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Subject: Elgar's Convention Card rss

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Everett Scheer
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In a previous post (I can't find it presently) there was discussion about conventions between partners and how this may or may not be cheating. In addition, how bridge has convention cards so your opponents can see what information is being traded. I felt it would be a decent strategy article to disclose my conventions and tendancies to a) have feedback about my play, and b) if anyone happens to play me (as partner or opponent) on BSW, they can know my tendancies ala a bridge convention card. I will also be adding to it if I change my play. realize that these are conventions, and may be broken dependent of situation.

Passing
In terms of passing to my opponents, generally I will choose the 2 lowest singles and pass "lowest even right". If I feel one of the singles is too high, I may instead split a pair.

In terms of passing to my partner (you), I also will generally pass a single, however which single will depend on my general assessment of my hand. The stronger I think my hand is, the lower the card I will pass. If I pass the dog, I will Tichu (exception: someone GT or Tichu before I do) If I pass a non-face card, it means that I am seriously considering tichu (ie I would call tichu before the pass if I had to)
If I pass the Dragon, Pheonix or an Ace, my hand sucks and I want you to have a chance to Tichu. If I pass a face card, it means that I have a hand that could play out well or not dependant on the pass. The higher the card the less faith I have in my hand.

Special considerations:
If you Grand Tichu, I will pass the highest card in my hand, in the order Pheonix, Dragon, Mahjong, Ace ....
If you play immediately before a GTer, I will pass you the Mahjong almost regardless, so that you can wish into the GTer (preferably for an Ace)
If an opponent calls GT, I will pass them the dog
If I pass you the MahJong otherwise, it's one of 2 cases; I have a horrible hand, or I have a great hand with no other good card to pass.

Wishing/Mahjong
I usually lead with the MahJong (20:1) if I have it. I will more often than not (2:1) wish for what I passed the opponent. Cases where I will not:
1) If I lead a straight. If the straight contains a Pheonix, I will wish for that card otherwise I will wish for the next card that isn't in the straight and I haven't seen.
2) If I passed a medium card (7+), I may blind wish below for a card I haven't seen yet.
3) If the opponent to play next GTed, I will wish for an Ace.
4) If my partner GTed, I may wish for a 2 to allow for a sluffoff of a low single.

I may not lead it first trick if I have a low set (ie low full house or consecutives) I'd like to play with a relative good chance to win it, but not a good chance to play it otherwise.

Tichuing:
I have no specific ruberic for Tichuing, Generally, I count how many leads I need, subtract how many winners I have for those leads, and if the difference is small or 0, I'll tichu. I'm on the slightly aggressive side for claling tichu.

Grand Tichuing:
I have a ruberic for GTing. I need 3.5 points where:
1.5=Dragon, Pheonix, Bomb
1=A, KK, QQQ
0.5=Dog, Mahjong, other full house, other consecutive, other straight
This should show that I am somewhat passive in calling Grand Tichus

Carding:
I am somewhat passive in using the dragon, holding it for later in the trick. Keeping the dragon hidden IMO is better to keep you opponents on guard rather than having them think that their Aces will walk.

If I have the dog, I tend to lead it early, unless I have a better large low set I'd like to play.

I usually don't use the pheonix as an A+1/2. I may value its versitility more than I should, but I like to use it in sets. This doesn't mean I won't though if I know the dragon's been played.

If I am 2 plays from going out (ie A3) and there is the chance for a bomb, I tend to play it safe and lead the low card first unless there is another player threating to go out as well.

If I passed the dog to you, and you have the Mahjongg, I expect you to play the Mahjongg *unless* I tichu, in which you should play the dog.

To be added to!

Edit 1:reduced the threshold on GTs to 3.5. Added clarification about pheonix as a single. Added additional info on passed dog
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Jonathan Morton
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Interesting. In many cases I do similar things, but I think my approach is more flexible. I like trying to read my partner and my opponents and play them accordingly.

