Surfing Bridge Websites - dummies

By Eddie Kantar

The Internet provides a vital forum for bridge players all over the world. Currently, you can find hundreds of bridge-related websites that offer everything from bridge games to blogs to bridge instruction. Following are some great picks for websites where you can play bridge and search for bridge info.

Playing bridge online against others

The Internet allows players all over the world to play against each other online, keep abreast of the latest conventions, find out what’s happening in the bridge world, and connect with suitable partners. One can also kibitz (or observe) famous experts because bridge players from novices to experts all enjoy playing online. Here are some tempting options:

  • Bridge Base Online: Bridge Base Online (BBO) is a free online service through which more than 100,000 people (including many new players) from all over the world play bridge. BBO offers possibilities of playing 24/7 with your own partner or choosing a partner. It also has a number of internal clubs, such as the BIL (Beginner-Intermediate Lounge). It offers tournaments at all levels, and ACBL masterpoints can be won in certain events. You can also match wits or kibitz some of the game’s top players.

BBO regularly produces live broadcasts of major tournaments, including trials for the United States team and the World Championships. You can learn a lot by watching the world’s best players in action.

  • Great Bridge Links: This site offers links to dozens of other sites where you can play against, either through ACBL online clubs or other independent online clubs. It also offers links to a wide selection of bridge apps for both playing and studying bridge.
  • MSN Bridge Games: MSN is a free online service that offers the possibility to play many different games, including bridge. MSN is a portal to BBO that offers casual, low-pressure play with other bridge players.
  • OKbridge: OKbridge bills itself as the original Internet bridge club. For a fee of $100 a year, OKbridge offers the possibility of playing 24/7 with your own foursome, playing with a partner of your own choice, or just digging up a partner if you don’t have one. The graphics are top notch.
  • Swan Games: You can join Swan Games, a friendly club with duplicate games, free lessons, and tournaments for all levels. It has an easy-to-use interface for 24/7 play with people around the world. You can also use individual chat boxes for managing private conversations. (Note: This club is Windows-compatible only.)

Playing bridge online interactively

Can’t find someone to play against? The Internet offers several sites that feature computerized partners who won’t talk back or argue with you. These sites also offer expert advice, so you might pick up some pointers in the process. Here are some sites you should check out.

  • Arkadium: Arkadium is a site where you can team up with a computerized partner and pit your bridge skills against two in-game opponents.
  • Vu-Bridge: Vu-Bridge offers interactive bridge hands that combine expert instruction with actual play experience. For pennies a day, you receive email deals to play interactively with expert commentary.

More and more apps are being developed with bridge in mind. Now you can play bridge, practice bridge, or read about bridge while relaxing with your own device anywhere or anytime. Here are two great apps (search for them in iTunes or Google Play):

  • Fun Bridge by Go to Games: This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad. You can practice with help available or play hands in a tournament.
  • Bridge Baron: This app is based on the best-selling computer game Bridge Baron.

Finding bridge information

You can locate plenty of bridge-related info by doing an online search. For example, you’ll be amazed by what you’ll find just by typing “bridge for beginners” into a search engine! In addition, the following websites have links and useful information for all kinds of bridge players:

  • The American Contract Bridge League: This fabulous website has loads of information for new players. Joining the ACBL is a very good idea. The ACBL is an excellent source of information of current events in the bridge community, bridge clubs all over the United States, and new conventions and techniques. Membership is $29 for the first year. After that, membership is $39 per year or $111 for three years. If you are 26 years old or younger, membership costs $15 per year.

The Bridge Bulletin is the official monthly publication for members of the ACBL. The magazine includes a special section for new players as well as sections for intermediate and advanced players.

  • The Bridge World: The Bridge World, the popular offline publication, puts a sampling of its content online. Here you find a brief introduction to the game, bridge practice hands, and puzzles for intermediate-level players.

Be sure to check out the “Bridge Glossary” section at this website. Have you ever wondered what an Alcatraz Coup is? Check it out in the Glossary section so you don’t wind up in jail! Click on Reading Room and then Bridge Dictionary.