Lately, as often as we can get a quorum for it, we've been playing penny-a-point bridge, which adds an interesting wrinkle to the grand game. It definitely seems to sharpen everyone's focus on the cards at hand. And we bid more ten-dollar slams, and we go down more often.
Clearly, because of the partnership aspect of the game, winning cash at rubber bridge is not just about playing to the best of your ability: you very much have to account for your rotating partners' quirks. Last night I lost $10, bringing my running total to -$1. I'm tempted to blame most of that loss on the sequence of killing hands dealt to Marya, who was my opponent for all three rubbers. But I wonder if there are smart strategies that could mitigate those losses, even in the short run. Any thoughts?