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THE BRIDGE WORLD

Pancakes and Waffles

Item ImagePancakes and Waffles
Better Bidding by Simulation
by Allan DeSerpa
List Price: $17.95  Discount Price: $14.36  You Save: 20%
Paperback.

by Allan DeSerpa, John Mohan and Richard Catero with Bruce Ruskin and Wes Powers. Although we rely on statistical analysis, this book is more about better bridge bidding. For the majority of players who are not especially enamored with numbers, we attempt to display statistical results sparingly, discuss them in English, and explain how you can improve your game by paying attention to them. Our working hypothesis is that the primary (perhaps only) difference between simulation and experience at-the-table is that the simulations are unbiased. There is also a difference in degree: the simulation results are drawn from larger sample sizes. This is not to discount at-the-table experience. The human mind is capable of absorbing and processing nuance far better then a team of computers. If there is a signature outcome of our investigations, it is that pancakes (hands with 4333 patterns) matched with waffles (5332) play better in three notrump than in a 5-3 (or even a 5-4) major-suit fit. We proffer this result as a simple statement of fact, drawn from a large random sample of deals. Our computer programs, with impeccable credentials, compared tricks in spade fits with tricks in notrump, with assurance of perfect play by both declarers and defenders. Overall, notrump contracts scored better. With 25 HCP in the two hands, notrump games had a significantly higher success rate than spade games, and produced more matchpoints on a head-to-head comparison. We also have no doubt that expert judgment can improve these scores IF the expert bidding system informs the expert that their partner has a waffle or a pancake. The key is to design systems in ways that enable the players to exploit the information derived through simulation. The unique contribution of Pancakes and Waffles is the combination of statistical insights with innovative bidding treatments.