Ross Taylor

Bidding box pet peeve

Unfortunately, I┬ásee many players have developed a lazy habit of failing to use the bidding box at all times – almost always towards the end of an auction. And the other players at the table usually accept this lapse in due process, which is leading the game down the wrong path in my opinion.

Although I do not approve, it is less heinous to fail to place your pass card on the table when you are last to speak (the bidding having gone pass pass to you). Many players simply tap the table or pick up their bidding cards to indicate a pass. Personally I always use the pass card in such situations, and urge my partners and opponents to do the same.

{ Also, it’s not hard to imagine┬áscenarios whereby if the table is tapped, partner may draw one type of inference, but if the pass card is placed on the table, partner may draw a different inference}

What really upsets me though is players tapping the table to indicate they are passing when the auction is still live – i.e. when there has only been one pass to their right.

It seems to me this happens more often in competitive auctions – which to my mind, makes the transgression worse – since there is an increased likelihood of further bidding. And if all players tacitly accept the table tap as a pass, and then the final bidder (to the left of the table tapper) makes a call other than pass, the whole scene can deteriorate quickly.

A respected director recently advised me this sloppiness has led to ugly disputes in some instances over whether or not a final contract was doubled.

I played in a large duplicate game earlier this week where this in fact happened – in a live auction, my RHO tapped the table, and I planned to take a further call.

When I asked her nicely to please use a bidding card, my LHO got prickly with me and said ” we run a friendly table here!”

Well so do I, but the rules are there for a reason lady, so let’s all please abide by them.


JUDY KAY-WOLFFJanuary 22nd, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Hey, Ross:

I just love reading your earthy blogs about every day happenings (especially on bridge as opposed to poker about which I know zilch). Your point is well taken and this rubbish about “we run a friendly table here” doesn’t crack any ice with me. As long as you are under the ACBL jurisdiction and masterpoints are issued, the club director has the responsibility to enforce the rules/laws as written. Laziness or indifference is no excuse to tap the table … and I certainly can understand where these self-styled gestures can lead to ethical situations.

I admire your gentlemanly way of handling these untoward actions. We need more people like you in the game. Where have you been all my life?

Ross TaylorJanuary 22nd, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Blushing in a corner Judy

Chris HasneyJanuary 23rd, 2010 at 12:36 am


p.s. I’m guilty of this infraction. I shall endeavor not to be so lazy in the future.

Daniel KorbelJanuary 24th, 2010 at 12:08 am

I don’t think it’s a big deal not to put out a pass card in an auction that clearly is over — but not to put out a pass card when there is any reasonable chance of competition is a very bad habit indeed.

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