Partnership Hearts - A Legitimate Game?

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1TOP MUSH
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GOT IT

Post by 1TOP MUSH » Sat Jan 17, 2004 11:08 am

A friend copied and sent me the page 2 messages. Still, tis odd I cannot access this page!

Thanks, Tomes and starfire, for the comments.

Just_Ice and Omni, the reason I don't answer every single point, item by item, is that I'm annoyed with your posts and find them totally off point. (I still think highly of both of you, but at the moment, I'm a tad annoyed.)

You have taken a simple question and made it into the encyclopedia of peripheral issues.

I've already learned what I wanted to know: namely that more than 60% of those who responded to this poll and that of my TOP hearts tourney agree this kind of signalling is cheating. My goal in starting this thread was to find out if I was the only one who felt that way. I now know I am not alone in feeling this way. That was all I wanted t know in the first place.

It's a moral and ethical issue with me, which you do not seem to understand. No amount of rhetoric will change my mind on a subject that I find morally wrong FOR ME. And no, I do not think YOU are a cheater because I do not think it is your INTENT to cheat. For most others who use these signals, however, I believe cheating is their INTENTION.

I don't know how much clearer I can say it. I'm truly tired of repeating myself, and I'm sure others are truly tired of me doing so as well.

The subject has ended for me, and please don't pose other questions for me to respond to. I'd prefer to say no more. Thanks.
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Post by omni_555 » Sat Jan 17, 2004 1:14 pm

Mushy, I am dismayed and upset by your cavalier attitude towards my questions. Had you asked your question in private of a few of your acquaintences, there would not be quite the same situation. But you chose to ask it in this PUBLIC forum. And I am STILL trying to get clarification on some of the issues that you have presented.

Let ME take some time to respond to YOUR points. YOU may respond if you wish.
1TOP MUSH wrote:Just_Ice and Omni, the reason I don't answer every single point, item by item, is that I'm annoyed with your posts and find them totally off point. (I still think highly of both of you, but at the moment, I'm a tad annoyed.)
Mushy, YOU started this thread, and if it has gone deeper than you initially INTENDED I don't think that that is anyone's fault. I have certainly NOT tried to be annoying, but I DO always look for answers and explanations. When an answer to a pointed question is not forthcoming, the assumption is that either the person being questioned has lost interest in the topic, or else the answer is not to their advantage.
1TOP MUSH wrote:You have taken a simple question and made it into the encyclopedia of peripheral issues.
There is NO SUCH THING as a simple question. If you want to look at it that way, though, MY responses have been EQUALLY simple. I have repeatedly asked for the difference between common, everyday knowledge obtained from playing with a partner for more than one game, and that SAME information gleaned from a conversation with the partner OUTSIDE THE GAME ENTIRELY.
1TOP MUSH wrote:I've already learned what I wanted to know: namely that more than 60% of those who responded to this poll and that of my TOP hearts tourney agree this kind of signalling is cheating. My goal in starting this thread was to find out if I was the only one who felt that way. I now know I am not alone in feeling this way. That was all I wanted t know in the first place.
I'm sorry, but that sounds like a selfish attitude. YOU started this topic, now YOU are saying that YOU have gotten what YOU wanted from the responses, and now you are finished with it. But you STILL have to get in a last pointed dig at the rest of us who use card signalling. No, maybe you don't THINK you are putting in a dig at us, but you repeatedly say that this is cheating. See below for further comments...
1TOP MUSH wrote:It's a moral and ethical issue with me, which you do not seem to understand. No amount of rhetoric will change my mind on a subject that I find morally wrong FOR ME. And no, I do not think YOU are a cheater because I do not think it is your INTENT to cheat. For most others who use these signals, however, I believe cheating is their INTENTION.
I understand moral and ethical issues VERY well. I have several degrees in the areas of applied education and educational administration, as well as having more than 20 years experience in the classroom teaching secondary school students aas well as Adult Education classes, and have dealt with a number of moral and ethical issues.

I am actually insulted by the comments you make in your last quote here. You say that you do not consider ME to be a cheater, but those who SURROUND me very likely ARE. It's sort of like when someone looks at a thief and a pickpocket who steals to feed himself and says that HE is not really a criminal, because it is not his intent, but all the low-lifes AROUND him ARE!!!

