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Counting the PIPS

#1 User is offline   Laird 

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Posted 2003-May-26, 09:25

Cave_Draco in an answer regarding new skill levels spoke about...

Intermediates... count the cards
Novices ... don't count the cards
Beginners ... know they should but don't
have the habit.

I notice in some expert posts that they talk about counting the PIPS.
This surely must be slang for keeping an eye on the most recently promoted master card. They don't really keep a check on all 216 PIPS of the non - honour cards ie (2 - 10) x 4 suits!

How do experts keep a tally on what cards have been played or are still to be played?

John:-)
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#2 User is offline   bglover 

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Posted 2003-May-26, 09:31

As my piano teacher used to say... practice, practice, practice.
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#3 User is offline   Laird 

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Posted 2003-May-26, 09:47

HaHaHaHa..... Yes but no use practicing chop sticks when you should be doing your scales.

John B)
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#4 User is offline   Cave_Draco 

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Posted 2003-May-27, 11:31

I would assume that PIPS refers to spot cards, in which case... YES!

There are only 13 cards in 4 suits, with time they all become "old friends". If you had 52 "old friends" divided into 4 rooms? I'm sure that you could remember who was in which room!

Or an officer in charge of 4 squads of 13 "men", could you remember who is who?

IMO, counting is the "soul of bridge"; count everything: before playing to the first trick, count winners & losers; count suit distributions... If opps bid/passed, count their hcp.

As for keeping track of 52 cards, how about starting with 20, AKQJT in every suit then extend it to the 9s, etc.

People's minds work in different ways but eventually counting becomes a habit. I no longer consciously count, I just ask myself "Has the Club 4 gone? Yes, played by West at trick 3."

Basic plays like Elimination & Throw-in require counting; the first time you see it done, it's like magic... All done with counting, ;D.
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#5 User is offline   hallway 

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Posted 2003-May-27, 15:46

2/1 - good advice I'm sure, BUT surely before one can practice anything one needs to be shown the how, why and what it is one is supposed to be practising :-

This is the Beginners Forum so please cast your mind back and share with us the means by which you mastered the art of keeping track of every card in the pack.

Did someone show you? , did you read about a method that made sense to you ? or did you devise a method all your own ?

Share with me and I promise I'll practice, practice, and practice :)

Most of the time I can keep track of the trump suit and on a good day even know the whereabouts of that side suit I fancy BUT it's those last two critters at the end of the hand - eenie, meenie, minney, mo and like the supermarket queues I have a panchant for choosing the wrong one :'( Now if I could do as the Dragon does......

And Dragon ...... "Basic plays like Elimination & Throw In require counting, the first time you see it done it's like magic " BASIC PLAYS , Dragon ????? Basic for an Expert maybe ........ (this is the Beginners Forum) Care to share ?? Then when we are Kibbing we will be able to see the magic happening. Knowing the what and how of them may be just the motivation we need to practice, practice, practice COUNTING. ::)
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Posted 2003-May-27, 16:35

Did someone show you? , did you read about a method that made sense to you ? or did you devise a method all your own ? Share with me and I promise I'll practice, practice, and practice

All right. I will share what I do... I practiced these patterns in my head as I try to go to sleep until they became second nature....

4-3-3-3 4-4-3-2 4-4-4-1

5-3-3-2 5-4-3-1 5-5-3-0 5-4-4-0 5-4-2-2

6-3-2-2 6-3-3-1 6-4-3-0 6-4-2-1 6-5-2-0 6-5-1-1

7-2-2-2 7-3-2-1 7-3-3-0 7-4-1-1 7-4-2-0
7-5-1-0 7-6-0-0

These are then used to figure out hand pattern or the pattern of any one suit. No adding up three numbers and then subtracting from 13 (mental math is not my strong point).... so....

If dummy had 3H and you had 6 and your RHO had 1? How many does your LHO hold? 6-3-1-?....? ? ?

Two ways.. 6+3+1 = 10... 13-10 = 3, or

6-3-3-1 hand pattern, so 3. The second advantage of 6-3--3-1 you know know your left hand opponent started with 3, so his pattern is....x-y-z-3.... as soon as you can apply some reasonable number to x-y or z, you are clost to knowing the "pips" in every suit.

Ben
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#7 User is offline   Yzerman 

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Posted 2003-May-27, 17:06

What helps me is that I am a fanatic with count defensively(as I have already said a trillion times here). I pay such close attention to count defensively, that inherently the spot cards are registered into memory keeping an extra emphasis on (a) master card in each suit and (:) WHAT layouts or HOW can I promote a spot into a trick (if a card can NEVER be promoted, dont waste to much energy registering into memory).

As declarer I will concentrate only on relevant suits, cards that could be a future trick.

a) What is the master card in each suit?

