The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XXXI: Reading an Opponent


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
                                                            ♣ 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.

This entry was posted in bridge friends, Bridge Hands, Bridge Humor, Bridge Rivalries, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XXXI: Reading an Opponent

  1. thebighenry says:

    It may be of interest to note, Ray, that it is perfectly legitimate (according to the rules of the game) for Frank to infer information from Archie’s facial expression and pause (to Frank’s own advantage), but it would have been unethical for Archie to convey the WRONG implication via his smile and/or his pause.


    • poorfrank says:

      Yes, Henry, thank you once again. I am always in awe of the tangled web weaved by the ACBL’s laws and their interpretation thereof. I also wonder how they are able to determine intent in a case like this, but when I read the protest committee rulings at the Nationals, I realize that I have little or no understanding of their interpretations of the laws of Duplicate Bridge. Perhaps this is why I became a bridge player instead of a lawyer. Best wishes, Ray


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