Gambling News

A Computer Championship in Indonesia

How would you compare humans with computer programs when it comes to playing chess or bridge?

In chess the positions of the pieces are always known. It is a pure computational exercise. This explains why machines have done so well against even the top grandmasters.

In bridge, though, there is incomplete information: the unseen cards. This makes it a very difficult programming exercise and is why, in my opinion, humans will always play better than machines.

As an example, look at the diagramed deal, from the final of the world computer championship in Bali, Indonesia, last month, played between the computers Jack and WBridge5.

One South was in six hearts and the opposing North was in six no-trump. In each case, the opening lead was a diamond. How should the declarers have played?

After North opened one club, both computer programs responded two hearts, a strong jump shift. The rest of the auctions were strange.

I treat a strong jump shift as showing one of two hand types: an excellent one-suiter, or a two-suiter with length in both responder’s suit and opener’s suit. (Some pairs also allow a big balanced hand.) In my method, the opener usually makes an economical rebid to find out the responder’s hand type. But opener may rebid in a side suit headed by at least two of the top three honors — hence North’s three-diamond rebid.

(A two-no-trump rebid, to leave responder space to show club support if he has it, would be sensible also. I would not rebid two spades, where responder cannot have four-card length, because the suit is too weak.)

After that, there are several possible routes to six hearts. Mine saves space.

The correct play in six hearts is to win the first trick in the dummy and play a trump. When East puts up the ten, declarer should finesse his jack, in case East has all four trumps. The finesse loses, but South has 12 tricks, discarding the spade five on a high club in the dummy.

The computer program won the first trump trick with the king, which did not cost here. But the finesse is the correct play, because hearts 4-0 was much more likely than diamonds 7-1 with West’s being able to win the second trick and give East a diamond ruff.

In six no-trump, North should similarly play on hearts to collect 12 easy tricks: one spade, seven hearts, two diamonds and two clubs. (Even a spade lead would not be fatal, because declarer can finesse and take three spades, two hearts, two diamonds and five clubs.)

The computer program took the first trick with the diamond ace and ran the spade queen. West won with the king and led back its highest diamond.

Now North, with its communications in tatters, went down three.

Italy vs. Monaco at the Bermuda Bowl in Bali

The Bermuda Bowl was the premier event at the world championships in Bali, Indonesia, last month.

The 96-board final was between the two favorites, Italy and Monaco.

Italy was represented by Norberto Bocchi, Agustin Madala, Lorenzo Lauria and Alfredo Versace. (Giorgio Duboin and Antonio Sementa were also on the team but did not play in the final.)

The Monaco team was Pierre Zimmermann, Franck Multon, Fulvio Fantoni, Claudio Nunes, Geir Helgemo and Tor Helness.

It was expected to be a close match, but it turned into a rout, Italy winning by 210 international match points to 126 — and the last day was Bocchi’s birthday.

Italy gained 38 imps on Boards 20 through 22. The diagramed deal was No. 22.

At the first table, Helness (East) opened one club; Madala (South) wisely passed; Helgemo (West) responded one spade; Bocchi (North) overcalled two clubs, natural; East raised to two spades, promising four-card support (he would have doubled with three spades); and West jumped to four spades.

North led the diamond jack. South won with his ace and shifted to his singleton club. North took his ace, gave his partner a club ruff and later defeated the contract with his spade ace.

In the given auction, Nunes (South), eyeing the favorable vulnerability, overcalled with the Unusual No-Trump, showing at least 5-5 in the red suits (the two lowest-ranking unbid suits). Versace (West) doubled to indicate a good hand and interest in a penalty. Fantoni (North) passed, because he had equal length in the reds. And when South ran to three diamonds, West happily doubled again.

West’s best opening lead would have been the diamond king, but he chose the club six.

Although Nunes’s bidding left something to be desired, he handled the play perfectly — if getting out for down three can be viewed in that light.

Declarer took the first trick with dummy’s club ace and continued with the club jack. East covered with his queen, and South ruffed.

Declarer exited with a heart. Lauria (East) overtook West’s jack with his queen and shifted to his trump, which was ducked to West’s queen.

