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We've partnered up with RealBridge and expert Paul Mendelson 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

What is Saga Bridge Club?

We’ve partnered up with our friends at RealBridge and expert Paul Mendelson 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.

What is different about playing online?

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.

Who can take part?

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. We regret that at the present time we’re unable to provide bridge for beginners sessions, but this is something we are considering for the future.

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.

What do I need to play?

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.

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.

Game schedule and length

When do the Saga Bridge Club games take place?

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

  • Tuesday afternoons (Gentle Duplicate) 10.00am - 12.15pm
  • Wednesday afternoons (Supervised Play) 7.30 - 9.45pm
  • Friday afternoons (Supervised Play) 2.00 - 4.15pm
  • Sunday afternoons (Gentle Duplicate) 2.00 - 4.15pm

Do I have to play the full session?

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

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

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

When should I expect to find games online?

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.

Do I get assigned a partner, or can I bring my regular partner?

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

You play against different opponents during the session.

How many hands will we play?

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

What’s the pace of the game? How long is a session?

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.

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

Games pricing

How much does a game cost?

Each session is charged at £3.00 and payment is taken at point of booking. Unfortunately we cannot offer refunds if you are unable to join a session you have already booked and paid for, however, we will happily move your booking to an alternative session of your choice – just email sagabridgeclub@saga.co.uk.

How do I pay?

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

The RealBridge platform

What does the RealBridge platform look like?

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

How do I join a session?

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

Are robots used in game play?

No – everyone at the table is a real person.

Is there a game Director?

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

What devices does RealBridge run on?

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

What browser should I use?

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.

How fast an internet connection do I need?

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.

Do I need a webcam?

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.

How do I check my camera is working?

Visit the RealBridge Camera and microphone test page to troubleshoot video and audio issues.