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We are starting to roll our our next batch of training tools.

Just added today is "Beginner's Hand Classifier.
Beginner's Hand Classifier can be found in the Basics dropmenu (4th item in the list).
This must not be confused as an end-all be-all way to classify hands.
This is set up to assist a first-time player in progressing through their first game of pinochle, bearing in mind that it may actually be the first time they've ever played a card game with bidding, trump, or meld.

Although rakbeater and I have our grievances with CABS, the future toolsets will all be geared toward players learning how to better use CABS.
Priorities for this tool have been set with "Safety" first, followed closely by "Simplicity".
I'll explain that more specifically:
The program takes any hand that you generate, and gives up to 3 of 4 generalized ways it can be used to bid.
Each of the 4 classes of hands will be used to assist a player in making the correct calculated/specific bid in the next toolset.
The 4 classes are (in no particular order):
  • Meld Hand
  • Aces Hand
  • Declarer Hand
  • Pass Hand

The Meld Hand requires 18 meld or more.  This is only true for beginners, there are situations when 16 meld is sufficient but we are teaching concepts that are mostly safe and will keep a new player confident in their actions.  The meld hand also describes a hand with meld of 76 or more as an "Unlimited Meld Hand."  This is because in CABS there is no possible way to accurately distinguish meld amounts above that -- certainly not for beginners anyway.  Mention of the "Unlimited Meld Hand" is for use in the next toolset.

The Aces Hand requires Aces Around (Single,Double,Triple,Quadruple).  This is only true for beginners, there are situations when a hand without Aces Around might be considered an Aces Hand, but we are not teaching that to beginners.  There is no Triple or Quadruple Aces Around Hand, because CABS doesn't have a bid devoted to them specifically; and if you are dealt either of them, have a cigar, it will never happen to you again!

The Declarer Hand, which might also be called "Control Hand", "Competing Hand", "Captaincy Hand", requires an 8 card suit with an ace and a marriage.  This may seem too strict to experienced players.  The justification we are using is that it is "safe."  Statistically speaking, when you have an 8+ card trump suit, you are going to have more of that suit than anyone else.  This means even a novice is going to have a better chance of maintaining control of the trump.  Beginner's don't need to be bogged down with discussion about texture.  For now, we will just advise beginners to identify strong hands (like 8+ in a suit) so that when they do win the auction, they have a high likelihood of saving.  Partner saving hands are more situational and do not have a place in this beginner's toolset.  Save Hands will addressed in future toolsets.

The Pass Hand is what a hand is labeled when it doesn't qualify as any of the 3 biddable classes above.

This toolset will soon offer a Training program, however there will be no Test program.  The training program will not be timed like the Meld Training program.  This toolset is just a stepping stone.  Once you are competent in classifying hands, you will be ready to move on to the next toolset.  We don't want to brainwash players at this level by offering a Test, we want you to learn it and keep progressing.

I invite all of our visitors to check out the page and click the "Generate New Random Hand" button as many times as you like.  If you have used the Meld Calculator page, you'll find the controls are identical.  The green ticked box means the hand qualifies for that respective class, and of course, the red X means the hand doesn't qualify.  The permalink below the results can be used to save the current hand as a url.  The url can then be sent to someone else for discussion purposes.

This thread can be used to post questions of clarification, or for constructive criticisms.  Please refrain from arguing advanced pinochle points, as this is not the place.
I would suggest NOT including the NPA meld chart.  That extra 10 for the run, which is only in that meld chart, does impact bidding choices.  In NPA scoring, you just about HAVE to have the run, unless you have a TON of meld.  Plus, the NPA chart has *3* meld aberrations that come into play:  their single pino at 15, their run at 25, and their roundhouse...but I don't recall how they count it in total, maybe it is the same.  (Except for the run and roundhouse, but that's only 4 points, so no big deal.)  It's so vastly different that it would distort how you play anywhere else.  Plus, NPA isn't beginner-level, almost by definition.

Did you see the 2012 NPA final rules?  There's another big issue.  A round is 4 hands;  that makes perfect sense.  If you can shut them out on all 4 hands, you get a 200 point bonus.  To be sure, that wouldn't come into play all that often, but it would color my thinking. 

So, as this is a beginner tool, I wouldn't use the NPA stuff at all.

NPA rules link
http://npapinochle.org/Library/docs/NPA_...292012.pdf
(10-18-2014, 02:29 PM)ToreadorElder Wrote: [ -> ]I would suggest NOT including the NPA meld chart.  That extra 10 for the run, which is only in that meld chart, does impact bidding choices

Because this beginner level tool ignores meld from Royal Marriages and Runs, I could have easily omitted those rows from each of the meld scorecharts. I didn't, to keep things looking the same. I agree with your logic that NPA's meld scoring is an aberration that sensibly moves for alteration of CABS. These considerations are too much for a beginner. I will discuss this with rakbeater in our future toolset development discussions.
Mmm...


