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All comments by Bob Bertoni
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On Peak is clearly not the best. The policy of no refund on first night deposit is a recent change and is truly awful. There are at least 10 online agencies that will let you cancel up to the last 7 days without a fee. If the room is open would be filled almost a certainty.
We have to also call the Marriott and get our rewards aligned there also so why not just do it once? OnPeak should/could manage our Platinum and Elite levels if they wanted to, but when they get it wrong who suffers? I am not sure if the $5/per room night fee is accurate but I would like to know for that number of rooms yearly creating a portal to handle this correctly would be well worth the investment.
By the way today on booking.com 8 nights(Sat-Sun) at the host hotel (Marriott) are $1412 plus tax. (Almost Same as the “Special Price” Free cancellation until the 24th.) Two weeks ago it was the $1232 the same price as On Peak and you could have reserved and cancelled until this week free. Breakfast included with some rooms, No Prepayment required. The “problem” is that the ACBL does not get this room as part of their block that lowers the fees to the ACBL and helps pay for function space. We need a better partnership or people will as Jonathan said in the first post start to ignore the host hotel, or book the same hotel outside of the ACBL. This does not address the concierge level issue as they charge extra on sites for that and many have it as a perq, It would seem to me the Marriott and Hiltons would be happy to manage those reservations for their best customers and get the room block, bed requests etc correct for free, thats their business.
Carole to make this an actual BOG motion rather than discussion I think you will have to fill out this sheet with the motion> http://www.acbl.org/bog-meeting-docs/ and send it to Richard Popper and Kelley probably for Hawaii at this point.
July 23, 2018
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It is one thing if a regional fails due to issues, it is another to help it along by using anti tournament and pro club changes. Our district has been up in Regional attendance by 20% and 15% the last two years respectively, not due to luck but hard work. It feels that the shift in Gold Points to clubs will undermine our efforts, but that really does not have to do with this topic of helping newcomers get their initial discount back and longer temporary memberships and solidifying the stipends to organizers.
March 3, 2018
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The “cost of the monthly membership” assuming we are not talking this one temporary membership is to pay the 2.5% monthly rather than have 100% of the money in the bank at 3-5% Money Market is huge. Monthly memberships would have to have to cost more than yearly (see Microsoft if Office is 150/year it is $16.50 monthly etc, Amazon Prime $11.99/mo and $99/yr. ect. Banks charge to process Large Cash and Credit cards, but checks we receive 100%. There is human time to record them , yes.
This of course should have nothing to do with this motion.
Feb. 27, 2018
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I have edited all parts about the payment gateway from the final version.
I am just keeping it simple. 1. 7.99 3 Months, 2. $32.99 for year 1, 3. Membership packet downloadable and customizable.
I am afraid the CC processing as important as that may be may muddy the real newcomer bridge value that we need as a priority.
Feb. 27, 2018
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We also plan to give away these memberships. I appreciate your support.
Feb. 27, 2018
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There is a huge value to the ACBL collecting the cash at once rather than monthly. The annual membership fee is not really reduced. It was $29 for new members, they are changing it to NO discount for new members. The 32.99 proposed is $3.99 higher than is has ever been (except starting March 1, 2018 it is $49)
Feb. 27, 2018
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I understand the thought but I cant agree that we should do anything negative to a newcomer. It could be recruiter failure or a bad experience live. In all cases “We want you , we need you, we love you ” should be our mantra.
Also the precedent. If I let my membership expire can I play in the Gold Rush (i missed it), RED Ribbon again :) only kidding ….sort of.
Feb. 21, 2018
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Steve the temporary can go to permanent now on the website, they just can not renew in person at a tournament unless cash or check is the guideline as they do not have something in place apparently. It is possible that we could just direct them to the website if a public computer was available, I am suggesting there should be a better way in person if you hand the director a cc for your membership.
Feb. 21, 2018
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Yes Larry and I do not think that the cost of 3 bulletins should even come into play here, the “worst that could happen” is that we get an overwhelming number of new members that it cost us a lot for a couple of months and we re coup @49 thereafter.
Note that the $7.99 cost and the bulletin 1 month is the current 173-45 that was passed so I am suggesting more time and 2 extra bulletins. The average new member will not even see their points printed on the first bulletin before their membership expires under the current plan.
