Friday, October 22, 2010

Is Being a Bridge Bum Equivalent to Being a Prostitute?

Many of the bridge players I spend my time around now are bridge pros or are thinking about being pro or are closely related to pros, yet I still do not understand the whole concept of paying someone thousands of dollars to be your partner. On some level it's a lot like prostitution - selling yourself to someone to play together, just engaging in a different activity together - maybe prostitution for the mind instead of the body. This is part of why I didn't develop many junior bridge partnerships and a reason I lack respect for many of today's top junior players. By the time many of the juniors get good, they seek out people who would pay them to play. Do I blame them for this? I guess not, but I want the people I associate with to be good people, people that are productive members of society rather than people who help rich guys spend their money. Sorry - having some astronomical IQ and going to a community college part time with no career goals, skipping that school for weeks at a time to play bridge, and spending rich old men's money is not being productive to society.

I see lots of 20-somethings getting paid to play, and many of them I know are not better players, better partners, or better bridge teachers than me. Am I jealous of them? In some ways I am jealous that that lifestyle allows them more free time and doesn't require waking up early on weekdays but that sort of party lifestyle and laziness gets old. And I guess I am kind of jealous that they are getting apparenty more respect in the bridge world. But I reiterate that I do not want that profession or lifestyle and as a whole I am sure it would be unfulfilling. As much as I like bridge and as much fun as it can be to go to tournaments, it would severely take the fun out of it if bridge tournaments became work rather than a vacation.


  1. You might know Barry Greenstein as a famous poker player. He's been on TV and won millions of dollars. (He's also a bridge player, by the way, with around 700 masterpoints who still plays online when he's killing time.) In his book "Ace on the River" he encourages poker players to do just what you've said: do something that contributes to society. Give to charity (both money and time) and be productive.

  2. hadn't heard of him. I don't keep up with poker players much but just looked him up and seems like a decent guy..

  3. In one of his books Mike Lawrence uses the phrase, "Don't mix learning with earning", when discussing a young up-n-coming pro.

    Even more true these days, imho, but I can see the temptation to go pro early especially in the US.