Wanna bet?

George and Benny are good friends and Bridge partners. They also like to bet on all sorts of stuff (small bets, not heavy money) .

They bet on almost anything: lottery, backgammon, football and other sports etc., but also on everything they disagree about. First they argue until one of them drops the ultimate challenge: “Wanna bet on it?” They decide the amount, and they agree on an “authority” to rule who wins the bet. 

Bridge is usually not something they would bet on (although there were some occasions when they argued and then asked an expert’s opinion, not before betting on it). 

And today came an unusual bet: even though none of them was certain on what the right answer should be, George decided that there must be one. This was during a bridge game. They fought about a hand and George felt it “smelled” like a hand with a solution. What solution? He didn’t know either, but wanna bet there is one?

Benny insisted: “Shall we bet on it? I’m sure the hand cannot be made with proper defense”

Since there was an expert in the house, George accepted: “Fine, it’s a bet” (100 bucks it was this time, a lot more than their usual stake): 

Dealer South, E-W Vulnerable:

West lead the A and continued with another Diamond. Benny ruffed and played the ♠K. West won the ♠A and played a Heart to East’s A. East continued with the K.

The contract now is bound to fail, as the ♠10 makes a trick no matter if Benny ruffs low (West over ruffs with the ♠10) or high (West discards, and the ♠10 gets promoted) . 

“Why didn’t you discard a Heart at trick 2? That way you cut the communication between defenders”, said George. 

“Can’t you see it makes no difference?”, Benny was boiling, face all red. He continued: “If I discard a Heart, East wins with the Q, continues with a 3rd Diamond, and again the ♠10 gets promoted.

If I ruff low – West overruffs with the ♠10, and if I ruff high – West discards, and again,  I can no longer avoid losing two Spade tricks. I bet this hand cannot be made on a proper defense!”

George took the bet and so they turned to the expert, who said: “The contract is makeable all right: ruff a 2nd Diamond, then ruff a Club (!) in dummy at trick 3. Continue with a 3rd Diamond and discard your Heart loser at trick 4.

East wins with the K but he has no more Diamonds to play, and declarer has all the time in the world to ruff a Club or a Heart from East then play the ♠K, losing only the ♠A and 2 Diamond tricks. And you can pull out the remaining ♠10x later”.

George was happy with his $100 winning. Knowing his friend just too well, seeing Benny’s rage, he saw another opportunity to make “extras”, so he pushed on without mercy: “Why didn’t you open 2♣ with 9 sure tricks?”

Benny’s face turned incandescent: “And how do you suggest I describe my hand after that..?”… A flurry of angry words and then came the inevitable challenge: “Wanna bet?”…


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