Introducing the 10-Block!


BBO has begun to run four daylong tournaments, per day instead of two. I’ve calculated that I can compress more robot bridge into a smaller window of time.

BBO has a limit of two instant tournaments per hour. If these new daylong tournaments would fill the gap in time, I would not have to stop playing. I would play two instant tournaments, then two daylong tournaments, two more instant tournaments, two more daylong tournaments, and finally two more instant tournaments.

I creatively dubbed this block of ten sessions a “10-block”.

Although I have more important things to do, I could not resist playing a 10-block last night. I started at exactly 8:00 and ended at exactly 10:50. That is two hours and 50 minutes, 17 minutes per 12-board session. Not super speedy but I was able to play through without stopping. It was successful as I got more than 5 points.

Two hours and 50 minutes seems like a lot of time but it is roughly the same amount of time as a session of bridge at the club takes. The cost of a 10-block is $12.90 which is comparable to the cost of a session at the club.

So it takes roughly the same time and the same amount of money to play a 10-block as it does to play a game at the club, with a lot more expected masterpoints. What’s not to like?

Try a 10-block!


More 1NT with 14

Hello, Robot battlers!

Changing your notrump range and distribution is the best way to get swings. I’ve got a dozen hands for you where I opened 1NT with 14 HCP. Some of them were balanced, and some were unbalanced (a singleton). Most of the time I get good boards doing this.

I have actually started opening 1NT with 13 HCP,

Lastly, I have posted a video for you.

Cheers, Daniel

Metrics and System Change

Hello Robot Battlers,

My bosses are big believers in performance metrics. Their thought is that you should be able to measure everything that is job related, such as the number of defects closed, the number of customer service cases worked, and so on.

When it comes to robot battles, a change in what system you play should have an effect on your long-term average percentage score, other things being equal. If I was to play 5000 hands playing a certain system, and 5000 hands playing a different system, the skill and luck factors should cancel out over that long of a time.

I started keeping track of net monthly average score in October. My preferred game is matchpoints but you could do the same thing with IMP scoring.
October 2018: 60.6556
November 2018: 60.1736
December 2018: 60.2520

January 2019 is not complete but it is 60.2230. Over this four-month period I played over 5000 hands using pretty much the same system. As expected, playing a consistent system yielded consistent results over a large sample size.

Starting February 1 I am going to experiment with opening notrump ranges:

With 10-12 HCP I will open 1 of a suit and rebid 1NT (or pass a 1-level suit bid if suitable)
With 13-15 HCP I will open 1NT. (currently 14-16)
With 16-17 HCP I will open 1 of a suit and rebid 2NT (currently 17-18)
With 18-20 HCP I will open 2NT. (currently 19-20).
With more points I will open same as before.

The next ACBL robot championship is scheduled for March 16-18, 2019. Hopefully I will have enough information to see if this system change is effective before then. But I am cutting back on robot play this year, to two sessions a day (720 hands a month), so I may not be able to tell one way or the other before then.


78.27% Still Only Second Place


Normally a 78% game will win an instant tournament on BBO. But this time it didn’t. For this entry I will go over all twelve hands to see what could have gone better, if anything, to beat the guy who got 83%.

Hand 1: 78.57%

After the auction goes 1NT-all pass, the robot leads the !CQ from queen doubleton instead of from its nice five card diamond suit. A lot of times robots will lead singletons so I finessed the !C9 into the 10. I figured a lead of !CQ from !CQ singleton or !CQx small doubleton was more likely than from !CQT doubleton.

Here’s me playing the hand:

Here’s dustinst22, our hero, playing the hand.

Same auction from both of us. Note that we both chose to open 1NT with the singleton small heart. This is standard practice in robot bridge due to the severe rebid problem. If you would open 1!C with this hand, what would you rebid? If you would open 1!D and rebid 2!C, robots will drop you in 2!D with 2=3 in the minors. I talked about this briefly in my lecture back in June.