Let me state fFOR THE RECORD that I do NOT believe that ANYONE uses card signalling with the intent of cheating, for the simple reason that THERE IS NO RULE THAT SAYS THAT CARD SIGNALLING IS NOT ALLOWED!!! I DO believe that people use card signalling to gain an ADVANTAGE over their opponents - NOT an UNFAIR advantage, since the OPPONENTS have the SAME right to use this device themselves.

ONE question which you have continuously ducked I will pose here to allow ANYONE ELSE to answer it, if they can!

Should ALL "advantages" that one team has over another be nullified in order to make the game more "fair" to the disadvantaged team? In other words, if you have some PRIOR KNOWLEDGE of your partner's playing style that the OTHER team is UNAWARE OF, should you not be forced to either reveal that knowledge or else wipe it from your memory and NOT use it? To take it a step farther, the same question asks if it is UNFAIR for a team that has extensive experience to play against a team without as much playing experience? If so, and following that logic, we should probably just set up our tables and let BOTS play the game FOR us.

In all of my posts on this subject (and I think I speak for most of the others who have expressed similar views on this topic) I have NEVER put your integrity or morals into question. I have said that YOU and ANYONE ELSE has the right to play as you wish, WITHIN THE RULES OF THE GAME. But YOU have constantly come back and said in ONE breath that we others can play as we wish but that YOU still consider it cheating, at least for some. And THAT is illogical, since if an action taken by ONE person is cheating, then by implication it is cheating for ANYONE who also takes that same action.

So, it is irrelevant that you think that myself, Just_Ice, and some others who sometimes practice (or at least agree with) card signalling are fine, upstanding, honest people, when you turn around and say that some OTHERS who do the SAME THING are NOT solely because of those same actions.

Sounds sorta like Medieval justice here... where if a person was accused of being a witch, she was bound hand and foot and tossed into a lake or pond. The assumption was that if she floated to the top and saved herself, then she HAD to be a witch and was summarily put to death, but if she drowned she had proven herself innocent of all charges, since a REAL witch would NOT have let herself drown!

I do not like being tossed into the pond. If I float or drown, the end result will be the same. 8)
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Partnership Hearts / Signals / Conventions, etc.

Post by Joe Andrews » Sat Jan 17, 2004 1:49 pm

Hello once gain. I see that this Topic has generated a lot of controversey, that is for sure! As I said previously, I am thrilled that Hardwood conducts Partnership Hearts in the Original Format (combined scores of one Team vs. combined scores of the other Team in a "We / They" format)

As for Cheating issues, let me be perfectly clear by going on the record and stating-- "If a Team in a Partnership game wants to cheat, they can devise a system which can be virtually fool-proof and undetectable." In on-line events, a pair can use Card Counters, the phone, two computers in the same room ,etc. In "live" events, a pair can develop a body language, or inflection/cadence system which can convey information to each other. Determined players who want to cheat, will cheat.......

Are legitimite carding systems (a/k/a "Conventions") acceptable? Becuase we do NOT have an "Alert" procedure in place (as is done in the game of Bridge), I would have to concede on this point, and easy my criticism or use of card signalling systems. If a certain Club discard on trick one promises to Partner that you hold the spade Queen, so be it. For the record, I have always used the system listed below (for locating the spade Queen) in partners' hand.

a. If I take the opening lead, and lead a spade, I don't have the Queen in my hand! (pretty logical!) If I do hold the spade Queen, I continue clubs or shift to diamonds. (pretty logical!)

b. If my partner takes the opening the opening lead, the above applies.

c. If either opponent takes the opening lead, the above still applies.
(One must assume that they are good and logical players).

d. If I do have the spade Queen, and anyone leads a spade, I play my
lowest spade first, then a higher spade, to show that I hold the "lady".

e. If I don't hold the spade Queen, and someone else leads a spade, I
play a higher (Jack, down to the 6) spade first, then a low spade.

f. On the across pass, I have an agreement with my partner to
exchange spades and hearts. (We decide who is passing spades, and
who is passing hearts.) Inferences are then drawn from the play.

I say that we put this "puppy" to rest, and carry on. Enjoy the game,
play hard, and play clean!

