Bridge Scene: Computer versus human deals

Duplicate bridge clubs all over the world are changing the way cards have been dealt. Today we can have the computer deal rather than the participants shuffle. Ken Allen decided to see if there really is a significant difference between human and computer deals.

If there is a difference, it almost certainly comes down to the shuffle. The computer, however, does not shuffle, it selects at random and assigns cards to the four hands, which in effect is the perfect shuffle.

Now, when humans shuffle, they must remove all traces of the previous deal and this statistically happens if the cards are shuffled for two minutes or seven times. In rubber bridge where four cards are thrown into the center and gathered, a quick shuffle definitely leaves some tricks intact.

Something similar occurs at duplicate on the run of a suit, as all hands have many cards of the same suit stored in a row, and on a quick shuffle they stay together. If the cards are shuffled thoroughly, the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) predicts that on average you will have a hand of 16 points or more every tenth hand, and a 7 card suit every 30 hands.

Comparing actual hands from games where the cards are shuffled and dealt with those from the computer, and compare both with the theoretical distribution and point counts that produces a thorough shuffle. It was found that the computer produced 1.7 percent more 3-2 splits against a 4/4 fit than the expected 67.8 percent and the human shuffle produced 4 percent more 3-2 splits in the sample of 300 deals for the computer and 125 deals for the human.

At the Deerfield Beach Regional this past June, Anne McCarthy and Ruth Spackman came first in ‘C ‘at the 9 a.m. Thursday Side Game.

On Friday, two Naples teams battled for the number one spot in the Thursday/Friday KO Bracket 2 event, a 16 table game, with Linda Percy/Sugar Rubin/Roger Hill/Alice Van Hoesen earning 17.98 masterpoints for first place. The team of Sarah Penn/Peggy Kehoe/Helen Daniels/James Watt placed second and earned 12.59 masterpoints.

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