Famous Bridge Players You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

Card games are popular but they are not popular enough for the average person to know the celebrities in the world of a specific card game. A game like bridge is very popular, yet it is a game that is considered to be played by old people only.

That isn’t true, but there is a low likelihood that a non bridge-invested person would know any of bridge’s great players, champions or otherwise ambassadors for the game. These are the greatest and most famous bridge players.

Charles Goren

Charles Henry Goren is known as Mr. Bridge. He was a professional bridge player who managed to win many times, but other than that, he was also very popular in the media. He was quoted saying that you should play bridge for fun, exclusively. If you start to play bridge for anything other than fun, you should move to a competitive sport, something like tennis.

He also said that you should always play the game that your partner plays, no matter how much more you know about bridge than the partner. Goren stopped appearing in tournaments after a stroke in 1966, at the age of 65. He lived until 1991, but his health was deteriorating during the time and he made very few public appearances.

Bob Hamman

Born in 1938, Bob Hamman is a great bridge player, still with us to this day. He played competitive bridge and won many tournaments. He was known to play bridge for the entirety of a day, with partner Ralph Clark. Recognized by the giant names of his generation, namely the aforementioned Charles Goren, Bob Hamman is a staple name in the world of bridge.

Hamman has played in many tournaments and has even won some late in his career, the last one being in 2012.

Benito Garozzo

Born in 1927 in Italy, Garozzo is considered to be the greatest ever player to have played bridge, by many of his fellow bridge players. Himself, he thinks that he had a good team and had the worst temperament among all of them. The team he played in was the famous Squadra Azzura or Blue Team. Even within the Blue team, Belladonna and Forquet, both legendary bridge players, would ask Garozzo when a problem was too difficult to solve. He always had a good idea in the back of his head. One of his mottos was to never stop learning, no matter how much you win.

Helen Sobel Smith

Born in 1910, Helen Sobel Smith was a great bridge player. Her appearance at tournaments was very deceptive. She would fear sunglasses to make people believe that she was a dumb blonde. She was a longtime bridge partner with Charles Goren, and the two won many tournaments together. Despite her competitive nature, she was quoted saying that most points are lost to unnecessary overcalls. 

Bridge is a popular game, but not popular enough that bridge stars will be known outside of bridge. Now, you know of some of bridge’s most decorated professionals.

Is Bridge Considered a Sport?

Card games are typically not considered sports. However, some card games get that elevated status and are entered into a different world, where they become sports. How does that happen?

Well, card games are competitive, and some of them are ethical enough that they can become sports, in the same way that some esports titles are considered by the International Olympic Committee.

The game of bridge is a card game, but also one that is a sport. While this answers the question in the title, it still needs more elaboration.

Bridge is Recognized by the IOC

The IOC recognizes bridge as a sport, which is more than good enough to give it a status worthy of worship amongst other card games. When the IOC recognizes something as a sport, it means more than that it is a physical activity which is friendly and competitive.

The IOC considers everything from ethics to violence when they are looking into a  potential sport. Some esports titles are not recognized because they are too violent, the object of the game being to kill others. 

Bridge, chess, go and draught, have founded an organization called International Mind Sports Association, which is recognized by many other international entities, such as UNESCO and WADA.

Bridge is very strict about stimulants, given that games may last up to 6 hours or more.

Some Don’t Recognize Bridge

The European Court of Justice is not all that happy about others calling bridge a sport, themselves denouncing it as such. The reason for bridge not being a sport is that it lacks significant physical exertion. While that is true, bridge is still a very friendly game that people can benefit from, mentally and physically. A relaxing game of bridge is much better than a tension-filled game of basketball where you might end up injured. 

Having significant physical exertion should not be an obstacle for something to enter a world of sports, even though it could be further classified as a mind game. 

Why Bridge is Good for You

Bridge has many mental health benefits, one of the first ones being combating dementia, or rather, preventing it. Most youths who engage in bridge and learn how to play games typically score a lot better in various logical tests and otherwise.

Bridge is a very mentally engaging game that requires lots of strategy and forward-thinking. Bridge allows the player to play any hand and win, which is not something you could say for other card games, which are more luck-based.

Bridge as a game has many social benefits, encouraging the players to socialize and build trust. Bridge has partnerships which are basically random at the start of every game. Joining a bridge club is a great way to socialize and practice strategic thinking. 

Bridge is considered a sport by some people, while some people disapprove of it. This, in the end, is not that important, considering how many people love playing bridge. It is a great game, no matter what a committee might think about it. 

