Bobby Wolff



There appears to be a contentious argument brewing on the world bridge scene and while the two parties participating are on very friendly terms, they, at this point in time, appear to be clearly on different sides of the fence.

In order to solicit formal and sincere responses from all of you who are reading this, we will handle the possible contretemps in the following way:

1.  We will offer no official or suggestive position on this possibly very important subject until next Monday afternoon, including no evidence, reasons or anything else which could be construed as leading the witness.

2.  In the meantime, we would like to present the facts as we know them so that we can solicit your opinions, based on information – not our convictions.  Whatever, this is definitely an up in the air subject, not previously thought about, but possibly a crucial and opportunistic one to consider involving the far-reaching fate of our game.

Here are the facts …

1.  Jose Damiani, the sixteen year President of the WBF is retiring at the end of the Philadelphia World Series of Bridge tournament to be held this October, stepping down in favor of Gianarrigo Rona, President Elect of the WBF.

2.  While leading the WBF toward Olympic (IOC) recognition we (bridge) are currently part of the International Mind Sports Association (IMSA).  The 2008 Bridge World Championship in Beijing, China was held under the formal banner of IMSA and was conducted in a regal, respected, disciplined manner which echoed the increased world wide acceptance of our beautiful game and its fierce competition.

3.  At a recent meeting of the Executive Committee of the European Bridge League (EBL), Jose informed the Council of the decision of the IMSA to accept the International Federation of Poker as a member of IMSA.  He explained the basis of inclusion of Duplicate Poker as a mind sport and the potential financial benefits that might accrue to the other Mind Sport Organizations.  At that time, the Executive Committee of the EBL expressed its resistance to these proposals.

4.  A brief history background for you:  Jose has worked long and tirelessly to establish bridge within the International community as a positive activity which can benefit young and old alike and contribute to the aims of the Olympic Charter.  The recognition that was afforded by the IOC, in accepting the WBF as a sporting organization, has enabled many Bridge Federations to receive support from their National Olympic Committees and obtain acceptance within the wider community and, most importantly, within educational establishments, which is of utmost importance.  Without bridge in the schools, we have little chance of survival.

5.  According to the EBL, poker is an activity which is banned in many countries (possibly only Europe) and is not regarded in positive terms by most people.  It is directly associated with gambling and the negative connotations that is inevitably linked with such activity.  It is (again according to them) not linked with being a sport.

6.  The EBL does not believe that allowing bridge to be linked with poker will be beneficial to our good standing in the community.  Further, they believe that any links with poker will cause serious damage to our reputation and place in jeopardy all that Jose and the WBF have strived for and accomplished.

7.  They further believe that there are significant risks to our recognition by the IOC if an umbrella organization such as IMSA pursues its own attempts to achieve recognition as a sporting organization.  They also believe that it is not in the best interests of bridge for it to be subsumed into an umbrella organization which is then seeking recognition by the IOC.  Instead they do believe that it is imperative that the link between the WBF and the IOC is a direct relationship between those two bodies.

It  has become clear that the EBL is against the WBF promoting poker or duplicate poker as it now is being described as a partner in IMSA.

Those of you who have carefully read the above and feel qualified to offer a personal opinion, please do, but only after considering the following:

1.  In a world organization such as the WBF, there will always be different opinions, based on heritage, culture and perceptions which will certainly influence decisions.

2.  Poker, as is obvious to all of us on this side of the Atlantic, has made significant and successful inroads into the highly competitive TV world which has undoubtedly encouraged sponsors and much greater interest in that game’s promotion for all to see and feel.

3.  The EBL’s opinion is undoubtedly heartfelt by them as to what is best for the future of worldwide bridge and our relationship with the IOC.

4.  Obviously the eventual position of what the WBF decides to do or at least starts out to do may or may not have a significant effect on bridge’s continued world promotion and popularity as well, of course, as on our relationship with the IOC.

5.  All of the above information is totally based on seeking opinions, points of view, and possibly other   pluses and minuses we have not considered which could easily affect our eventual decision.

6.  There will be a meeting in New Orleans at the upcoming Summer National bridge tournament at the end of next week, scheduled between Jose and the ACBL’s WBF representatives to discuss what has happened and what views to take.  Time is very much of the essence and we would really like to hear your gut feelings about attempting to gain the recognition for bridge that  poker has achieved!

7.  If nothing else, this preliminary discussion may serve to educate many thousands of bridge players world wide on the internet the difficult and perhaps extremely important judgments which, in turn may serve to dictate the always cloudy long term direction of bridge itself.