Do you see the very subtle difference in the play that Dustin had from how I played the hand? It took me a while to see it. When Dustin played the last spade at trick 11, he discarded a heart, where I discarded a diamond. This made the robots defend wrong at trick 12 and Dustin made 4 for 96% and I only made 3.

Hand 1 illustrated the principle that you should discard the suit that you want the robots to discard. Here, it is hearts.

Hand 2: 100%
I overcalled 1NT instead of doubling. The doublers generally got into trouble by getting too high, so I was getting a good result. Then I played the hand pretty well. Obviously there is no room for improvement on 100%. 😊

Dustin had the same auction but did not cover the !D9 with the !D10, then he tried to crossruff and went set. But he still got 60% for down one.

Hand 3: 42.83%

I made 3 on this one for average minus. Some declarers were playing the hand from the other side. The declarers who did better than I did started the diamonds by leading the jack. I think this is better, in hindsight.

My boy Dustin went set on this one when he misguessed diamonds like I did, but I got my ninth trick in hearts and he did not. Dustin got 25%.

Hand 4: 85.71%
I was tied for next to top on this one. There was one slammer who got to the good 6!D slam, which makes on 3-2 trumps, even on a heart lead. Dustin chose to open this hand 1NT. That is too convervative for me. But Dustin avoided the heart lead and made 6 for the same 85%.

Hand 5: 39.29%
I got to 4!S from the robot’s side after making a takeout double. Against me, they led the !DAK and then I had no chance. I felt like I had a 3!S bid after partner’s raise, but maybe my doubleton diamond should have cautioned me against it.

Dustin threw a monkey wrench into the works when he made a 1NT overcall of 1D with a doubleton jack. The contract was the same, but now the opening leader led the singleton club instead of a diamond. Then, when Dustin ducked two rounds of diamonds, LHO led a third diamond, giving a ruff-sluff. Dustin made 4!S doubled for 100%!

Hand 6: 85.71%
This one is pretty easy, the only issue was avoiding a trump promotion. It was 85% because a lot of pairs passed the hand out with 11 HCP. Do not ever pass 11 HCP! Dustin did the same exact thing and also got 85%, tied for top.

Hand 7: 100%
On this one I had 15 HCP and opened 1NT, even though I had a singleton queen of hearts and also a six card suit. But minor suits are minor.

Also, the preemptive effect of 1NT showed itself on this hand as a lot of E/W pairs got to 4!H, making. It’s a lot harder to get to game when your opponents open 1NT.

That pesky Dustin also opened 1NT with this hand, but he made 4 clubs where I made 5. Dustin still got a nice 93% board.

Dustin and I got the same opening lead, but the play diverged after that:
Here’s how I played it:

Here’s Dustin:

Hand 8: 85.71%
I overcalled 2!S with a four card suit over 2H, expecting a fit. Sure enough, partner raised to game. Unfortunately, partner had 3 hearts as well and they got a heart ruff. But I was able to pull off an endplay for down one. -50 was 85% for a good board.

Dustin irritated me with this one. He made a takeout double of 2H holding a singleton diamond, and got away with it! He landed in 2S making 3 and got 100%.

There is no way I am going to make a takeout double with a singleton in a side suit, without a very powerful hand. Dustin got lucky.

Hand 9: 64.29%
This one seems pretty normal. I opened 1H and accepted the Drury invite.

But Dustin strikes again! He opens 1NT with six hearts, 16 HCP and a singleton club. I don’t necessarily disagree with this call had the robot had only five hearts, but there wasn’t a rebid problem. Adding insult to injury, the robot led the singleton king of hearts, so he made six for yet another cold top.

Hand 10: 96.43%
You’d think that 96% would make up some ground on Dustin, but he also got 96%. He also opened 1NT with five hearts, all pass. The play went similarly to my line, but not different enough to post here. I just claimed 8 tricks after the hearts came in.

Hand 11: 78.57%
After getting a favorable spade lead, I cashed my 10 top tricks. I kept x across Kx in both other suits and hoped for something favorable. It didn’t happen and I made 4. The top score went to the pair in 4S and they led their unsupported ace on opening lead. Dustin’s play was the same as mine and he also got 78%.

