47. Sociable Bridge: Playing cards and bridge statistics

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The statistics of sociable bridge, back in the 30s–60s seemed to be derived from sales of playing card statistics. From what I know of playing sociable bridge back in the 50s and 60s, that wouldn’t begin to reflect the amount of sociable bridge that went on because we routinely played with old somewhat beat-up cards.

Tournament players insist on new cards always, I understand.  And when “entertaining” with bridge as in a couples dinner-bridge, or a special luncheon for women friends, back then, we might splurge on new matched sets of cards and tallies and other bridge accessories. At a minimum, we’d sort of save new-ish bridge card decks for playing beyond our routine weekly or bi-weekly bridge clubs.

Even I am not old enough to have anecdotal memories of the 30s-40s sociable bridge era.  It probably was more formal than the 50s-60s and photos exist of ladies bridge lunches of that area actually wearing hats during the afternoon, so perhaps it was socially necessary then to provide new decks of cards when entertaining. In Bridge Table or What’s Trump Anyway? I tell of  a Mrs. Governor Kortwright back in 1904 in the days of auction bridge, who took along six dozen decks of cards for a two-week stay at Hot Springs saying, “Bridge devotees . . . never use the same pack twice.”

But for clubs that went on decade after decade? I wouldn’t trust the sale of playing cards as a reliable indication of the pervasiveness of bridge these days.

As to  two and three-table talleys for party bridge?  Or scorecards and individual score-keeping? Today people make these things on their computer and library copy machine. Or buy a set of talleys and use it repeatedly thereafter with simple expedient of attaching sticky note to write on while using the talley information for moving from table to table.

Googling the internet is a way of getting a “feel” for what’s going on in sociable bridge. Being an optimist, I find Googling “play bridge” and having a Google Alert for that term, is encouraging in terms of  reviving bridge.

For believable statistics, it will take that expensive and comprehensive approach blogged about in #47 under Bridge.  Just needs a few billionaire movers and shakers at the ACBL.


6 Responses to 47. Sociable Bridge: Playing cards and bridge statistics

  1. I’m not sure where you are getting your information, but good topic.
    I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding
    more. Thanks for great information I was looking for this info for my mission.
    What is bellaroma recently posted…What is bellaromaMy Profile

  2. I appreciated these comments! As Katie indicates, we have had an ongoing private correspondence as well about the vicissitudes of organizing a local bridge group that doesn’t have the strict rules of duplicate bridge, but must rely on innate common sense and good manners of the participants to function, with participants who keep on coming back. Especially when the location is an open-to-the public bridge game. Still I wouldn’t trade the more flexible culture of my local Senior Center bridge for the rigidity of duplicate bridge. It’s more like real life, I say, having to adjust to human nature. Duplicate, seems to me, requires players become as robot-like as possible.
    I know this defies common sense in bridge, but I LIKE the moving around required of party bridge, getting used to a different partner every 4-5 hands, getting surprised now and then by what my partner puts down given what he/she bid. Especially when I manage to make the bid anyway!
    At PURELY SOCIABLE bridge there’s usually no friction over manners (or put up with like you put up with family quirks) because those present are there at the invitation of the hostess–they can’t just drop in as they can at the Senior Center.
    Maggy recently posted…47-2. Sociable Bridge: Statistics & Sociable BridgeMy Profile

  3. P.S. to John:

    As someone who once was very active in a variety of social – service clubs, I can see how bridge would work into that scene nicely, especially in locales with real winter (and golf, tennis, etc. isn’t possible). Realistically, given how hot and humid summer has become almost everywhere, I’d think bridge in air conditioned comfort would be very appealing as an alternative to the “usual” business-networking activities.

    So, you go, guy!

  4. I’m happy to tell you that the social “gathering” I started here last March (we’ve corresponded privately a couple of times) has hung on through the doggy-most days of summer and then some — we’ve maintained 3 or 4 full tables, sometimes with an occasional newbie.

    And we added an “intermediates” day, also at the community center. Interestingly, we held off setting this up, so as to not compete with the Council on Aging’s bridge gathering … but it continued to fade, while interest among our more or less original gang increased for another day (less than 5 miles apart).

    I’d believe some of the interest is due to another person and I taking a very strong stance for some basic etiquette being observed. We have a few who push the limits at times with the “you should have” or “why didn’t you …” but we’ve minimized most criticism of this nature.

    We’ve also insisted that while Mondays will always include “teaching tables,” Fridays (as well as gatherings at someone’s community clubhouse) are for playing independently at a reasonable pace, with minimal chatting. Again, it sometimes takes some hard steering (reminds me of the phrase, trying to herd cats!), but several of us are determined not to let the bad or ignorant behavior of a few run off others.

    Still, we’ve got some personalities that get a bit hard to take, week after week, sometimes more than once in the same week! So my co-organizer/supervisor and I have just started talking about “spelling” each other, so that we each get a break from the stress. It’s a shame that such a thing is necessary, but good manners aren’t all that common any more, are they?

    And a lot of people have gotten away with boorish behavior for years, playing with just a few others who are equal in that regard or who allow themselves to be bullied — you can’t tell them squat because, after all, they’ve been bidding, playing, and criticizing like this for decades, so “who are you, you little upstart, to tell ME blah blah blah!”

    I suspect many of these are drop-outs from duplicate because they CAN’T get away with that garbage in such an environment. So to have “rules” and “behavior expectations” in “social/sociable” bridge catches them by surprise. But you know what? Despite their guff, virtually all of them keep coming, because we’re the only game in town — literally — for organized, non-duplicate bridge.

    One final note … on Mondays, we settled into playing 4-6 hands, then losing pair rotates to the next table and the winners swap chairs at same table. On Fridays, we’re holding firm on true rubber bridge, despite the potential for players having to sit-out for awhile. Since these games are on the parks & rec dept. calendar and open to the public/walk-ins, we can’t insist on reservations … but there are additional at-home games almost every week, and those at the community clubhouse I mentioned are limited to either 8 or 12, first come-first serve.

    Bottom line, the majority are having a great time, using their brains, making new friends at an age when it’s very challenging to do so (we’ve got one gal who is 45, then I’m the next youngest at just under 60; everyone else averages 10 years older or more than I am). I expect peer pressure (and the refusal to play with those who are rude) will slowly bring almost everyone into alignment.

    ‘Course, we’ll have our work cut out for us again come mid-fall, when snowbirds arrive and probably double our attendance. That’ll be a shock to everyone’s system, I suspect!

    As always, I enjoy your writings, Maggie. Keep dealing those cards! Kacie, Port St. Lucie, Florida

  5. Underground, but not buried yet!

    Social Bridge is thriving as a great opportunity for business networking in my ROTARY club, the business and community-oriented service club. Eight of us Rotarians meet for bridge (“dollar-a-corner”) monthly. But the real value of these events that rotate between our homes is the business that takes place coincidentally.

    If you can play bridge and you are in business as an independent professional, or business owner, I urge you to consider the opportunities that social bridge events will present to you and your colleagues.

    Bridge is a natural partner to service clubs like Rotary.

    Rotary was started as a way for new business professionals to get to know others in their new business communities for sharing customers, sharing knowledge of local business, understanding and serving the needs of their new neighbors.

    The language of Bridge is also consistent with the language of business: bids, contracts, partnerships and competition!

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