Mirage of controlling the bots when playing robot bridge on BBO

I have to be honest with this one, playing bridge on BBO is awesome although a bit muted and feeling kind of a lonely affair. It’s not the bridge you play with real people down at your local club, but you can get your groove going at any time of day or night, and if you play a decent careful game then masterpoints are up for grabs.

However, mastering GiB robots is not an easy task!

Fair disclosure I’ve only been playing on BBO for half a year now. But I did play a sustained number of years of bridge, a while back. Knocking off couple of games with dear old GiB robot (as a partner) proved I had to learn restraint.

There’s been many occasions where I was simply left null over the choices GiB makes during auctions. Recap of strange GiB bidding from past week:

  • To my 1S opener GiB responds 2C, followed by 3C and then by 5C (over my 4S) as he dummies his hand of 5 clubs under 10 and 9 honor points
  • 1S opener from GiB and his hand only has 1 small spade and 11 honor points
  • on my 1H opener followed by 1S on my left then my Gib partner goes Dbl for 3 times in a row, me calling Pass three times in a row, and finally by GiB’s will his hand showing 13 honor points and no handy distribution

At times I get fed up with these bugs, because I reason they must only be programming bugs on GiB’s part, nevertheless you’ve got to play it as it lays, and I find it mostly annoying with a hint of cumbersome to continue and be reasonable and cold inside, in my mind, in order to put up a good declarer game.

Long story short, my hope is to come up with a valid list of advises, for BBO players out there, on how to properly manage GiB auction and contract discovery:

  • Pass a lot
  • 2 level interventions, like 2D 2H and 2S, are very dangerous, better to forget about them when playing GiB
  • remember you always have the best hand and at most your GiB partner can only have as many honor points as yourself
  • quickly jumping into a 5C or 5D contract is taken as a slam invite by your friendly GiB partner, beware
  • slow and constructive auctions are a no go zone for GiB, better figure out the final contract by yourself and call it quickly.. 3NT or 4 majors
  • high level Dlb is considered by GiB to be invitational, which a human player will immediately understand as a penalty double, hence you’ll most likely lose your grip on the auction
  • your first auction call is the most important step to describe how many honor points your hand presents and that’s a big clue to not underbid by GiB’s side
  • with your side having clearly the game it’s better to let GiB declare, when possible, as GiB is a fast player
  • GiB will reply 1NT with 2 cards on your 1 level bid without having stops in all the other colours
  • .. more to come

Thoughts on technology

You can chose to play bridge at a club, or online.

If you’re short on time but you’re still keen on staying alert and fresh in your bridge endeavors then it’s a must to play whenever you can.. like you know: on your way forth and back from work, when you’re stuck in traffic, in a queue of your choice, or waiting for the sleep to come.

So your close friends must be the GIB robots from BBO (Bridge Base Online). You can buy them for a period of time (say a day) and use them to play for money. Or you can open a table with 3 other robots for a quickie.. like a game of 4 or an unlimited stream of hands. You get the picture..

But my take is from another angle. So for every one of us lonely and sad players of bridge there is a potential of 3 robots ready and willing. Are they smart enough, well that’s another story. However, they are there!

But let’s extend this: for every one of us sad and lonely human beings there is always a computer waiting (if you don’t have one or yours gets some ransomware.. ha ha – again another subject but still very close), and there’s also another:

  • smartphone waiting
  • smart fridge waiting
  • smart TV waiting
  • smart car waiting.. Tesla
  • smart wearable waiting
  • tablet
  • RF chip
  • something technical smart and ready enough to help us out
  • Software (in all of them)

Help us.. you say!

Hmm, the other day my little one asked an interesting question, when do numbers finish, as in 1, 2, 3..

Well, my question of same sorts would be: where does smart pieces of technology finish?

Are these numbers double / triple (in stocks waiting to be shipped, or live and kicking) more than humans! Somehow we, humans live and kicking, have created a dormant army of devices which at the moment help us out.. still.