Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Jeff Bayone
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That's our first six 2-hour lesson series. So you're right about the formula and about the speed being the key. It takes a lot longer to get new players started than long time bridge players, who have not done much teaching, would expect.
Aug. 16
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Paul,
Sadly we are seeing fewer and fewer people who have played card games of any sort. You are right though. If they played trick taking games, half the battle's won.
Aug. 16
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John,
Few players come to us with a background in trick taking card games.
If I was to name the single biggest “problem” facing recruitment today it would be that there is no longer a point of reference to build on.
“Bridge is just like War, only better.” Doesn't work when your new students never even played War as a kid.
Aug. 16
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Sadly while this might work in a social setting, and while I am in complete agreement with the concept, in a commercial environment you do not have the luxury of devoting that much time “fooling around” with these fun games. The students expect bridge to be taught. So while, in theory, a few months of Oh Hell, Spades, Hearts, Pinochle, and Hool should be played and enjoyed, the best we can do, in a club setting, is some form of mini-bridge for a few, way too short, hours scattered over the first two sessions.
Aug. 16
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Arithmetic.
Aug. 16
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It looks like there is some consensus when trying to teach new students.
Teach play before bidding.
Hands on as much as possible.
Don't rush.
Conventions kept to a minimum.
There is a need for social play before duplicate whenever possible.
I might add that no matter how slowly you go at the start, if your students haven't been exposed much to cards, it will all look like gibberish to them for way longer than you would think.
Aug. 15
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True. But the fact that it is part of a seniors sports event speaks to reaching an audience that we would not normally be able to do.
Aug. 15
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Only this event appears to be different. It looks like it might be reaching people who would never know about us. Perhaps we should be advertising with them.
Aug. 15
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Let's make this a regular 20 year thing. Everyone, let's put it in our 2039 calendar.
Aug. 15
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There is a one time $79 registration fee that must be paid in order to participate. However, with that comes a luncheon and a dinner. Medical screenings are also included.
Aug. 14
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If I ever write another book I would title it,“If I knew what to think about, I'd think about it.”
Aug. 14
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At what point would you suspect the approach to teaching social bridge versus match point bridge begin to veer?
Aug. 14
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Here's the perfect world.
People take classes in the morning or late afternoon and the duplicate game runs between noon and 4 pm.
Real world.
Everyone wants to be at your club between noon and 4 pm.
Aug. 14
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Exactly.
Until fairly recently our District 24 had a once a year pro-am. But it died. The Pros AND the Ams weren't vetted. Some of the pros were surly or just disinterested. Some of the Ams were total beginners and a waste of an evening for the pro who had to act more as a place holder than a mentor. Other Ams were players that could never get a partner at any club it the city. One year I actually had to play against two “Ams” who had been barred from my club for bad behavior.
Our Pro-Am coordinator gets paid for doing a pro-fessional job of seeing that pros are chosen who actually enjoy the chance to teach and mentor. She gets feedback on new pros and if they don't get rave reviews she doesn't use their services again. Ams must have at least some duplicate experience, some minimal level of proficiency, to participate.
Aug. 13
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Ray,
Every club NEEDS a second room. Alan is dead on as usual.
Aug. 13
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I often fill in for a few hands. Someone's partner is late. My partner for what, all of two or maybe three hands, starts with, “What are we playing?” I reply, “Weak 2's and the Grand Slam Force.” Then, “If it sounds unusual, it is.”

I believe Mike and Steve, combined, have it right. The problem is that most students find it so much easier to “learn” to bid, rather than the much more difficult task of learning how cards work. Therein lies half the problem. It is compounded by the fact that it is also so much easier to teach bidding, especially conventions, then it is to try to teach play and defensive thinking.
Aug. 13
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The two requirements we have are LM and nice.
The weaker LM's get the newer players.
Some real live Professional players (pro's pros) play with their regular clients.
Aug. 13
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That's probably the right idea, Stuart, but in practice tough to do. When the price of a 3-hr playing session with coffee and cookies is little more than the price of a Starbucks latte down the street from the “club” is it any wonder we can't find people willing to go into the business of bridge?
If clubs keep appealing to only one segment of the population, those on small fixed incomes, then we'll lose everyone else. Why is it that bridge players think nothing of paying $8,000 to go on a one week cruise, but scream bloody murder if their club manager tries to raise his card fee one dollar?
Why champion clubs that offer a cheap experience if you yourselves don't want that cheap experience? When young people go clubbing, they know what it's going to set them back. All they ask is that they get the bang for the buck. Are we so different? It is those three hours of intense concentration combined with intense social interaction, that define a good part of a bridge player's whole day. Start to finish, going out for a session of bridge involves around one third of a player's entire waking day. What should that be worth? How do you put a dollar amount on that? If there was no bridge club any more, what toll would that take? How big a loss would that be? What hole in their lives would that create?
Can you put a price on something that for many is priceless?
The bridge community does that every day and it's little more than a latte.
This “formula” is not tenable. We need to see that, top down, the bridge world wakes up to the simple fact that when the clubs die, bridge dies with it.
Celebrate your club. Feel bad for the club's manager that the card fee is $7. Feel bad for yourselves too. In too many places it will soon be zero. We are losing over one hundred clubs a year.
“Retention” seems to be the operative word among Board members these days. It seems the goal no longer is in creating players. That's too hard, too expensive. Keep what we have is now the focus. Whether you agree or not with this approach, shouldn't it apply to bridge clubs as well?
Aug. 13
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God created the world in seven days. Doesn't say how long a day was back then.
Aug. 13
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Agreed. I know it doesn't work everywhere.
Aug. 13
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