Feb. 21, 2018
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I just do not see why we want to make the cost higher, It should be free in my opinion for 90 days, I left it at $7.99 to allow it to fly with the same price they had. We should make it as trivial as possible to join and “set the hook” if you will. We need thousands of new members yearly more than we get.
The credit card part would be through the ACBL site on any device and they would pay the cost (as they do now) the DIC already has a computer(s) in place. I made it so we could table on part like this if “too much” for August and work toward it.
I can promise you that in U108 Tournaments we have a promo to get new members and we will have over 30 by end of May 2018. However agreed most will be clubs and I am happy to see them get paid from this recruit effort.
The Packet is important and we should be able to accomplish this with local customization's on the ACBL webpages, it just takes doing it. They make a template, the district/unit/club/ logs in and customizes it- think Pianola type template.
Feb. 21, 2018
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Well to start there has to be a better system than just Masterpoints that accrue without regard to any other criteria. I also agree that strength based system makes sense and that you can not rate the player only the pair.
Jay has as you know a PR rating for pairs on bridgefinesse.com, for those of you that are not familiar see http://bridgefinesse.com/Chart
The problem you allude to is the total data, many partnerships are unrated. If I play with a GrLM we certainly should be rated higher than when i play with a student, and the likelihood is that I may play with either on a given day without a previous result.
So getting enough data to be valid seems to be an issue to me. Data based on 3 games would not be as valid as those with 50+ games etc.
Actually when Robert Hartman took over I had hopes due to his background in horse racing that he may experiment with conditions of contest similar to horse racing.
If you are not familiar they stage a race with conditions like: :Non Winners this year, non winners of 2 this year, Non winners of over $ 10,000 this year. Translated to bridge something like: Non winners of a Regional Tournament Lifetime, Non Winners of 2 RT Lifetime. Non winners of a regional this year. Non Winners of a regional with under 5000 MP etc. Finally NABC Open Event. Regional Open Event.
I know many players who have earned 60 points a year for 37 years that can not play in the “Red Ribbon pairs” because they are too “good” while there are pairs like me (and many of us) who earned 1000 in the first 3 years of playing that are rated “lower” by our system but in fact are clearly a different player class.
So I would recommend tweaking this simplified CoC here to expand it. This would allow my friend with 37 years experience to play in a NW This year and perhaps be a lot more competitive than playing in Flight A or seeking a player they can average down into B with to try compete.
So yes these would be Flighted games not stratified. I don't think you can change it all right away but I think these conditions could be incorporated slowly. And no it would not be “pro-friendly” as the pro would force the client into Open so it would be opposed but the loudest voices. It would be friendly to grandma Blue-hair and their MP line would read NW1LT(non winners of 1 lifetime) 1 (1st) 6.83 Gold, NW2LT 2 4.76 GOLD, Open Pairs 24 0.00 ect.. The second group is the one that we are losing when they cant compete. (yes the mid flight addresses this to some extent)
They keep horses at their level this way, and it helps those laid off for a period of time regain success before open company again. Your thoughts?
Feb. 3, 2018
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This we agree, the loss of many Regionals will be all those missing adventures and friends not met, in lieu of bigger club games with pretty much the same old suspects. But to think that the pigmentation doesn't matter to people, well I know you know differently.
At the Senior Regional we have events that have both Silver and Gold (Gold is only in Senior Events) and when we scheduled a Sectional Swiss on Saturday many top players did not play (I am talking PLM, GrLM) and chose the Gold Pair Game. When asked why they didn't choose the team game (that I know they prefer) they answered “Well it was only silver points” I was set back… what difference could it possibly make to them what color their 25 Points were for winning?
IN the quest for LM of course it is more understandable.
Feb. 3, 2018
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Jeff: I know you do a great job at Honors and it is a fantastic club that I wish more owners emulated. The problem is that you are taking a huge leap suggesting that REACH will strengthen “teaching centers” there is no evidence (causal or correlative) that would suggest that making big clubs bigger via REACH would encourage them to increase teaching, in fact there may be dis-incentive as “business is better now” so why invest in teaching when they obviously didn't have the thought to do it before?