One thing I think is definitely a bad idea:

Quote:
Wishing/Mahjong
I usually lead with the MahJong (20:1) if I have it. I will more often than not (2:1) wish for what I passed the opponent. Cases where I will not:
...
4) If my partner GTed, I may wish for a 2 to allow for a sluffoff of a low single.


Blind wishing when your partner GT'd? Crazy! You could pull his bomb, or ruin a 2-6 straight.
 
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David desJardins
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Many of the rules stated here all seem to me, also, things that should be no more than tendencies, some of them even fairly weak tendencies at that. I especially disagree with calling Tichu just because you passed partner the Dog, rather than only calling Tichu if you actually think you can make it.
 
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Tom Thingamagummy
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DaviddesJ wrote:
Many of the rules stated here all seem to me, also, things that should be no more than tendencies, some of them even fairly weak tendencies at that. I especially disagree with calling Tichu just because you passed partner the Dog, rather than only calling Tichu if you actually think you can make it.


We may end up turning this thread into strategy discussion if we're not careful. I'm thinking of posting my Tichu profile when I have more time
 
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Everett Scheer
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DaviddesJ wrote:
I especially disagree with calling Tichu just because you passed partner the Dog, rather than only calling Tichu if you actually think you can make it.


Maybe my point wasn't clear... I won't pass the dog to my partner unless I am almost certain I will call Tichu. In other words, I'll pass the dog only if I think I can make a Tichu regardless of what is passed to me.

Of course there are things that might deter me (a horrible pass I wasn't expecting, a wish breaking my hand) but those are exceptions, not the rule.
 
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David desJardins
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Elgar wrote:
Maybe my point wasn't clear... I won't pass the dog to my partner unless I am almost certain I will call Tichu. In other words, I'll pass the dog only if I think I can make a Tichu regardless of what is passed to me.


So what are you going to pass with a good but not great hand like

Dragon A K Q Q T 9 8 7 6 4 3 2 Dog ?

Certainly there is a good chance that you won't have the best hand at the table after the pass. So you are going to keep the Dog? That seems bad, because most of the time you'll have a better hand than your partner, and you would rather have the Dog in his hand.
 
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Sean McCarthy
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I also think that 100% planning on calling Tichu is the wrong way to play the dog.

If your hand is like David's example, passing the Dog (specifically, 3 Dog 2) is fine.

- If your partner's hand sucks and they can't give you a good enough card, well, at least this way one of you can probably go out. Better than keeping the dog or letting your opponents have it.

- If your partner's hand is so good that they pass you a crappy card, you're in a great position (read: probably they have AP or AA, so you have 4 of the 6 high cards.) So it doesn't really hurt you if you don't call tichu; you'll do great anyway.

- The last case is if your partner really does pass you a good card. Then you're all set!

Having both members of your team, and no one on the other team, knowing where the dog is, is pretty nice too. Though I'd prefer to pass number cards in most cases, to try to make combinations.
 
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Everett Scheer
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DaviddesJ wrote:
Elgar wrote:
Maybe my point wasn't clear... I won't pass the dog to my partner unless I am almost certain I will call Tichu. In other words, I'll pass the dog only if I think I can make a Tichu regardless of what is passed to me.


So what are you going to pass with a good but not great hand like

Dragon A K Q Q T 9 8 7 6 4 3 2 Dog ?

Certainly there is a good chance that you won't have the best hand at the table after the pass. So you are going to keep the Dog? That seems bad, because most of the time you'll have a better hand than your partner, and you would rather have the Dog in his hand.


With a middle hand like that (somewher in the 25-75% range) I'd pass a singleton face card (which the Queen is in this case since the other is in the 6-K [A] straight)

I'd pass 3-Q-2 with that hand.

Disclaimer: missed that there wasn't a J. See later post with revision to pass.
 
