Pearson Points (aka Rule of 15, or Cassino Count) are a hand evaluation method for opening the bidding in 4th seat. When an auction begins Pass-Pass-Pass, the player in 4th position often holds a marginal hand containing 9-12 HCP (high card points), and must decide whether to bid or pass.

Calculating Pearson Points is easy. Add your high card points and the number of spades in your hand. If the total is 15 or more, then you should open the bidding. if the total is 14 or less, then you should pass the hand out.

In my experience, Pearson Points are pretty reliable. They are predicated on the idea that when the honor cards are evenly distributed around the table, the best suit to own is spades because you can outbid the opponents at the 1- or 2-level. Hands short in spades are worth less because of the increased probability of the opponents bidding and landing in their own spade contract.

S KQ987
H AT
D J32
C 873

This hand has 10 HCP + 5 spades = 15 Pearson Points. Open the bidding in 4th seat with 1S.

S A9
H T987
D AK32
C J43

12 HCP + 2 spades = 14 Pearson Points. Pass.

S Q42
H QJ
D KJ85
C QJ632

12 HCP + 3 spades = 15 Pearson Points. However, rules are made to be broken. I'd pass because the high cards are soft (primarily queens and jacks), and because the short major suits make it likely that the opponents will compete successfully in hearts or spades.


Example

            North           
2
K75
WestQT973East
QJ53AQ97KT4
J32A964
A8SouthJ54
K643SA9876852
HQT8
DK62
CJT



West    
Pass
Pass
Pass

North    
Pass
2 (2)


East    
Pass
Pass


South    
1 (1)
Pass (3)

  1. South opens the bidding with 15 Pearson Points.
  2. North barely has enough to bid 2.
  3. South knows that game is impossible since North is a passed hand.


Origins

Pearson Points are named for their American inventor Don Pearson.

See also

  • CRIFS
    Expert Larry Cohen's rule for opening in fourth seat.

  • Distribution Points
    A hand evaluation method for counting suit length or shortness.

  • High Card Points
    The basic and original method for evaluating hand strength.

  • The Law of Total Tricks
    A hand evaluation strategy for competitive auctions.

  • Losing Trick Count
    A hand evaluation method used once a trump fit is located.

  • Rule of 20
    A guideline for opening the bidding which counts high card points + the length of your two longest suits.

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