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All comments by Joe Hertz
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DonM wrote:

Michael B wrote: “Yeah gnt and nap are gateway opportunities for newer players.”

Yes…gateway for the few that survived the cut at the district level.

No, not a gateway. Not at all.

If you play enough duplicate to even have heard of the GNT or NAP events, managed to qualify at the club level, and then affirmatively planned to enter at the district level competition (which requires you register for it 9-10 days in advance..least it does around here)…

If you knew that much about it and did all that to participate…?

Then, sorry, that's not a gateway event for you. Or anyone else that enters it. By the standards of anyone who doesn't play bridge, you must already reasonably serious duplicate bridge player if you're doing all that.

A gateway event is necessarily one that people can just show up to and play in. Want to require people to be ACBL members in order to enter a National 49er/99er/199er/NLM event? By all means! Just be willing to sell them an ACBL membership at the door. That's what we want to see happen, right?

We'll also get the “NAP/GNT aware” crowd to play in those events too.


As an aside: During the NAP qualification period for 2018, I noticed a pair of NLMs always playing up in open club game sections and opting for A/X at our unit game. They got killed quite often there, but not always. At the club this night, it was one of the last NAP qualifiers of the year and they scratched. So I asked if they were going to play at the district level.

They had no idea what the NAP was. None. Even after qualifying for it in an A/X section.

So I told them. They got their entry for NAP-C in days before the deadline.

And then won one of the trips to Philadelphia.

What we are having here…is a failure to communicate.
Dec. 25, 2019
Joe Hertz edited this comment Dec. 25, 2019
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But I think Rohit's point is that the reason we have a name for it in the first place is because it generally has special meaning.

If that's the point, I'll dispute it.

The reason we have the name is because the suits are being bid in the reverse order from what is typical.

A reverse puts responder in the position of having to bid at the three level in order to retreat to opener's first bid suit.

The name had to be given to the sequence because it's a problematic one in standard bidding. What you do about that problem? THAT may have “special meaning”. Ignoring the problem that reversing can cause is not special.

Requiring an alert from people who ignore the problem necessarily means we are assuming that the people that ignore it AFFIRMATIVELY CHOSE to ignore it…

That's not a fallacious assumption…nope, not in the slightest.
Dec. 24, 2019
Joe Hertz edited this comment Dec. 24, 2019
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THIS.

The I/N room at an NABC is not too different from what you would find at a regional now.

It wasn't always the case.

Events for NLMs that are no longer held at NABCs include:

National 49er Pairs 1998-2007
National 99er Pairs 1998-2013
National 199er Pairs 1995-2013.
National NLM Pairs 1981-2012
National NLM Swiss 1982-1997

Even if events like this don't draw much, they need to be on the schedule. You won't get NLM's traveling to a NABC for stuff they can get at home with less of an expense.

What can they get to now? NAP-C and GNT-C are it*, and those require qualification at the district level, so you necessarily limit the size of the field.

* == There was some sort of logic involved in changing the Young LM-1500 (now 2500) pairs to no longer require entrants to be LifeMasters – presumably that NLM's shouldn't be excluded from everything going on, given the Bruce LM-5K(6k) and Von Zedwitz were all being held at once.

This may sound like a crazy idea, but put something on the calendar that matters and lots of them could enter… killing these events because not enough people play in them is essentially conceding the game has no future and is doomed.
Dec. 24, 2019
Joe Hertz edited this comment Dec. 25, 2019
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To clarify, I'm not suggesting someone purposely attempt to mislead.

I just don't think this is a question intended to mislead.

Basically it's this:

You know the opps psych. So you ask them all the time with a neutral “Please Explain”. You're ostensibly trying to protect yourself from future psychs from them. This is your bridge reason for asking. You could also ask simply because you were curious (risking giving your P UI because you did it during the hand, but I digress).

The point is you know these opps psych, so now you ask all them time in a neutral fashion to protect yourself.

And this opp also knows his p pscyhs, and since you asked…now he may have some doubt about the situation.

The confusion this sows isn't the primary intent of your question, but it is the selling point putting it in your repertoire.