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Mark McEvoy
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Unless you know you're being passed a Jack or a Phoenix, that straight stops at the ten (and breaking your pair of queens substantially weakens your holding).
 
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Everett Scheer
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thatmarkguy wrote:
Unless you know you're being passed a Jack or a Phoenix, that straight stops at the ten (and breaking your pair of queens substantially weakens your holding).


ha, ha, oops. thanks for the catch. missed that. Ill revise my pass then. to 3-K-2. (as the K is the singleton face card to pass)
 
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David desJardins
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Elgar wrote:
ha, ha, oops. thanks for the catch. missed that. Ill revise my pass then. to 3-K-2. (as the K is the singleton face card to pass)


OK, but this leaves your side with little chance to make Tichu on this deal, unless maybe you get the phoenix on the pass. With the dog still in your hand, plus probably two new low cards from opponents, you're unlikely to be strong enough to call Tichu even if you get an ace from partner. And partner, after receiving a king (and having no idea that you have such a good hand with the dog) is almost never going to be able to call Tichu.
 
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Tom Thingamagummy
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DaviddesJ wrote:
Elgar wrote:
Maybe my point wasn't clear... I won't pass the dog to my partner unless I am almost certain I will call Tichu. In other words, I'll pass the dog only if I think I can make a Tichu regardless of what is passed to me.


So what are you going to pass with a good but not great hand like

Dragon A K Q Q T 9 8 7 6 4 3 2 Dog ?

Certainly there is a good chance that you won't have the best hand at the table after the pass. So you are going to keep the Dog? That seems bad, because most of the time you'll have a better hand than your partner, and you would rather have the Dog in his hand.


I knew you'd turn this thread into a strategy discussion, David!

Honestly, I'd pass 3-D-2, and would expect that to be a common pass At the earliest reasonable opportunity I'd dump my Ace so that my partner can count them, and hope it holds to give him the Dog. Then I'd dump my King at some point, and just go out 4th knowing I have zero points to protect.
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David desJardins
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arkibet wrote:
Honestly, I'd pass 3-D-2, and would expect that to be a common pass


I think most people would think this hand is too good to pass the dragon. I always seem to get the phoenix back when I do that. The problem with passing your high cards when you probably have a better hand than your partner is that it's not doing anything to help your side go out first. And you can even end up with neither hand good enough to go out second.
 
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Mark McEvoy
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(edit: replying to arkibet)

Wow. So if your partner had a good hand, your team had a really good shot at a 1-2 and you threw it away. If your partner had a lousy hand, you've smashed your own hand's shot at a Tichu, which was borderline (pass dependent).

That seems to me like a lose-lose situation. When your hand has a very high likelihood of being your side's best (which, IMHO, this hand does - three of the big eight and one five-card set), your usual course of action should be to improve it, not dilute it.

I would never pass the Dragon from a hand that strong. To me, the choice of what to give my partner is between the K, the Dog, and the 4.
 
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Tom Thingamagummy
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DaviddesJ wrote:
arkibet wrote:
Honestly, I'd pass 3-D-2, and would expect that to be a common pass


I think most people would think this hand is too good to pass the dragon. I always seem to get the phoenix back when I do that. The problem with passing your high cards when you probably have a better hand than your partner is that it's not doing anything to help your side go out first. And you can even end up with neither hand good enough to go out second.


Wow - we really should play Tichu at some point, David. I think you'd be surprised at what happens with my hands. I don't think there's any indication that my hand is better or worse than this... my assessment is that I'll be stuck with a lot of singles with no good possibilities of going out early. So my job is to run interference with the opponents, and do everything in my power to get my partner out first so the opponents don't 1-2.

There's no right or wrong way to play Tichu, but there is definitely stylistic differences in passing and playing.
 
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David desJardins
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arkibet wrote:
I don't think there's any indication that my hand is better or worse than this...


