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All comments by Joe Hertz
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Robb writes: We are not losing significant numbers of members because of our customer service. We are losing members because of our demographics.

I strongly quibble with this.

I do not quibble that the customers may or may not be serviced adequately.

I do however quibble that it's a demographic problem.

Our current member's demographics are changing, yes. They are getting older, etc. But OUR demographics as bridge players are not. Who are we? We're people who enjoy playing a tremendously competitive card game.

People in our targeted demographic exist now in greater numbers than they ever have. Massively so. See the crowd shots from GenCon when the doors open. These are the people in our demographic. Or if you disagree that they ACTUALLY are, then I'm sure you'd agree that they SHOULD be in our demographic. These are the folks who in years gone by would be playing bridge and now they are not.

Instead, they are playing stuff like Magic: The Gathering.

Don't believe me? Ed and Melanie Manfield's son is a professional M:TG player.

We can try to make our current customers happy all we want. But how good we are at that won't fix that problem. Chris Compton has all sorts of data he's quoted to me about how our surveys about the NABC schedules massively support a 10 and 3:30 schedule.

And I will concede he's totally right about what the data says about what our current shrinking userbase wants.

If the efforts to make our current customers happy are the same things that tend to turn off new customers, then the answer isn't so simple as “Our (current) customers are always right”.

As long as we only care about the opinion of what left of the ACBL membership, those are the only people we're going to make happy.

Until we start showing up at Origins and GenCon, or even trying to encourage ACBL members to play bridge at those events as an outreach, we're going to be continuing to miss the boat.

And if I vent here about it, it's only to get the message to the folks at the ACBL.

Run events at GenCon. PLEASE. Subsidize any ACBL members who want to go and play there. Make that a selling point to new ACBL members who join at those events: WE'LL PAY YOU TO GO TO YOUR NEXT GENCON.

Please, target the gamers. We're missing the boat when we talk about our demographics shrinking. They aren't – The gamers ARE our demographic.
Dec. 13
Joe Hertz edited this comment Dec. 13
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I gotta admit, when I read this post, I realized what all of the to-do in the other thread was all about.

My reaction was:

Oh no. Now they've gone and cheezed off Amir.

Why are they surprised by this?? Don't they read Bridge Winners??
Dec. 12
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I think the issue is he waited three years that he didn't have to wait, which would be annoying enough…

But then people think it's about the money rather than the time wasted, and nevermind being made to jump through 3 years of hoops for no good reason…but THEN getting told that it is because YOU misunderstood, not that you were explained something incorrectly (which seems to be the case as he tells it – the error was only uncovered at the end of the 3 year odyssey).

I totally get how maddening that can be.

I know once I followed someone's instructions as to hold up my end of a bargain, I'd expect the other person to hold up their end.

I don't think I'd complain so colorfully about it as he did, but that's the risk one takes when that happens.
Dec. 11
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Because he already did pay for it as he was instructed, and keeping one's word matters? I mean, who is to say this won't happen again once he coughs up his money?

To quote something I once saw in a movie:

“I have altered the deal. Pray I do not alter it further”.
Dec. 11
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And I'm pretty sure this article is what the kids call “trolling”
Dec. 11
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It's not that Mr. Linxwiler's opinion is wrong about BW. I cannot find fault with it. Really.

But the complaint isn't unique to Bridge Winners. It really isn't. Just look at the comments on a random set YouTube videos.

I just cannot help but LOLsob at how it is totally in character for the ACBL, an organization that runs its bridge games on 35 year old software, to take until almost the year 2020 to finally understand why it is that literally everyone else on the internet hates hates hates the comments section.

I mean this gives me hope on a few levels, believe it or not. It's feeling our pain when we use the internet too.

But Paul:

Those young people we want to have playing bridge? The ones we can't get to come to an NABC because they are all at Origins, GenCon or PAX? This thing you were complaining about here?

Those folks call it “shit-posting”.
Dec. 11
Joe Hertz edited this comment Dec. 11
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Melanie, sign me up for your KO teams. I've got fewer points than you do and can function quite happily in bracket #2.