West cashed the heart ace, then led the diamond king. South won, played a spade to dummy’s ace and led the club ten. When East covered with the king, declarer discarded his spade jack.

East cashed his two heart winners, bringing everyone down to three cards.

East led his high spade queen, but South accurately threw his last heart. West had to ruff with his diamond two, then lead away from his diamond eight-six into declarer’s nine-seven.

That was “only” down three, minus 500, but it still gave Italy 12 imps on the board.

Transnational Teams in Bali

The Transnational Teams world championship in Bali, Indonesia, last month was for teams that had not qualified for the knockout stage of the Bermuda Bowl, Venice Cup or d’Orsi Senior Trophy, and for anyone willing to travel to that beautiful island in the South Pacific.

The winners were Mark Gordon, Pratap Rajadhyaksha, David Berkowitz, Alan Sontag, Jacek Pszczola and Michael Seamon from the United States. This is a first world title for Gordon, Berkowitz and Rajadhyaksha, a third for Pszczola and Seamon, and a seventh for Sontag.

In the 48-board final, they defeated a team from China by 92 international match points to 81.

The Gordon team’s closest match, though, was in the quarterfinals. It began the last 16 boards against Polish Students (Stanislaw Golebiowski, Piotr Tuczynski, Pawel Jassem, Jakub Wojcieszek, Michal Klukowski and Piotr Zatorski) down by 33 imps.

Gordon won 11 imps on the second board when Klukowski and Zatorski bid a six hearts that failed when the trumps broke badly. The Poles scored 14 imps two boards later when Wojcieszek made a lucky six no-trump doubled.

The margin was still 36 imps halfway through the set. Then Berkowitz and Sontag bid six clubs that needed no spade lead and a trump suit of A-K-Q-10-9-6-5 opposite a void to play for no loser. When this rolled home, the Gordon team gained 10 imps. (It was hard for Zatorski to lead a spade from king-third, knowing that dummy had five spades.)

Three boards later came the diagramed deal.

At the first table, Berkowitz (South) did not overcall one diamond with one heart, vulnerable opposite a passed partner. Klukowski (West) jumped to four spades, ending the auction.

Sontag (North) led the diamond queen. South took the trick with his ace and gave his partner a diamond ruff. North cashed the heart ace and took the spade ace later for down one.

In the given auction, after Wojcieszek (South) overcalled one heart, it was nigh impossible for Jassem (North) not to bid five hearts.

Seamon (West) led a spade. Declarer won with dummy’s ace and cashed the heart ace. To get out for down one, he now had either to play a club, or to take his diamond ruff in the dummy and then lead a club. But South played a second round of trumps, ducked to his queen.

It was again time for a club, but declarer cashed the diamond ace. This was his last chance to start establishing clubs and escape for down two, but he ruffed his diamond loser in the dummy. South finally, too late, turned to clubs.

Pszczola (East) took this trick, cashed his heart king and led a diamond. Declarer ruffed with his penultimate trump and had to play a club. East won with his jack and tapped declarer again with a diamond. East then claimed the last three tricks for down four.

Plus 100 and plus 1,100 gave the Gordon team 15 imps. The deficit was down to 10 with three boards to play.

More on Monday.

American Team Wins Venice Cup in Indonesia

At the world championships in Bali, Indonesia, which ended Sunday, the American teams won two events and were second once.

In the Venice Cup, USA-2 (Disa Eythorsdottir, Janice Seamon-Molson, Jill Levin, Jenny Wolpert, Jill Meyers and Migry Zur-Campanile, with Sue Picus as the nonplaying captain) defeated England by 229 international match points to 220.3. The Netherlands was third.

The subsidiary Transnational Teams was captured by Mark Gordon, Pratap Rajadhyaksha, David Berkowitz, Alan Sontag, Jacek Pszczola and Michael Seamon.

USA-2 (Carolyn Lynch, Mike Passell, Roger Bates, Garey Hayden, Marc Jacobus and Eddie Wold, with Donna Compton the nonplaying captain) lost narrowly to Germany by 11 imps in the d’Orsi Senior Trophy. Poland finished third.