If you shuffle up the other 42 cards, and deal out 14 at random, and you do this a bunch of times, most of those hands will be significantly weaker than this one. 60% of the time, partner will have at most one high card (ace or phoenix), and most of those hands he would normally pass you that high card. After that, getting the dragon is still going to leave him with limited potential. Even the hands with two aces (another 15% of all hands, bringing the total to 75%) are generally weaker than this one. Those will become good hands after the pass, if partner keeps both aces, but rarely will they be good enough to call Tichu (since partner still doesn't know that you have another ace, or the dog).
 
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thatmarkguy wrote:
(edit: replying to arkibet)

Wow. So if your partner had a good hand, your team had a really good shot at a 1-2 and you threw it away. If your partner had a lousy hand, you've smashed your own hand's shot at a Tichu, which was borderline (pass dependent).

That seems to me like a lose-lose situation. When your hand has a very high likelihood of being your side's best (which, IMHO, this hand does - three of the big eight and one five-card set), your usual course of action should be to improve it, not dilute it.

I would never pass the Dragon from a hand that strong. To me, the choice of what to give my partner is between the K, the Dog, and the 4.


Honestly, Mark, I disagree with you. First, if you strongly believe that this hand is the better of the two, then a 1-2 ending is highly unlikely. So by your own logic, I'm not throwing away a 1-2 as I'm expecting to have the better hand. If I'm trying to improve my hand, I may be looking to Tichu, and the 100 bonus points will be more important if my partner made his hand worse for me.

In my assessment of the hand, I take this hand to be poor given the lack of combinations. My only pair is QQ, and even if my partner passes a Jack, I'll still have some lowsy low cards that I will not be able to rid myself of. If my partner passes a Phoenix, will I expect him to have a strong hand? I may be able to use it for a straight, but I only have the Dragon and a single A to win the lead. Plus I'll still be holding the Dog, unless I passed that to my partner. If anyone starts playing pairs, it's likely they'll go out. I'm very vulnerable, in my opinion.

My point is, this thread was about a "convention card" and I was afraid it was going to turn into a strategy discussion. It clearly has.

Everyone has a different style and assessment, and sees different patterns that may emergy. To each their own.
 
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David desJardins
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arkibet wrote:
I was afraid it was going to turn into a strategy discussion.


I'm having a hard time figuring out why the thought of people discussing Tichu strategy inspires "fear".
 
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DaviddesJ wrote:
arkibet wrote:
I don't think there's any indication that my hand is better or worse than this...


If you shuffle up the other 42 cards, and deal out 14 at random, and you do this a bunch of times, most of those hands will be significantly weaker than this one. 60% of the time, partner will have at most one high card (ace or phoenix), and most of those hands he would normally pass you that high card. After that, getting the dragon is still going to leave him with limited potential. Even the hands with two aces (another 15% of all hands, bringing the total to 75%) are generally weaker than this one. Those will become good hands after the pass, if partner keeps both aces, but rarely will they be good enough to call Tichu (since partner still doesn't know that you have another ace, or the dog).


I think this would work for many games, like Bridge, where percentage plays are valuable. I think it would be great if the high cards were the only valuable cards.

I'm beginning to think you have no sense of adventure or creativity, David. In Tichu: KKKJJJTTT33221 is a very powerful hand, and it contains no Aces, the Dragon, or the Phoenix. I'm sure you've seen hands with DAAAKK that call Tichu and lose, simply because they didn't have the right combinations.

My assessment is that, if I have no strong potential for combinations, then it is likely that the other hands will have combinations. Deal those cards out, David, and see how many hands actually end up with Pairs and full houses. Those are the more important combinations in this deal, and my partner is likely to be able to compete. Making his hand stronger is more important to me.
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Tom Thingamagummy
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DaviddesJ wrote:
arkibet wrote:
I was afraid it was going to turn into a strategy discussion.


I'm having a hard time figuring out why the thought of people discussing Tichu strategy inspires "fear".