Far as those events you cannot enter anymore, I have three words:

“Melanie Manfield, NPC”.
Dec. 11
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Well, this escalated quickly.
Dec. 11
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It's not legal to permit your bid to be skipped when you aren't in the pass-out seat, right? Forgetting you have a bid to make in 2nd seat doesn't constitute passing, does it? So does anyone want to claim that being in the pass-out seat somehow matters in this regard? Didn't think so.

Either he's going to be surprised at who is on lead, or he won't be, and no UI would have caused his surprise. His surprise or lack-thereof has a 1:1 correspondence to what his intent was. So it seems clear that he's getting to do whatever he wants now (or is that “would have wanted now”?). He thought he had no call to make. Oops. Now he does. So he makes a call.

Now his P will certainly be in possession of UI from being witness to this spectacle, but there you go.
Dec. 11
Joe Hertz edited this comment Dec. 11
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I think you read that backwards.
Dec. 10
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Patrick, you've misinterpreted what you wrote from the commentary (emphasis YOURS):

TD should only decide it was unintended if he is convinced that the player never, not even for a split second, wanted to make that call. The mistake has to be entirely one of fingers, not brain!

Yes, “never ever intended it, not even for a split second”. In this case it took them 15 seconds to realize they made a bid that they never intended at all, not even for a split second. The fact it took 15 seconds to realize the error does not mean that they ever had any such intent to make the bid they did.

You know what you intended to bid. At some point you realized you bid something other than that. There's no clock on how long it takes to realize it. Just that when you realized it, that you found you bid something that you “never, ever, had any intent to bid, not even for a second”.

Your stated cause does not (necessarily) make for this effect. There's no obligation to immediately react to a mechanical error. Just that you never had any intent. You've misinterpreted what the “not even for a second” means.

I think it's pretty damning in this case, but it is not 100% case closed simply because of the delay. The offending party is entitled to the chance to explain why it took so long.
Dec. 10
Joe Hertz edited this comment Dec. 10
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“Can be” yes.

But that hesitation is UI and makes the timing of the misbid claim suspicious, so the director should inquire as to why it took them so long to realize the error.

I've been in that situation a few times where I misbid and an alert woke me up to my mechanical error. The alert is allowed to wake me up as the bid is not the one I intended to make. It's mechanical, not a brain error. So what happened in those 15 seconds to wake up the opp is kind of critical.

My examples:

2-2 showing an Ace and a King. LHO asks my P “what does 2 mean?” and I see I really bid 2. Thank goodness I had a heart void, otherwise I might have been hosed (P's next bid after the correction was 7N making).

1-1 alert. I look down and see I bid 2 with 8 hcps and 4-4-3-2 shape. The director (a TA) incorrectly rules that 2 is my bid and my attempt to bid 1 is UI for partner. I ask for a screening right there.

Partner ethically bids 3 and we're down 2 or 3. I comment that “If we lose this (KO round) because of this hand, we're appealing” the DIC comes over just after the hand is finished to ask if she made it in time. She did a remarkably good job of putting Humpty Dumpty back together. Apparently the TA found her and said immediately “I think I screwed up just now”. I still have no idea why he didn't check his work before making the ruling.

My ruling here:

Opp's bid was borderline either way. A hesitating P implies “bidder's remorse”. What I'm not sure about is if there is any new data necessary to win an appeal. It's not a question of law here – It's a judgement call for the director and no new facts are being offered up, right? I might appeal it anyway – being right usually makes it so you don't get an AWMW, but I'd be prepared for no change to the ruling. I just want it documented in the director's file.
Dec. 10
Joe Hertz edited this comment Dec. 10
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For what it's worth, the 199er section I direct occasionally, I once got called to a table because of a set of opps had no CC. One of this pair was about to graduate from that game, and he was all like, “Well, my regular partner usually brings it and this was a fix up”.

