When I left home for Georgia Tech, my mom explicitly warned me about the perils of the card game, Bridge. "It just about ruined my life, I got so addicted," she said. She made me promise to stay away from the game. It wasn't a tough sell. Bridge seemed like a game for old people. And, it didn't seem like a path to meeting girls, either, not that there were that many around the GT campus back then anyway.
About two weeks into classes, I wandered into the student center, and lo and behold, there was a bridge game going on with about 4-5 tables in play. I had an hour to kill in between classes, so I sat down and watched. Seven hours later, I had skipped all my classes, missed basketball practice, and had three bridge books in my backpack on loan from the bridge club.
25 years later, and I still completely love the game. I think about it all the time. I dream bridge hands. I can still remember every "big hand" I played a few years ago when I won my second (and much more important) national title. I read bridge books and magazines. I constantly work on my game.
Bridge is, by far, the most complex and nuanced card game I've ever played. Poker is tiddlywinks in comparison. It is a perfect blend of math, psychology, strategic planning, creativity, and, most importantly, communication.
See, bridge is a partnership game: you always play with a partner. During the play, you're constantly communicating in code -- a code that you and your partner will work on for years if not decades. There are partnerships that have been playing together and working on their system for 40+ years. Their "system notes" are hundreds of pages long.
It is this partnership aspect that makes the game so much fun. Not only do you have to play well yourself, you have to work to ensure that your partner plays well.
Today, I'm spending an hour watching the Polish Premiere League match -- in real time -- on a site called BridgeBase. Watching and studying the best players in the world is a great way to learn.
I'm going to be talking more about bridge and introducing some of the mechanics of the game in future blog posts this year. I sincerely hope you find the game as interesting and attractive as I have.