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Post by omni_555 » Sat Jan 17, 2004 10:53 pm

...Would just like to emphasize here a point of simple logic. Even the system that Joe describes is not infallible.

a, b & d)Take for instance if you hold ONLY the AK spades! Will you THEN lead a Spade to show that you do not have the Q?!!! That would be a pretty sure way to GET her! LOL

c) ...Maybe the opps were victims of a misclick, or are deliberately trying to mislead their opponents. Oe maybe they have a TOTALLY DIFFERENT convention!

e) Again, what if you are holding the AK, or the A or K and some OTHER spade?... Or even a singleton Spade?... Again, possible misreads of the play by your partner...

f) Not MUCH can go wrong with THIS one, but I am SURE that there is SOMETHING that COULD!!! LOL (A mis-click comes to mind!)

The above negative comments are not meant to diminish the usefulness of the conventions Joe described, but merely to point out that they are NOT infallible as would be OTHER types of communication, such as direct talking, winks, finger taps, and other types of communication (at least ALMOST 100% infallible!)!

I agree with Joe here. We need to at least take a break from this topic for a while. Let's leave it at there being two opposed camps to this topic and move on... at least for now. 8)
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Arrrrrrrgh

Post by 1TOP MUSH » Sat Jan 17, 2004 11:12 pm

Omni, you are one of my favorite and most respected people I've come into contact with at Hardwood. I am simply not in agreement with you here, but it in no way affects my respect or affection for you, even when you tick me off. We have a disagreement, and we are not likely to resolve it to each other's satisfaction.

But some of what you said just is too difficult for me to ignore.

Omni, you say: "Let me state fFOR THE RECORD that I do NOT believe that ANYONE uses card signalling with the intent of cheating, for the simple reason that THERE IS NO RULE THAT SAYS THAT CARD SIGNALLING IS NOT ALLOWED!!! I DO believe that people use card signalling to gain an ADVANTAGE over their opponents - NOT an UNFAIR advantage, since the OPPONENTS have the SAME right to use this device themselves."

I am so aghast at this statement that I cannot believe you were serious. Surely you are joking or being sarcastic for effect, because to say NO ONE uses card signaling for cheating is just preposterous. Simply because you can't find a written 'rule' against it does not make it right. I have not seen written "Heart's rules" (except league rules) against use of voice chat, IMs, phone, cams, fooms, planned delays in playing certain cards, etc. -- and yet, you agree use of those is 'cheating'. Saying card signaling cannot be used for cheating because it's not a 'written rule' means all these then must not be cheating because they, too, are not "written rules"? Gimme a break.

You also say: ONE question which you (I) have continuously ducked I will pose here to allow ANYONE ELSE to answer it, if they can!

Should ALL "advantages" that one team has over another be nullified in order to make the game more "fair" to the disadvantaged team? In other words, if you have some PRIOR KNOWLEDGE of your partner's playing style that the OTHER team is UNAWARE OF, should you not be forced to either reveal that knowledge or else wipe it from your memory and NOT use it? To take it a step farther, the same question asks if it is UNFAIR for a team that has extensive experience to play against a team without as much playing experience? If so, and following that logic, we should probably just set up our tables and let BOTS play the game FOR us."

Again, I have answered this many times: No, no, no. I continue to make a difference between knowledged picked up in the course of playing the game, and knowledge picked up from private signals known only to you and your pard.

Joe's lists of his personal conventions was interesting and illuminating. Most of them are common-sense concepts, I have used in play without thinking of them as "conventions'. ALL of them are, however, directly related to the cards as played -- they are not HIDDEN signals -- and that is a key ingredient.

When he says, "If I take the opening lead, and lead a spade, I don't have the Queen in my hand! (pretty logical!) If I do hold the spade Queen, I continue clubs or shift to diamonds. (pretty logical!)" -- everyone at the table has the opportunity to look at his plays and come to certain conclusions about his hand -- based on HIS PLAY. The way he plays his SPADES can lead his partner or his opponents to come to some conclusions about the SPADES Joe may hold in his hand.

But secret signals often are NOT directly related to the cards as played. For example, a signal may be: playing lower than a seven of CLUBS on the player's first lead means he has the QUEEN OF SPADES. The signal is hidden in the play -- it is NOT available to others at the table who are not privy to the secret signals.

Every 'convention' Joe mentioned in his last post was directly related to the way he played his cards -- not hidden signals, but inferences and conclusions that could be made from WHAT HE PLAYED.

He adds that if a certain card played means his partner has the queen, so be it -- yet his own 'conventions' are NOT structured that way (and he seems to have changed his mind from his earlier thoughts, which is all well and good, though a bit confusing!)