Please let us hear from you by joining in and feeling free to contribute to our purposes which is both Bridge for Peace (Worldwide) as well as the Game for a Lifetime.

Judy and Bobby Wolff


ChuckJuly 17th, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Bobby and Judy:

I am not quite sure what you are saying. It sounds like Mr. Damiani is trying to associate bridge with poker as poker has received worldwide recognition and universal acclaim, particularly drawing thousands to it on television. Please clarify as that is the only fact I can garner. Thank you.

Bobby WolffJuly 17th, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Hi Chuck,

Yes, Mr. Damiani, as the President of the WBF, obviously does have the intention of trying to rub shoulders with poker.

The question, as detailed by the European Bridge League, is whether bridge is better off or not so by that association. The EBL thinks not and, at least according to them, by a significant margin.

Thanks for writing.

JSJuly 17th, 2010 at 7:12 pm


I am not following the EBL’s line of thinking. It sounds like they want bridge to not go near poker with a ten foot pole because of the gambling aspect. What is the bottom line of gambling? MONEY, of course! How, with all the professionalism in the world, particularly here in the states, can bridge disassociate itself from gambling, when in professional bridge, your future depends on success at any cost!

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 18th, 2010 at 1:34 am

Via a polite and respectful communication to the World Bridge Federaion from the European Bridge League, they made crystal clear “… its opposition to any links between the organisation that controls poker and those that control the game of bridge.” Is it because of the gambling or what is looked upon as a lesser class of people than bridge seems to represent?

I cannot fathom what makes “poker” such an undesirable addition to the various Individual Mind Sports Asssociation of the Olympic group? It cannot be because of cheating scandals (and heaven knows — we have had our own fair share), but I haven’t heard of one regarding poker. Perhaps their more informal dress code? Tee shirts and jeans? Yes, far from the elegance of Omar Sharif or James Bond — but pray tell — what is their real objection?

Let’s turn the clock back to the introduction of bridge in the United States in 1936 when the ACBL was formed. Its drawing card (no pun intended), even then, was masterpoints — though miniscule as compared to the glut on the market today. No money prizes were a consideration. Yet, it grew and grew and grew.

However, if my memory serves me correctly (mostly from The Lone Wolff), Europe hosted many elegant money (gambling) tournaments in five star hotels with formal dress attire such as the Cinca del Duca (Milan, Paris, Rome, etc.) coordinated, I believe, by Dr. Pierre Jais. Also I recall hearing about frequent money tournaments at glamorous sites like Monte Carlo, Deauville, Biarritz, Juan le Pin — often held in casinos which were far more plentiful in Europe than the United States until Las Vegas reared its popular glitzy head.

Although I do not play poker (have enough problems counting trump), I fail to see why it is objectionable. Whomever was at the helm, found a clever, industrious way to let the chips fall where they may — which led to tremendously popular television coverage, growing more exciting with each passing day.

When was the last time you saw anything on the boob tube about bridge since Charlie Goren’s TV program sponsored by Allied Van Lines half a century ago? Hats off to the poker forces who made theirs a game attracting universal shouting from the rafters. It should only happen to bridge, please God!

Ross TaylorJuly 18th, 2010 at 5:05 am

The International Federation of Poker (IFP) only came into existence a year ago, and I don’t know much about it. I suspect their agenda is far more complex than bridge’s is – since there are serious issues of legality surrounding poker – particularly online poker.

Notwithstanding these legal issues, there are staggering amounts of money in play every day – both live and online.

I have been following the WSOP main event this past week – an event which attracted 7,319 competitors; a prize pool of over $70 million and first place worth a cool $8.9 million – that tops just about any other “sporting event” in the world. Poker is cool – Manchester United cool; New York Yankees cool. Bridge is not cool.

However, I had to look up the meaning of “Duplicate Poker”. It’s very new, has no real following, and seems an obscure variation of No Limit Hold ‘Em.

“The EBL believes any links with poker will cause serious damage to our reputation and place in jeopardy all that Jose and the WBF have strived for and accomplished.”

Does that mean that chess and GO and checkers are doomed too?

As a poker player and bridge player, my thoughts are as follows:

1. Trying to emulate even a tiny touch of poker’s explosive growth in popularity is a worthwhile endeavour. (btw poker has achieved this without teaching our kids how to play in school)

2. Poker is a ‘mind game’

3. I don’t think including poker in the IMSA will have any measurable impact (good or bad) on bridge, checkers, GO or chess.

4. Bridge has status within the IOC as a “sporting event” – big deal. Personally, I find it embarrassing to explain that one to non bridge players.

