~Card Evaluation

Evaluating the Cards

 The values placed on honor cards is as follows:
This system works well as a starting point in hand evaluation, but experts say a more accurate evaluation is something like
~Q=1 ½

These values are more cumbersome to use, so another way of looking at it is that a hand made up primarily of aces and kings should be treated as stronger than the honor count indicates and hands with queens and jacks are weaker than indicated by the point count. These reevaluations make sense: an ace is sure to take a trick in NT, a king has a 50% chance, and there is no high likelihood that a Q or J will catch a trick.

When there is a concentration of honor cards in a single suit, the hand has more trick-taking potential than when the cards are spread out. Consider these hands:

#1 S KQJ32     H QJT     D A     C T987
#2 S K9764     H K32     D KJ     KJ3
Hand #2 holds 14 HCP while hand #1 holds 13; however, there is no doubt that hand #1 is the stronger hand. Regardless of where the missing high cards are, hand #1 will take several tricks; the HCPs in hand #2 could conceivably take no tricks. While such distribution would be unfortunate, assume the hand sitting behind (plays after) hand #2 holds

H A54
Hand #2 might take no more than 1-2 tricks, the only sure trick is the king of clubs.

Hands must be reevaluated after every round of bidding to determine its true strength. Fits with partner, shape, supporting honors, and the likely position of enemy high cards can be determined from the bidding and gain or lose strength based on the information learned.

Long suits have extra potential since a low card that has no high card value is just as strong as an ace when the opponents hold no cards in the suit.

10s and 9s: While these cards have no high card point count, they are valuable in developing tricks, particularly in a NT contract.
# 1 S T92     H 87     D AT95     C KT52
# 2 S T32     H 87     D A654    C K873
Because of the 10s and 9s in hand #1 and because of their groupings together, hand #1 is clearly the stronger hand, although both have the same shape and HCPs. Add 1 point for each T9 combination in a suit with other high cards.

Devalue a hand by 1 point with no aces or with 4-3-3-3 shape.

Consider this evaluation. When you have a 5-3 fit in a major suit, extra tricks can be taken if the player with the shortness in trumps also has a short suit (singleton or void) and can trump a card or two in that suit with the short trumps. However, if the hand with the long trumps has the shortness, no additional tricks may be available. Therefore, once a fit has been found, add points to the hand in this manner:

Hand with trump shortness–Void: 5, Singleton: 3, Doubleton: 1.
Hand with trump length–Void: 3, Singleton: 2, Doubleton: 1.


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