CHANCES OF VARIOUS SUIT SPLITS HELD BY OPPONENTS

Cards Held by Opponents

Split of Suit in Oppoent’s Hands

Percentage chance

1

1-0

100.000

2

1-1
2-0

52.000
48.000

3

2-1
3-0

78.000
22.000

4

1-3
2-2
4-0

49.739
40.696
9.565

5

1-4
2-3
5-0

28.261
67.826
3.913

6

2-4
3-3
5-1
6-0

48.447
35.528
14.534
1.491

7

3-4
5-2
6-1
7-0

62.174
30.522
6.783
0.522

8

3-5
4-4
6-2
7-1
8-0

47.121
32.723
17.135
2.856
0.165

9

3-6
5-4
7-2
8-1
9-0

31.414
58.902
8.568
1.071
0.046

10

5-5
6-4
7-3
8-2
9-1
10-0

31.414
46.197
18479
3.780
0.350
0.011

11

6-5
7-4
8-3
9-2
10-1
11-0

57.169
31.760
9.528
1.444
0.096
0.002

12

6-6
7-5
8-4
9-3
10-2
11-1
12-0

30.490
45.735
19.056
4.235
0.462
0.021
0.0003

13

7-6
8-5
9-4
10-3
11-2
12-1
13-0

56.6250
31.8510
9.8310
1.5730
0.1170
0.0030
0.0001

The general casino percentage on suit splits listed above apply mostly when the opposing side has not bid. Usually when a player bids a specific suit, he shows strength in that particular suit and indicates a shortness in other suits.

Fitness. The table of finesses coupled with the table of suit splits become very useful when a a player has a choice of plays. To illustrate, let’s suppose that you Canasta make your contract if you win a finesse in spades or if the hearts split favorably. You try for the heart split first, and if the heart suit fails to split favorably, you play the spade finesse later on. If your hand forces you to make one of the two possible plays, you then compare the odds (for the heart split with the 1 to 1 odds or a successful spade finesse) and then you make the best odds play in your favor.
The following table depicts the chance of winning one or more finesses from a given number of attempts. The chance is given in terms of percentages: in other words, the number of times in 100 dealt hands you Canasta expect to win one or more finesses in a given situation. The percentage figures on finesses are as follows:

To attempt 1 finesses and win 1

50.00%

To attempt 2 finesses and win 2

25.00%

To attempt 3 finesses and win 3

12.50%

To attempt 2 finesses and win exactly 1

50.00%

To attempt 2 finesses and win 1 or 2

75.00%

To attempt 3 finesses and win exactly 1

37.50%

To attempt 3 finesses and win exactly 2

37.50%

To attempt 3 finesses and win 2 or 3

50.00%

To attempt 3 finesses and win 1, 2 or 3

87.50%

Possible Hand distribution. Very often a hand that does not contain a long suit is exciting because it contains an unusual four-suit distribution. Hands with two long suits usually have great playing potential and are fun to play puoker out. The table that follows lists the chances of holding each possible suit distribution made up of thirteen cards.

