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Finish this senten new player--Stakes do matter

Posted By: Michael Sullivan
Date: Friday, 3 April 2015, at 9:40 p.m.

In Response To: Finish this senten new player--Stakes do matter (Phil Simborg)

The biggest gambling game I have ever played in was a bridge game for $100/point.

People who don't know at least something about bridge can't appreciate just how high those stakes were.

One thing to note is that the smallest possible distinction in points awarded for a hand in a game of bridge is 10. Typical small mistakes will lose you between 10 and 100 points. A big mistake could easily cost you 500-1000 points.

So swings from the equivalent of a .03ish error in backgammon would have cost Phil and his partner (or their backers) between $1000 and $10,000, and a error equivalent to what we'd call a whopper might cost in the neighborhood of $50K.

Phil's bid and made 6NT hand depending on context and scoring system could have been worth anywhere from $69,000 to $164,000.

To get an idea -- back in the 1930s when it was common to gamble at bridge there were money players who ground a decent living at a penny a point, and quarter games were considered pretty big. That was in the 30s of course, but the point stands. $1 a point is enough to win a lot of money from a clearly inferior partnership.

In terms of swings, and how much a slightly better player would stand to make a $100/pt bridge game is probably something like a $20,000/pt backgammon game.

"We should have been in 7Clubs, but in a money game, you are not penalized for being in the wrong contract."

I don't get this. What was the rule? In all the scoring systems I know, you'd have made a lot more points making 7C than in 6NT? Am I mistaken about the nature of a "point"? Was in $100/IMP? Even then, while the game would not be nearly as big as I am thinking, there would still be a big difference between making 7C and making 6NT. Did you make an overtrick and get the GS bonus anyway? Were you playing without a slam bonus or grand slam bonus? Vicarously thrilled readers want to know!

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