By Tom Sloper

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Column #67

American (2003 AMJA card). Winnie got a "deal from hell."

What would you do with this mess? Look for a family? Target a specific hand? Or "eeny meeny miney moe" and wait to see what comes back?

Winnie counted odds versus evens, decided evens were vastly outnumbered, and threw away some of those (26C 8B). Wouldn't you know it, she got two evens and one odd (2B 4C 3D). Now she had a 4C pair.

What would you do at this point? Switch to evens? Look at Runs? Or stick with plan A, staying with odds? Winnie figured, now that she had a pair, she ought to try to find a hand to go with it. That pair was her only even, so she looked to Runs. Run #3 (fours, fives, and sixes in one suit) was a possibility. Run #1 would do for a fallback plan.

Having chosen a hand, what would you pass?

To keep Run #1 open, she'd need to keep any numbers down to One. The 23B looked good with her 445C, but best not to get rid of 13D just yet. And she'd pass any numbers higher than Seven. And winds and dragons. To keep Run #3 open, she needed to keep only the craks - everything else was fair game.

She passed 9D S R across. In exchange, she got 1B 4D Wh. Still just the one pair. Winnie figured that the seven was looking lonely, and the ones too. She passed 1D 7B Wh left. "First." She got F 9B E from the right.

She passed E 19B left, in a pyramid formation. Distressingly, she got 7D S W from the right. Without a second thought, she passed them across. Then her eyes actually lit up when she saw what she got back.

Which hands on the AMJA card would you target with this? Winnie saw only one. Run #3. The 23B would do well for Run #1 as a fallback hand. She passed 3C W 5D to the right. She got 3D 17B from the left. The pair of Three Dots was welcome for Run #1 (now she had two directions for the fallback hand).

Edgar offered her three. She accepted, giving him 4D 17B. All he gave her was a stinking E W 9D.

But her disappointment didn't last long. She picked 2D - making her second fallback now her first line of attack.

And so the game began.

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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.