Bridge Base Online (BBO) is the largest international online bridge provider. Signing up and playing in many of the games is free, though they do have some tournaments that are paid for. Since it is an American company payment is in dollars and the most common bidding systems are Standard American type (sayc or 2/1).
If you're available then say so. Somebody might want a game...
We have made a new arrangement with BBO which will take effect from Wed 25 Mar, that the games will be $1.50 in line with other national organisations, but 50c per game will go directly to our clubs. We are intending to use this to reduce the affiliation fees when they become due in August.
These games are currently run at 2pm, 3.30pm, 7.30pm and 9pm seven days a week and we have a guide to starting playing on BBO available.
While the COVID-19 outbreak prevents our members from playing bridge in clubs, we will be providing a number of online games on BBO. Having started on Tue 17th Mar, we are now running a 12-board game at 7.30pm and another at 9pm as well as afternoon ones at 2pm and 3.30pm. We hope this will replicate a 24-board game in a club with a break halfway, although you can of course take advantage of the flexibility it offers and just play 12 boards if you like. These games are match-pointed pairs, so you will need a partner, although there will be a partnership desk if you have not organised to play with anyone, or you could pay to have a robot as a partner.
The first thing you should do if you are not already a BBO player is to register with BBO and create a login that you can share with your partner so that you can identify each other. It would probably be wise to practice a bit in one of the Casual games that go on constantly, to become familiar with how the software works. One idea might be for four of you to arrange to play together, with one of you setting up a virtual table and inviting the other three. That way you will all understand your situation and be tolerant of each other!
Once you have practiced a bit, or if you are already a BBO player, you will be ready to play in the EBU match-pointed pairs games. They will cost $1.50 each from 25th Mar and EBU master points will be issued (we would like them to be processed for NGS, but this may not be possible immediately for practical reasons). You will need to purchase some BB$ before playing in one of these tournaments, although you will find there are some free games run by other groups available on BBO. BB$ are purchased using a credit card by clicking on the blue BB$ link at the top right of the screen when you first log in.
When you have some BB$, you will need to log in up to half an hour before the game starts, click on Competitive and then All Tournaments. You will see a list, ordered by start time, from which you will be able to select the correct EBU game. You will be asked to identify your partner, or join the partnership desk to find one. From there you will be taken to a table to start play, and after every round you will automatically be re-seated at the correct table – no need to move around and remember to take your belongings with you!
One final thing to note is that BBO games work using self-alerting, so do have a quick look at the information we have provided about that. Paul Gipson has written a guide to BBO here, which you may find useful. There is also further information about the BBO rules here. Remember it is important to be friendly and social - just like at your normal club.
Enjoy your games and please be tolerant and patient with those who are finding their way around online bridge for the first time.
FREE BridgeBase Online League for our members
23 MAR 2020
We are pleased to announce that from Monday 30th March one of our members will be running a FREE BridgeBase Online Teams League for EBU members.
In order to join, all you have to do is send an email to email@example.com with a team of 4-6 , including including everyone's BBO nicknames and EBU numbers (or email in pairs and Charlie will find you teammates).
The games will take place on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 6pm. There will be the option to rearrange matches, so long as they are completed before the next match. Matches will be played over 8 boards for the first season, which may change subject to feedback for additional seasons. Teams will be split into divisions of 8 and at the end the top two and bottom two will go up and down, the objective is to have fun! So relax and enjoy.
Master points will be issued for this event, so this is a good chance to top up on your points during our enforced break! As the league will start next week, don't delay, act today with your email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each cycle will be played over 4 weeks so you will play each team twice (aka a double round robin).
I tried one of the EBU 12-board pairs sessions tonight. Here's the review.
The organisation is pretty slick. You can sign up maybe an hour in advance and you can pay for yourself and also your partner (if you want, or you make them pay for themselves. Up to you.) And then you wait... And then suddenly you're parachuted onto a table with your partner sat opposite and oppo on your left & right and clock immediately starts ticking.
The first couple of rounds, you might waste some time saying hello and chatting. That novelty soon wears off, and becomes a quick statement of system (e.g. "Acol, 3 wk 2s") before getting down to business. That doesn't mean people aren't polite. None of the six pairs we played were in any way unpleasant, it's just a time thing.
Bidding and play is a little slower than at the casual tables. This might be because of the online inexperience of the players and will improve over time. Each 2-board round is 15 minutes just like in a bricks & mortar club. Unlikely in a B&M club though, there's no director shouting "move where you can". When the clock runs out you are yanked unceremoniously from your seat and then thrust onto the next table, leaving some software/ a director to establish what the final result would be. It's a bit like having Judy directing, if she had super-powers and wasn't afraid to use them.
You can see partner's hand whilst he's butchering the contract, which is nice. (but not while he's butchering the defence, obviously!) You can see your barometer scores for previous boards and tell how you're doing. And you can replay the board, and see how others did and replay their boards trick by trick. All of which is also potentially nice as long as people don't sit there staring at all the available information & forget that they still have a board to play.
And of course there's a results breakdown at the end. 90 minutes of bridge for less than a pound is a pretty good deal and the entrance fee - even though it's small - seems to successfully keep the time-wasters away.
Didn't win, didn't embarrass ourselves. Top half; about 53% if memory serves. It's always going to be a mixed field - in terms of ability, on-line experience and sobriety* - so it's a bit of a lottery.
* we played in the 9pm game, but the comment could also apply to any session in the day.
Hi I have found the EBU tournament on BBO but cannot get into the room. What trick am I missing?
Hi & welcome to the forum,
Not the answer you're hoping for but... it might be a number of things. Do you have enough BB$ in your account? Were you trying to register too early (or too late)?
Best advice I can give you without being able to look over your shoulder is for you to have a look at the EBU's step-by-step instructions for using BBO. There can be found at www.ebu.co.uk/ebuscore-wiki/bboinstructions.
Steps 1-9 are about how to register.
Steps 10-18 are about starting a casual table
Steps 19-28 are about how to play in an EBU tournament
I have registered successfully and played in a private tournoment but could not access the EBU competition. I expected to be admitted when I clicked on the tournament. I think there was an hour to go before the start. Will try again today. Thanks for trying.
I have been playing on BBO for many years. Early on I paid to play, but there are plenty of free tournaments (pairs sessions) available, so being an accountant from Yorkshire I now just play the free ones! Most of these free ones are relatively short, so usually 8 or 9 boards, although there are occasional longer ones. You can arrange in advance to play with one of your favourite partners or just go onto the partnership desk and start asking random strangers to play, as I tend to do! The main problem with this is that the default system is generally Standard American (SAYC). This is 15-17 NT with 5 card majors and weak twos in 3 suits. Other than that the general bidding structure is very similar to Acol/Standard English. Being a miserly git and not now willing to pay for BBO$ I have not yet played an EBU game. I may give it a go sometime soon though. Let me know if anyone fancies a game, and you will soon get to know how much I love you/your bridge, if I do indeed part with some of my hard earned ££!! Or even better we could play in one of the free games together!!! 👍😀🤣