Evaluation is defined as to determine or fix the value of; to determine the significance, worth, or condition of usually by careful appraisal and study. Synonyms are to appraise, assess, estimate, rate, set, valuate, value, and in English one could colloquially use the word guesstimate.

Claim to the Concept

The Work Point Count is an almost universally accepted method of valuation, or process of judging the worth. The claim to this method of valuation was first submitted by Mr. Bryant McCampbell of St. Louis, Mossouri, United States, who was one of the most successful players of Auction Bridge.

Note: Although there is no cause or grounds to question or discredit such a claim the belief is persistent as to whether he devised this method of valuation independently and as to whether he was indeed the first competitive card player to come to this conclusion. Such matters, however, have been lost in the annals of history and shall remain unresolved.

Note: Any photographic material of Mr. Bryant McCampbell would be greatly appreciated.


Biographical Information

Mr. Bryant McCampbell introduced the 4-3-2-1 point count in the year 1915. Some writers, authors, and bridge historians maintain that he did not devise this particular point count for Auction Bridge, but rather for the game called Auction Pitch.

Note: The American trick-taking card game called Pitch is based upon the the card game called All Fours (or Seven Up), which was played many years in Great Britain and the Commonwealth. The development of this card game involved a bidding phase and setting back a party's score if the bid is not achieved. The game became officially known later in the last 19th century as Action Pitch or Setback. There are many variations of this trick-taking card game such as Pitch Without Auction, Commercial Pitch, Partnership Pitch. The interested student can easily discover more from sources on the Internet.

Note: His publication is titled Auction Tactics, published in the year 1915 by Dodd, Mead and Company in New York, United States. LC: 15025318. (Note: several historical references provide the publication date first in the year 1916. However, the Library of Congress states that the year of publication is 1915.)

Whether or not such a claim is true is not irrelevant cannot be maintained since most authoritative bodies include the information that Mr. Bryant McCampbell introduced and promoted this valuation method for Auction Bridge. He published a book on Auction Bridge in 1915/1916. This book is still in print and available from Amazon.

Mr. Bryant McCampbell was born on January 2, 1877 in St. Louis, Missouri, United States and died in New York City, United States on May 6, 1927. He entered the business of Textile Goods Merchant with his brother and partner Mr. Leavelle McCampbell.

Mr. Bryant McCampbell was a noted Whist player as was the usual pastime of the more elite in New York City and evolved to Auction Bridge as the card game progressed. He did not live long enough to actually experience the new game of Duplicate Bridge, which was based on the scoring method of Mr. Harold Sterling Vanderbilt in the year 1927.

However, Mr. Milton Cooper Work, born in the year 1864 and died on June 27, 1934 was also a noted American authority on the card games Whist, Bridge Whist, Auction, and finally Contract Bridge. As one of the leading authorities on card games he was instrumental in not only developing methods for the active card players, but also in the promotion of the game not only in the United States, but also on global scale. He was also instrumental in promoting the valuation scale of Mr. Bryant McCampbell in his publication Contract Bridge, published in the year 1927, by The John C. Winston Company located in Philadelphia and Chicago, United States., LC: 27021234

He accepted the workings and suggestions of Mr. Bryant McCampbell and promoted them. For this reason the point count method is known officially as the Work Point Count. Mr. Ely Culbertson adopted this point count method as did later Mr. Charles Henry Goren and which continues to be employed in the modern version of Contract and Duplicate Bridge as a valuation method. He authored the publications Auction Developments in the year 1913 (LC: 14000175), and the publication Auction To-Day in the year 1913 (LC: 13001025).

Note: The picture below shows Mr. Milton Cooper Work in the year 1897.



Additional Data

This particular valuation system was further promoted by Mr. Charles Henry Goren, born March 4, 1901 and died April 3, 1991, who appreciably and significantly continued to develop and promote the game of duplicate bridge. He may not be excluded from the bridge personalities, who changed the parameters of the game to assist the newcomer, the novice, the beginner by simplifying the basic skills necessary.


Additional Historical Data

It is of note and a fact, that cannot be excluded, that Mr. William Anderson, an actuary from Canada, expanded the 4-3-2-1 valuation concept by developing the 1-2-3 distributional count in Contract Bridge. After introducing the concept to Mr. Charles Henry Goren, this concept was decidedly included in the valuation system. The 1-2-3 distributional count points out that following a found suit fit, then the bridge player can actually include as values 1 additional point for a doubleton, 2 additional points for a singleton, and indeed 3 additional points for a void.


Principle of the Valuation Method

In order to appraise the value of a holding containing 13 cards Mr. Bryant McCampbell developed the following point count method.

Honor Value
Ace: 4 points

3 points

Queen: 2 points
Jack: 1 point

As this point count method was easily remembered it became quite popular and has survived the following decades of the evolving game of bridge.

The following illustrative examples illustrate the effectiveness of this point count method

Holding   Values
7 points
2 points
1 point
3 points
Total:   13 points

The concept of this point count method is to provide the player with the adequate information that the 13 cards contain sufficient values to either open the auction or compete in the auction. As long as the values of the honor cards of the 13 cards total 13 points, then the player can actively participate in the auction. The total of 13 points was originally the least amount of points a player should have. Later the minimum amount was lowered to 12 points, which provided the individual player more opportunities to compete.

Information for the Student

As the student of bridge can readily recognize no player can hold all 40 points of a 52-card deck. The 40 points is the total achieved by adding the set values for Aces, Kings, Queens, and Jacks - 4 Aces (16) + 4 Kings (12) + 4 Queens (8) + 4 Jacks (4) = 40 points. In order to test this statement the bridge student need only review the following holding:

Holding   Values
10 points
9 points
9 point
9 points
Total:   37 points

The bridge student can rightfully conclude that the 4-3-2-1 point count method is valid, but the point count method is not mathematically accurate in valuating the 13 cards held by each player following the dealing of the 52 cards to four players.

As this conclusion became clear to other bridge players early in the evolution of valuation methods the result was the effort to more accurately reflect the values of a 13-card holding.

For additional valuation methods the bridge student should acquaint him/herself with other valuation methods and select the one most suitable and applicable to his/her needs.



If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.


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