Hand 12: 82.14%
After robot partner opened 1H, I chose to bid 4H instead of 3NT with my doubleton spade. I think I guessed right and played well to make 5. 82% was not good enough to make up any ground on Dustin, he did almost the exact line of play. In fact he probably improved on my line by cashing the CA earlier than I did.

So there you have it. 12 hands, 78%, second place.

Although I have not encountered Dustin before, he is a ranked player on BBO (Jack rank, requiring a lot more BBO points than I have), so he is obviously not a scrub. But I think he got lucky here.


Hands from Fall 2018 Robot Championship


My 43rd place in the robot championship was my best showing so far, but my scores haven’t improved as much as I had hoped.

Summer 2017: 62.44%, 64th place out of 2428, 2.63% of entrants
Spring 2018: 60.95%, 94th place out of 1910, 4.92% of entrants
Summer 2018: 62.45%, 67th place out of 1704, 3.93% of entrants
Fall 2018: 62.81%, 43rd place out of 1531, 2.81% of entrants

In order to break into the top 1% of players in these tournaments, I think I need to step back and analyze where things went right and where things went wrong on these hands, to see if I can tweak my system a little bit. I would like to do better in these events, as the $40 entry for four and change masterpoints doesn’t have a favorable dollars spent to masterpoint ratio. Normally $40 will get me about 15 points on BBO.

I have posted the videos from the tournament already. Here are some hands from the tournament that I found interesting.

Also, Richard Lawson (sterman on BBO) has posted all the hands he played, with commentary, on Bridge Winners. Some of the comments in his articles relate to the psychological aspects of the robot game, which I think is important. Very interesting articles. Some of his hands overlap with some of the hands I played, but not all.
Richard’s day 1:
Richard’s day 2:

Richard’s day 3 hasn’t been published as I write this. He didn’t have a good game on day 3.

If you have hands you would like to share, please send them my way!


Passing Forcing Bids


I would like to feature some hands where I passed a bid which would normally bid forcing. The robot will have high card points less than or equal to your own HCP, so if you have 11 HCP, the robot will have 11 or less.

Here are a couple of videos I published recently.

Fun Hands 181112
Some interesting hands in this one including a neat double squeeze.

Practice Tournament 181110
Daniel plays in the free practice tournament on November 10, 2018 and does fairly well.


Opening Non-Standard NT ranges

Greetings, robot battlers!

I would like to illustrate some hands which feature either opening 2NT on 19 or opening 1NT on 14. In my opinion, this is winning tactics when playing against robots.

Charles Collins gave me this first hand. He opened 2NT with 19 HCP and got raised to 7. Robot partner had 16 with five spades. But with normal splits it was cold. Opening a heart will make it a little difficult to get to the grand slam.

I played the other hands myself. If you have any interesting hands to submit, please do so. I need the material. Jeff Kroll has submitted a ton of hands and I am very thankful. All you have to do is send me the handviewer link, it is easy, just contact me if you need help.

I stream every day at 6:00 am so if you are up that early and want to watch me play robot bridge, tune into

Twitch is the world’s leading video platform and community for gamers.

Lastly, here are a couple of videos where I had fun against the robots:

The next ACBL robot championship will be held November 19 to 21, so keep practicing against those bots.


How are you doing?

Greetings, robot battlers!

How can you tell whether you are making progress in your skill, whether against robots or humans?

Against humans, I always go over each and every hand to see what I could or should have done differently. Hand records are an invaluable resource for this.

To track my progress against robots I meticulously track my average points per session.

I strongly recommend that you go over each and every hand you play in a face-to-face situation as well as against robots. If you can figure out what you are doing wrong, you can fix your thought processes to not do that any more.

Instead of posting all my broadcasts to Youtube, I am going to start posting the ones that have a lot of decision points. How many decision points is a lot in 24 hands? I don’t know. Most likely I am going to remove the older ones that are not part of the marathon.

Here’s a video where I went from last place after two hands to first!

Here are a few interesting hands for you.

Charles Collins gave me this one. I found it interesting from a bidding perspective.