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All comments by Sabrina Miles
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I haven't bought bridge bucks at nationals, but I have bought District 7 vouchers. The vouchers are sold for the exact amount as a single tournament entry. They are so convenient…and time saving when it comes to getting an entry. The vouchers are sold separate and apart from the entries. Since I am not a member of District 7, I generally know the number of entries I anticipate buying for a tournament and can purchase then all at once…saving me time and energy. I've even gone back for an additional tournament, because I still had a few vouchers left.
Nov. 6, 2018
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Sounds to me that these are crimes of opportunity rather than planned robberies. The solution, I would surmise, is to take away the opportunity. Just don't leave cash unattended. The risk is not worth it. Perhaps it's such a common sense solution, that the ACBL has not put out a warning/guideline about the matter? Or perhaps they have in the TD/DIC training materials, and folks are lapse in heeding the advice?

We use volunteers for many things at our tournaments. Perhaps we could have a volunteer to merely follow the money – and assist in collecting and/or keeping an eye on it for the tournament administrators.
Nov. 6, 2018
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I really hate the idea that cash is no longer an acceptable method of payment. Why must I put my wine and cheese on a credit card merely because I am on an airplane? With so many data breaches these days, the only thing worse would be handing over my debit card information for that purchase. When you lose currency, you only lose what you have on hand. When some steals from your credit/debit card….you not only may lose your $$$ you also will lose LOTS of time trying to straighten the mess out.

Additionally, there is a cost associated with accepting alternative payment forms. It seems that most bridge tournaments are run on a tight budget….alternative payment sources are just another thing to slice into the profitability of the tournament.
Nov. 6, 2018
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Some host hotel deals are very good…..others not so much. I, too, have booked directly with the host hotel, this year, at a lower rate–with included amenities (usually breakfast)–than the bridge rate. When I have done so, it was not for a savings of $5-10/night…but more like $25-40 per night, plus breakfast.

The catch, however, was that my rate was based on pre-payment with no refund of any monies allowed, unless I separately purchased trip insurance. The bridge rate, most times, allowed for cancellation up until a specified period and then once the penalty period kicked in, the bridge rate provided that the cancellation penalty was only one night's payment – and not the entire period.

It has been my experience that full pre-payment allows for a much better hotel rate. Bridge folks seem to want both flexibility and the best possible rate. Unfortunately, one generally has to choose one or the other. It might behoove the ACBL/Units/Districts to look into a lower, non-refundable rate as part of their negotiations with the host hotels. While some might prefer the flexibility of cancellation without steep penalties, others might prefer the lower overall expense. Is there a reason why both could not be accommodated?
Nov. 3, 2018
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Well, bless your heart David, you deduced all by yourself that I was expressing my own opinion.

Edit to add: Thanks to all the wonderful ladies of District 7 who have taught me how to better express myself!
Nov. 1, 2018
Sabrina Miles edited this comment Nov. 1, 2018
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It's so easy to make light of ACBL's masterpoint system…and to say they have no correlation with skill. Indeed, most folks on this site pontificate endlessly on the matter. But all things being equal, without knowing who is who, masterpoints do tend to correlate with skill level. (As an aside, I note that most folks believe their MP holdings do not adequately reflect their skill level). I have seen for myself, this year, that there is a great variance in skill level of players each of whom hold 2000+ MP. It is my unscientific belief that at a certain point, and right now I am beginning to believe that point is 7500 MP, the skill level evens out…and partnership experience makes one pair superior to another.

Folks pay for MP…whether by hiring a pro…or attending endless tournaments (and paying the attendant expenses, i.e., travel, lodging and tournament expenses). Either way, folks pay for the MP.

Why does hiring a pro tend to generate less histrionics from most than those who attend multiple tournaments? By design, hiring a pro, generally, requires one to play in the highest stratification, and by correlation, hoists upon one a higher level of MP if he/she places in the overalls. In opposition, two non-pro folks with @ 2500-2800 MP playing together in the mid-flight (which in most districts is limited to 3000) are often said to be unfairly rewarded for not having to play top players.

Of course, there are great players who also hire pros as partners or teammates. Again my unscientific guess would be that those folks are also limited. More often than not, those hiring pro partners….are not pro partners equivalents.

Thus, why is there a “need” to separate folks into us vs them. Us is those players who exclusively play in the top flight – by design or because of partnership MP (and sometimes because we challenge ourselves) versus those who do not play in the top flight? Who is to say that those playing in the midflight and/or the Gold Rush are not equivalent players to some of those playing in the top flight?

I seriously doubt that there are those playing in the Gold Rush events or the MidFlight Events who do not earn their MP. No, the MP awarded in such events are not too much. No, such rewards do not give unwarranted adulation to less than top flight pairs (remember it is not the player…it is the pair or team that counts).

