Acol at BBO: Acol Players’ Bridge Club

Acol is one of the most widely used bridge conventions in the world – and for many bridge players and partnerships, it’s the one they prefer. Bridge Base Online hosts many online bridge clubs and lovers of Acol have found a unique home at the Acol Players’ Bridge Club.

We caught up with the founder and manager of the club, London-based BBO user Lawrence (Aacol) about Acol at BBO to find out what the club is all about.

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Acol at BBO

We hear from Lawrence via e-mail; he introduces his club as a wonderful story of togetherness, mutual support, enjoyment and good old-fashioned British games playing.

“I have been playing the game of bridge for all of my adult life. About 20 years ago, I started playing on Bridge Base Online. Shortly after, I started my own little bridge club on BBO which I called the Acol Players’ Bridge Club.”

The club had small beginnings. At its start, Lawrence says the club was lucky to have 10 tables. From there, the club grew in strength. “Players came from all over the world – and all corners of the Union – to play with us.”

“Once we were more established, we created special events.” Lawrence says the best of these events was an evening of online bridge hosted by Andrew Robson.

The Acol Players’ Bridge Club is free-to-join. Lawrence says this is how it’s going to remain; he has never thought of monetizing the club, and says he doesn’t plan to. “I have steadfastly kept the club public and open to all players of all abilities at no charge.”

Members think of the club as an indispensable lifeline and an integral part of their lives. “So many have told me that without the Acol Players’ Bridge Club, their lives would be much the poorer.”

An Exponential Boom

Lockdown has hit many households hard, and there’s an increase in the need for support networks and distanced, online activities that still allow for social interaction. Many have turned to online bridge tables.

“In the last three months, our growth has been sudden, dramatic, massive and exponential.” notes Lawrence.

“We noticed that the number of tables was increasing every day.” This growth increased from 25 tables to 30; from 50 to 100 and finally what Lawrence refers to as an “unprecedented” 200 tables at the club. He points out that this equates to 800 people playing the same game at one moment in time.

“I believe this makes us one of the most popular bridge clubs in the world.” says Lawrence. “There is no club in the world which has 800 people playing bridge together in one place, night after night – and draws its players from all over the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and beyond.”

Lawrence says that he would like to thank BBO for agreeing to create The Acol Players’ Bridge Club all those years ago. “It is thanks to BBO and everyone who plays in the club that it has become a much loved part of so many people’s lives.”