An old friend of mine contacted me last week and persuaded me to partner him in a bridge tournament this weekend.
Bridge … now there’s a game I haven’t played in a long while.
It’s a bit like poker in many ways:
- It’s played with cards (well duh!).
- It’s a mixture of luck and skill.
- It involves betting (bidding).
- A good player will assign a range of possible holdings to their opponents and select the best action against that range.
- Doing the best thing can give the worst result, and vice versa.
- There are elements of bluff, representing a holding in order to get the opponents to do what they want.
But it’s also completely unlike poker:
- 13 cards is far too many to hold at once.
- You have a partner (or centre hand opponent as he’s sometimes called). This limits the amount of bluffing that is appropriate, because your partner is bound by the rules to take your actions at face value.
- It’s a game of full disclosure. Imagine what poker would be like if you had to fill in a form that said your basic style (tight aggressive), your starting hand ranges in each position, your light 3-bet frequency etc. And your opponents could not only inspect the form at any time but also ask questions about what your bets represented!
- I don’t get called “fish”, I get called “palookah”. Or “donkey” sometimes.
It’ll be interesting to see how I get on – my main memories of playing with this poker are of being told off a lot. Deservedly I might add; my bridge has a tendency to veer randomly from outrageously tight passive to maniac, which isn’t great for developing a partnership understanding!
The game is on Sunday, so I will be able to avoid being outdrawn in the Freezout League this week. Wish me luck, I’ll let you know how I got on!