Can you not see the difference between inferences available to all from the play of cards VS secret signals outside normal 'conventions' that are designed solely to tell your partner specifically what is in your hand?

This is where I throw my hands in the air and give up. Your mind is so closed on this subject -- every bit as closed as my own! We are hamsters on a wheel, spinning madly and expending vast amounts of energy -- but getting absolutely nowhere.

We must agree to disagree on these issues, my friend. You have worn me out.
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Post by omni_555 » Sun Jan 18, 2004 9:33 am

Melinda, my comment about not believing anyone uses card signalling to cheat WAS as stated. Quite simply, I do NOT believe that a LEGAL play (leagl in MY opinion...) can be used to cheat.

That said, I should address my comment about "written rules". Maybe I used the wrong term there. All rules followed in a game are not necessarily written - especially the "do not's"!!! If that were the case, we would have VOLUMES and VOLUMES of nothing but rules for EVERY SINGLE GAME!!! LOL

Maybe I should have stated it thusly - illegal forms of communication such as fooming, IM's, verbal communication, etc have been long recognized as against the "rules" of the game, even if those "rules" are largely unwritten. We don't need a "rule" to say that one could get disqualified for spitting in his opponent's face!!! I don't think that ANY of us would play in a live event where THAT were accepted!!!

Now, when it comes to card signalling, the MAIN bone of contention here seems to be "Where to we draw the line???" We BOTH agree that SOME forms of communication by using the cards is acceptable - we just disagree on how SPECIFIC this communication can get, and the SOURCE of the information used for the communication. Apparently not even YOU are saying that ALL card signalling conventions are bad...

YOU think the form should be non-specific, with the SUIT indicating something about the hand - MY view is that if the opponents are unaware of this convention that it is NO DIFFERENT than using a specific CARD to indicate the same thing about the hand.

YOU feel that ALL the information used by the players should be obtained from the actual PLAYING of the game and direct observation of the opponent's method of playing - MY view is that the ultimate result is NO DIFFERENT whether you have observed in past games that your partner ALWAYS has the Q Spades when he leads a Diamond lower than 7, or whether your partner has TOLD you that fact prior to this new game. The way I look at that issue is "Should a team have a BIG advantage over me simply because they have player together for a long time, and I have a new partner?" Obviously, I cannot go out hours before the tournament and play game after game with this new partner (assuming he is even AVAILABLE for this) just to observe enough information to make us competitive with a team that has several hundred or more games under it's collective belt.

Contrary to how it might appear, my mind is NOT closed on this issue. If someone could explain to me what the real effectual difference is in both of these situations then I would be more than willing to change my view.

You said "No, no, no. I continue to make a difference between knowledged picked up in the course of playing the game, and knowledge picked up from private signals known only to you and your pard." MY problem is that I cannot SEE any difference here. Consider the following situation in a game:

You and I are partners. You have noticed that whenever we play and I have the Q Spades that I will always make my first lead (after the opening round of the 2 clubs, of course) with a Diamond lower than 7. If I do NOT have the Q Spades, I will lead a higher Diamond. If I lead anything other than a Diamond, it means that I HAVE no Diamonds or that the Diamond I would be forced to lead would be misleading!!! When you see me lead a Diamond 5 on my first lead, you KNOW that I have the Q Spades!!! We have NOT discusssed this prior to playing. You just KNOW it! But the OPPONENTS are UNAWARE of this little morsel of information. Do you feel that it is fair to make use of this knowledge and play accordingly, KNOWING that I have the spade Q?...

Now, let's look at our opponents. One of them knows that if a high Club is led by their partner that it means he has the Q Soades, and if he leads a low club he does not. Is it fair for THEM to use this information? ...Oh, I forgot... This is their first game playing together, and they got together a few hours before the game and discussed this strategy, of which WE are totally unaware.

If someone can explain the difference in these two situations to me than I will WILLINGLY and GLADLY beg your forgiveness for being so stubborn and will NEVER discuss startegy with anyone ever again!!!

Until then, I guess we will just have to be content with our own separate and different views on this topic.

And PLEASE do not give up in frustration at my pig-headedness. I LOVE a good debate, win or lose. And I am ALWAYS looking to have my eyes opened to a different point of view. It's just that I require a substantial amount of SOLID EVIDENCE before I change. 8)
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NUH UH

Post by 1TOP MUSH » Sun Jan 18, 2004 9:48 am

But, dear Omni, I see no way of providing the 'evidence' you demand -- because it does not exist ON EITHER SIDE of our disagreement.