CHANCES OF HOLDING VARIOUS SUIT DISTRIBUTIONS

Distribution in your hand

Odds Against being dealt

Distributions in your hand

Odds against being dealt

4-4-3-2

3.7 to 1

7-3-3-0

376.1 to 1

4-3-3-3

8.3 to 1

7-5-1-0

920.7 to 1

4-4-4-1

32.4 to 1

7-6-0-0

17970.2 to 1

5-3-3-2

5.3 to 1

8-2-2-1

519.0 to 1

5-4-3-1

6.7 to 1

8-3-1-1

850.2 to 1

5-4-2-2

8.4 to 1

8-3-2-0

920.6 to 1

5-5-2-1

31.5 to 1

8-4-1-0

2211.6 to 1

5-4-4-0

79.2 to 1

8-5-0-0

31,947.0 to 1

5-5-3-0

110.7 to 1

9-2-1-1

5,612.6 to 1

6-3-2-2

16.7 to 1

9-2-2-0

12,164.8 to 1

6-4-2-1

20.2 to 1

9-3-1-0

9,952.1 to 1

6-3-3-1

28.1 to 1

9-4-0-0

103,510.9 to 1

6-4-3-0

74.4 to 1

10-1-1-1

252,653.4 to 1

6-5-1-1

140.8 to 1

10-2-1-0

91,235.3 to 1

6-5-2-0

150.4 to 1

10-3-0-0

647,957.4 to 1

6-6-1-0

1381.4 to 1

11-1-1-0

4,014,397.1 to 1

7-3-2-1

52.2 to 1

11-2-0-0

8,697,861.7 to 1

7-2-2-2

195.2 to 1

12-1-0-0

313,123,055.9 to 1

7-4-1-1

254.2 to 1

13-0-0-0

158,753,389,898 to 1

7-4-2-0

275.5 to 1

Cheating at Bridge
In August, 1961, as gambling advisor to the United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on investigating gambling and crime in United States, I watched as an electronic device used to cheat at Bridge, called a radio cue prompter, was demonstrated to the committee. Read into the Congressional Record at the time was an ad from a crooked gambling supply house which described this radio cue prompter as follows: “Not to be confused with many inferior units now on the market. This item is the ultimate in precision selectronics and enables two people to cue each other, such as actors on a stage, mental reading, etc. Using these two miniature units and a dot-dash system, you Canasta carry on a conversation with your partner in any card game . No wires, all self-contained, card-pack size. Full instructions with every order. Guaranteed the best. Longer distance than many.” Senate testimoney further revealed that the electronic company alone in question had sold several hundreds of these gadgets during 1960. Since that time, it’s anybody’s guess how many thousands have been sold by various electronic companies, and how many of them are in use today.
In August of 1949 I was hired by one of Hollywood’s biggest movie moguls to check out a swank west coast bridge club where he said he had lost a quarter of a million dollars playing bridge in a one year period. My investigation later revealed that the bridge club was as crooked as an electronic corkscrew, and its yearly take from Hollywood celebrities ran into the millions. The club was owned and operated by several Las Vegas gamblers who employed a former movie actor as host. The bridge club harbored ten tables and no matter at which table the bridge player sat, he was sure to be clipped with a radio cue prompter:
The swindle was accomplished as follows: Two player card cheats were aided by a third unseen confederate who operated a radio cue prompter from the room above the club. The bridge club was rigged up as follows: Ten small camouflaged holes had been drilled from the floor above and through the club’s ceiling; each hole was situated directly above each bridge table.

