Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Alan Powell
1 2
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
This is more of an existential problem I think. If your crocodile eats itself is there still a crocodile?
Dec. 14, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Anything can happen in a club game.

While directing, I was summoned by a player who pointed at a player in the next row and said that gentleman has a card in his pant cuff. Three tables earlier, he had dropped a card the hand had been played with 12 cards ever since.

Another time, a board was passed to the next table without the South hand. After an exhaustive search, the South player had finished the hand and put all 13 cards in her purse.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of the book I am never going to write about owning a bridge club.
Dec. 12, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I think superfluity has a surplus of letters as the surfeit contained within would suffice.
Dec. 4, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
The Goldman Pairs at the Spring NYC Regional is a 4 session regional event. I don't know of any others but there is at least one.
Nov. 29, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I have had some success newer players and the gold dusting swiss teams. Player with zero gold like to see some appear on their bulletin. We could always advertise it as better gold/dollar than a trip to Honolulu.
Nov. 10, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Well I looked it up and it turns out there is a New Jersey State Fair held in August so that is out. I think there may be a conflict with the donkey judging.
Allowing a wider range of time than one month would allow clubs to take advantage of quieter periods(if such things exist)
I vote for Octovecember. Sectovember could work as well.
Nov. 10, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
October is filled with local competing events every year. Perhaps a different month or a range of months would be better?
This year alone had a one week regional in our district, the district NAP final, A week of STAC and 3 days of a poplar regional in the neighboring district, leaving just one week with nothing going on in the entire month for our local clubs to be appreciated.
Nov. 9, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I think our district field sizes for GNT and NAP are similar as well.

I think its both team vs pair and the fact that the GNT is not required for participation.

Teams for our club are typically a special event scheduled once a month.(tournaments and holidays permitting) As such there are cheaper ways to award extra points than the GNT option. You have the club appreciation team games in October, the quarterly club championship, and we usually have a few extra upgraded club championships from recruitment.

Pair games are easily converted into NAP events and required qualification brings some extra people to the club to cover the extra fees.
Aug. 17, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Its a trick question. Clubs are a round suit.
Aug. 15, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Ray: I don't pass along the extra sanction fees. That way I only have to hear complaints about the price in a short window around when I raise prices. Otherwise I get to enjoy them for each special event.

Rich: Thank you. I guess the only thing I have right in the opening post is the not terribly observant part. I agree its simpler, but its still a stealthy way to raise sanction fees on special games. Now when the regular game sanction fees are raised to say $1.10 a game, the special game fees are raised to $5.10.
Aug. 14, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
My estimate for last year was that at $4 a table, It was about a break even proposition between the sanction fees and the extra tables of players trying to qualify in the last week. It was also something nice to do for the players who like extra red/black and since it was revenue neutral why not.
At $5 a table it was probably a small loss. Running fewer games would concentrate the extra tables and make it profitable/break even again.
I have already advertised them so I will let you know Sept 1st how it went.
Aug. 13, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
OK I see my mistake now. I did not realize they were charging me the regular sanction fees of $1 a table and then adding in a $4 a table charge separately at the bottom. I added the Nap tables at the bottom into my total when it was already included.

This brings me to another question. When did they raise the sanction fees back to $5? Also why would they account for it in this manner? So that if they raise the regular sanction fees, the other games get an automatic boost as well? Still makes me wish I hadn't scheduled as many.
Aug. 13, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
1. Unit 140 mostly concentrates on running their 4 sectionals and 3 STACs and a few other events.

2. I am not aware of LBIAD happening locally. We run our own beginner startup as detailed in another post.

3. I do some advertising in the local papers in advance of our fall beginner startup. There is a free monthly calendar that we try to get our startup in with mixed results. Word of Mouth is most effective although our Web page does get some people in the door.

4. We run the 3 STACs a year with the unit. We run 2-4 NAP's a month in the summer. I do the Worldwide pairs in June and a couple of international fund games during the year. Mostly the specials break even in terms of paying the extra sanction and bringing in more tables. The NAP's actually do bring in people for their yearly club qualifying vist and are better than break even.

5. For Profit. Not getting rich but comfortable enough
July 19, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
we have an optional $2 per pair pool at every open game. Highest percentage among participating pairs wins. Size run from $0-10 depending on who attends. Those who participate like it. Those who don't couldn't care less. I doubt any would change their attendance habits if it disappeared.
July 16, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
We do not take our show on the road. The trick is to get them to come to the club. You need their cars to wear grooves in the pavement to the club. Transplanting players from an offsite location to the club doesn't take well. One step out of their comfort zone to come originally is fine. Adding another step will result in some amount of player loss.