It's not that it inspires, fear. It's the fact that it's Off Topic to the thread.
 
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David desJardins
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arkibet wrote:
It's not that it inspires, fear. It's the fact that it's Off Topic to the thread.


The topic of the thread is defined by the posts that it contains.
 
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DaviddesJ wrote:
arkibet wrote:
It's not that it inspires, fear. It's the fact that it's Off Topic to the thread.


The topic of the thread is defined by the posts that it contains.


Huh - I'm not a very careful reader then. He did say he wanted feedback on his play. So it's my bad.
 
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arkibet wrote:
Honestly, Mark, I disagree with you. First, if you strongly believe that this hand is the better of the two, then a 1-2 ending is highly unlikely. So by your own logic, I'm not throwing away a 1-2 as I'm expecting to have the better hand. If I'm trying to improve my hand, I may be looking to Tichu, and the 100 bonus points will be more important if my partner made his hand worse for me.


? The hand is LIKELY the better hand. Say, 75% likely. My point was, even in those 25% where it isn't the better hand, in a substantial number of them, playing your hand 'well' will result in your side capturing the 1-2 (if your partner's hand was better than this, your side had the *vast majority* of the big cards and thus your opponents have virtually no control). But the way you say you'd play this hand, you're already throwing the benefit of those minority cases - the likely 1-2 finish - out the window by conceding your hand as the #4 finisher.


So, in the majority of hands, your hand was the stronger and you weakened it by strengthening your weaker partner. These aren't the hands where a 1-2 was liklely.

In the remainder of hands, if your hand was weaker than your partner, you two together controlled *all* the power. And yet you're still passing and playing so conservatively as to as much as abandon the chance of the 1-2 in these hands where your side should dominate.
 
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Tom Thingamagummy
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thatmarkguy wrote:
arkibet wrote:
Honestly, Mark, I disagree with you. First, if you strongly believe that this hand is the better of the two, then a 1-2 ending is highly unlikely. So by your own logic, I'm not throwing away a 1-2 as I'm expecting to have the better hand. If I'm trying to improve my hand, I may be looking to Tichu, and the 100 bonus points will be more important if my partner made his hand worse for me.


? The hand is LIKELY the better hand. Say, 75% likely. My point was, even in those 25% where it isn't the better hand, in a substantial number of them, playing your hand 'well' will result in your side capturing the 1-2 (if your partner's hand was better than this, your side had the *vast majority* of the big cards and thus your opponents have virtually no control). But the way you say you'd play this hand, you're already throwing the benefit of those minority cases - the likely 1-2 finish - out the window by conceding your hand as the #4 finisher.


So, in the majority of hands, your hand was the stronger and you weakened it by strengthening your weaker partner. These aren't the hands where a 1-2 was liklely.

In the remainder of hands, if your hand was weaker than your partner, you two together controlled *all* the power. And yet you're still passing and playing so conservatively as to as much as abandon the chance of the 1-2 in these hands where your side should dominate.


I don't view power in strict terms of DPAAAA.. I view power in terms of card combinations. It's a different way of looking at it. Since I don't have combinations, I downgrade this hand despite have 2 of the 6 top cards.
 
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Mark McEvoy
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arkibet wrote:
I don't view power in strict terms of DPAAAA.. I view power in terms of card combinations. It's a different way of looking at it. Since I don't have combinations, I downgrade this hand despite have 2 of the 6 top cards.


And I think your view of power causes you to be too fearful and thus leads to conservative and inefficient play. If I assume my side is in a dominant position with 6+ of the big 8 (having the MJ and Dog are big helps, I count all 8 in terms of partnership holding - the Dog is obviously not a benficicial individual holding but better for your side to have it than not), and you assume that's not dominant because it could get wrecked by one opponent's one winner and a 12 cards' worth of boss sets, I expect I'll win more often than you.

But yes, there will be hands where I get stung and your approach would be better. They're just not the majority.
 
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