Each hole known as a “Peek joint” contained the eye of a stationary telescope that when looked through by the confederate above revealed each player’s hand. In addition, a secret listening device made it possible for the crook above to hear the bidding conversation of the players below. The additional equipment involved a radio cue prompter comprised of three miniature electronic units: one a transmitter and two receivers. Each player cheat had a receiver strapped to his bare leg hidden by his trousers. The cheat confederate above scanned the player’s hand through the telescope and directed the cheat’s play below by making use of the transmitter which sent the desired in- formation by transmitting a small electric shock to the leg of each player cheat. I had not as yet completed my investigation when a three-page picture story showing five pictures of me appeared in Life magazine de- scribing various cheating methods at bridge, poker, and gin rummy. It was apparent that the operators of the bridge club also read the article and recognized me by my pictures in Life because when I arrived at the club several days later, the only cheating evidence that remained was the holes in the ceiling. The crooks had left in a hurry.
In the late 1960’s the American team entry
in the World’s Duplicate Bridge Champion- ship Tournament held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, accused the British team of cheating by making use of a series of hand signals. Do you know what? The signals mentioned were identical to the hand signals I exposed in the August 9, 1949, issue of Life magazine.
The late Nick “the Greek” Dandolos, the most famous gambler of the past thirty years was once cheated of $500,000 with the same above-described device, the radio cue prompter, at a two week session of gin rummy. The game took place at the pool side of the famous Flamingo Hotel Casino on the Las Vegas strip. Nick and the gin-rummy cheat who fleeced him were attired in bathing suits and the cheat’s accomplice with telescope and radio cue prompter operated from a hotel room overlooking the pool. The player cheat’s radio receiver was hidden under his bathing suit. Incidentally, the table and chairs were fastened to the pool’s concrete floor so as to prevent Nick the Greek from moving his gin rummy hand out of range of the telescope.
The most publicized radio cue prompter cheating incident of all times came to light in the middle 1960’s, when the court testimony of several Hollywood celebrities described how they were fleeced of hundreds of thousands of dollars playing bridge and gin rummy at a famous club in Los Angeles, California. This cheating episode made newspaper headlines across the country for weeks. The hole in the ceiling incident and the radio cue prompter explained earlier were again put to work by a number of Las Vegas gamblers. Several perpetrators of this swindle were later convicted and received long jail sentences.
Bridge and Gin Rummy cheats who operate in hotel rooms build their “peek joints ” by cutting out a small square from the top of a door of a closet or adjoining room and replacing the missing square with a two-way I mirror which to the unsuspecting victim appears as a hanging glass painting. The player cheat’s confederate hides in a closet or room, sees through the two-way glass peek joint and transmits the cheating information by a radio cue prompter to his accomplice who is wearing a hidden receiver. When a peek joint is not available many bridge cheats armed with radio cue prompter receivers receive signals describing their opponents ’ hands from a confederate cheat in the room armed with a transmitter. This confederate usually acts as a non-player waiting for a seat.
Just to illustrate that a top notch sleight-of- hand card cheating can do just about as he pleases in the bridge game the following is an, excerpt from my autobiography The Odds Against Me. I discuss a performance of mine attended by two hundred persons including President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Governor: A. Harry Moore of New Jersey, and Mayor , Frank Hague of Jersey City.
I ended my performance that evening by playing two Bridge hand against Governor Moore and Mayor Hague-while President Roosevelt and the assembled guests watched in silence. Two regulation fifty-two card Bridge decks were produced by Mayor Hague. I shuffled the blue-backed deck and the governor shuffled the red-backed deck. After several shuffles I offered the blue- backed deck to Mayor Hague to cut, which he did. I then instructed the governor to deal out four Bridge hands, first hand to me, second to the mayor, third to my dummy, and the fourth and last hand to himself. When I exposed my hand it was found to contain thirteen Spades-a cinch grand slam.
For the second Bridge hand the mayor handed me the red-backed deck to deal. The deck had previously been shuffled by the governor and cut by the mayor. While I was dealing out the four Bridge hands I bid seven no trumps. The hand was played to a finish and I made my bid-another grand slam.

Party Bridge

The host or hostess should make all decisions as to what form of Bridge is to be played. She should tell her guests at what table they are to play and what form of Bridge (regular Rubber Bridge, Pivot Bridge, Progressive Bridge, etc.) is to be played. She should consider the probable desires of her guests, but should not consult them. Leaving such decisions to the guests usually serves only to make them un- comfortable and may even cause arguments and disagreements among them.
The Casual Game. When a Bridge game or party is not planned in advance, there are seldom more guests than will make up a single table, or at most two tables (eight players).
Four, five, or six players may playa cut-in game at one table. The host or hostess should play in the game; the guests will not mind sitting out in their proper turns, and it is embarrassing to them if the hostess insists on sitting out.
If the group includes a husband and wife who may not wish to play against each other, the hostess may suggest a “set match” in which the couple are always partners; in a five-or six-hand game, there may be a “semi- set match” in which the couples are partners whenever they are both in the game at the same time. The hostess should not make this suggestion, however, if the married couple are better players than the other guests, or if they I are thought to be.
If one player is better than the others, Pivot Bridge should be suggested, so that everyone will have equal opportunity to play with the better player.
With six players, it is advisable to set up a second card table and provide cards so that , the two players who are sitting out may amuse themselves by playing a two-hand , game such as Gin Rummy, Russian Bank, canasta, or Samba while waiting for the rubber to end.
Seven players are the most inconvenient number. They cannot very well all play in the same Bridge game. It may be best to try to arrange some game in which all seven can [ play at once, instead of Bridge . Otherwise the hostess must sit out and let six play.
Eight players make two tables of Bridge. The hostess should arrange the placing of the players at the respective tables. If all are married couples, it is usually wiser to split them up than to have any couple at the same table. If four of the players are quite good and the other four weaker, the four good online poker players should be put together; but the reason for the grouping should not be mentioned