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In The Well: Ralph Katz

Ralph Katz is one of the greatest natural card talents in the history of the game. At age 22 at the Summer NABC in Las Vegas, Katz and partner Ken Schutze wanted to practice for the Spingold, but they couldn’t find teammates for any of the team games. They decided to play in the Life Master Pairs to practice. The pair notched their first North American championship by winning the prestigious three-day contest.

Since then, Ralph has won 22 additional NABC titles including five Vanderbilts, three Spingolds, and two Reisingers. He also topped the Player of the Year race in 2001.

Shortly after joining the NICKELL team, Ralph achieved his lifetime goal of winning a Bermuda Bowl in 2009. Fresh off winning the Trials to qualify for the Bermuda Bowl earlier this year, he will be inducted into the ACBL Hall of Fame in a couple of weeks. Today, he enters The Well to answer your questions.

Ralph was born in Pittsburgh but moved to Ohio at age 7. As a youth, he fell in love with baseball; he now believes baseball is the best part of American history and should be a required subject in school. He played baseball seriously until injuries took over.

After going to Ohio State and the University of Steubenville to get his B.A. in Accounting, he moved to the Chicago area to trade options, eventually becoming the CEO of an options-trading firm. He is now retired from finance, playing bridge professionally.

Bridge runs deep in his family. His wife, Martha, was a World Junior Champion and Queen of Bridge; his son, Sam, was King of Bridge. His mother-in-law, Chris Benson, is a Grand Life Master. Ralph himself learned bridge at the age of 16 while visiting his uncle and found the challenge to be irresistible.

In the past, he spent his spare time serving on both the USBF and HOF committees, and volunteering for charity, such as heading two fundraising events for the Childrens’ Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Now, he closely follows spectator sports, rooting hard for the Steelers, Pirates, and Indians.

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