Dealer 2019

More than 25 years ago (!). I became involved with the dealer software.Dealer is a program to deal bridgehands. However, while most programs to deal hands try to generate completely random hands, dealer allows the user to steer the program to generate hands that match certain specifications. This is great to generate practice hands. For a longer version of the instructions, go here. To download, go here.

The last update of dealer was in 2016. Over the years, there were a few bug reports (thanks Christoph, Jeremy and Sergio), nothing major, and I put them on a pile somewhere on my desk. This week I was doing a bit of spring cleanup, so finally got around to incorporate them.

The new version (20190529) is in the same place as the old one. It now compiles again on my Mac (with OSX10.14) and apparently Ubuntu 16+ and Debian, though I cannot test the latter myself.

If you downloaded a copy of dealer, please go here to upgrade.

Note that no new functionality has been added, so if you are happy with your current version, you can skip this one.

If you find problems, please contact me and I’ll do an update whenever there is enough material.

DISCLAIMER:Finally, a disclaimer. Dealer is intended to generate practice hand, it is NOT, and never was, intended to generate random hands for tournament play. The program has a few major flaws for this. First, it only uses 32 bits of randomness, which means that it will only generate 232, or about 4 billion, different hands out of the 296 possible hands. There is no guarantee that there aren’t any specific biases towards certain distributions (even though I haven’t found them). The second issue is that it is easy to manipulate the hands, say by generating only hands where at least 1 player has 12 points. These 2 issues are against the laws of the game, so for these reasons the program is out. Finally, the random seed can be set and this will recreate hands generated before. While this is great for analysis purposes, for tournament play, it means that once a user knows the seed, he can generate the hands for a session himself. (And there are more risks here, but that is another discussion).

Of course, for practice and analysis purposes, all this doesn’t matter. 4 billion hands is more than anybody will ever play or analyze. And if you do want to cheat while practicing, good luck to you!

Henk Uijterwaal 2019