In the Bermuda Bowl, Italy overwhelmed Monaco by 84 imps. USA-1 (Kevin Bathurst, Kevin Dwyer, John Kranyak, Gavin Wolpert, Bobby Levin and Steve Weinstein, with Shane Blanchard the nonplaying captain) lost by 4.7 imps to Poland in the third-place playoff, a fourth-quarter rally just falling short.

The final session of the three premier events was exciting, except for the dull last two boards. USA-2 captured the lead against England in the diagramed deal, Board 61 of 64. At that time, England (Sally Brock, Nicola Smith, Fiona Brown, Susan Stockdale, Heather Dhondy and Nevena Senior) led by 0.3 imps, the fraction coming from the carry-over formula applied to the result of the earlier qualifying match between the two teams.

At the first table, the initial round of the auction was the same. Then Senior (South) rebid three hearts, which was a popular choice in the other events. This was passed out.

Meyers (West) led a low club and Zur-Campanile (East) put in the ten, confident that her partner was not underleading the ace and to find out who had the queen.

South took the trick with her ace and continued with the heart nine. East won with her queen, cashed the club king and shifted to the spade ten. Declarer took her ace and led the heart king. West won with her ace and cashed the spade king and diamond ace for down one.

In the given auction, Wolpert (South) chose the perfect moment to underbid slightly with her two-heart rebid.

Smith (West) led a club, and Brock (East) played her king. South won with her ace, led a diamond to dummy’s jack and played a heart to her jack.

If West had now cashed the diamond ace, perhaps she could have read her partner’s deuce as a suit-preference signal for clubs and underled her queen to receive a diamond ruff. But that would not have defeated the contract.

Instead, West, thinking it was likely that her partner had the spade ace, cashed the club queen and diamond ace, then switched to a low spade.

South won with her jack, cashed the heart king to drop the queen and claimed ten tricks.

Plus 100 and plus 170 gave 7 imps to USA-2 and a lead it never lost.

Americans Approach Knockouts in Indonesia

At the world championships in Bali, Indonesia, there are three more 16-board matches to be played before the quarterfinals begin on Tuesday.

Five of the six American teams look sure to qualify for the knockout stage. Only USA-2 in the Bermuda Bowl is in danger, lying 11th, three-quarters of a match behind eighth-place Poland. (The team’s last three matches are against England, sixth; Bahrain, last; and India, 18th of 22.)

USA-1 now leads the Bermuda Bowl, with Canada seventh. In the Venice Cup, USA-1 is third, and USA-2 fourth. Canada is 14th, surely out of contention. And in the d’Orsi Senior Trophy, USA-2 is second, and USA-1 fourth. Canada is ninth, just under half a match behind Scotland.

The diagramed deal featured one of the best defenses of the tournament. It was found by two Wests, Linda Cartner of New Zealand, in the Venice Cup, and Hector Camberos of Argentina, in the Bermuda Bowl.

South was in five hearts. (In the given auction, East’s opening bid showed a weak hand with five spades and a four-card or longer minor.)

Cartner and Camberos each led the spade ace. South ruffed and cashed six rounds of hearts, bringing everyone down to six cards. Then declarer led the club queen from hand. How did Cart-ner and Camberos defend?

First, they had to retain the right six cards: the spade king, two diamonds (the queen and jack) and king-third of clubs.

They realized that if partner had the club ace, the contract was either unmakable or unbreakable. But if South had ace-queen-third of clubs, West had to be careful. (To lead the queen from ace-queen-doubleton would have been some coup.)

Cartner and Camberos ducked the trick. Declarer continued with the club ace and another club, but Cartner and Camberos won and led the spade king. South ruffed, but had to lead away from the diamond king to go down one, losing one club and two diamonds.

If West had taken the club queen with the king and led the spade king, South would have ruffed and cashed the club ace to drop East’s jack. Then declarer would have taken eight heart and three club tricks.

Results can be found at

World Championships in Indonesia

The world championships are under way in Bali, Indonesia. There are 22 teams in each of the three events: the Venice Cup, Bermuda Bowl and d’Orsi Senior Trophy. After a round robin of 16-board matches, eight will qualify for the knockout matches, which begin on Tuesday.

