We’ve been talking a lot recently about learning how to visualize the unseen hands.

This hand doesn’t look that special at first, but it provides a great chance to practice “seeing” the unseen hands.

@graeme leads @bajir through this hand, training him to build an image of East and West’s hands.

You can review the most recent video we did about this subject here:

How to bring your bridge to the next level

48 Comments

  1. We’ve been talking a lot recently about learning how to visualize the unseen hands.

    Take a sneak peek at a new video we just made following up on this concept – @graeme leads @bajir through this hand, training him to build an image of East and West’s hands.

    For the beginners and learners, watch the video and then try this yourself. How does it feel?

    For the more experienced players, how do you visualize the unseen hands? Do you picture their shape? Do you keep track of the actual numbers? Tell us how you actually “see” them.

  2. Profile photo of motherfloss motherfloss says:

    I dont visualise them – my brain doesn’t work that way, however I keep track and count and work out as best possible who has what. It is sometimes a bit of a gamble, which works or not so on an even basis.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1N 2 P P
    P

  3. Profile photo of dcatjones dcatjones says:

    Would love to get some practice hands to apply this counting. Perhaps as you bring hands up daily – can you ID hands that would be good to practice the counting?
    I have always tried to count trump and then my important side suit – but that is about as far as I have gotten.
    Novice player always looking for helpful videos like this – WONDERFUL @graeme and @bajir
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1 2 2 3
    P P P

    • Profile photo of bajir bajir says:

      Thank you for this feedback – we have been so happy seeing the reception to the videos covering this topic. We really like the idea of identifying hands that are good for practicing this sort of shape visualization. Not sure exactly how it would work yet, but we’ll keep thinking on it!

  4. Profile photo of graybill graybill says:

    A bit advanced for me but will try and remember to work on it later. I’m working on just watching what the opponents are playing. I quite often forget to do that – pretty basic, I know.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1N 2 P P
    P

    • Profile photo of bajir bajir says:

      Not basic at all and you’re not alone! We’ll all keep helping each other learn and improve. Of course, having fun is the most important thing for us to keep in mind. 🙂

    • Profile photo of graeme graeme says:

      Actually, @graybill, I know exactly what you mean about not noticing what’s going on. You have to find a way to get the info to stick. I have some ideas that will hopefully help and I’ll make sure to cover those in some coming videos. Gonna do a live experiment on @bajir and you’ll see how it works. 😉

    • Profile photo of bajir bajir says:

      Uh, oh. I’m scared, @graybill. The last time @graeme wanted to do an experiment on me, he dropped me off in the middle of the Great Victoria Desert with nothing but a snickers bar, Ely Culbertson’s autobiography, and a pack of cards missing all the 3s and 7s. I made it out, but just barely. Maybe you’d be up for joining @graeme for his next “experiment”?

  5. Profile photo of ginny13 ginny13 says:

    Hi @graeme could you do this or get Tina to do it with Acol thanks, Ginny13
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1N 2 P P
    P

  6. Profile photo of loulla loulla says:

    Hi @graeme: I watched the video and it is great. Counting the cards is what I am working on so appreciate you doing this video. I played this hand pretty much as you and Bajir which made me proud. I am enjoying sky bridge.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1N 2 P P
    P

  7. Profile photo of rajika rajika says:

    This is really very valuable, As a bridge player i really appreciated. dont know whether i will have patient to do so.. but ..Thank you..!! one day i would succeed..Thanks again..!!! Darshani From Auckland Bridge Club. New Zealand..
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1N 2 P P
    P

  8. Profile photo of bala1954 bala1954 says:

    Well, as I do every so often, I followed the hint and passed 2D. Loved the video!! What made the example “easier” was that both west and east bid. So, if both opponents pass, how does that affect your ability to “visualize” their hands? Perhaps you get further into the hand before you can, or not? Possibly another video on this great topic?
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1 2 2 P
    P P

  9. Profile photo of normie616 normie616 says:

    Let West have their 2 D contract took them down 2 tricks cheers normie S.A
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1 2 2 P
    P P

  10. Profile photo of cyncha cyncha says:

    I always check for vulnerability. If we are not then anything goes. Didn’t want the opponents to get partial game. What is best? Let them go down 2 or go game?
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1 2 2

  11. Profile photo of MargM MargM says:

    Took them down – contract 2D
    They made 6 but we made 7 in defence
    Mm
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1 2 2 P
    P P

  12. Profile photo of jbrown jbrown says:

    Loved the video!
    I am going to keep practicing with this video in mind.