I don’t really understand what you want opinions about Bobby. Do I share the EBL’s view? The EBL are entitled to their opinion but it sounds like this is a done deal. The WBF is a member of the IMSA, and the IFP is now a member of the IMSA.

Or are they advocating the WBF withdraw from the IMSA, given the recent inclusion of the IFP? And in so doing, maintain a singular loyalty to the IOC?

This whole issue seems like a diversion from the main issue facing bridge. Poker is hot and bridge is not. Personally, I much prefer the thrills and challenges of high level bridge, but the game is rapidly losing its place in society.

And I don’t blame poker for bridge’s demise – if anything, it can be a role model for bridge. Bridge participation was on the decline well before the current poker explosion.

When I was in University in the late seventies, bridge was the main distraction for many students from attending classes – I doubt very much that is the case today.

If the best fix bridge has is to fight to maintain its status as a recognized sporting event by the IOC, while simultaneously turning up our noses at the Mongolian hordes of poker players and their endless bags of cash, the end game is inevitable.

LuiseJuly 18th, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Ross, I agree with almost everything you said. My only diversion is that I actually prefer poker to bridge for it’s misleading simplicity. Anyone can sit down and, after about 10 minutes of teaching, learn enough about the rules of poker to play a game of Hold’em. Luck might be with them that day and they may even win some money on their first attempt. But when you look at it over the long haul, there is a lot of skill there that can go un-noticed to the newcomer. But the thrill and excitement of catching that one river card that you needed is enough to draw in most spectators.

There are very few situations like that in bridge that offer the same excitement for the spectators who don’t really know the game very well. Let’s face it — on the surface, bridge is boring!

I don’t have a problem with both the WBF and the IFP being members of the IMSA.

Bobby WolffJuly 18th, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Hi Ross,

First of all, thanks for writing, especially with your candid observations of which I would expect nothing less.

Although I suspect there are other examples, you, of course, come to my mind as possibly the best poker player who is very much in the bridge limelight and also then following, as certainly one of the best bridge players in the giant high-level poker world.

As of now the controversy emerging between the prestigeous management of the approximately half a million plus European Bridge League (The ACBL only has about 160,000 members) and the World Bridge Federation (WBF) since the inclusion of the International Federation of Poker (IFP) into the International Mind Sports Association (IMSA), it might seem to some as if we (bridge) should welcome poker and bridge to a little game of “Let’s make a deal”.

At least the thought of that is very unappealing to the (EBL) since many smaller bridge federations are being supported by their own IOC connections within their own National Bridge Organization (NBO).

According to them, and when and if alliances are made between poker and bridge, those NBO’s will be voted off the island (no more financial support) because of the perceived reputations of the poker world (gambling and general inelegance).

There is little doubt, at least to me, that most everything you add in the discussion is right on. Certainly bridge has not suffered because of the explosion in poker, probably the opposite at least in our dreams since it can easily be thought, that if bridge would have been creative enough to sally forth first perhaps it would be bridge not poker gleaning the fruits of it. Others will not fantasize that thought but realistically realize that the relative complications in the bridge rules plus the hard time presenting our game on TV compared to the dynamics of poker are the real reasons for what happened.

Since I am not qualified to discuss chess, Go, Darts and other games within the IMSA, I would only hazard a guess that they themselves are only interested bystanders and do not, at least at this point, have an opinion on what is going on.

Finally and perhaps:

1. Yes bridge would like to emulate the explosive (or at least a puff of smoke) growth which has lifted poker.

2. Poker is a mind game, and delving deeper, poker is not really a card game, since there is no rotational playing, but rather poker is played with cards.

3. Bridge is also a mind game, and like poker, there is quite a bit of detective work required, which, in turn, contributes mightily to success or lack of it.

4. I, also along with you, do not think that having poker as a new IMSA member will have much if anything to do with the immediate future of either competition.

5. Having bridge recognized as a sport (mind or otherwise) only has significance in getting it in the schools as opposed to it being only an old remembrance such as, “Oh yes, that was the game that my grandparents use to play and fight over”.

6. Yes, poker is hot and bridge is not, and for that I am very sorry and perhaps ashamed that I, myself, have not been more successful in overcoming that cold fact.

Where we go from here might be affected by what now happens.

Again thanks for your comments!

Ross TaylorJuly 18th, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Thanks Bobby – off the top of my head there are several fine examples of strong bridge/poker players. Number one would likely be Steve Weinstein. Also John Kranyak, Brad Moss, and of course Phil Gordon. Among people I know quite well, Darren and Gavin Wolpert, and Daniel Korbel all excel at both games.

