About Average Joe and Average Jane
Some bridge players take the game quite seriously, some attend the club more for its social aspects, while others might be there just to pass the time of day. All players are creatures of habit; and the less skilled ones can be counted on to do their normal things day in and day out, hand after hand.
We love Average Jane and Average Joe, of course; for there would be no bridge club without them. Ours is a mental game, however; and savvy declarers are fully entitled to capitalize upon A.J.'s foibles in order to rake in extra tricks.
ASSUME THAT A.J. IS FALSE-CARDING
Perhaps the bridge player's most destructive habitual behavior is a
proclivity for automatic
false-carding. Obviously this is an
utter waste of effort; for not only does A.J. give himself away by this inane
maneuver, but much of the time the only one to be fooled is his partner.
TIP:When missing the Queen and Jack of a suit, if A.J. plays the Jack on the first lead, assume that it is a singleton; it nearly always will be.
QJ doubleton and declarer is leading the suit,
A.J. invariably follows with the Queen first. The same applies to
JT doubleton and
KQ doubleton. Similarly,
if you take a finesse toward an
AJT combination and A.J. wins
the Queen, assume that the King is onside; it nearly always will be.
When following suit third-hand, A.J. still plays the higher of equal
honors most of the time. How and where these folk have gotten the
notion that such routine
false-carding is a good strategy is one
of life's great mysteries; yet it is so ingrained in their natures that
most probably never will change their ways — even after
reading this page!
TIP:A.J.'s false-cards tend to apply only to sequences that were originally equal. During the play, for example, she does not discard her Nine from
Note: As declarer, A.J. tends not to squander values or play
much of anything out of order. She doesn't play games with her
spot-cards; when she ruffs in with the high trump, you can bet
that it's her last one.
ASSUME THAT A.J. WILL GRAB MOST OPPORTUNITIES TO WIN A TRICK
If you lead toward a suit headed by the
K-J early in the hand,
A.J. nearly always will grab the ace to your left if he has it.
Having not yet made the effort to consider what card he will play when that
suit is led, he is leery of possibly losing the trick, and probably has given
himself away by a hesitation in any case. The sooner you lead that suit,
Similarly, a suit combination of
tends not to be worth two
tricks — that is, unless A.J. leads
it. Often as not, her partner will grab the ace, having not considered
the entire position. If you must lead the suit yourself, tend not to
lead an honor; lead toward one instead. The ace might pop up for you.
ASSUME THAT A.J. IS NOT COUNTING MUCH OF ANYTHING
As you might well know, when a Prius comes to a stop, such as at a
traffic signal, engine activity temporarily ceases (or seems to), awaiting
a further call to action from a press of the accelerator pedal. Most
Average Joes and Average Janes own such a vehicle, or so it would seem from
their behavior at the table; for they suffer from what I call the
Prius Syndrome. During the play, when declarer is
considering what to do next, A.J.'s brain frequently stops spinning.
Seemingly having nothing to think about, he sits there in a
state, awaiting his own call to action — namely, his next
turn to play a card.
The point is not that A.J. is good at impersonating a zombie, but that
he is not doing his job of counting those things that might help him with
the subsequent defense. Even if he were to try, his partner might
false-carded him once or twice, his awareness of
played spot-cards has dimmed, and the partnership's carding rapport
may have expired with the first discard.
As declarer, you can be comfortable with the probability that A.J. has not counted either your points or your distribution. Should he obtain the lead, he invariably will cash any available winner, right or wrong; otherwise, he will just be pushing cards to the end.