Advertising on a bulletin board at all the local sites you suggest would seem like a fine idea. Its generally free and just requires legwork and permission. I know we have discussed doing it, but I don't think we have ever put the idea into practice.
July 9, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I had noticed a lot of posts saying that free lessons don't work, don't ever mention the word duplicate and other things about not scaring away players.
I wanted to show that our experience has been the opposite. Start them out the way you want them to finish is our philosophy. It took me a couple months to finally pull together the supporting data and have those who do the actual teaching correct my information.
July 9, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Steve is right about the telescoping nature of player revenue. You start out with a group of new players playing once a week and taking some lessons. As time passes the number of players that started in that group shrinks, but the number of times per week they play grows. Each rung of the ladder they climb allows access to more times to play a week and more revenue for the club. You need about 5% growth per year to stave off the attrition of time, 10% to grow significantly.

I consider the ACBL largely irrelevant to my business plan. We had some northeast specific problems that really hit my new player pipeline a few years ago. There was the Halloween blizzard that knocked out power everywhere, Superstorm Sandy which did the same thing even harde the year after, and the third year had so much snow on beginner days that each year we lost 35% of attendance because people had too many other things to worry about. Each year we lost about the same number of people to outside concerns. A few years of bad luck did more damage than anything the ACBL does.

As for player playing in cheaper games, it has always been the case. I try to run a good game at a fair price and worry about the bottom end not the top. The more you add to the bottom, the healthier the top will be. The healthier the top is, the more people will prefer to play in it. Everybody loves a winner.

The answer is more bridge players in total, not attracting a larger percentage of the existing crowd. The ACBL always seems to focus on bringing in social players when there are so many people who have never heard of the game of bridge. Social players by and large are aware of clubs and duplicate and have rejected it. I would rather keep my focus on brand new duplicate players.
July 9, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
As a Club Owner

If I could have the ACBL change one thing, it would be the increase for first time membership to $49 for one year. One month memberships will not be effective recruiting tools. Asking brand new people to pay for 3 year memberships to get a discount to $39 is a non starter as well. I understand that they wanted to cut administrative costs by pushing people to 3 year memberships and I support that, but they really need to have a one year, first time only discounted memebership to attract new people. I would suggest $29 is a price point that worked well enough for my recruiting.

If I could have the ACBL change two things, it would be to put the advertising allowance back to 75% of 1000. Put an annual cap per club/teacher if you need to limit expenses. It would benefit smaller clubs who cannot afford a large advertising budget. Coming into the 21st century and paying for online advertising as well as print would be nice as well. I doubt the cut saved much money at all and was just a gut-punch for clubs. There has been a lot of discussion about global advertising in the threads, but I haven't noticed mention of this particular cut which makes it harder for local clubs to advertise as well.

If I could have the district/unit change one thing it would be to not put all their tournaments smack in the middle of Club Appreciation Month in October. Each year the effectiveness of Club Apprectiation CC's and Team Games is blunted by the appearance of 2 regionals(1 in my district and 1 in the neighboring district) and one STAC. Moving Club Appreciation Month to a different month with fewer tournaments, or making it flexible for the club to choose the month would suffice. Not sanctioning every tournament possible does not seem to be an option, but that would be acceptable as well.

I rarely play other than to fill in at my club or others and never professionally so I have no comment on the last item.


Edited to add the As a Club Owner part for clarity
July 7, 2018
Alan Powell edited this comment July 7, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
I am not necessarily a fan of the current ACBL policy of handing out sanctions to anyone anywhere, but dividing up territory per sanction is more like a franchise. It makes me worry about things like:

1. How territories are awarded to individuals? Seems like ACBL/District/Unit Politics would play a huge role.

2. Would sanctions be removed from clubs not doing things the acbl way? If so, who decides?

3. If a Club is financially viable but does not contribute to the bridge community, can it be replaced? should it be replaced? If so, who decides?

I have real concerns if the ACBL BOD ends up in charge of any of the above.

Last, and definitely least, how can I tell people who like to tell me what I am doing wrong with my club, that I look forward to playing at their new club one day soon if they can't just go out and make one? I guess first I would have to take my tongue out of my cheek.
July 7, 2018
You are ignoring the author of this comment. Click to temporarily show the comment.
Some day I would like to play bridge again for fun.
July 4, 2018
1 2
.

Bottom Home Top