  13. Profile photo of mcbradford mcbradford says:

    I heard Graeme talk about this before but I couldn’t do it. I will try again as this video is very good to follow. I usually try and count the cards but I get lost. I will practise this now.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1 2 2 3
    P P P

  14. Profile photo of graeme graeme says:

    Want some bonus points, anybody? Playing Standard, as soon as you see dummy you can tell West has 4432 shape and 12-14 points. Tell me why!

    • Profile photo of 2Alisonrun 2Alisonrun says:

      Just thinking of this makes my brain tired Graeme! but I guess that is the whole point: use it or lose it. Is the answer worth a video on its own?

    • Profile photo of 2Alisonrun 2Alisonrun says:

      thank you very much for the 2 videos. I processed the advice down to 3 steps towards visualising suit distribution for myself, as a novice and I’m hoping you can tell me if I’ve got it right: first the bids: make it automatic to deduce the minimum number of cards held as indicated by each bid. Secondly, when dummy is down, calculate the number of remaining cards in the other 2 hands and the possible distributions (I’m thinking that for a while I might only do this for one or two suits, especially trumps and our longest suit). And finally watch the leads and discards to guess when players are playing their last trick. Once I get step 1 down I’ll move on to the others and so on although I think a bit of the other deducing might also occur even as I concentrate on step 1.

      • Profile photo of graeme graeme says:

        Great @2Alisonrun! I know it seems like an awful lot of work, but the more you do it the more natural it will become. It’s like going for a run. It hurts to start with but it’s nothing tricky. You just have to make it a habit and in the end it’s easy.

        I should add that I hate running. I sometimes walk reasonably quickly to the coffee shop. But I’m sure I’d like running if I lived in another universe or something so the idea sort of still applies.

  15. Profile photo of cbodmer cbodmer says:

    This was a great lesson. I enjoyed it very much. Thnak you!
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1 2 2 P
    P P

  16. Profile photo of katerina katerina says:

    Bid and made 3 clubs
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1 2 2 3
    P P P

  17. Profile photo of hagleyjazz hagleyjazz says:

    Great video @graeme and @bajir. I have been trying this for a while now and didn’t think I was getting anywhere (about form losing count of other things – like trumps 🙂 ) ..BUT its starting to make a difference. Every now and then I “know” one of the opposition must have started with 5 of something. Keep up the videos as it provides the incentive for me to keep trying.

  18. Profile photo of twocents twocents says:

    Sometimes it’s about intuition, about reading hesitations, about the discards that builds up a picture in my mind. I’m not good at remembering numbers so this video will give me something to practise!

  19. Profile photo of davstevens davstevens says:

    With neither side vulnerable I went on to 3C which made due to bad defense, giving me 110 instead of 100 for setting 2D two tricks.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1 2 2 3
    P P P

  20. Profile photo of nelle nelle says:

    Bid and made 3C before watching the video. As I am always trying to improve playing the hand I enjoyed and learned from the viedo. Thanks @graeme and @bajir.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1 2 2 3
    P P P

  21. Profile photo of nodttiurp nodttiurp says:

    Why dis west bid diamond rather than spade?