After two days, the Venice Cup teams are well placed, USA-2 being third and USA-1 fourth. In the d’Orsi Senior Trophy, USA-2 was ninth and USA-1 tenth, close behind eighth. The two Bermuda Bowl teams, though, are doing badly, with USA-1 15th and USA-2 20th. (All team rosters and results are at

The first round contained many exciting boards. USA-2 in the Bermuda Bowl lost to Argentina. Slams were bid on three deals, and Argentina gained a huge 42 international match points on those boards. The diagramed deal was one of the American highlights, when Chip Martel (East) defended better than his opposite number.

Both Souths ended in four spades doubled, sacrificing over four hearts (a contract that would have been touch-and-go). In the given auction, Martel’s one-no-trump response was semiforcing. He had planned to rebid three hearts, showing game-invitational values and three-card support.

In four spades, South had three top losers: two hearts and one club. So he couldn’t afford to concede a spade trick.

Each West led a low heart. How should East have defended?

At the first table, Gabino Alujas (East) won with his ace and shifted to the diamond six. Mike Kamil (South) ruffed and would have done best to play a club. Instead, he led a heart, giving the defenders a second chance. East took the trick, but returned the diamond queen.

Now declarer played perfectly. He discarded a club and won with dummy’s ace, led a spade to his nine, played a club to dummy’s king, finessed his spade ten, led a club to the queen, trumped a diamond in his hand and ruffed his last heart. With eight tricks in, South led a diamond and had to score two more trump tricks with his queen and ace.

At the other table, Martel won the first trick with his heart queen, cashed the heart ace and played a third heart. When that was ruffed in the dummy, declarer could no longer take three spade finesses.

Hector Camberos (South) ruffed a diamond with his spade eight, played a club to dummy’s king and ran first the spade jack (dropping his nine), then the spade seven (underplaying his deuce). Now declarer ruffed a diamond to reduce his trump length to two (the same as East) and led a club. But Zia Mahmood (West) defended accurately. He won with his ace and led his last heart, on which East discarded his remaining club. South had to lose a trump trick for down one.

Plus 590 and plus 100 gave 12 imps to USA-2.

Recalling Eric Paulsen, a World Safe bet

# @@ # @!!

Erik Paulsen was born within Oslo but moved to america after World War II. He passed away in Southern California at 86 on April 28.

Paulsen took up bridge soon after moving to America. A Grand Living Master of the American Contract Bridge League, he gained five national titles: the Reisinger Board-a-Match teams four times and the Blue Bow Pairs once. But their greatest achievement was the Bermuda Bowl victory in 1975 in Monaco. It was the first time the United States had defeated a good Italian team containing the three stars of the Blue Group: Benito Garozzo ( who partnered Arturo Franco within Monaco ), Giorgio Belladonna and Pietro Forquet ( who were partners in Monte-carlo ).

Very little later, Paulsen gave up competitive bridge to concentrate on a profession with Rockwell Engineering. In 1972, he married Wujud, and told her that he wanted to retire early. He succeeded in 1987. They moved to Upland, Calif., about 40 miles east of Los Angeles, and Paulsen enjoyed their years playing golf and bridge.

Ada declared that her husband’s strong point was declarer play. An example of that is the diagramed deal, that occurred during a qualifying match in Monaco.

East opened two clubs, showing a long suit as well as 11 to 15 high-card points; Paulsen ( South ) overcalled two hearts; Hugh Ross ( North ) advanced with two spades; South showed his gemstone suit; North raised as well as South bid five expensive diamonds.

West directed a club. East gained with his ace and returned the club queen. Exactly how did Paulsen proceed?

Declarer saw immediately that the deal was setup for a crossruff. South cashed his heart ace, ruffed a heart in the dummy, thrown away a heart on the spade ace and ruffed a spade in his hand.

Now came the essential play: Declarer ruffed a heart with dummy’s diamond ace. ( Note that if he previously ruffed with the jack, Eastern would have overruffed and returned a trump, leaving South with an unavoidable heart loser. )

Declarer then ruffed a spade with his diamond king as well as ruffed his last heart with dummy’s diamond jack port. East overruffed, but Paulsen had the rest with his four high trumps.

