Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Eric Sieg
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Meant to post this same complaint earlier. 90 minute wait for bidding problems seems weird.
June 22
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Hi Craig,

I love your simulations, but I think your parameters need looking at on this one. North has at least 2 s as 0-1 would not be a balanced limit raise. Unbalanced 3 card raises are shown in a way that doesn't start with 1NT.
June 18
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I don't think this is going to a hand that gets easier to describe by coming in later, so might as well start describing now. 3 to start, planning to bid spades later. After P P, it certainly sounds like partner has some hearts and some values, but they didn't X so will stick to the plan of showing spades.
May 16
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Having played both competitively, MTG dwarfs Bridge in popularity - especially in the US. Its easy to pick up, play, and (if you are smart) its possible to start winning packs and money quickly as well.

To compare popularity, we have 2 full time bridge clubs in Seattle. There are dozens of places to play MTG in the Seattle area and just one of those (altho one of the larger) will usually pull in 100+ for its bigger nights (even though 10+ places will also offer MTG that same night). Our last regional had ~800 different people win masterpoints across 7 days, while the most recent equivalent MTG tournament here drew somewhere between 2 and 4 times that (3200ish people in two events, but unclear how much overlap there was). Gatlinburg had 2800ish people who won masterpoints, while the biggest MTG tournament that's equivalent to a regional had 7500 in Vegas even with simultaneous tournaments in China and the Netherlands drawing north of 3500 that same weekend. There are many GPs (equivalent to regional) that have drawn north of 3k unique players in a mere 2-3 days.

I don't have any experience with keyforge. It might be up and coming but right now it seems to draw a tiny fraction of what MTG gets. There are MTG games almost every night of the week at our bigger game store and only 1 keyforge event.

The more impressive (imo) thing is that MTG has a 25(ish?) year history of growing. They didn't just pop up and get super popular and might disappear in a few years. Hearthstone doesn't have that history. Intelligent inclusive strategies that try to figure out what they did right, what they did wrong, and how they can do better and continue to grow have been a big part of that imo. They have made some pretty big mistakes, but there will frequently be random MTG players at a coffee shop or bar just playing for fun - basically what bridge used to be (from what I understand) but is no longer.

I don't think MTG and Bridge necessarily target the same mindset, but there's a lot of similarity and I think understanding what they (and smart companies in general) have done to grow their userbase can be very informative in understanding how we can do better with Bridge. Trying to better understand the motivations of our players seems like a good start.
May 3
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Also, if you treat the 2% increase last year as an aberration and assume it should have been about 5% lower… it now makes the attendance look more like the trend it likely is instead of a sudden plummet.
April 30
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No reason outside of a general trend of declining regional attendance, most likely influenced by the aging playerbase
April 30
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Not sure I agree with this. It might also be a general downward trend that spiked hard in one year. Just because attendance is dropping a few % each year doesn't mean it needs to be a perfectly equal drop. Other regionals have dropped 10% with no good reason lately.
April 30
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Since I voted for “other restrictions”, I think I should clarify on what that means to me. I think anyone wanting to drop in should have played 66% of the boards throughout the event in order to drop in to the blues semifinal.
April 25
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How many teams do you think there will be? Pretty sure I want the under :P
April 19
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For better or worse, once the powers that be decided to add yet another 7 day team event to NABCs, it meant the blues were no longer a premier event without conflicts. I think an interesting question is: how many of the rank and file of the ACBL really wanted a 3rd team event? The only saving grace is the new format at the beginning, but the Spingold/Vanderbilt could (should?) have made that change a while ago which wouldn't have required a new event.
April 18
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I think next bid is clearly 3.

