The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XCII: Poor Frank’s Poor Bet
By Ray Adams
Regular readers of this blog know that Poor Frank’s bridge career would be much happier were he not constantly exasperated by the lucky plays of his arch rival, Lucky Archie. It is only natural that Poor Frank would on occasion seek a bit of revenge for the maddening triumphs of the Lucky One. After much thought, Poor Frank came up with a plan he knew would work. When he and the Lucky One opposed each other on the last set of the evening, Poor Frank proposed a wager. He bet Lucky Archie that he could not get through the next hand he declared without taking a finesse. Poor Frank knew Lucky Archie’s favorite play was the finesse and he was certain he would win this gamble and in so doing, also irritate his rival to no end. Poor Frank declared the first hand and Lucky Archie’s partner the next one, but when the Lucky One found himself at the helm of a grand slam contract on the last board of the evening, Poor Frank knew that revenge would soon be sweet:
West led the ten of clubs against Lucky Archie’s 7NT contract. The Lucky One won dummy’s jack and led a spade to his queen. He counted twelve top tricks and saw he had an easy thirteenth if either the heart or the diamond finesse worked. But he had bet he would not take a finesse on this hand. He saw no way out and sweat began running off his forehead so hard he had to pull out a handkerchief and wipe it off before continuing play.
At trick three he led a diamond. The finesse loomed ever so promising, but he knew he could lose a substantial amount of money if he took it, so he called for the ace and nothing of value dropped from the opponents’ hands. Next, he cashed the top three spades, then ran his clubs, sluffing the rest of dummy’s diamonds and one heart. Poor Frank was in trouble as Lucky Archie cashed the last club. He had three hearts to the queen and the king of diamonds. But he was confident his rival would not be able to resist the finesse and tossed a small heart.
The king of diamonds had not appeared, so Lucky Archie knew his jack was no good. He then cashed the ace of hearts and led a heart towards dummy.
“I’m sorry if I go down, partner,” he said, “but I want to win the bet. Please play the king.”
Poor Frank’s queen crashed on this and suddenly Lucky Archie had won not only the bet but that evening’s laurels. Poor Frank gritted his teeth so hard the sound was heard across the room. He knew that without the bet, Lucky Archie would never have been able to resist taking a finesse.
“Well, Frankie baby,” Lucky Archie said. “Guess what I’m going to buy with the money I’ve won? A brand new bridge book: How to Finesse with Finesse by Jasper J. Jesper.”