Hand evaluation
Sources of hand evaluation calculators

Here are a couple of hand evaluation calculators that you might find interesting.

Both evaluators include what is known as the Kaplan-Rubens (or k & r) evaluation. The Jeff Goldsmith evaluator also refers to the D.K. (Danny Kleinman) evaluation. These evaluation methods and their method of calculation are discussed in the articles below.

k & r is probably too complicated for use at the table, but a study of the method of calculation gives a guide as to how, for instance, honour combinations and length can be valued. D.K. leaves us with more familiar terminology for those who regularly tell partner "well I did have a good 10 for my opening bid".

Edgar Kaplan and Jeff Rubens 4C's Hand Evaluation System

There is a 20 years old very complex hand valuation method known as 4 C's (aka k & r) designed by Edgar Kaplan with assistance from Jeff Rubens. Kaplan and Rubens were editor and sub-editor  of Bridge World and the 4C's article was published in the October 1982 issue. The 4C’s stood for “Caution, Complex Computer Count” according to Kaplan, who warned ordinary mortals against using it at the table but rather for post mortem analysis.

k & r hand evaluation

The k & r hand valuation comprises a couple of components with an adjustment for shape at the end

Length points (SLP) (calculated suit by suit)
- see article below
Spade suit   xx.xx
Heart suit   xx.xx
Diamond suit   xx.xx
Club suit   xx.xx
321 count - see article below   xx.xx

Shape adjustment
4-3-3-3   -0.50
Any other shape   -1.00

k & r hand evaluation
k & r suit length points (SLP)
Base count   Points
A 4.00
K 3.00
Q 2.00
J 1.00
10 0.50

Short 9
Suit length <= 6
Suit contains a 9
Suit also contains a 10 or an 8 or 2+ (from AKQJ) 0.50

Short 10
Suit length <= 6
Suit contains a 10
Suit also contains a jack or 2+ (from AKQ) 0.50

Long suit adjustments
Length of suit
7 Missing QJ 1.00
8 Missing J (have Q) 1.00
8 Missing Q (have J) 2.00
8 Missing QJ 2.00
>8 Missing J (have Q) 1.00
>8 Missing Q (have J) 2.00
>8 Missing QJ 3.00
Total all the above up   x.xx
Suit length points (SLP)= x.xx * length of suit / 10  
k & r 321 count

The 321 count is based on A=3, K=2, Q=1 with adjusted values on Kings and Queens and values on some Jack and 10 holdings.

321 count   Points
Ace 3.00
King Not singleton 2.00
  Singleton 0.50
Queen Singleton 0.00
  Doubleton QJ or Qx 0.25
  Doubleton AQ or KQ 0.50
  3+ cards without higher honour 0.75
  3+ cards with higher honour 1.00
Jack With exactly 1 higher honour 0.25
  With exactly 2 higher honours 0.50
Ten With exactly 2 higher honours 0.25
  With 9 and exactly 1 higher honour 0.50
Total all the above up   x.xx


QJ doubleton counts as 0.50 (.25 for Q and .25 for J)


Danny Kleinman Points (DK points)

Danny Kleinman points originate from a September 2001 Bridge World letter from Doug Bennion of Toronto. Bennion's research looked at a new point-count called Little Jack Points (LJP). Bennion counted A=6.5, K=4.5, Q=2.5 and J=1 as his research showed this better reflected their relative values than the traditional 4321 valuation. He then added .5 for any two of these cards working together in the same suit (except a QJ combination). To transform the result to a scale that we recognise multiply the result by 10/14.5.

Danny Kleinman's version more closely reflects the judgement of Edgar Kaplan in his 4C's (Bridge World October 1982) article.

  • Count A=13, K=9, Q=5, J=2 (double Bennion's values)
  • Add 1 for a 10 accompanied by exactly one 9 or higher honour
  • Add 2 for a 10 accompanied by two from 9 and higher honours
  • Add 1 for each suit headed by A or K and exactly one other picture card (i.e. suits headed by AK, AQ, AJ , KQ , KJ)
  • Add 1 for each suit headed by AQJ or KQJ
  • Add 2 for each suit headed by AKQ or AKJ or AKQJ
  • Subtract 1 for unguarded picture cards (i.e. singleton K, doubleton Q (with no higher honour) or tripleton J (with no higher honour))
  • Subtract 1 for any suit whose lowest card is higher than a 10
  • Subtract 2 for a 4-3-3-3 distribution Divide the total you have by 3 to get the equivalent HCP, say n HCP If the total divided exactly by 3 you have a bad n HCP hand, if the remainder is 1 you have an ordinary n HCP hand and if the remainder is 2 you have a good n HCP hand
  • i.e. 45 points is a bad 15, 46 points is an ordinary 15, and 47 points is a good 15.
  • If you work through the steps there are no net adjustments for doubleton honours except QJ where you subtract 2 (one for unguarded Q and one for lowest card higher than 10)

Example of end result : 8- (a poor 8) , 12 (an ordinary 12) , 15+ (a good 15).