Since people aren't answering your forcing question:

As for forcing, I think it is “almost forcing” or “strongly invitational”. Basically forcing if the X back in was legit and not just a stretch to cater for the possible penalty pass. However, partner might pass with some 1543 11 count, especially with bad hearts. With a 5th diamond or 6th heart or good hearts (AKQxx? or maybe AKT9x?) or a non minimum they should bid on.
April 16
Eric Sieg edited this comment April 16
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$100 a day is pretty brutal :)

I would think $50 or 60 a day like it is now, and then a $100 a day screen surcharge when there are screens. There is also some logic to this as screens are way harder to transport, require more setup, and tend to be set up in such a way that they require more floor space.
April 16
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Is it clear that the 11% should be spent on advertising? Or is it meant to improve the experience of bridge in your local area? What form that takes might vary. I agree it shouldn't ever be honorariums, but putting on my regular member hat for a bit: I would hope some of that would go to improving my experience as an existing member as opposed to spending it all looking for more members.
April 15
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I'm definitely going to be in the minority for 1NT, but feels too strong to pass (Am I really going to pass an X with potentially 0 spade tricks?, also hard to catch up), double feels misleading, and 2NT on a misfit where they could start by taking 4-5 spade tricks might be overstating, especially if it tempts partner to bid game on a random 12.
April 15
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I would bid 1NT but I think its close. I also think the more important thing is to understand partner's preferences and account for them in bidding. I bid differently with some partners vs others. Partners who would strongly prefer I open 1 on this hand I'll open 1, also if they are very likely to garbage with 4414 I'll open 1.
April 13
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Jim: we have a webpage and email campaign and FB page and online newsletter as well. The issue is that even in Seattle, a high % of our players are older and not tech savvy. When I went to tag players in photos from a recent sectional, most of them weren't even on FB. My understanding is that the older audience appreciates a newsletter they can take home and read as opposed to needing to navigate to a webpage and open it there.
April 12
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Randy, that seems like a problem with your unit. I've been on unit boards in two areas and known people on a variety of others and the concept of an honorarium seems weird. The most I've personally ever seen is free plays for board members. And free plays into local sectionals hardly seem that extravagant when spending 40+ hours a year on unit board related work, especially when I can make up the “benefit” in less than 2 hours of real work.

This seems like a local issue that you should address with your board rather than a widespread ACBL-wide issue.

Most of our spending goes into the creation of and printing of a unit newsletter as well as a chunk on local youth stuff. I would suspect that subsidizing the local tournaments is the exception rather than the rule, despite how much you and Chris like to complain about it.

Quick summary for Seattle, looking at 2018 as an example: Tournaments were net +$1500 for the year. Non tournaments ran a deficit despite the 11% being put in that category, with 3130 on printing and distributing the newsletter (6 per year) and 1250 on youth bridge being the biggest costs. Overall for the year was a surplus. No money was spent on honorariums, kickbacks, lunches, mileage, etc for board members. Christmas party is usually hosted at someone's house with everything except the protein being supplied by board members and probably 50% of those attending aren't on the board - they are people who have done good things for bridge in the area.

Again, I wonder what % of units are doing the absurd things Randy mentions and what % are made up of people giving up time and money to try to make bridge better in their area. I would suspect that the vast majority are in the latter category.
April 12
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2 full time for profit locations in Seattle. That said, the 2nd benefits from a wealthy and generous owner who doesn't make much money himself but pays his people well.

Given how Chris and Jeff like to bitch about the 11% for units, I think a good additional question is: what % of units use that 11% to subsidize tournaments instead of spending it on members? Our tournaments are profitable as is and tend to subsidize our spending on members. This is despite keeping entry fees at $10 which seems insanely low for Seattle.

Another additional question: What route is there for units and districts to financially help for profit clubs when tournaments close down their regular games? I know that in the past there have been concerns about putting our non profit status at risk, but that seems like a problem someone must have solved by now.
April 11
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I like to preempt, but 2nd seat with Hxx of hearts I wouldn't have done it here. Switch the clubs and hearts and I think its clear.
April 9
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I wouldn't for two reasons:

1) I already struggle with insomnia. As Insomnia is listed as a possible side effect of Modafinil, I really don't want to touch anything that might mess with my sleep more. Not sleeping is terrible and I don't want to risk anything which makes sleeping harder.
2) What if I started using it, it felt effective, and then it was banned? Much easier to not start in the first place I think.

That said, its certainly a gray area. Will be interesting to see how bridge addresses this going forward.
April 4
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