16. Bridge: Beantown Bridge Meet Up

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Meet Up is the place on the internet where you can find others in your local area who share a particular interest.  According to the national Meet Up website there are at present 31 cities in 4 countries with Bridge Meet Up groups.

Beantown Bridge in the Boston area is one of them and Tony Lazzeri, its organizer, has some interesting things to say about how to get a local Bridge Meet Up going should you wish to do so. Tony learned, he says, to ignore much of what he read about promoting bridge and teaching beginners to play.

For one thing, Tony says he had to learn from experience that tournament players are “really not compatible with sociable gaming. . . constant complaining when you’re not playing their game properly scared a lot of my members away and I learned my lesson!” That’s been my experience too, anecdotally–combining serious players with sociable players can have the same effect as a disapproving teetotaler at a cocktail party.

Here’s Tony’s rules, if you’d like to explore starting a bridge Meet Up in your town:

1. “Esteem bridge for its ‘sociable’ qualities at the expense of others . . . market the game as hip and skillful where you can have fun . . . by becoming an ‘anti-Club’ I’m attracting fun and interested people and keeping the pros away who just want competition.”

2. Tony has run the Boston Cards & Conversation club for two years and encourages whist, Spades and Hearts players at that club to move on to the Bridge Meet Up group. People who have experience playing other trick-taking games lik whist, Spades, Hearts have a high success ratio moving up to bridge.

3. He starts with Mini Bridge and tells students not to read manuals or strategy guides before class so they’re not scared off.  “I can take a complete novice to playing mini-bridge in two hours, and at the table in four hours.”

“Up here in Boston,” says Tony, “We are fortunate to have a large number of  bridge players in the area who play sociable bridge. A surprising number of my members are younger than 40, and many are college age. . . . Poker has pulled in a lot of bridge players for its exciting play–so now why can’t we take some good poker players?”

Take a look at the Beantown Bridge website: http://www.meetup.com/BeantownBridge/

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