“Two clubs.” “Two hearts.” “Four spades.”
You and your partner are in deep concentration, desperately trying to earn more masterpoints. This is either going to be a grand slam or a mitigated disaster. Welcome to the world of duplicate bridge.
Duplicate bridge is a popular form of contract bridge where the same bridge hand is repeated or duplicated at every table in a club and tournament setting. In this way, all bridge players play identical cards, elevating the element of skill and reducing that of chance.
The game is played in earnest every week by members of the Big Sky Duplicate Bridge Club at Opportunity House in Hendersonville.
“We are one of several clubs that meet at Opportunity House,” says Denise Gambone, who, along with husband Tony, co-directs the Big Sky games. “Friday is our biggest. We start at 12:30pm and usually end around 4 o’clock. My husband and I are both directors, so we have two big rooms of duplicate bridge going, beginners all the way up to people who have thousands of masterpoints and are Life Masters.”
Many of the players are retirees. “The nice thing about bridge is that people may not be able to play golf or tennis like before, but for the most part, they’re still able to sit at a table and play cards and enjoy themselves,” says Denise.
“Our goal is to encourage people to play for both the social aspect and the mental exercise. It’s something you can learn, no matter how old you are, and it doesn’t get boring. It’s always different. You can play for 30 or 40 or 50 years and still be challenged and be visiting with people all afternoon while you’re playing cards.”