I don’t mean for the title of this column entry to make it seem like online bridge is an endeavour that’s free of mistakes and mishaps. Not even the business of travelling to-and-from outer space is flawless – and that literally involves rocket science.
But online and face-to-face bridge have at least a handful of mistakes that are unique to each.
Face-to-face bridge players don’t often drop their internet connection, and then vanish into thin air. On the other hand, online players can never blame the shuffle for how their cards are dealt (while a bad shuffler at a club game could spell the end of the night).
The thought got me thinking.
I’m glad that there is both online and offline bridge. From where I’m sitting right now, I can see that online bridge has changed the game – and for the better!
Here are 4 common bridge mistakes & mishaps (you won’t see online).
1: A Misshapen Table
Gone are the days of unstable bridge tables, or skew surfaces on which to park your bridge chair. Unless it’s a cruise liner, I prefer my bridge table to stay exactly in the same place (instead of moving from one side to another for any reason).
The trick used to be a few cards (or box of matches) shoved under one leg in order to balance it out. Who has had to?
With online bridge, the tables are guaranteed level.
2: An Improper Shuffle
Thanks to online bridge, we can say goodbye to the improper shuffle.
Shuffling takes place thanks to Random Number Generators (and other clever algorithms) when bridge players are online.
Some offline games meant that you were reliant on the chosen dealer for the night, who might be the friend or cousin everyone trusted the least in general.
No more having the same cards show up in a row when you aren’t intending to play duplicate…
3: An Empty Seat
Have you ever had to ask an empty chair, hat, or plant to stand-in for the night’s dummy play?
Online bridge players have GIB, with the addition of a worldwide bridge player network. The system is always ready for a game, and that’s what it was created for.
Feel free to have GIB filling in your empty seats (or just find another player to challenge or match up with anywhere in the world).
Online bridge is pretty instant. Most face-to-face bridge games, readers will have noticed, are not.
4: Losing The Score
When scoring is done by the system, mistakes and mishaps are almost impossible – and any review of the game is effortless (and can be done without a player writing down a single thing).
I encourage predominantly online bridge players to learn how to score games manually. It helps your overall bridge play.
But it’s nice to have The Internet doing it for you, isn’t it?
No more losing the score halfway through, or arguing about how the table remembers the eighth trick.