Misconceptions- Point Count
Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 07/10/2020
Level: General Interest
Conception: There's an exact point count for each bid.
Verdict: In the immortal words of my old partner Marty Bergen, "Points Schmoints." Too many players suffer from "Points-itis". There are no bad questions, but if I get told one more time "You said, 6-9 points, but my other teacher said 6-10 points" I might switch to golf full time.
Point ranges are training wheels for beginners. As you get better, you've got to move past that mindset. Think in terms of minimum, medium and maximum. Point ranges are more useful for balanced hands than for unbalanced hands, but even when thinking about notrump hands, you should consider shape.
Partner opens 1NT. What's your call?
With this 8 point hand, you should pass. You have nothing extra about your hand--no 10s and no 5-card suits.
However, with this 8 point hand:
You should bid 3NT. That club suit is a potential source of tricks, and you have a spade honor to reach dummy.
There are so many examples of hand evaluation and re-evaluation, that I could go on for days. If you have Qx in a suit that the opponents bid, it's not a good holding. However that same Qx in partner's suit is worth full value. Thinking about the fit, the location of honors, and the spot cards (10s and 9s) is much more important than memorizing exact point counts.
Compare these two hands on the auction:
Hand 1 is clearly worth a 3 call. Hand 2 is not, even though both hands have 14 points. Try to keep in mind that point ranges are really just suggestions and make sure you're evaluating properly.
Bottom line: Don't get obsessed with exact HCP ranges.