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Tablets to replace bidding boxes and trays at the Bermuda Bowl

I've heard from what I think is a reliable source that next year's Bermuda Bowl in Lyon will have tablet bidding at all tables.

The system described to me has two tablets at each table mounted on the screen just above the aperture.  The players will enter their bids directly on the tablet which will then show-up on the other side of the screen after East and West bid (mimicking a tray being pushed through the screen at that time). 

The opening lead and number of tricks will be entered independently on both sides of the screen for verification by the respective screen-mates.

I think this is a huge advance for several reasons:

  • cheating methods using bidding card and tray placement can no longer be employed;
  • precise timing of all actions during the auction will be captured making it far easier to assess slow play penalties and break-in-tempo rulings;
  • there can be no disputes as to which bids were alerted or not;
  • auctions at all tables will be captured, greatly enhancing the spectator experience;
  • scoring errors will be dramatically reduced.

I do, however, see some problems:

  • most screens wobble a bit when you touch them so I anticipate some problems with the other side of the screen being able to sense when bids are being made when the screen wobbles;
  • screen tables are generally a bit bigger than normal club tables and for people with short arms it may be hard to reach a tablet mounted on the screen.

I think these problems can be overcome if the tablets are removable and can sit on the table during the auction; indeed there's no reason obvious to me why the tablets need to be mounted on the screen at any phase of a hand.

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