  22. Profile photo of madoux madoux says:

    hi
    bid 3c and made it
    excellent class need more of them
    forget to think what the other cards are
    thanks
    m
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1 2 2 3
    P P P

  23. E/w bid 2 hearts, down 2.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1 2 2 P
    P P

  24. Played it again in 3 clubs for our side, which made.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1 2 2 3
    P P P

  25. Profile photo of dcatjones dcatjones says:

    Love this video and sure wish as a novice I could get the counts of opposition down quickly. My trouble is trying to multi task – getting the bids right the number of tricks I need to make the contract and then trying to figure out where the cards are with opponents. Could @graeme explain when does he start the counting of the opponents cards – is it once the dummy is down or during the bidding process?

    • Profile photo of graeme graeme says:

      Good question, @dcatjones. When I’ve really been focussed on my game I try to start guessing the likely shapes even during the auction. Often we’re just twiddling our thumbs while the opposition are bidding so there’s plenty of thinking time available. But it’s easy to get lazy so half the battle is maintaining concentration. I’ll show you what I mean on a video once the video team is back in action for 2017.

  26. Profile photo of jan2bridge jan2bridge says:

    @bajir and grame ,I always enjoy your banter.

  27. Profile photo of garywilson garywilson says:

    Didn’t read the above comments, but Bob Hammon, one of the world’s great players, once famously said that if you couldn’t visualize the hands you couldn’t become a great player. So, you might ask him how he does it. We peons probably wouldn’t get a response, but someone in your organization might.

  28. Profile photo of chaley chaley says:

    Played 3 clubs and made the contract. Thanks
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1 2 2 3
    P P P

  29. Profile photo of chaley chaley says:

    Played 3 clubs and made the contract. Thanks
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1 2 2 3
    P P P

  30. Profile photo of chini chini says:

    Opponents down 1,
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1 2 2 P
    P P

  31. Profile photo of cacho cacho says:

    bid and made 3 Cl
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1 2 2 3
    P P P

  32. Profile photo of lorraineb lorraineb says:

    Graham & Bajir, thank you for alerting me to yet another skill to use playing Bridge. Takes me all my effort to count cards for trump suit, and trying to play longest suit. Will try to master visualizing and see how I go. Thank you for an extremely interesting lesson. Will watch this video again.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1 2 2 P
    P P

    • Profile photo of graeme graeme says:

      Great, @lorraineb! It takes some work but all the hard thinking helps to knock your brain into shape. Funny thing is that I find that the visualisation process ends up making the counting easier. It’s not like your adding even more things to think about, you’re just thinking about things in a more general way. Thanks for the kind words. Love having you play with us at Sky Bridge Club.

  33. Profile photo of shiningstar shiningstar says:

    3C making contract
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1 2 2 3
    P P P

  34. Bid 3 clubs & made
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    1N 2 P 3
    P P P

  35. Profile photo of purnima purnima says:

    video is interesting, must try.
    i have some problem however in understanding american accent.

