Last night in my local den of Guinness Declan the Donplayer commiserated with me on the recent cheating scandals in top level bridge. He started by reissuing his challenge that Himself and Shane would destroy me at bridge if they had a month to prepare their methods. 4 months ago when he made this statement I had laughed at him indicating his very basic knowledge of bridge would not be enough added to the most sophisticated cheating system to beat Eamon and another reasonable player. Shane and Declan are both very knowledgeable in card games and both picked up enough basics of bridge to manage to play online in under an hour. Shane's first hand on Bridge-Now involved finding a defensive unblock from a suit headed by KQJT to allow his partner win with the 9.
So there was something there.
Last night Declan the Donplayer indicated "Eamon I have played DON since I was 10 and I am from Sheriff Street and in every game over those 40 years I have cheated. It was a way of life in painter decorators lives. You cheated at lunchtime and got the good jobs in the afternoons. "Declan you win the game for me at lunchtime and I will teach you paper hanging this afternoon"
"Eamon the one game I hate is Texas Holdem you only get two cards and you have no partner and someone else deals the cards and they do this burning thing so there is no way for me to cheat"
"Eamon but this bridge stuff ...you giving me 13 cards and a cheating partner... Nobody would have a hope against us once I learn a little bidding. 13 cards to play = 13 chances to cheat." "Ye even play these transfers so my partner can let me play every hand. I open the No trump and he pitches his suit so I can bid it. Trained monkey stuff. I don't even need a partner who knows bridge.
"So Declan all the games of DON we played over last 3 years ..you been cheating me ?
"Afraid so Eamon but remember sometimes you were my partner so you did not get cheated"
"But Declan I won more games against you than I lost. "
"Eamon that's because you count and remember the cards so I cannot renege or pick up the last 2
tricks into my pile as you will remember all the tricks ..I have lost more euros since you started playing but I don't mind as you have produced more victims for me. You taught all those 20 something lads how to play and now I get their euros.
"Eamon I told you months ago ... "Where there are humans and money there will be cheating and don't think for a minute there are only 4 dunces at the top of the game cheating. There are probably about 10 pairs in the top 100 pairs of bridge. There are also a few shifty characters in all those clubs where you referee. However they won't be cheaters like me as they don't come from a tradesmans background where we played DON every lunchtime and if you lost at lunchtime you fetched and carried paint cans and washed brushes all afternoon"
DON is a bridge like game where you win points by winning tricks contraining 9s an 5s
The 9 is the big DON and the 5 is the little DON.
AKQJ of trumps are worth 4321 points
DONs in trump are worth double so trump dons are 18 and 10
So 80 points in every deal and 2 deals and first past 80 wins.
Cheating in DON is called BILLYING and involves stuff like
1, Drawing partners attention to a suit illegally
2. Leading out of turn
4. Reneging (called revoke in bridge)
5. Peeking in an opponents hand
6. Claiming more points than you scored
7. Picking up an opponents trick and putting on your pile
8. Reusing cards from quitted tricks
9. Marking a high scoring card with a nick
10 Putting an Ace on the bottom of deck for yourself when dealing
As DON is played in less serene surroundings than bridge getting caught BILLYING
might involve some physical violence and little evidence.
DON in our drinking place is played for 1 euro a corner and a game lasts about 30 minutes and involves up to 6 hands of 13 tricks. In my last 12 games I am leading Declan the Donplayer by 10-2 in games so I have 8 of his euros in my pocket.
I don't think Declan bothers cheating anymore as its too much work for a euro.
However he told me ..Eamon there are loads of lads out there like me who are "good" at cards.
One night I brought Declan to the bridge club and within 10 minutes he found some ex-DON players and was chatting away. He also spotted Maurice and his can of Guinness and his hand of cards and his toothy smile.
"Eamon you showed me a new life .. That's me over there when I am 70 ..Guinness cards and victims"