I verified that they had not discussed the bidding sequence in question and told the person that called the director that “undiscussed” was the extent of their agreement. But even in this 199er game I still told them that there was a hospitality break coming and he should use it to write a card, even if that meant copying the one his partner had brought and that he needs his own copy in the future.

And after that, I pointedly put out the “Two Identical Convention Cards are Required” sign when I sold entries. When a 0-5 player expressed concern over it, I told them that it was mostly intended as a warning to some problem children, but it would be a good idea to copy a card anyway as it forces you to think about what you're doing".

Someone still learning needs to learn, but refusing to enforce the rules on new bridge players does them no favors. There is no test to join the acbl. The way most new bridge players learn the rules is by seeing what happens when they are violated. Delaying the point that they get to see that only sets them up for worse consequences later.
Dec. 9
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Out of touch? Along with the 26 people (so far) that pressed the like button on his answer? That's the internet's answer to “sour grapes”.

Michael was only “out of touch” in the sense that he gave an honest answer to a question that turned out to be posed rhetorically.

Oh. The. Irony.
Dec. 9
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“Cheating is a part of daily life” is a view that I can see only two types of people adopting:

Fatalists and Cheaters who claim to be Fatalists.

So Dear Fatalists: The rest of us have no way to tell either of these two groups apart so you might want to be careful about openly admitting that you feel this way. The bad guys adopt this view as a way of minimizing their sin, or even justifying it ala “Everyone does it”.

So if you want the rest of us to “get over ourselves”, we probably can go ahead and do that quite easily, but I really think that you don't want us to do that. You wouldn't like the outcome of the method we'd choose.
Dec. 9
Joe Hertz edited this comment Dec. 9
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They shouldn't be in the event, but dangit, if they ARE going to be in the event, every single thing they do at the table ought to be observed, recorded, and broadcasted.
Dec. 9
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Not at all. You can be homeless (no physical address) and no cell phone (no phone number), and so there is no way to reach you. but even in that situation you can still play bridge f2f.

Just having these things makes it easier and not allowing for that will just lessen the time it takes for bridge to catch up to to the dodo on the evolutionary path.
Dec. 8
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Exactly. See my upstream comment about the player who really thought he was entitled to know about what I wanted to see his convention card for. I'm tempted to make my alternative response, “You might not mind my question transmitting UI to my partner, but I kind of do, so I really need to see your card.”

I think the only way this ends is if we all start enforcing it as players.

Pointedly ask every opp for their cards each round. If enough people do it, then nobody can get away with ignoring the reg.

I mean, if they got the director called about it last round and didn't heed the warning by the next round, then it will hurt them. If it hurts when they do that, they will learn not to do that, but in contrast, they won't stop until it hurts.
Dec. 8
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At the national level of GNT-C, I once had the following exchange with an opp (whose first language was not English, so that might have been part of it I thought):

I win P's opening lead and ask LHO for his convention card.

LHO: (with a little wave) “Standard”
Me: “May I see your convention card?”
LHO: (more firmly) Standard.
Me: Shaking my head and now speaking slowly and clearly. “I. Would. Like. To. See. Your. Convention. Card.”
LHO: “Why? We're playing standard signals.
Me: ”I do not want to know about your carding.“
LHO: ”Oh… what do you what want to know?“
Me: ”Nothing I wish to tell you about. Please show me your convention card“
LHO: ”Why? What's the problem?“
Me: ”Director Please".

Opp really was under the impression he was entitled to know what I wanted to know about their agreements.

I cannot remember now what it is I wanted to know, except it was about the auction they had, and that their card turned out to be wrong about it. The director determined that there was no damage (I had no better option than what I chose), but definitely did tell them that they had them fix it and what their obligations were after that point. I doubt it would have flown in the next round.
Dec. 8
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I'm curious as to what South says is he reason he bid 3. It's clearly meant as an invite, but what was he expecting North to accept with?

Surely he can't really want P to go for it with average high card strength, but a totally square hand with no aces outside of the trump suit…can he?

I'm willing to hear his reason out in case it's something else.
Dec. 7
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