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    Rank Player SP
    1 danilala 80
    1 Lidi 80
    3 sbc35763527 79
    4 Onoville 77
    4 sbc18844023 77
    6 Rosiea 76
    6 vickiadnams 76
    8 Janton45 75
    9 dianaashm 73
    9 sbc26554499 73
    9 tkb 73
    9 firie 73
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    15 eddstac 71
    15 bookie 71
    17 mendoza 70
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    22 Ron1945 68
    22 JDM20 68
    22 cat10 68
    22 Sue35 68
    26 EileenAitchison 67
    26 mdstiver 67
    28 Macymoo 66
    29 sbc50311711 65
    29 ChristyFarley 65
    29 sbc25722123 65
    32 BobSky 64
    33 Golfmadviv 63
    33 Vigg75137 63
    33 craigbr 63
    33 rosepetal14 63
    33 PaulGill 63
    33 Spanner 63
    33 cinnamon 63
    33 lizzy 63
    33 sbc41372817 63
    42 vicwaitt 62
    42 chalker546 62
    42 sbc4306656 62
    42 beahessick 62
    46 sbc13499315 61
    46 Taranaki2 61
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    46 newcastlewe 61
    46 vemsley 61
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    46 Sallyb 61
    46 jeffreyt 61
    46 GeorgMilos 61
    46 sbc14011743 61
    46 sbc28900929 61
    46 JOHNkib 61
    46 bruce1 61
    46 sbc4453983 61
    46 Cape 61
    61 sbc7083662 60
    61 sbc9191490 60
    61 bevkaron 60
    61 donmather 60
    61 Mogsie 60
    61 sbc13928533 60
    61 sbc56954 60
    61 Rosie196 60
    61 Barbot 60
    61 sbc29640019 60
    61 GIVMFITZ 60
    72 sbc12542868 59
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    72 entropyrules 59
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    83 sbc3122486 58
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    83 owen 58
    83 Meriel 58
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    8 sbc4296252 204
    10 KevinOC 200
    11 entropyrules 199
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    11 atomgirl 199
    11 JDM20 199
    15 firie 197
    15 Mickey 197
    15 whoami 197
    18 mdstiver 196
    18 Mogsie 196
    20 Ron1945 193
    20 Janton45 193
    22 JcksPA 192
    22 eddstac 192
    24 Onoville 191
    25 Spanner 189
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    36 Golfmadviv 179
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    36 sbc4745969 179
    41 trishh 177
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    41 sbc26554499 177
    41 Mumble 177
    45 Cary2 174
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    46 rosepetal14 173
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    71 Bibby 163
    71 Fer001 163
    73 AmyO 162
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    76 prairiejeanne7 161
    76 bluewren 161
    76 sbc4306656 161
    79 sbc18008770 160
    79 cat10 160
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    79 sbc4646054 160
    83 sbcm1950 159
    83 sbc41372817 159
    83 Barbot 159
    83 GIVMFITZ 159
    83 lesley62 159
    83 Timbo 159
    83 vicwaitt 159
    90 bridgelou 158
    90 Matuku 158
    90 GeorgMilos 158
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    23 sbc4296252 16347
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    25 PetraBrom 16276
    26 tommyswami4 16121
    27 Jmveniot 16120
    28 Meriel 16041
    29 JackieSohn 15977
    30 Spanner 15923
    31 chalker546 15855
    32 stecho 15814
    33 sbc56954 15574
    34 Tentacoli 15573
    35 sbc35763527 15550
    36 Francees 15420
    37 Macymoo 15150
    38 sbc21268238 15146
    39 otoole 14995
    40 whoami 14983
    41 polymath 14966
    42 sbc4306656 14947
    43 lesley62 14926
    44 tkb 14800
    45 Fer001 14713
    46 LindyLoo 14702
    47 drcunn1 14476
    48 sbc19643216 14442
    49 sbc13928533 14410
    50 JOHNkib 14216
    51 mcginty 14116
    52 jmak 14100
    53 Robyn 14012
    54 Judyc 14007
    55 sbc32455392 13995
    56 sbc18008770 13987
    57 vemsley 13895
    58 Lidi 13712
    59 sbcm1950 13673
    60 RentiaVink 13668
    61 Mogsie 13636
    62 MissingYou 13617
    63 margz1955 13583
    64 sbc2440977 13542
    65 sbc38134777 13413
    66 Baygon2014 13412
    67 Darrjenn 13347
    68 vickiadnams 13263
    69 billkay43 13231
    70 JoyWelsford 13061
    71 Pjay 13021
    72 Loveit 12848
    73 Mickey 12846
    74 sbc10809774 12817
    75 rosepetal14 12809
    76 MrsB 12780
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    86 bluewren 11505
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    88 sbc4327767 11397
    89 joycejohn 11362
    90 banksia9 11158
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    92 sbc41372817 11099
    93 pammack 10819
    94 Vicks 10797
    95 rml1931 10736
    96 darlene 10733
    97 Deka 10669
    98 nero43 10615
    99 sbc26554499 10606
    100 sbc11338500 10571
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    2 Tina 1731
    3 graeme 957
    4 qamarabbasi 256
    5 Harish 38
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