The grass is not always greener. The days of yore were not always better. Today's “second tier” players are not necessarily second tier players. In short, folks are not getting more MP than they have earned and deserve.
Oct. 30, 2018
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The response?: I played great, but didn't score so well…eh, I played, but wow did I score!…Most folks know that the correlation is not always there….and when it is….well, one loves to says I played great and scored well too!
Oct. 30, 2018
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Whoa….where is the popcorn? And, i’d Like another glass I’d wine too please. I thought it would be interesting to see the Jay Whipple “town hall meeting” at 6:00 pm here in Charlotte, but this seems quite more fanciful.
Oct. 26, 2018
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@Michael and JoAnn, unfortunately the model you advocate has its drawbacks as well. Namely, folks playing in regional events (and that number surpasses the number playing in NABC+ events) are unlikely to pay $5 or $10 more per session to play. Why would anyone, who is budget conscious (i.e., the reason they are not staying at the host hotel), pay $22 - $27 per session to play in a regional event at the nationals? More likely, such folks would wait and play in a regional event in their area. I note that the entry fees at the regional events at the NABCs already are more costly than the local regional events.

For those playing in the NABC+ events, who are not pros or sponsors (and thus more likely not staying at the host hotel), how many will continue to attend when his/her per session entry soars to $30 - $50? There is a fine line to be walked here. And neither end of the spectrum is to the benefit of the organization.
Oct. 20, 2018
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Antidotal information suggests that folks still reserve the cheaper rooms early and release them only before the penalty period kicks in. Thus, rooms may not be readily available for others to book. Perhaps the way to ease this problem is to either move the penalty period earlier….or require one night pre-payment to make a reservation.
Oct. 19, 2018
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Perhaps if this was spelled out beforehand. Then I could reasonably decide whether I wanted to spend xx additional dollars to attend a national as opposed to a regional event (which are available on a weekly basis). The way things are going it should not be long before platinum points are available at the regionals.
Oct. 18, 2018
Sabrina Miles edited this comment Oct. 18, 2018
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For me, the Rule of 15 applies in 4th seat. Thus, not necessarily a full opener. Accordingly, drury makes lots of sense (to me).

What I don't follow is that anyone would argue because so and so says so, without specifying the why of the argument. I know that folks sometimes take offense when I ask why (a certain rule should or should not apply); as if I am not accepting their obvious reasoning. My response is always: if it was obvious, I would not ask why. Further, I don't want to know the rule, I want to know why there is a rule. I want to be able to apply whatever rule in various situations, and I can't if I don't understand the underlying principle for the rule.
Oct. 8, 2018
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I am leading the A to get a look at the dummy and get suit preference signal and/or encouragement/discouragement from my p. Additionally, such a lead might cause the world class declarer to miss guess my novice lead (Ace empty nothing) and play incorrectly the remainder of the hand.
Oct. 4, 2018
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In an attempt to not be too PC, I find the connotation of your post incredibly insensitive at least, and highly insulting at worse.
Sept. 24, 2018
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In for a penny, in for a pound. Albeit, I would never open the hand 1NT…if i did, I would not hesitate to bid 3nt after subsequent developments.
Sept. 17, 2018
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My number 1 pet peeve – although it only happens with one partner – is when she calls for a card from dummy before I have even put the entire dummy down! How can you plan the play when you have not even seen the entire dummy? I have now taken to putting the lead suit down last to try to break her of the habit. No matter how many times I say please plan the play, within 5 seconds a card is called for.
Sept. 15, 2018
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@Mathew, in the same vein, putting the double cards jumbled in with the pass cards so that one comes up unexpectedly.
Sept. 15, 2018
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Unfortunately, most players will notice if we bid 2 over 3…….and say it is insufficient.
Sept. 9, 2018
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Follow up: of course I bid 4NT….and p bid 5 which was down one (best possible results). At the other table our p's opened 2…which was doubled…and opp bid 3 and my hand bid 3NT making 4. What I am curious of: is it acceptable to bid 3NT with a void? I didn't double because I did not want to hear 4. But, of course, I was the infant in the arena of giants…and I want to learn…..what does 3NT say here?

PS, I did let our teammates know that 3 bid makes it much more difficult, albeit he had only 6….(not including the AK or Q)

Of course,3NT is the best possible result. -11 IMPS. Bridge is so much fun.
Aug. 20, 2018
Sabrina Miles edited this comment Aug. 20, 2018
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Actually, Airbnb and Uber both let users split the costs with another – using a different credit card. I don't know of the particulars, or the costs involved, but it does seem to be a feature worth examining.
Aug. 13, 2018
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