Eddie Kantar related a funny story about Paulsen. Soon after winning the Bermuda Bowl, Paulsen went to their bridge club in Downey, Calif. Midway through the night time, Paulsen was bidding spades and his opponents were competing in hearts. But when Paulsen bid three spades, their left-hand opponent doubled.

“Do you know who I am? ” asked Paulsen.

“Yes. ”

“Do you realize how many master points We have? ”

“No, but do you know how many spades I have? ”

# @@ # snabel-a!! # @@ # snabel-a!!

Board-a-Match Teams at World Youth Open

ATLANTA — The final event at the 3rd World Youth Open Championships here last month was the Board-a-Match Teams.

The winners were from Turkey: Erkmen Aydogdu, Akin Koclar, Altug Gobekli, Berk Gokce, Muhammet Ozgur and Sarper Uslupehlivan. They finished two points ahead of Australia: Ellena Moskovsky, Lauren Travis, the brothers Justin and Nathan Howard, Max Henbest and Peter Hollands. Third, another three points back, was the American team of Anthony Lee, Ryan Wessels, Frank Lin and Kevin Rosenberg.

The Junior Knockout Teams winners (Marius Agica, Adam Kaplan, Owen Lien and brothers Adam and Zach Grossack) had a chance to gain a medal, but in the last round, against the team that came second to last, both of their pairs sat North-South. This resulted in an under-average score, which left the team fifth, four points behind third.

The winners showed better bidding judgment and good declarer play in the diagramed deal.

Aces are great, worth more than four points. At the other table, South opened one no-trump, showing 15 to 17 points. This was a definite underbid with four aces and a five-card suit. Gobekli (West) made a debatable two-heart overcall. (A good rule of thumb is to have at least a six-card suit, especially when you have a balanced hand.) After two passes, South rebid two spades, which was passed out. This contract came home with an overtrick, declarer losing one trick in each suit.

At the other table, Ozgur (South) correctly upgraded his hand, opening one spade. After West overcalled two hearts, and Uslupehlivan (North) made an aggressive negative double, promising length in the minors (but usually more high-card power at this level), South rebid three no-trump.

West led his fourth-highest heart. South won with his jack, cashed the diamond ace, played a diamond to dummy’s queen and led a third diamond to West’s king.

When West returned the heart king, declarer took the trick, crossed to the spade king and cashed the two diamond winners, bringing everyone down to five cards.

If West had kept two spades, one heart and two clubs, South would have established clubs. And when West retained one spade, two hearts and two clubs, declarer played a spade to his ace and exited with the heart eight.

West took two tricks in the suit, but then had to lead away from the club king, giving declarer an overtrick.

Look fondly on aces.

CEM Announces 2013 HOT Award Winners

Publish Date
August 7, 2013

Article Tools

FARGO, N.D. (August 7, 2013)—Casino Enterprise Management is proud to announce the winners of its fourth annual run of the Hospitality Operations Technology Awards, or HOT Awards.

These awards honor outstanding products in the gaming-hospitality industry. Nominations were divided into five different categories, with one winner selected from each. This year, there was a tie in one of our categories, therefore a total of six products will be honored. The categories were employee productivity and efficiency, revenue generation, guest experience enhancement, self-service products and Internet services. Nominations reflected a range of products that make a positive difference in a casino-hotel’s operations.

A panel of judges was assembled and tasked with combing nomination materials to decide the winner in each category. These select judges were Bob Ambrose, Professor and Independent Gaming Consultant; Donald Kneisel, Vice President of Information Technology, Resorts Casino Hotel; Charly Paelinck, Vice President of Information Technology, Caesars Entertainment; Sheleen Quish, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and IT, Ameristar Casinos Inc.; Wendy Reeve, Chief Executive Officer, Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort; and Kris Singleton, Chief Information Officer, Cosmopolitan Las Vegas.