Regional Tournaments augment and strengthen club play they may take a few tables away for four weeks a year and excite people to attend the other 48, the difference in pigmentation is the factor that differentiates the two. For myself I go to a club to practice for a Regional with a partner. Not choose not to go to a club because there is a Regional. There is (was) a symbiotic relationship between the two, similar to AA and AAA ball to the big leagues. Clubs; learn, prepare and test. Tournaments; Execute your game, test your skill across a wide audience, become a LM getting Gold Points. One of the biggest driving forces to additional play is the need for black, silver or gold points now. Once they are all available in one venue and it is less expensive to attend, you have decided per force of logic where people will play. For myself I will miss going to tournaments and settling for playing against the same 24 tables and seeing how I score across a group I never see if far different than being able to play against those people.

The fact that night games everywhere have fallen off has for sure no causal relationship to Regionals (there is a correlative relationship), in fact our Regionals have moved to a daytime centric schedule for the same reason that clubs are failing at night, people who commute are not willing to drive home at 10-11PM especially if there is any weather. The average age is a huge factor also. The weekends even at Regionals are off for a similar reason, people choose to see grandkids, spend time with family that works all week, and other entertainment options. Your statement that regionals were the cause of that decline has no causality and it is not even correlative to that decline - it is the same at tournaments weekends are down and weekend nights are even worse. I agree that if there were less regionals on weekends, the clubs would do better on weekends, however is that serving players better? If clubs had a better product and were just as exciting to attend would people travel and pay for hotels to attend Regionals? Clubs are more relaxed and nurturing (at least in principle) Tournaments are competitive, exciting and prepare players to compete on the NABC level.

Imagine the Olympics when the track stars just run on their local college track and mail in their time to be assembled to determine a winner? Why do they no do this? You all can think of 20 reasons why this is crazy so apply this thinking please. That is what REACH is doing.

REACH is almost certain to have a negative impact on Regionals, There is absolutely NO upside for a District Tournament in having clubs give GOLD points. In the main forum here someone said that a 20% drop in attendance “would not hurt a tournament” this is obviously someone not familiar with the financial moving parts of hotel negotiations and bridge tournaments so I did not respond, however even 10% loss would cost promoters -$5,000 or so. Even districts in a great financial position will have difficulty sustaining these losses for an extended period of time.
Then when they cancel tournaments from 4 to 2, from 2 to 1, why would the ACBL give the $5 to the district who is unable to field Regionals? This of course will not happen in the larger Regionals, they have the numbers to survive, but the average is 1300 tables and that is buoyed by D7 & D9. Many are 600-1000 tables now.
REACH is an idea that is designed to change tournament structure and numbers in a back door way because if they just said you can have 2 tournaments now there would be huge resistance, if you make it financially impossible to have 4 then we will be asking to have less as we can not afford the loss. Its backhanded management, follow the money.
At the very least REACH should be a part of your District tournament with the funds going to support your District and if we wanted to invite neighboring districts to participate it would be between the districts.
At the best REACH would only be allowed on the 30 days a year that NABC's were running, as the people that like to play in clubs are several steps away many times from an NABC.
Feb. 3, 2018
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Well it is near impossible for a Unit or District official to decide or persuade what will happen in a club that is privately owned, surely you are correct that developing players is crucial to growth. Our District offers classes 2-3x at our regionals (free) amd my Unit (108) has a Youth Bridge organization we had 9 tables at out last sectional with an experienced player at each table to help. All U19 players are encouraged to play for free at our sectionals (And D25 U26 /NLM plays free), in 2018 we passed that 0-49 will play for free at our sectionals (U108), U108 also sponsors Lean Bridge Classes on a Bi Monthly basis that includes an ACBL membership as part of the program. So I think I get it that classes are important and an area for growth, I have sponsored most of these initiatives. The point that you are missing is that this argument is non responsive to the issue of REACH interfering with the long term profitability of Regionals. Lets look at D24 losses for that last 20 regionals? Increasing the table count at Honors is good for you and I understand why you fully support REACH all big club owners will love it you now get to sell gold points awesome for you. More money, better attendance at the club, and your players get to play in pool A and get top MP awards, my club they are all beginners and doomed to play in pool D so why not travel to larger club? But what effect on your district profitability will this have? If you lose 10 tables this year and 10 more the next 5 years can you survive financially? Honors will but your players will have to either play REACH or travel to D7 to have a viable live regional. This is what we need worry about.
