This is a flashcard set for memorising the five commonest suit and hand patterns for card games like bridge, whist, and spades.
A suit pattern is how the 13 cards of any suit might be distributed around the table in four hands. The more common term 'hand pattern' applies to how the 13 cards a player gets are distributed in suits. While bidding in bridge, players must think in terms of 'hand patterns': How many spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs could partner have? How many spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs could LHO have? But during the play of cards, they must switch to thinking in terms of suit patterns: If I and the dummy have five spades and three spades respectively, what are the chances of the remaining breaking 4-1 between the opponents?
What is helpful to know (but seldom taught to beginners) is that the frequency with which any random individual hand pattern turns up is the same as the frequency with which the same suit pattern turns up.
For example, the commonest hand pattern is 4432, which means that the chances are highest of the 13 cards you get being four of one suit, four of another, three of the third suit, and two of the remaining suit. The probability of the 4432 hand is 21.55 per cent. Most beginners need telling that the commonest pattern in which a suit breaks between the four players is also 4432 and its probability is also 21.55 per cent, same as the hand pattern.
If you rank (by their probability of turning up) all the 39 possible hand patterns in one column and all the 39 suit patterns in another column, the two will match. In top rank will be 4432 (probability: 21.55%); in second place 5332 (15.52%); in third 5431 (12.93%) in fourth 5422 (10.58%); and in fifth 4333 (10.53%).
Beginners will get past the mental block that learning the skill of card counting (or card reading) presents if it is pointed out that these 'top five' patterns together turn up 70 per cent of the time. If you know them inside out, win or lose, you will be able to follow each round of play accurately, trick by trick. And in the long run, you'll be right 70% of the time. You will take the right sort of chances while using techniques such as the finesse, the ducking play, the hold-up play and so forth. You will also become a better defender.
This flashcard set helps users memorise those five patterns and drills them in the mental arithmetic involved in using them.
P.S.: Hand and suit patterns are usually written out with hyphens, thus: '4-4-3-2' or '5-3-3-2'. In some books on bridge, the authors even insist that hyphens be used with hand patterns only when the suits are indicated in the following order: spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs. All this does not apply here.
I am doing without the hyphens so that users can type faster while using the 'Learn' mode at Quizlet.com.
(I gratefully thank bridge teacher Ken Monzingo. I chanced on his
articles 'Hand & Suit Patterns' and 'Aunt Lucy' on the Internet during a search for a way mastering the skill of card reading and counting. They gave me a much-needed breakthrough in my thinking about the game.)