Habitual things sneak into our behaviour over a long period of time, in most cases. Habits are the things we do that we might not realize until someone else points it out – and usually, to our upset, annoyance, total dismay, or horror.
What are your bad habits?
What are your bad bridge habits?
As a guitar player, I used to prefer a power chord to a full F-chord. Why? It’s a shortcut, and the real way was just painful. (Arguably, a bad habit that no guitar teacher would ever let by.)
Examined with a fine-tooth comb, here are some bad habits for bridge players (and how to break them).
Leaving Scoring (To Computers Forever)
Automatic, computer-powered scoring is one of the most wonderful things in online bridge.
But bridge player beware, don’t drown in convenience. It’s way too easy to forget how scoring works over time if you let the computer do it as a constant habit.
Just every once in a while, keep score the old-fashioned way with a pen and paper.
Your brain might hate you at first, but it should thank you eventually.
Forgetting The Shuffle
Shuffle, dear bridge player.
The good shuffle is an art, which I presume that people have been shot over for centuries at home and bar card games.
It becomes easy to lose the feeling for a card deck in the midst of mostly online bridge going around. Don’t let the skill die off.
Instead, make sure you know at least three good ways to shuffle the cards right. Practice often, even if you aren’t as good at it as some of the Card Greats.
Remember the enthusiasm that you felt about bridge from the very first moment you discovered it. Right there, you probably wanted to know everything about bridge and its players that there exists to know.
A few decades in, many players lose this spark and then “just play bridge” casually – and often also play less.
Don’t let it happen!
Bridge always has more to discover, more to learn, and more people to play it. Get involved in your club, or read a new bridge book to see how it makes you feel.
Declining Their Play
One of the worst bridge habits that a player can develop is to play less of it.
There are many reasons why someone might. They are all real, practical, and often understandable reasons why their life has changed and there is less time to play the game.
If you’ve taken a break from playing the game, stay involved in other ways (and remember that you’re always welcome for an online game again).
A bridge player never stops being one!
Smartphone Sanitization (Or Its Absence)
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve watched people sanitize their hands to death, and then immediately grab the first thing they touched right before they did it. (Hint: That makes it almost pointless unless what they touched is just as clean.)
Don’t make the same mistake with your smartphone. Technically (and yes, according to science), the average smartphone measures higher on the germ-scale than a toilet seat.
It’s true, and you can look it up.
Dear bridge player, for the safety of everyone, remember to clean the surface of your touch screen.