I used to play bridge and “no Trump” was a bid. It didn’t have any extra meanings. Just a bid. A strong no-trump was 16 to 19 points but in other systems, 13 to 18 were good too. Three no trump equaled “a game.” Seven no trump was the bid. You were contracting to take every trick with the suit’s high card always winning the trick. Even a two of clubs could take a trick.

I loved playing bridge. I learned to play when I was a kid and by the time I was a grown-up, I was addicted. I never played tournaments, never played for money. I played because it was the most intense game in the world though I’m sure chess players might disagree. But the thing about Bridge is that it’s a team sport and the aggressive energy involved is intense, especially between partners.

No one ever argues with their opponents, but everyone fights with his or her partner.

It’s also an equal opportunity game. Man, woman, or any version in between doesn’t matter. All that matters is how well you play.

Bridge is more addictive than drugs because there’s nothing illegal about bridge. All you need is a partner and another couple for a foursome. A table. Chairs. A bit of light. Pretzels.

I was one of the crazed players who didn’t think there was anything unusual about watching the dawn rise over a hand of cards.

The entire time I lived in Israel, playing bridge was our prime form of entertainment. There were people to whom you couldn’t usually talk. If you think today’s USA is divided, Israel was always divided. Among Jews, between the religious and non-religious, there were more hot topics to avoid than you could shake a stick at. Talking to people you didn’t know could be like tiptoeing through a minefield. But if they played Bridge, you ignored the other issues because when you played bridge, what you talked about was bridge. This could be enough of a battle without bringing in politics, religion, and all that other stuff.

Bidding. Contracts. Great games you remembered. Hilarious games. Weird games. Bridge players have their own sense of humor, which has nothing to do with anything except Bridge.

When Garry and I became a serious thing, I was appalled to discover I’d finally met a man who really — no kidding — didn’t know a diamond from a club.

He had never even played poker.

How do you make it through basic training in the Marines without learning to play poker? At first, I hoped I might convince him to give it a try, but it was soon obvious it wouldn’t happen. Garry doesn’t play games unless they involve movies or sports. He is a vicious Trivial Pursuits player, but that’s it. He doesn’t “do” games.

I still sometimes play Bridge online, though it’s nothing like playing with live people. You don’t get a lot of laughs playing online bridge.

Playing bridge requires you have at least one regular partner and a spare is useful. Playing with ones spouse as partner can be dangerous, but a single bridge player is like a car with three wheels. It doesn’t roll.

As life marched on, I realized I was not going to play bridge anymore. I have since met other former bridge players. We talk, yearn, and dream of the old days. The long nights with pretzels, cards, icy cokes. Sometimes beer nuts. They were the best.

Trump was the top suit and it helped to hold all the aces. Bidding No-Trump sounds like a perfect bid, too.

Categories: Humor, Marilyn Armstrong

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15 replies

  1. I’m with Garry on this one. I never learned to play Bridge and although I learned the usual card games kids play, Snap, Old Maid, Beat Your Neighbours” etc I didn’t really take to cards as an adult. David taught me to play Rummy and Canasta but apart from those I didn’t enjoy cards and stopped even pretending to enjoy them after an incident at a neighbour’s card night.
    I love Trivial Pursuit but hardly ever get to play as Naomi doesn’t like it much. We used to have fun playing Monopoly too although David had a very odd strategy which generally lead to him losing the game and tipping the board over which meant picking hotels and houses off the floor for days. These days we mostly play Scrabble or Scattergories.


  2. Funny, I’ve played nearly every card game in creation, but I never did Bridge. Not smart enuf i ges.


  3. Fancy that! I have one sister who was (supposedly) a whizzard in playing bridge. I always wanted to learn it but I think she wanted ‘something’ where she was the BEST… 3 out of us 4 children loved playing any games, but I think only 2 learned the ‘Jass’ – a Swiss National Passtime (Sport)…. we always were a bit different 😉
    My grandmother on mum’s side loved Jass, her husband didn’t know a card from a cutting board; grandie and some 4-6 of her children used to get together once every 4-8 weeks for an afternoon of playing. We, the kids of my mum AND our father, worked in the garden, fed the chickens, brewed the tea, ‘they’ played and laughed, screamed and hammered on the table with their fists – it was a glorious time. Then I married my first husband who didn’t really do anything I enjoyed greatly; no board games, no swimming, no time spent in or on the water….. the 2nd hubbie: same thing – AND he grew up at the shore of a large lake! No games, no swimming (he failed to drown TWICE in his childhood so maybe we let him off that particular pass-time!)…. And I still can’t play Jass nor Bridge. And I still would love to learn it.


    • My first husband didn’t play bridge, but he loved Mah Jong and we all played Rummy, Parcheesi and Monopoly. Bridge is an intense game. Not everyone enjoys that level of intensity in a game. For some people, bridge playing is a lifestyle. They play big tournaments for money. Sometimes a LOT of money.

      I just love the game, but the aggressiveness of some players was a bit much for me. Some people took the game a great deal more seriously than I did.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved playing bridge, still try to see some games in the newspapers but that’s a dying story 😞


    • After 20 years of not playing bridge, I STILL miss it. I have a couple of bridge games on the computer, but it’s not “real” bridge. Better than absolutely nothing, but that’s all it’s better than.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I occasionally play bridge during Diwali. Not very good with it though. Basically a gateway to hang around with friends and catching up as a annual ritual.


    • You can play bridge casually with friends and how well you play isn’t a big deal. It only begins to matter if you get involved with tournaments, which I never did. I’m not a great player either. I’m very mediocre.


  6. Never learned how to play bridge! Sounds like a lot of fun! And happy memories! X


    • It IS a lot of fun, though there are people who are life and death serious about it. I was more of what we call a “kitchen bridge” player. I played decently, but not great and I made mistakes. But we had a lot of fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I played bridge as a kid and then we also played dummy.


    • I learned to play when I was a kid, too. There were four girls on the block. We were getting tired of monopoly, so Mary’s mother taught us auction (not contract — different bidding) bridge. Late, I graduated to contract bridge. It was fun when we were kids (we used to show each other our hands — kids!) and maybe more fun as a grown up 😀

      Liked by 1 person



    • Garry doesn’t play any card games at all. I think he knows how to play Monopoly (what kid doesn’t?) and he really IS a great Trivial Pursuits player (I bet so are YOU) — but no interest in cards.


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