Do you know it might cause him to go wrong? Yes, and it might even be an awful lot of WHY you do this with these opps. If you always ask, they get zero AI from this reaction and cannot field the psych, and the best part is that you did have a bridge reason to ask – the psyching tendency itself – If the opp complains, you can quite truthfully can tell the director, “He has psych'd on me before, so now I ask all the time”.

I mean, asking ANY question at all could cause a known psycher's partner to go wrong. I don't see how that's the fault of the opp. The opponent's style can cause no obligation on the opp to not ask questions. If anything, if the opp didn't then he might get told he didn't protect himself.

My question is: Does this protection method vs frequent psychers fly? I have trouble believing one's own psyching tendency works as a defense to “Please Explain” making you go wrong.
Dec. 22, 2019
Joe Hertz edited this comment Dec. 22, 2019
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I suspect that these agreements are much more likely to be played by people who have no idea they are alertable, and directors are loathe to enforce the rules here upon novices.

It's not like anyone was required to explain the alert procedures to them before they took their money.
Dec. 22, 2019
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Is “I was hoping it would make him think his partner had psych'd and so would pass” a sufficient reason to ask a question?

Probably not, but passing a forcing bid would still seem to be a wild and/or gambling action.

If he passes because he thinks you had something, and instead you held a yarb, can he get redress? Given my assessment of that being a wild/gambling action, I say no. The real question is “How embarrassed should be be to even consider asking for it?”
Dec. 21, 2019
Joe Hertz edited this comment Dec. 21, 2019
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The Abstentions Have it!
Dec. 21, 2019
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I agree for the most part, but what Ivey did do was arranged for the cards to be moved right-side up or upside-down based upon their rank, and, with the use of an electronic shuffler, all but guaranteed that shuffling would not alter their orientation.

Use of the specific brand of cards was totally kosher.

Tricking the casino's dealer into giving away what their value was is where it got dicey. It might have been funny if the dealer, before loading the cards into the shuffling machine, pointedly mixed up their orientation. If Ivey objects, then it becomes a question as to why he is objecting. He wants face cards shuffled right-side up, and spot cards upside-down? What possible reason could there be for that?

Surely not one the casino would agree to for playing conditions.
Dec. 20, 2019
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Poker Pro Phil Ivey made the news when he took advantage of cards that were just asymmetrically printed, not even “marked”.

He went to play Baccarat, and agreed to gamble a ton of money, with three conditions (Baccarat players are notoriously superstitious so this wasn't a red flag).

1) The particular brand of cards had to be used. Their asymmetrical nature was not widely known.

2) An electronic shuffler had to be used.

3) The dealer had to speak Mandarin.

What was the scam?

Edge Sorting.

He brought along someone who spoke Mandarin, and he told the dealer occasionally to turn certain cards a certain way. The result was that eventually the TJQKA (I think that's what were the important cards) would always be dealt right side up, while the “spot cards” were upside down (or maybe it was the other way around).

And with the nature of the backs of the cards, Phil likely knew all he needed to about the cards he had coming.

Phil “won” over 7 digits. Quite the lawsuit ensued.
Dec. 17, 2019
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I had one partner who was blind. We were both rank novices. We were getting yelled at for slow play, largely because we couldn't play that fast – he had to read the braille cards with his hands, and the (also novice) opps were horrible about remembering to announce their bids and cards played.

So to help us keep up, we tried to offload some of the job the table host had to him.

He kept the private score for us. With a slate and stylus on a piece of oak-tag.

Yes, our private score was in braille. I would have loved to see someone try to tell us we weren't following the regs.
Dec. 17, 2019
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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, 2019
Joe Hertz edited this comment Dec. 13, 2019
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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, 2019
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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, 2019
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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, 2019
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And I'm pretty sure this article is what the kids call “trolling”
Dec. 11, 2019
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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, 2019
Joe Hertz edited this comment Dec. 11, 2019
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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, 2019
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Well, this escalated quickly.
Dec. 11, 2019
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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, 2019
Joe Hertz edited this comment Dec. 11, 2019
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I think you read that backwards.
Dec. 10, 2019
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