The winning companies and their products, by category, are:

•    Employee Productivity and Efficiency:
Bally Technologies
Live Floor View on Mobile Device

Cummins Allison
JetScan iFX i400 Multi-Pocket Sorter

•    Revenue Generation:
The Stics Behavioral Model

•    Guest Experience Enhancement:
Bally Technologies
DM Tournaments’ Bonus Tournaments

•    Self-Service Products:
Bally Technologies
Promotional Kiosk

•    Internet Services:
Bally Technologies
Challenge Connection

“As the pace of technological advancement and development quickens across all sectors, it’s paramount for the gaming hospitality sector to continue to innovate. Judging from this year’s stellar crop of HOT award winners, it’s clear that our industry remains strong on this front,” said Peter Mead, publisher of Casino Enterprise Management. “It’s also important to note that these award-winning products not only offer great potential to contribute to casino-resort efficiency and performance, but also to further enhance the guest experience.”

“Our HOT judges faced a difficult task in judging this year’s slate of amazing products, a point borne out by the fact that a tie had to be awarded in one category,” Mead said. “We also want to thank each of the companies nominated for these awards. They all richly deserve recognition for their commitment to bringing new, innovative products to our industry.”

An article highlighting the winning products will be featured in the September 2013 issue of Casino Enterprise Management.

About Casino Enterprise Management (CEM):
Casino Enterprise Management magazine delivers the most comprehensive need-to-know information in the world of casino management. All operational facets of the casino business are thoroughly covered in each issue. Readers enjoy first-hand reporting from the brightest thought leaders in the worldwide casino gaming industry. CEM puts on several prestigious awards for the gaming industry including Great Women of Gaming, Slot Floor Technology Awards and the Hospitality Operations Technology Awards. The website,, is the gaming industry’s most complete digital doorway into the world of casino management and includes audio articles, videos, web exclusives, case studies, white papers, an up-to-the-minute newswire and much more. The website includes live Internet talk radio shows and archived podcasts from industry leaders.

CEM Announces 2013 International Table Games Awards Winners

FARGO, N.D. (May 7, 2013) Casino Enterprise Management is proud to announce the winners of its 2013 International Table Games Awards.

The annual awards contest, now in its second year, honors innovation in table games products. A select panel of judges was chosen to review the nomination materials and decide the winner in each category. Out of 30 nominations in six categories, six exceptional products emerged winners, with one top product selected from each category.

This year’s judges panel included Rosemarie Cook, vice president of table games, SugarHouse Casino; Phyllis Seguin, director of table games, Caesars Windsor; James Ward, Gaming Consultant and former vice president of gaming operations, Station Casinos; Jon Muskin, patent attorney, Muskin & Cusick LLC; Ian Davison, vice president of table games, Mohegan Sun; and Joseph Giaimo, regional vice president of table games, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

The categories were: best electronic innovation; best side bets; best traditional table game; best hybrid table game; best game protection product; and best table game management system.

The winning companies and their products are, by category:

Best Electronic Innovation:

GPI – Total Money Management

Best Side Bets:

Galaxy Gaming – “21+3 Classic” Table Game Side Bet

Best Traditional Table Game:

Galaxy Gaming – High Card Flush Table Game

Best Hybrid Table Game:

SHFL entertainment – i-Table Roulette

Best Game Protection Product:

eConnect – Blackjack Countdown

Best Table Game Management System:

Genesis – BRAVO™ Poker

“We were very pleased with the number of nominations for this year’s awards, especially since this is only the second year for this award series,” said Peter Mead, publisher of Casino Enterprise Management. “We had a great panel of judges who took their time critiquing innovative products by these pioneering companies, and we couldn’t be more proud of the winners.”

An article highlighting the winning products will be featured in the June 2013 issue of Casino Enterprise Management.

About Casino Enterprise Management (CEM):
Casino Enterprise Management magazine delivers the most comprehensive need-to-know information in the world of casino management. All operational facets of the casino business are thoroughly covered in each issue. Readers enjoy first-hand reporting from the brightest thought leaders in the worldwide casino gaming industry. CEM puts on several prestigious awards for the gaming industry including Great Women of Gaming, Slot Floor Technology Awards, and the International Table Games Awards. The website,, is the gaming industry’s most complete digital doorway into the world of casino management and includes audio articles, videos, web exclusives, case studies, white papers, an up-to-the-minute newswire, and much more. The newly launched includes live Internet talk radio shows and archived podcasts from industry leaders.