What is Bridge?

As far as card games go, most people have heard of poker, blackjack and UNO. These are fun and competitive games, some played in casinos for money, even though all of them can be played for entertainment purposes. Card games are plentiful, but one of them stands above them all, and that is bridge.

Bridge might not be for all people, but it is a fun and tactical card game that will test you and your partner’s strengths as players. Bridge is a game of ethics, even though it is a card game.

Here is everything that you should know about bridge, a somewhat mysterious game to the uninitiated.

A Brief History of Bridge

Like most card games, it is hard to pinpoint when bridge was created, but we know that it is a derivative of the game of whist, which was played in 18th and 19th century England. The first rulebook for bridge was written in 1886 by John Collinson. The book was named Biritch, or Russian Whist. Collinson was a financier who worked in Istanbul. The name of the game is said to come from the Russian word for a diplomatic clerk.

Another story says that British soldiers fighting in the Crimean war named the game after the Galata Bridge in Istanbul. 

Earlier mentions of similar games date back to easily 16th century France and Italy, with Rabelais and his game La Triomphe and Francesco Berni and his game Triomfi. Both were trick-taking games.

What is Bridge, Exactly? How do You Play it?

Bridge is played through partnerships. Typically, four players play, with a standard 52 deck, the order of cards being from ace, king, to number 2, from highest to lowest ranking. Partnerships are selected through drawing cards, the two partners being the first ones to draw the highest cards.

The game is dealt to the left of the dealer, each player getting a card until everyone has 13 cards. Typically, two decks are used, one shuffled one while the other is dealt. A trick when all players play a card. A leader can play any card, while the following players must match it if they are able to.

To begin a hand, players can pass, bid, double or redouble. If a play is a bid, double or redouble, and three consecutive plays are a pass, then the game is put into a contract and the state can be trump or no trump. At the end of a game, or rather, contract, the side which makes the contract wins points. 

Is Bridge Played at Tournaments?

Bridge can be played at tournaments but typically isn’t, at least not for money. Bridge follows very clear ethical rules, where you should play the game according to the rules and those people who do not, are often considered unwelcome. It is a game that practices decent behavior and transparentness, meaning that it is a lot different to games like poker. Lying about your hand is very bad in bridge. 

Tournaments are played for pleasure and skill expression, even though some may be played for money. When they are, the players are mostly ethical ones, with cheaters here and there, every once in a while.

Bridge is a rather complicated game that takes a bit of time to learn. It takes even longer to master, but it is a game worth your attention if you want to strategize and express your skill in a game of cards.

Bridge is a Game of Skill – Here is Why

Card games are not typically considered games of skill, because there is a huge element of luck involved. Some card games are more skill-based than others, but when you have an element of randomness, it is difficult to attribute winning a game to skill, if a player receives a random card that turns the tide completely in their favor.

Or is it? Bridge is a game which is often considered a gambler’s game, but it can be argued that it is a game of skill. Here is why it is also considered a game of skill. 

Bridge Is Played Against Others

There is no house in bridge, which makes it a perfect card game to play. Given that one is playing against other players, there is a very huge element of skill involved. Games like Duplicate Bridge are considered to be almost completely games of skill, rather than those of chance.The thing that makes bridge different from other card games is that the player gets ample opportunities to play the right hand, as well as the wrong one. Given that most of the error is up to the player, the game is mostly a game of skill. Sure, errors can be made, but that happens all the time, except in bridge, the starting hand doesn’t matter as much as how you play the hand.

Bridge Is Not Easy

Bridge has one of the most comprehensive rulesets that exist for any card game. If you are playing duplicate bridge, as mentioned above, the game becomes almost entirely a game of skill. When the cards are dealt, partnerships need to play together, trying to find the best solution to beat the opposing partnerships. In the end, if duplicate bridge is played, scores are compared because the partnerships are dealt the same cards, hence the duplicate. In this case, the better partnership will win, regardless of the cards they were dealt.

Bridge is a Fun and Social Game

While being a game of skill, bridge is primarily a fun and social game. It is and has been used for socialization more than many other games. While comparable to poker in some regards, bridge is still a game where most of the luck factor is eliminated.

Being a social game, it is always played with at least three other people. In tournaments, partnerships can be teamed up with other partnerships, to make things interesting and remove the element of luck even more.

Due to the nature of bridge and the way the game is played, the cards you’re dealt mean very little. The game is determined by how the cards are played, on both sides of a partnership.