Psych Bidding

What’s it all about ALPHIE?

You Mean Physic Bidding?

Who’s to use it?

You’re the one that has to decide.

What is a psych?

The Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge define a psychic call as “A deliberate and gross misstatement of honor strength or suit length.”

The key word is “gross.” If you forget the meaning of a call, that is not a psych. If you make a call with 12 points when your partnership agreement calls for a maximum of 11, that is not a psych – it is not a gross mis-statement. If you are playing five-card majors and open the bidding with one spade on a four-card holding, that is not a psych. In general your call is a gross misstatement, and therefore is considered a psych, if the call varies by at least two points in strength or two cards in length from your agreement.

Are psych’s allowed?

Clearly the Laws permit psych’s. Psychic bidding is a part of the game.

When does psyching become excessive?

Excessive psyching leads to implied and concealed partnership understandings and such understandings are serious offenses – they erode the very basics on which the game of bridge are built. Pairs that regularly use psych’s soon learn the type of psychic calls their partner makes and are prepared for the. The opponents do not have this same information, although the rules of the game call for complete disclosure of bidding methods.

Are there other psychic bids that aren’t allowed?

Frivolous psyches are especially bothersome and should never occur. These psych’s are usually inspired by malicious mischief or a lack of interest in a game that is going poorly. They can disrupt a game by causing an abnormal result.

Unsportsmanlike psych’s are equally bad. It is totally against the spirit of the game to throw a psychic call at a contending pair toward the end of the game because you want to create some action or because you’re having a game so bad that one more poor result won’t make any difference. It may make no difference to you, but it could change the winner of the event.

When should you make a psychic bid?

Even when your psych meets the requirement that your partner doesn’t know what’s going on, there still should always be a good tactical reason for your action. It should never be because you want to get back at so-and-so, or because you’re bored and want to create a little action, or because you’re having a bad game and what difference does one more bottom make?

Is psyching a good practice?

Psyching, in general, is not a good idea. A psych is a good tactic occasionally, but more often it’s a source or irritation, a violation of Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge, an unsportsmanlike tactic, or a combination of all three.

Why do players become upset when their opponents psych against them?

Although there are many humorous stories about psych’s, more often than not, psych’s lead to bad scores for the psych’s. In addition, players who are the victims of a successful psych often are upset by what they sometimes view as an unfair tactic. It doesn’t help the situation ay when the psych’s chooses this time to gloat.

What can be done to keep psyching under control?

  1. Education. Players need to be informed early in their bridge careers about the legal and social dangers of psyching. These warnings should be repeated from time to time. The best vehicles for this are the Bridge Bulletin, unit and district publications, tournament directors, club managers, and club directors.
  2. Suggested Reporting Requirements. All psych’s should be reported twice – once by the psycher and once by the side psyched against. Penalties should be assessed if the psycher fails to report a psych.
  3. Legal Adjustments. Sometimes it is clear that the partner of the psycher has bid in such a way as to allow for the possibility that partner has psyched – no other interpretation of the call seems to make much sense. Bidding to cover the possibility that your partner psyched indicates at least an implied understanding which is clearly in violation of the Laws. The director should make an adjustment to repair the damage, possibly give a procedural penalty, and deliver a stern warning to the offenders.
  4. Possible Expulsion. If a player is found to be psyching excessively, frivolously, or in an unsportsmanlike manner, the director should inform this player that if such tactics continue to be used, the player faces suspension from the game.

Side notes from a “Psychi”, himself.

You probably noticed the eyes watching you. Maybe this has something to do with the Psych. Things are not always what they appear to be. I wouldn’t take anything for granted. Always assume that there are eyes looking at you whenever you bid. Especially if you are using a Psych bid.

From the Ever Seeing Eyes.

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