I think you're making a big hole, then.  The "give meld" and "give aces" is probably fine.  The trump requirement is fine.  But the distinction between a captaincy bid and a pass, can at times rely on the meld.  This is biddable by the standards you gave above:

AS TS TS KS KS QS JS JS AD KD QD JD JD AC TC QC QC KH JH JH 

*because* you have the run.

And this is one I'd think about: 

AC AC AC TC KC KC QC QC AD AD KD TS KS QS QS JS TH KH JH JH 

I'd probably bid 50 (in first seat) because there's no other bid.  Can't give 20;  you only have 14 outside clubs, and even if you think the aces add enough (normally), these aces just aren't carrying full weight.

I'll just suggest you give *guidelines*.  You can start with simpler ones to avoid overload, but as you go along, you introduce more and more that help refine the process.  If at all possible, you don't ever change a guideline you give;  that's much more jarring than adding a new one, as you're telling them to throw out the learning they had, rather than add new stuff.
You are right about the difference between a pass and a captaincy bid is meld and it does appear to be a big hole. But the next steps of training are bidding and bidding math. That is where we will introduce the bids based on the hand classification and math. At this step, the hole should be covered. My fear isn't that we are leaving some holes, it is that we aren't breaking it down far enough, because I want a child (who is capable of learning) to be able to learn step by step using our tools.
Feels better, then, to START with the bidding math.
It might be. I'm looking forward to input from future beginners who use these tools to learn the game. (Specifically thinking of my son) Things can be changed around, but I'd rather have something that needs to be adjusted than nothing at all. So that's the gameplan for now.
I think this tool needs some development, specifically regarding the classification of "Declarer Hands."  I was playing around with this last night, and created the following hand (or something similar):

AC  KC  QC  QC  QC  JC  JC  JC  KD  QD  QD  JD  KS  KS  JS  JS  TH  TH  QH  QH

By the established "rules," since there are 8 clubs with AC  KC  QC, this qualifies as a "Declarer Hand."  However, there is absolutely no way I'm bidding with this mess.  Maybe at double biddder's out to save my partner, just because of the length of the suit (chances are my partner won't have a 9-card suit - especially one without a run) - but in normal circumstances, no way.

I have been using ToreadorElder's 35-7-6 approach, and that seems to be pretty effective at predicting hand strength.  I know the tool is supposed to be for beginners, so maybe a simplified version of 35-7-6 could be used, and then further evolved into an "Intermediate Hand Classifier" tool.
Haven't played with the tool, but from this example...

The hand is really, as you note, just junk, 8 card suit notwithstanding. If partner gave meld in front of me, then for sure, this is a save-worthy hand, but man, it's bad. And it's actually killing double queens and double jacks. I've got 6 meld in clubs. If partner can give *30*, 60 is a fairly absolute limit; I need several tricks from him for 20, much less 25 (if he's got a bare 30). And he can't have double queens or jacks; triple pino and double kings is even less likely than usual because he'd have to have all the missing diamond J or spade K. Aces and double pino; aces and a roundhouse are the plausible way for him to have 40 effective. Double aces is also possible, but if he gives that, then hey, I've got a very good hand. I'm not holding my breath. Smile

By the same token...say this is South.
North 54
East pass
South 55
West pass
North 56
South ??

I don't think bidding 57 would be out of line; that 8 card length is a couple more tricks. I can also see passing because the trump suit is so bad, and *6* of those trumps are non-points. That means probably several 1-point tricks late in the hand, so the length is less useful than normal. (Compare this trump suit with, say ATTTKKKQQ. The latter is at least a trick stronger, and probably will mean 4-6 more points over the course of the hand.) We pretty much need North to have aces; it's probably just as well to let HIM plan the hand. And, this hand does have 4 card support for any suit. On a bad day, North will have Tx of clubs.

We might need a 'JUNK' category, which could bid ONLY in save situations.
(10-18-2014, 12:23 AM)mickmackusa Wrote: [ -> ]This must not be confused as an end-all be-all way to classify hands.

(10-18-2014, 12:23 AM)mickmackusa Wrote: [ -> ]This is set up to assist a first-time player in progressing through their first game of pinochle, bearing in mind that it may actually be the first time they've ever played a card game with bidding, trump, or meld.

(10-18-2014, 12:23 AM)mickmackusa Wrote: [ -> ]The program takes any hand that you generate, and gives up to 3 of 4 generalized ways it can be used to bid.

(10-18-2014, 12:23 AM)mickmackusa Wrote: [ -> ]Beginner's don't need to be bogged down with discussion about texture.

(10-18-2014, 12:23 AM)mickmackusa Wrote: [ -> ]This toolset is just a stepping stone.  Once you are competent in classifying hands, you will be ready to move on to the next toolset.  We don't want to brainwash players at this level by offering a Test, we want you to learn it and keep progressing.

(10-18-2014, 12:23 AM)mickmackusa Wrote: [ -> ]Please refrain from arguing advanced pinochle points, as this is not the place.
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