Player dealt perfect hand in spades

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The Independent Online
MARCUS BENORTHAN, 67, a retired newsagent and antiques dealer, has apparently managed what professionals in 60 years of tournaments have failed to do. At a friendly bridge game in Plymouth, he got a perfect hand of 13 spades.

Mr Benorthan, a bridge teacher, was competing at home with his wife Phyllis, 60, and another couple earlier this month. The cards had been dealt and cut by other players and the pack was old and well shuffled. Recovering from his astonishment, he at once bid seven spades, committing himself to taking all 13 tricks.

Mr Benorthan said: 'There was no point doing anything else. With a hand like that you have to call a spade a spade.'

The odds against being dealt a 13-card bridge hand of the same suit, according to the Bridge Encyclopaedia, are 2,235,197,406,895,366,368,301,

559,999 to 1.

Mr Benorthan's glee at his exploit was not mirrored by cynical bridge experts. David Carlisle, head teacher at the London School of Bridge, said: 'Usually it's pretty foolish to start off bidding too many spades in that situation because you give away your hand. The educated player would take a more, shall we say, deliberate approach.'