s jack. Lucky Archie overruffed, but this was the defense’s last trick as Poor Frank remained with the ace and ten of spades, the two high trumps.
“How did you do that, Frank?” Lucky Archie asked when the hand was over.
“If you keep your eyes open, Archie, then you don’t have to depend on blind luck,” Poor Frank said with a smile.