By Joe Andrews, author of "The Complete Win At Hearts"

Other columns by Joe Andrews:
Beginner's Korner "Duckers and Dumpers"
A new breed of player has arrived! In my first Hearts Book, which was published by Dover, Inc. in 1983, I identified the character "Hideous Hog". In many Hearts groups, there are players who rarely pass a middle Heart, and are offended by taking one measly point in a forced situation. The "Hog" does not care who is pinned with the Spade Queen regardless of their position in a game, nor does he understand the value of keeping a "stopper" (side suit winner) to prevent a Moon. We have been down this path before! After all, if the opponents are that worried about a Moon, it is their responsibility to take care of business. You know when you have the "Hog" at your table. The smell of the barn is there. It's duck and dump, and head for shelter. And if someone happens to shoot the Moon, the "Hog" will never take blame, and will deflect attention from his mistake or poor judgment.

This deal is prime example of the "Hog" in action! (The pass has already been completed.)

Hearts hand (Left pass completed -- first hand of a live game.)

There were two very happy campers here (East and North), and two somewhat disgruntled chaps (South and West). South was especially bummed, and hoped to ditch the Spade Queen on a third round of Clubs -- a rather tall order. With this best case scenario, he would still be a favorite to eat a bushel of Hearts. West, who was quite charming at the beginning of this game, grabbed the opening lead of the club deuce with the Ace of Clubs, and correctly returned the 4 of Clubs, planning on dropping his weak Spade King on the next round of Clubs. From here on, every play by West would be accompanied by the sounds of "sooey" and "oink"!

South was in with the King, and had to test the Diamonds. The Ace was a decent choice (the ten or 8 may have been better alternatives). West grunted, and commented on pork belly futures, as he dumped the King, as East and North let go of meaningless spots. Now came the Diamond Queen, and West let go of the Jack (oink), as North followed suit, and East shed his singleton Heart. South continued Diamonds with the tenspot, and out came the 9 and a squeal from West, North's last Diamond, and a high Club from East.

Then South decided to save the Diamond 2 for a possible later exit, and tried a sneaky ten of Hearts. West loudly snorted and decided that North or East should take this trick. By this time, the North and East hands were now immaterial. When the Heart ten walked, South pushed the Jack. At this point, West could have climbed with the Heart Queen, and calmly led his last Diamond in order to clear this suit, and prevent the throw-in with the deuce. Then he could crow like a rooster, and feel good about life on the farm. Or, if West was not counting, the Heart 3 was still a good escape, as South would be forced to absorb the Queen of Spades due his short holding. However, West snorted, growled and grunted and ducked the Jack of Hearts. Now South boldly led his Spade Ace, and the sound of "oink" permeated the room, as West ducked this trick with the KING! North and East rolled back their eyes. The rest was history, as South brought home the bacon! Down came the Ace and King of Hearts, as well as Spade Queen, and when the dust settled, the Eagle had landed on the "Sea of Tranquility". North and East, with their magnificent hands, had woofed twenty-six points each, and were very peeved. West, who also suffered the same fate, commented on his bad luck, and how South had a "cold" Moon, anyway. South remained as quiet as a church mouse, and sheepishly moved the deck along for the next deal. It was dreadful performance by West, and greediness at its finest! How do we keep players of West's ability down on the farm?

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