Feb. 1, 2018
Bob Bertoni edited this comment Feb. 2, 2018
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Well I respectfully disagree, club managers have all to gain and nothing to lose. If you have the exclusive right to sell Coke-Cola Product in your state, how would your neighbor decide if asked if he also wanted to sell Coke-Cola in your state? The Districts had the exclusive right to sell Gold points…sans the 1 Gold for Jane Johnston Team game in Oct.
Feb. 1, 2018
Bob Bertoni edited this comment Feb. 1, 2018
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Innovation is an interesting choice of words, wasn't sub prime mortgages an innovative idea? The problem is that this was released to the entire ACBL this week (districts were not allowed to opt in or out (as most did not agree to participate the last time), new ideas should be developed carefully, hard to put this genie back in the box. If they didn't give Gold points I would have little objection, but the “ownership of selling those points” has been the bread and butter of the district regionals. Losing the handle on that will within 10 years eliminate many regionals across the country if this becomes a common occurrence. Online Platinum points anyone? Oh but that takes away from the NABC draw…hmmm
Feb. 1, 2018
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So the question is how did this pass everything to come to this point? The long term effect will be far reaching and devastating if you enjoy going to a Regional in the most districts. We will have to travel to D7 or D9 to play in one. My opinion is if you do not think this will have a long term effect on attendance at regionals live, well you just do not understand all the moving parts, yet.
Jan. 23, 2018
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The long term effect (REACH) on Regionals has to be disastrous. If you are happy transferring District power to your larger clubs (the rich will get richer) and your “district will receive $5” today (no guarantee this split will continue, and in no way can this make up for the loss of tables overtime, many regionals are borderline break even, we pay for our function space by guaranteeing hotel rooms, (do not assume we can afford to pay for function space stand alone to hold regionals because we can not). With less need to attend regionals being able to achieve your goals (LM =GOLD Points) why spend the hotel money? Gold Points have always been the domain of the District and the NABC Regional events held but 3x year)
Once Districts start to not afford the function space, losing lots of money (missing a room guarantee by just 50 room nights over 6 days will results in $5K in fees lost), and start to cancel tournaments (or have them taken away) the leverage for districts getting $5 or any money will lessen.
It is important that we only allow REACH if at all, only the 30 days that NABC run, Oh they didn't schedule any against themselves? Why?
There are a myriad of other issues : Hand record security, strength of field, pros being paid to play without having to pay the $25/$30 but only the club fee, imbalanced local fields… None of these can come close to the 5-10 year demise of Regional tournaments as we know them, and the transfer to the ACBL all district power as well as the money.
If you can not field a regional why will they continue to give your organization the $5?? What will you do with it?
Yes this is also just selling Masterpoints, however this is our business model so arguments to this end will be futile.
If you do not care if there are regional tournaments, then agreed this is for you support it. If your district has 3000+ tables the immediate effect will be small to you as you can afford function space down to probably 1000 tables..Take a look at the districts pushing this… what is their count? What is yours? Losing 300 tables from 3000 to 2700 is inconvenient, losing 100 of 1000 tables is a complete disaster.
Sure REACH numbers will be big that does not have any causality to it being a good thing overall. When Walmart has a huge sale they are packed, how do the local store owners do?
If we do not put the reins on this it will be out of control.
By the way if you do not know me I am a club owner, ABTA Teacher, District president, in 2018 Unit 108 President.
In D25 I was able for the last two years (with the help of several great people) to increase our regional attendance at every regional with year over year growth. Several tournaments were up 200 tables over the two years. It can be done it takes work.
See you in Philly.
Jan. 14, 2018
Bob Bertoni edited this comment Jan. 15, 2018
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My feeling is if they are hell bent for RaC let’s give them 30 days a year… the 30 that compete with NABC. Most units and districts avoid those dates. So if they feel it “won’t hurt” let them compete with themselves. Don I agree with your points. It is easy to manipulate this topic to look like it is a good thing. It will be bad if you like live tournaments and great if you like clubs and online bridge only. I play 200 to 300 boards a week online and it’s not the same game. It’s a good game but needs t the same.
Board security bother anyone?
Even strength of field?
Sure it’s easier and cheaper than going to a regional and this will have appeal to many especially those that look to avoid top competition.
The next step will be to open a booth at NABC and sell points for cash…sorry for the sarcasm but this is a bad idea that I find it hard to believe gets support from involved people without an agenda.
Nov. 17, 2017
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