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Bridge & Humor: Diary of a Palooka

Tony Forrester
Tony Forrester

Extracted from the book: THE BRIDGE PLAYER’S BEDSIDE BOOK by Tony Forrester

A Roman Catholic Church, in the confessional box.

Palooka: Father, I have sinned.

Priest: What was your hand my son?

Palooka: First in hand. As West, I held:

A Q J 7 6 4    A J 7 5 4 2    K   

Priest: You must have lived a good life.

Palooka: I was tempted, Father. Tempted to open two clubs. Then I started thinking (one of the many basic failings of my game) would it help? Would I be able to convey the shape and texture of my hand? Would I get specific information required? Eventually I decided on a more subtle approach. I opened an Acol two spades.

Priest: Go on, my son.

Palooka: With the speed of light the bidding proceeded. No bid. No bid. No bid.

Priest: You were shaken, my son.

Palooka: I was mortified, Father. What a tragedy that this game is only played with four people. A fifth inhand might well have re-opened.

Priest: I appreciate the pain, my son but please continue.

Palooka: I received a club lead, and the dummy went down.

A Q J 7 6 4
A J 7 5 4 2

   10 8
K 9 3
Q 8 6 4
A 9 7 3

Palooka: I discarded the king of diamonds on the ace of clubs. I ran the ten of spades, picking up king to three on my right. The queen of hearts was singleton.

Priest: Making seven.

Palooka: Making seven.

Priest: Perhaps you would have done better to have sent your partner to me.

Palooka: I have omitted one minor detail. Father – hardly worth mentioning but it is only fair that you have the full story.

Priest: What is that, my son?

Palooka:: We were playing Benjaminized Acol, Father.

Priest: Benjaminized Acol?

Palooka: A system devised by Albert Benjamin in Scotland, Father, to sow seeds of dissent amongst the English. It is an integral part of their campaign for self-government: two spades is a weak bid.

Priest: You have sinned, my son.

Palooka: Mortally.

Priest:  Will you accept my judgement, my son? Or would you rather appeal to a higher authority?

Palooka: I will accept judgement from you, Father. Bob Hamman may be busy.

Priest:  Very well, my son. Your penance – and I apologise for its severity – is to play the Flannery two diamond convention for the next twelve months.

Palooka: Aaaaaaahhhhhh !



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