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Bridge FAQ

Get started

We've partnered up with RealBridge and experts Paul Mendelson & Liz Gahan to bring you Saga Bridge Club – read the frequently asked questions below to learn more, and click 'Get started' to return to Saga Bridge Club.

About Saga Bridge Club

We’ve partnered up with our friends at RealBridge and experts Paul Mendelson & Liz Gahan to offer a simple to use online bridge club. Which means you can play your favourite partner or new friends from the comfort of your own home.

RealBridge are taking online bridge to the next level with integrated video and sound; bringing the true face-to-face experience online – and we’ve made it super simple to join in.

MiniBridge is a simplified version of the game of Bridge and is widely used as an introduction to Bridge around the world.

MiniBridge enables you to start playing Bridge right away without having to know all the rules for bidding. Everything you learn in MiniBridge is relevant to Bridge i.e. counting your points, how to play as declarer, defending, scoring etc. It's a great way to get started.

Each session will begin with a relaxed demonstration lasting no more than 20 minutes, then you’ll move straight into a game for the rest of the time; putting into practice what you’ve learnt. You’ll be able to download session notes to refer back to and a quiz each week to help build your knowledge over the course of the seven weeks.

Each week will focus on a different topic, so at the end of the course you’ll be confident in playing MiniBridge and ready to move onto the full game of Bridge.

Our Part 1 Beginners Course is an 8-week course that is perfect if you’ve previously been taught MiniBridge or if you have some basic knowledge of the game.

Each session will begin with a relaxed demonstration lasting no more than 20 minutes, then you’ll move straight into a game for the rest of the time; putting into practice what you’ve learnt. You’ll be able to download session notes to refer back to and a quiz each week to help build your knowledge over the course of the eight weeks.

Each week will focus on a different topic, so at the end of the course you’ll be confident in playing Bridge.

Playing online at the Saga Bridge Club is very much like playing in your own home, at a casual bridge drive, or in a club.

You can drop in to play on your own (we’ll find you a partner) or with your regular partner or, for the supervised play sessions, with two or three of your friends where you can have a private table just to yourselves.

The Club is open to all bridge players; whether you’re a social player, mildly competitive or a regular bridge club member. We will be focussing on ensuring a friendly atmosphere with practice games supervised by our team of bridge experts and hosts, and Gentle Duplicate sessions where the pace will be relaxed and the rules applied amicably.

Don’t worry about your standard: we all make mistakes at bridge – that is why it's such a wonderfully challenging game. As we get to know you, we’ll be able to recommend people of a similar standard, who enjoy the same kind of bridge as you do, and match you up with them. Soon, you’ll be making new friends and enjoying your game with more confidence. And remember, at the Supervised Play sessions, a real, live, friendly bridge expert is only one click away from being at your shoulder to help you.

If you’re new to bridge and you’d like to learn, we offer a 7-week MiniBridge course. MiniBridge is a simplified version of the game of Bridge and is widely used as an introduction to Bridge around the world.

If you have some basic bridge knowledge or have previously learned MiniBridge and would like to continue learning, our Beginners Course might be right for you.

The games take place on our partner site RealBridge.

Before your session begins it’s a good idea to check your microphone and camera are working.

Our MiniBridge and Beginners courses also use Zoom – joining is simple. You can join on your computer, using your chosen browser (Safari, Chrome etc.), or alternatively by downloading the Zoom app to your smart phone or tablet by visiting www.zoom.us/download. When joining, you will see a holding screen until the class starts. You will then be admitted to the class as soon as it’s live.

Player levels

To ensure that you enjoy playing and are matched with players appropriately, we have introduced a bridge-matchmaking code to help our hosts identify your skill level.

When you’re logging in to your session you should add one of the below numbers to the end of your full name so it shows on-screen in the game play screen;

  1. Experienced Player; happy to discuss conventions, defensive signalling and to compete at Duplicate and Teams.
  2. Good Player; has flexibility regarding conventions and signalling methods, enjoys social bridge more than competitive bridge.
  3. Keen Modern Player; prefers Weak NT, some conventions, enjoys Duplicate and Social bridge.
  4. Keen Traditional Player; prefers Strong NT, some conventions, enjoys Duplicate and Social bridge.
  5. Intermediate Player; keen to learn more, plays simple conventions. Relatively new to Duplicate bridge
  6. Social Player; enjoys relaxed social bridge, few conventions, everything kept extra friendly and simple.
  7. Rusty / New Player; has played previously, or is / has been learning. Keen to improve. Primarily want to play and practice.
  8. Novice Player. Just starting bridge. Would like to play with other less experienced players.
  9. Beginner. A player with little or no experience of the game.

