Here is the start position of Steve Brown’s game, which also appears in the previous post of this blog.
The observant reader has no doubt tried to assess the opening game state and concluded it’s worse than average. We have a run of length four (0987, mixed suits) and not much else. That’s three turnovers, which is less than average (just below 4). Given we also have two Aces showing, this definitely qualifies as a “bad three”.
With limited options available, the opening moves require little explanation:
Move: ea → Kc
Move: be → Ah
Move: af → 5s
Move: jf → 9s
The first interesting moment occurs after the fourth move. Steve explains he has a choice between “jf” (the actual play) and “da”. He chose jf because neither move was suited and the 7c is higher in rank than the 4d. Although Steve found the correct play, I don’t buy this explanation. The correct reason is that column 6 is already impure and there is no danger of losing a turnover if the next card is a Jack. Whereas “da” costs a turnover if the next card is a Six. Assuming no in-suit builds are possible, the higher-rank logic only applies when you have a full sequence like 9-8-7-6-5-4-3 rather than 9-8-K-K-K-4-3.
In general, when reading the entire book, I found that Steve sometimes struggles to articulate his thoughts properly and I’ve seen a number of strange typos such as “loses” instead of “losses”. Still, let us withhold judgment on Steve’s overall ability until the end of the game.
Move da → 3d
Move da → Qs
This completes a disappointing round 0. Steve mentions that on average he will expect to turnover 12 cards in round 0, which is exactly double the six turnovers he has in this hand. The sample size is small (306 games) but I can’t accuse Steve of not keeping careful records.
From my experience, the real game starts in round 1, not round 0. With 50 cards remaining in the stock, it’s almost impossible for a half-decent player to make a fonumental muck-up and Steve is well aware there is plenty of opportunity for a reversal of fortunes (in either direction). This hand is no exception if you pardon the terrible cliché. In Backgammon/Among Us terms, round 0 is equivalent to memorising the correct plays for opening rolls and replies and it’s extremely rare for the luck-o-meter(TM) to surpass the “refuse-doubling-cube” threshold from the viewpoint of a Crewmate or Impostor.
One thing I should mention: the stock is read from left-to-right. That means the next 10 cards will contain two more Queens (as if we don’t already have enough problems in this stupid world).