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To Bid or Not to Bid: The Law of Total Tricks Paperback – June 1, 1992


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Paperback, June 1, 1992
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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 285 pages
  • Publisher: Natco Pr (June 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0963471503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0963471505
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #986,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Must read book for any aspiring tournament player.
Mohit Agarwal
Book was recommended to me by a friend; I found it most satisfactory (the folks in Toronto had treated it most gently and the subject matter is most intrigueing).
Harold Kersten
And he shows the best of the best going DOWN on relatively routine hands in which the The Law of Total Trumps would have dictated a much happier outcome.
Allen Smalling

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Edward Williams on February 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
Before reading this: I open 1 Spade, 2 Heart overcall,
partner raises to 2S, RHO raises to 3 Hearts. I auto-
matically bid 3S, just as Pavlov's dog automatically
salivated. Down one. 3H would have gone down one.
Oops. Wrong guess. Sorry, partner. Next round, I
pass 3H and it makes. 3S would have made. Oops.
Wrong guess. Sorry, partner.
After reading this: I look less at how many high-card
points I have and more at how many hearts and spades I
have. Do I have S Q9542 H QJ7 or S KQJ92 H 432? Do I
have 5 or 6 spades? Now I bid 3 Spades when it's right
and pass when it's right.
Buy two copies and give your partner one. Hide it from
all opponents. The IMPs will now dribble to your team,
five or six IMPs at a time. Likewise, so will the
matchpoints: 9x on 12 top instead of 2x on 12 top, again
and again on these unspectacular hands.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Carol Hartwell (metrotech2@iquest.net) on July 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
If your bridge library were extremely small, one MUST item would be The Law of Total Tricks. It's a gem, one that will change the way you think at bridge and one that will help you make those tough part-score and higher competitive decisions which are ordinarily such "guess work". This book will help you evaluate your bidding options with much greater assurance and accuracy.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
The law of total tricks has been around for about 40 years, but it's never been as thoroughly and completely explained as in this book. Cohen shows how the law should be used to resolve your competitive bidding decisions and to make the opponents' life more difficult. He also shows how modern bidding, and how the conventions he developed with Marty Bergen, try to give your partnership the information you need to make total trick decisions. Simply the best book on the subject.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
I don't understand how anyone could intelligently win a matchpoint game without understanding the LAW. This isn't just a way of improving your competitive bidding; the LAW is the whole theory underlying this area of bridge.
The author's presentation of the concepts is illustrated with numerous examples and exercises to allow the reader to quickly absorb the ideas. My advice to my partners: know this book inside out. My request of my opponents: pay no attention!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Susan Doty on October 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
A familiarity with "The Law" will help you make the right competitive decision more often at the table. I recommend this book to any player interested in winning more of those partscore battles.
Just don't fall into the trap of obeying "The Law" blindly (as many players do). It's intended to be a useful guideline that can *improve* your judgement: it isn't meant to *replace* your judgement.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Bull on September 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
This excellent bridge book has the fine reputation that it does because it is so thorough and detailed an explanation of the Law of Total Tricks. Larry Cohen is the most passionate supporter of this law in the game; and he does a complete job explaining it, illustrating it with interesting example hands, and summarizing with useful maxims that tend to stick with you after the reading is over. Especially good is his compelling discussion of whether to rebid when the bidding goes 1H-1S-2H-2S-? or even 1H-1S-2H-2S-3H-?. He also makes some good points about bidding at the higher levels with a known long fit.

This is one of the few books we believe should be in every serious player's library; yet it is basic enough and entertaining enough to benefit relative beginners and more expert players alike. No wonder it is an award winning book on bridge!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Jong on July 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
Good partnerships will have sophisticated mechanisms for finding the right contract when given free rein of the bidding, but in reality the majority of bridge hands lead to competitive auctions. With each side interfering with the other, the situation suddenly becomes much less clear. After reading this book, you will no longer have to rely completely on mere guesswork and intuition to decide whether to bid or not to bid.
Larry Cohen introduces and expounds upon the Law of Total Tricks, a single principle which will allow you to estimate the possible scores resulting from almost any competitive auction. He describes some of the corollaries of the Law, as well as some good conventions that make use of the Law. These will improve the game of anybody not already familiar with such maxims as "bid to the number of trump your side has" and "when in doubt bid four spades over four hearts."
Even so, this book feels somehow incomplete. It does a good job of conveying the basic idea of the Law, giving examples of its application in relatively straightforward situations. But only in the last two chapters does Cohen begin to describe the adjustments that must be made in situations where the Law is not completely accurate. Furthermore, he doesn't really cover what to do in situations where the Law predicts ambiguous results: when bidding on might produce a better or worse result than passing, depending on the play of the hand. In these cases Cohen leaves us once again to guesswork and intuition.
Despite these faults, this book is essential because it does at least reduce the amount of guesswork to which the bridge player must resort in contested auctions.
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