:) What cards MUST be played before a spot is promoted?

Once partner gives an authentic count card defensively in a suit, you should be able to, within a high degree of certainty, visualize combinations of cards that the remaining concealed hands (partner and declarer) have. This helps you visualize trapping plays, smother plays, surrounding plays, and a host of other more simple plays. The key for myself is maintaining high concentration of count as to what cards have been played AND CREATIVITY (with respect to remainder of cards left in suit) AND FLEXIBILITY (how to attack those different layouts).

As declarer, this is a little more difficult for the opps arent always obiding by giving you accurate information (count, attitude, etc.). My suggestion is to perhaps take an extra 10-15 (or more if required) seconds before you adopt an approach to the play of each hand, and study your lengthy suits (either in hand or in dummy) then visualize what layouts of cards CAN promote you an extra trick(s) in that suit. By planning/visualizing you will be more prepared to handle the different layouts of a suit as the cards fall. DONT WASTE TIME CONCENTRATING ON SHORT SUITS IN WHICH TRICKS CANNOT BE ESTABLISHED (eg - Ax opposite K9x - you will NEVER promote the 9, not until you become adept @ squeeze layouts at least).

As one gathers experience, alot of combinations and layouts are automatically recognized. Examples;

Ax opposite K10xx (for 3 winners)-> @ trick one visualize the ONLY relevant holding in either opps hand is QJ doubleton or tripleton, when the Q or J does not fall on second round you arent winning 3 tricks with this suit.

Ax opposite KJ8xx (for 4 winners)-> @ trick one visualize the ONLY relevant holding for 4 tricks is Q109 onside, when on of those cards does not appear you KNOW that layout is not the case.

These are very simplistic examples, but the general picture is concentrate on suits that are IMPORTANT to you as declarer, envision different layouts you HOPE for, envision different layouts you CAN do something about, envision different layouts you CANT do anything about and as the cards fall eliminate some of initial options you envisioned.
MAL
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#8 User is offline   Cave_Draco 

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Posted 2003-May-27, 17:37

As I said, people's brains work differently... Ben is right, bridge players don't count sheep, they count hand patterns.

I don't remember learning to count, I do remember the turning point: I was representing my school... in 6NT, is the CT a boss? Dunno! Must count! The rest is history.

It still amazes me: live bridge, you take your cards from the board & what is the first thing you should do?

There is no simple solution, but counting the cards is a gigantic step to better bridge, :).
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Posted 2003-May-27, 20:51

Maureen

While on counting distribution, you can start making stabs at it very early.... either on offense or defense... let me give you an example. Playing against someone playing 5 card majors, what do you think about leaders distribution on an auction like this.....

West Nor- East-South
(1D)-DBL-(P)-2S
(P)-4S- (all pass)

How many hearts does west have? While you can't be certain, fewer than five is a clue. How about if he leads the Diamond 2 (4th best)? If you believe the lead, you can expect him to have 4D, and this is his "longest suit" so you are working with 4333, 4432, or maybe 4441 pattern. Now you just fill in the blanks.

Imagine an auction like this, with you passing

(1H)-P-(1S)-P
(1N)-P-(2C)-P 2C = checkback
(2D)-P-(3N)-All pass

Partner leads the club 2 (4th best) and dummy has 5-2-4-2 distribution (S-H-D-C), and you have 4-2-4-3. You have a great feel for the entire distribution. South has to be something like 1-5-3-4 or, perhaps, 2-5-2-4. A single count signal in spades or diamonds will tell you the entire distibution for sure. Add this to your pattern/hand studies and you are on your way.

Ben
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#10 User is offline   hallway 

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Posted 2003-May-28, 22:15

[move]THANK YOU VERY MUCH [/move]

I am sure this info will be of inestimable value to all the Beginners who take the time to read, absorb and yes - practice, practice, practice.

Maureen

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#11 User is offline   mishovnbg 

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Posted 2003-June-19, 13:39

I think counting begin with imagine and remember hands. My advice may be very funny: when you comment boards with somebody, dont write it!!! Say to friend hand you like to comment. Use all time same order of suits SP-HE-DI-CL, you can then only describe cards quickly and help to memory too. After that you must simulate bids & play of 3 other players, while frend must play only with hand you said to him.
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#12 User is offline   Cave_Draco 

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Posted 2003-June-19, 15:54

If it works... Don't fix it, ;D.

One of the problems with teaching to count is... "How do you do it?"

It becomes automatic, you only notice when you lose count!

I play at a slow table? I lose count, lol.

I use short-term memory to count, if I start thinking "That wallpaper is nice" I lose count!

Hands only get into long-term memory after I stop playing. "Ah, yes, that 3D contract..."
"I know that there is only one power worth having. That is the power, not to take, but to accept; not to have, but to give."
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