Dealing board Bridge Boards - where would we be without them ?  Boards - those slightly strange shaped pieces of plastic that contain the cards for each bridge hand - make up a large part of the behind the scene activities at our Bridge Club

Did you know your Club deals around 10,000 hands each year for our regular Club play ?  Hands dealt for our Tournaments come on top of this again

So how does all of this happen ?  Prior to the start of each year the folks who run X-Club produce a set of deal files - one for each day or evening for every day of the year. These they then make available to the Club for use in our Dealing Machine to produce the boards for playing the board and then for Compass / Bridgemates to score the boards after you have played them. The programme the Club decides on at the start of the year requests from X-Club the deal files for the appropriate weeks of the year and these arrive throughout the year at the Club in time for the boards to be dealt
For those who have not met a Dealing Machine up close it is a rather complicated box full of electronics and a camera capable in around 20 seconds of taking a pack of cards and sorting it as per the Hand Record. When its going well its close to being one of the wonders of the modern world but when its unhappy its as frustrating as hell !  The Club owns a "Dealer 4" which we wouldn't be without but with a price tag of over $5000 requires more than a little TLC.....

Tournament hands are handled differently because the regular X-Club hands are potentially available to a large number of people prior to the hands being played which could be unfair. Hands for our Tournaments are both created and dealt locally to make all as fair as possible

Dealing boardSo we now have the hands available and the programme for the year in place so what now happens - the Club has a number of "dealers" who use our Dealing Machine to produce the hands specified by X-Club for the required session. Currently we have 6 "dealers" who give up some of their time each week to deal the hands for a particular session - they don't deal the hands for a session they play !  If you would be interested in helping here the Club is at times looking for new dealers so have a talk to Cathy Nolen, our current Dealing Steward to see if you can help. It doesn't take long to deal a set of boards so it's not an onerous task.....

Alongside the actual dealing of the boards there is a little housekeeping required - labeling of the dealt boards, printing of the hand records etc.
Sometimes things in this process go awry - the wrong boards are dealt for the week, the boards are labelled incorrectly, cards get out of sequence etc etc. but considering the number of boards we deal each year the number of mistakes is very small !

Getting it wrong can be rather frustrating for all but on occasion it can have an unexpected outcome -

Recently club members Barbara Daly and Graeme Hope competed in the East Coast Restricted Pairs which they won with a score of 65% - congratulations to you both. This happened at an event where only 30 scoring boards were able to be played due to a labeling error when the boards were dealt meaning the first 18 boards played had to be discarded!

1st East Coast Bays Restricted Pairs Tournament


So next time you pick up your cards to play a hand do think of your dealers