July 23, 2005

Results on Nil tweakage + miscellaneous prestige whoring

So, after my post on 15 July, suggesting that Nil should be revised downward, I received several positive responses. I later determined 20 to be the appropriate value for Nil, based on two objectives. Keep in mind the concept of relative score, which is a person's score, for a round, minus the average of all four players' gains, and is the best measure of a good or bad round. My first objective was that, if Slam is not achieved by any other player, Nil should provide a positive (or zero) relative score. This is true if the Nil bonus is at least 20. The second objective was for it to be at least 3 points better, from a relative-score perspective, to take 11 points and stop a Slam than to make Nil and allow it. In a relative-score perspective, conceding 3 points is equated to losing 1, which means that, according to this objective, Nil should score no more than 20. So 20 seems to be the perfect value for the Nil bonus. It also played very well in some testing last night.

Secondly, yesterday I scored the most prestigious strike in known history. At the time, I was 20 points in the lead (0/79 to 1/59) after four rounds. I was playing the hand to keep Nil open, but holding the king of clubs in a 5-long suit with the intention of taking it if the opportunity arose.

In the middle of the round, the player at my opposite led the 6, followed by a ruffed A. Holding the five and king of clubs, I had the option of declining the trick, but knowing I probably wouldn't probably be taking any more, I figured it was safe. I followed with the K, knowing the ace and 2 had already been played, expecting a 0-point club to follow, giving me a solid, probably 24-point trick. Wrong. Matt Davis, on my left, had run out of clubs and ruffed the K.

The resulting trick, 6-A-K-K, was worth 29 points, the greatest total possible. There are six possible 29-point tricks, but this was the highest-ranking of them, making it the single most prestigious trick possible. I took no others that round, and still struck (the split was 29-26-19-11) because of it, but because I had not yet seen a 29-point trick, and because I'm a prestige whore who wanted to be the one getting the first 29-pointer, it was well worth the strike.

I did, however, lose the game because of this strike, with 1/136 against 2/139.

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