The Choice Between A Game And A Double

A most interesting question arises when a player is placed in the

gratifying position of having the opportunity of electing whether to go

game or secure a bonus by doubling.

Which course he should take depends entirely upon the state of the

rubber, and the size of the bonus that the double will probably

produce. A game is always to be preferred to a double which is not apt

to net more than 100. When 200 is sure and a greater bonus probable,

the double should be made during either the first or second game of the

rubber. During the rubber game, however, the doubler should be more

conservative, and should "take in" his rubber unless satisfied that the

double will produce 300, with a potential possibility of more.

The reason, which may not at first be apparent, for this difference in

the situation, may be briefly explained as follows: Before a game has

been won, the securing of a large bonus in the honor column places the

fortunate doubler in a most advantageous position, as he starts the

rubber insured against loss unless he suffer a similar penalty.

When the only game finished has been won by the adversaries, a large

bonus should be preferred to game. As the adversaries already have a

game, the next hand may give them the rubber, and should it do so, its

amount will be most materially affected by the action of the player who

has the chance either to score a bonus or win a game. If the first game

be of normal size, a large bonus will nullify the result of the rubber,

but if instead a game be taken in the adversaries will score an average


When the player considering a double has a game and the adversaries

have not, he is in a most excellent position to double with the hope of

a big winning. To secure the enlarged rubber, it is only necessary for

him to obtain one game before the adversaries get two, and as the odds

are greatly in his favor it is a chance worth taking.

When, however, each side has a game and the question is whether to

obtain a bonus or score rubber, the bonus must be large and sure to

justify giving up a rubber practically won for merely an equal chance

of capturing a larger one. It has been elsewhere stated that when a

player who has an opportunity to win a rubber fails to avail himself of

it, and on the next hand the adversaries reach the goal, the loss may

be roughly estimated at 600 points. The player who doubles during the

third game knows that the next hand may see the adversaries score the

rubber. Even if he obtain 400 points by doubling, and this happens, the

adversaries gain to the extent of approximately 200 points by his

action. On the other hand, he has an equal chance for the game, and if

he win it, he will be the gainer by the amount secured by the double.

When he has a sure 400 in sight, or even a sure 300, with a reasonable

chance of more, the odds favor the double, but it is the height of

folly to take an even chance of losing 600 unless 300 be the minimum


Advice as to whether to double or go game is useful only for players

who can with accuracy estimate the trick-taking value of their hands.

To refuse a double which would net several hundred for the sake of

going game and then fall a trick short of both the game and the

declaration is most exasperating, while on the other hand to double for

a big score, instead of taking in a sure game, only to have the double

fail, is equally heart-breaking.

The player who takes either horn of this dilemma must be sure of his

ground and must figure the chances with the greatest care.

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