I give up.

Now kiss me, ya big lug.
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Re: NUH UH

Post by omni_555 » Sun Jan 18, 2004 12:34 pm

1TOP MUSH wrote:But, dear Omni, I see no way of providing the 'evidence' you demand -- because it does not exist ON EITHER SIDE of our disagreement.

I give up.

Now kiss me, ya big lug.
<Smoooooooch!!!!!> 8)
Playing games should be FUN - seek out your own level! Don't frustrate others unnecessarily. 8)

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Aww

Post by 1TOP MUSH » Sun Jan 18, 2004 2:19 pm

Awwww, thanks. I needed that.

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Post by duffer36 » Sun Jan 18, 2004 3:55 pm

Put this argument to rest for Pete's sake. Neither side will ever convince the other that they are wrong. Agree to disagree and move on. The experts have spoken, thier opinions are clear. Since we originally spoke of Hearts only, and the only Hearts expert has chimed in that he feels it is cheating, deal with it and move on. Why some of you insist on changing it from a Hearts question to a Spades question is beyond my comprehension.

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Post by omni_555 » Sun Jan 18, 2004 3:59 pm

duffer36 wrote:Put this argument to rest for Pete's sake. Neither side will ever convince the other that they are wrong. Agree to disagree and move on. The experts have spoken, thier opinions are clear. Since we originally spoke of Hearts only, and the only Hearts expert has chimed in that he feels it is cheating, deal with it and move on. Why some of you insist on changing it from a Hearts question to a Spades question is beyond my comprehension.
ROTFLMAO!!!

Duffy, PLEASE read ALL the posts on this topic. Joe has revised his original contention that card signalling might be cheating and NOW agrees that it is NOT, and in fact even gave us an example of where he himself has USED it!!! 8)
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Partnership!

Post by Moordock » Sun Jan 18, 2004 4:04 pm

I don't normally play partnership hearts, but here are my thoughts anyhow.
If you are playing any game that involves one team playing against another team. Practice and getting to know what the other person(s) on your team is/are doing is the only way that one team will rise above the level of any other team.
I agree that fooming is table talk.
But, it seems that card signaling is a standard practice in MOST team card games. Since this is not against the rules, how can it be cheating?
Since every other team has this option, doesn't that give everyone the same level field to play on?
After all you can still only play the cards you are dealt and passed.

Moordock (Wishing he could count cards and figure out how to signal himself when he's losing in regular hearts....) :shock:

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Post by Smooch » Sun Jan 18, 2004 6:47 pm

Well it seems this subject is beaten into the ground about as far as it will go. Some people cheat. Others don't. Nothing much can be done about it in online games. Anyone that takes these games seriously needs readjustment. I'll tell ya one thing I did learn though. I thought all the hot air this week was in Iowa in preparation for the Democratic caucuses. There's enough in this thread to melt half the ice in Canada. :shock:

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Post by Just_Ice » Sun Jan 18, 2004 9:07 pm

Thanks again, Joe, for responding.

[Edited]

I agree with Mushy on the point that, I do believe it is about intent. If a person uses this with the thought they are cheating then they are. But, I also agree with omni that most (not all--but everyone who plays hearts who began with a team game background) of the people who practive card signaling only do so because they think it is the intentional "loophole" written into the rule for BOTH SIDES to take adantage of, to gain an advantage over the other. If you don't play smart and make the most of every play, then you are agreeing to let the cards have a greater bearing on the outcome of the game.

As a result of this thread I have better learned to understand your point of view, Mushy. If I had encountered someone at a game who accused me of cheating for card signaling to my partner, I would have thought it was a joke. Now, I will know they are serious and I feel I am better able to handle the situation. Many have expressed hard feelings and bitterness about this topic. But, I would like to thank everyone who took the time to post here. I learned from each of you. Thank you.

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Post by duffer36 » Wed Jan 21, 2004 5:41 pm

Omni, perhaps it is YOU who needs to read all the posts. Take a look at all of Joe's examples. Notice that they are all, except for one, dealing with the PLAY of the cards. Now remember that this topic originally dealt with the PASS of the cards. Joe's sole example of a passing signal is one person passes spades and the other passes hearts. Nothing specific regarding card holdings. Therefore I still stand by my original statement. In your haste to attempt to win an argument, don't be so quick to declare victory.

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