Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ACBL?

The governing body for the American Contract Bridge League

Will this be an ACBL sanctioned game?


What if I am not an ACBL member?

You may play in the game, but you must be a member of ACBL to earn masterpoints.

How do I join the ACBL?

You may sign up to become an ACBL member online or at the convenience of  the director.  

Do I need to come with a partner?

It is preferred.  However, you are welcome to make a reservation and leave your partner as TBD. We will do our best to find you a partner on game day.

Do we need a Convention Card and how do we fill this out?

Yes you and your partner will need to have identical convention cards filled out before the start of the game.  If you need a copy of
a convention card or need help in filling these out please click on this link to the ACBL Convention Card Resource.

I am a beginner at Duplicate.  Do I have to compete with players who have much more experience than I do?

Players will be "stratified."  This means that although you might play some hands against better players, you will only be in direct competition with those on your same level (or "strata"), as reflected in the final scoring. If there is enough interest, we may add a special section for novices(less than 20 master points).

As a new player, I am fearful of being intimidated by experienced players who call the Director about something I might do?

It is always helpful to introduce yourself to your opponents and to explain that you are a new player.  Howerver, when a problem occurs, calling the Director is a requirement of a sanctioned duplicate game; only the Director can make certain rulings which are fair to all players.  New players, too, should not hesitate to call the Director if they have a question about proper play.  Remember, you are not only in competition with those at your table, you are also in competition with those at other tables who will eventually be playing the same hands.  You and they deserve to be treated fairly if there is a mistake made during the play of a hand.  Calling the Director should not be a source of embarrassment for any player.  It is part of the game.  Remember:  everyone was a beginner once!  Please treat the Director with respect by saying, " Director, please" when calling.

Why am I asked to become a member of the Boca Grande Duplicate Bridge Club if it is not required?

In order for the club to qualify to receive certain privileges offered by the ACBL, the club must be a "membership" club.  When you pay your first $7.00 , you become a regular member and the first play is free.  

What is the Food Policy?

No Food allowed during the game; water only -- We will provide water.   You may bring your own drinks. Please remember to dispose of any debris.  No outside food except occasional hard candy.  No crumb producing or insect attracting (fruit) snacks.

Is there any effort to match teams so that the NS and EW teams are of equal strength?

A number of factors go into the "seeding" of the field.  First players often make requests to be seated E/W or N/S(some people don't like to score; others don't like to move).

We try to place an equal number of A and B pairs in each direction, and seat them so they all will face each other during the session. Unless the movement is such that every pair plays every other pair,  there will be some C pairs who do not face all the A & B pairs. That is unavoidable.

We also endeavor to make the N-S field and the E-W field as close to equal in ability and experience as we can. We do not, however, know the experience and ability of everyone. Sometimes, we have to move pairs at the last minute because someone doesn't show up or an extra pair shows up; this can affect the seeding somewhat, although we attempt to minimize that. Obviously, perfect parity is impossible. Sometimes an A player is paired with a C, but the pair is still in A as the seeding is determined (in the ACBL program) by the MP of the higher ranked player. We have no control over that, but we try to take it into consideration to the extent we can.

What are Matchpoints?

Pairs duplicate bridge is scored by MATCHPOINTS.

Since each board is played several times the scores are compared. For each pair whose score you beat (even by 10 points!) you get one matchpoint. 

For each pair whose score you tie, you get 1/2 matchpoint.

You get zero matchpoints for the pairs who beat you.

Here is a typical traveler:

 Pair             Score     Mp Explanation            
 1 +620 7 Beat 7 pairs
 2 +170 5 Beat  4 pairs & tied 2 pairs
 3 +140 2.5 Beat 2 pairs & tied 1 pair
 4 +170 5 Beat 4 pairs & tied 2 pairs
 5 -100 .5 Tied 1 pair
 6 +170 5 Beat 4 pairs & tied 2 pairs
 7 +140 2.5 Beat 2 pairs and tied 1 pair
 8 -100 .5 Tied 1 pair

Notice that the amount of points you beat a pair by is irrelevant. All that matters is getting a better score.

This is why overtricks are so important in matchpoint play.

It is also why good players often double the opponents in competitive auctions. If you can make 2 Spades for +110, setting the opponents one trick in 3 Hearts will be a bad score. You must double them and go for 200 if they are vulnerable or 100 if they are not.

 It is often good strategy to go down one (even doubled) if not vulnerable rather than allow the opponents to score +110 or +140.

Competing like this and doubling like this is a poor strategy in rubber bridge or in a team game, however. Doubling the opponents into a game that makes is always a bad result. In pairs it is just a bad board, which might have been just as bad had you passed.

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