As novices get more experienced, they learn more elaborate rules. Bergen's Rule of 20. The Law of Total Tricks. Losing Trick Count. Adding a point when holding all 4 aces. Subtracting a point with 4333 shape. Pearson Points.
I'd like to offer a more creative technique that comes in handy: envisioning specific cards in partner's hand. For example, you hold:
Partner deals and passes. RHO opens with
Here are my two cents, which I'll give you for free. :-) In this scenario, imagine what cards that partner could hold. You're allowed to be optimistic. (Try it.) How about 3-card spade support, the AK of hearts, and the queen of clubs? Something like this:
Partner's pass shows 11 HCP or less. The hypothetical hand above is a bit optimistic (spade support and fully-working face cards), but it only contains 9 HCP so it's certainly possible.
Might partner have 0 HCP, in which case
This technique may be difficult at first, because it requires playing out the hypothetical contract in your head. In the above example, you have to "see" in your mind's eye that
When this hand came up at a local club game,
In short, don't over-rely on rules and formulas for hand evaluation. There are times when it helps to imagine certain cards in partner's hand, and bid accordingly.
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