Invitation to bridge newcomers

You've just discovered bridge, and can work your way through a hand! Now what?

All over the country, most of the face-to-face brick-and-mortar bridge clubs are closed right now, but that doesn't mean we're not holding games and tournaments! Bridge has moved online.

Right here we have a "virtual bridge club" that serves players in three local ACBL (American Contract Bridge League) units. It's the Pasadena Pomona Downey VBC. You might have noticed it elsewhere on this site.

Twice a week we have a bridge game for newcomers to bridge: Saturdays at 12:20 p.m., and Wednesdays at 7:15 p.m. We play 12 hands, and the game lasts about an hour and a half. The games are held on Bridge Base Online (BBO). Each game has "card fees" of $5, deducted from your BBO account.

Our games are duplicate bridge games, where your score is compared with the other pairs holding the same cards. The games even award masterpoints if you place in the top 40% of your section -- not many, but a few! They're awarded in hundredths of a point. (BBO also has lots of free and casual bridge. It's a fine place to get together with a foursome of friends or strangers and just play bridge.)

We often have single players looking for someone to partner with, and it's the nicest bunch of folks you can imagine.

As I write this, the Wednesday game is running with four tables of players. Nearly all of the players are past or present students from my classes or other teacher's classes from last year.

Every Wednesday after the game, we get together on Zoom to laugh or cry over the bridge hands, and maybe enjoy an adult beverage together.

Does it sound interesting? You need three things to get into the game:

  • You need an ACBL player number (a free guest membership)
  • You need an account on Bridge Base Online (also free, but ...)
  • You need a few dollars in your BBO BB$ account

It takes about three days for a new ACBL player number to propagate through to BBO, so this is something to get started a few days before your first game.

Here's how to get your ACBL player number with a guest membership:

On the second page of the registration you'll be asked for your recruiter information. Here's what you enter on that page:

  • Recruiting club: <leave blank>
  • Recruiting Member: 8202249
  • Recruiting Member Name: Morris Jones

Signing up for BBO is a lot less complicated. Make yourself a screen name there and off you go.

Once you've done that, drop me a note with your BBO ID (screen name) and your new ACBL player number. I'll add you to the email list for the newcomer games. When it's time to play, I can walk you through the steps to register for the game with your partner, then it's just a matter of playing cards!

Now say to yourself, "this is why I learned to play bridge." We're here to enjoy this great game together, and hang out with other intelligent, always interesting, often eccentric individuals.

We never know what will be in the next hand of cards, but it's guaranteed to be a hand we've never seen before. It's a great shared experience, and worth doing.