Games schedule and length

Saga Bridge Club games take place at the following times, weekly;

  • Tuesday mornings (Gentle Duplicate) 10am–12:15pm
  • Wednesday evenings (Competitive Duplicate) 7:30pm–9:45pm
  • Friday afternoons (Supervised Play) 2pm–4:15pm
  • Sunday afternoons (Competitive Duplicate) 2pm–4:15pm

Our MiniBridge and Beginners sessions take place weekly on Thursdays at 7pm.

For the Supervised Play sessions, you can join or leave at any time.

For the Competitive Duplicate and Gentle Duplicate sessions, you need to arrive on time and stay for the full session (which will usually last for 2 hours).

For our MiniBridge and Beginners courses, you need to attend all sessions, and stay for the full session each week (which will usually last for 1 hour 30 minutes).

We recommend arriving 15 minutes before the start of the session to ensure you’re all set to play.

Scheduled games will be available to book up to 5 days in advance, and you'll be able to register to play up to 2 hours ahead of the game.

For MiniBridge and Beginners courses we will advertise the course in advance. However, once the sessions begin, access will be limited to those who have signed up.

You can join the Supervised Play sessions at the Saga Bridge Club on your own (we’ll find you a partner), with your chosen partner, or with a group of friends.

For Competitive Duplicate and Gentle Duplicate, come on your own or with a partner.

You play against different opponents during the session.

For the Supervised Play session as many or as few hands as you wish. The Competitive Duplicate and Gentle Duplicate sessions will consist of between 14 and 18 boards.

Supervised Play sessions can run at any speed all the players at the table would like. You can chat about the hand afterwards if you like or receive the next deal immediately.

Competitive Duplicate and Gentle Duplicate sessions are played at roughly 8 minutes per board. The game will be designed to last approximately 2 hours.

Our MiniBridge and Beginners sessions are nice and relaxed. The session will last 1 hour and 30 minutes each week.

Games pricing

Each session is charged at £3.00 and payment is taken at point of booking. If you are unable to join a session you have already booked and paid for, we will happily move your booking to an alternative session of your choice or refund your money. Just email sagabridgeclub@saga.co.uk.

For MiniBridge the cost is £35 for the full seven-week course. Unfortunately we cannot offer refunds or part-refunds if you are unable to join one of the sessions.

For our Beginners course the cost is £40 for the full eight-week course. Unfortunately we cannot offer refunds or part-refunds if you are unable to join one of the sessions.

Payment for your Saga Bridge Club session is made at the time of your booking at saga.co.uk/bridge.

The RealBridge platform

The RealBridge game screens are easy to navigate and understand. You are able to see all players from your table, and simply speak to your opponents.

For full details about how to play, visit the RealBridge Player Guide.

Screenshot of RealBridge online bridge game platform

When you book and pay for a session you will be emailed your session link and details on how to join.

When you’re ready to attend your session, click on the link in the email. You’ll be asked to log in to the Real Bridge platform. You’ll need to input your full name, your one-digit number to highlight your bridge skill level, and the word 'Saga' as your ID number when logging in.

Saga Bridge club login screen

No – everyone at the table is a real person.

Yes, your online game Director will be one of our team of experienced hosts and Duplicate Directors. This means you will get to know our team, and they will get to know you.

Technical requirements

RealBridge runs on any laptop, desktop computer or tablet that supports video calling from a web browser.

On Windows or Linux PC, Apple macOS or Android tablet you can use any browser, such as Chrome, Edge, Firefox or Safari. (Note: older versions of Edge and Internet Explorer do not work.)

On an Apple iPad you must use the Safari browser, because Apple does not allow other browsers to support video calling.

You will need around 0.5 Mbps of download and upload bandwidth for video. If you have a poor connection you can turn off your camera and/or the incoming video to reduce bandwidth requirements.

Our partner – RealBridge – does not require a webcam to run; you can play without being connected on video or audio calls. However, without video, the experience is compromised.