Ross TaylorJuly 18th, 2010 at 8:54 pm

And also Martin De Kniff – recently moved to Las Vegas I believe.

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 18th, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Dear Luise:

I seem to remember some earlier references to regretted malfeasance and even a crying outburst at one of your first unhappy bridge sessions. From your comments above, it is obvious you have some underlying dislike or resentment for the game — perhaps because you are so great at what you continue to do daily in cyberspace as a very creative and talented young woman. I sympathize as it must be frustrating using your expertise on a primarily-bridge site, harboring those inner feelings from a long time ago.

I am sure it is so much easier to absorb and learn the basics of poker (v. bridge) and anyone, regardless of abounding talent or lack of it, can sit down and play.

To remark “…. on the surface, bridge is boring!” is a mouthful. Only a person who doesn’t understand its deep beauty, challenge and mystique could ever utter a statement like that.

Basic poker is probably ten times easier to learn than all the early nuances of bridge, but poker at the highest level requires both card sense, determination and an inordinate mind set that bridge demands as well.

Bridge — BORING??? Anything but!!!!

Nigel GuthrieJuly 18th, 2010 at 10:39 pm

Could it delay the acceptance of Duplicate Bridge as an Olympic Sport were it part of an IMSA group application that incudes many other worthy mind-sports, all of which the Olympic Committee must examine in detail? Would Bridge have a better chance if considered on its own?

Richard WilleyJuly 18th, 2010 at 11:13 pm

I’ve always been extremely skeptical regarding the efforts to enshrine bridge as a Olympic sport. As an outside observer my immediate reaction is that the the primary draw is a mechanism to auction Olympic gold medals to well heeled “sponsors”. My next reaction is that the drug testing regimes are a disaster waiting to happen; especially the fights regarding whether various medicines as well as caffeine and nicotine should be considered performance enhancing for a “mind sport”.

With this said and done, if anything, poker as an Olympic “sport” seems even more ludicrous. The sheer amount of variance in poker results should exclude it from Olympic competition. Consider the implication of a legion of “Eddie the Eagles” employing a “Kill Phil” type strategies.

Olympic poker would be a joke…

Nick WarrenJuly 18th, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Just a comment from a European interested enough to have read this…

1. I can understand the EBL not wanting to associate itself with gambling – if indeed that is the EBL’s real motive.

2. However, I see the relationship of duplicate poker to normal poker in about the same light as duplicate bridge to rubber bridge. The former is only played professionally at the highest level and is otherwise not normally played for money, whereas rubber can be played for any amount of money you care to wager. Thus I don’t see any real reason why bridge should fear being related to poker. Which is why I queried what the EBL’s motive might be above.

3. My crystal ball is as murky as anyone else’s – but if some of poker’s kudos rubs off on bridge or on mind sports generally, then it can be no bad thing. To my mind there is probably going to be little effect in that regard, but it is at least as likely as there being any negative consequence.

Just by 2 cents – or pence

Bobby WolffJuly 18th, 2010 at 11:57 pm

Hi Nigel,

Of course anything is possible, but I seriously doubt that the group of mind sports to be considered would be a reason to ignore their existence.

Bridge would much prefer to compete in the regular Olympics than only with IMSA games, but there is not now, nor would there ever probably be a competition with the other mind sports for being chosen to move up in quality. However, the immense popularity of televised Poker with all the money generated might be a willing suitor for bridge to attach its hopes.

Bobby WolffJuly 19th, 2010 at 12:27 am


Much of what you say is right on point.

The playing of professional bridge at the World Championship, e.g. where very high level qualified players play with a lesser player for money, tends to denigrate the whole compeitition, wherein even the winning team, with at least one playing sponsor on it could obviously have lined up with a better team.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Perhaps for very top players to have the time to spend preparing for the ultimate competition they need to have a source of money to sustain them. Also, perhaps it is like the beginnings of other well known sports, like the Jack Kramer tennis tours in the USA of the 1940’s, wherein money was generated to allow the top players of that era to find a way to compete in the Davis Cup. Now in the Ryder Cup in golf, the competition itself creates the intensity and glamor for the now wealthy golfers to compete for only the glory of the occasion. Perhaps bridge could follow that example, but as of this point in time (to my sincere disappointment), we would not have the volunteers.

Granted your analogy about buying Olympic gold medals could now apply, but shame on all involved for so doing.

Although at bridge World Championships random top players are tested for drug enhancement, but probably only to appear to be following in the Olympic tradition. It’s true that mental accuity might demand different types of drugs to be off limits than would the all physical sports, but only the drugs (caffein and nicotine) might be recognizable.

I’m not sure I agree with you about Olympic poker or even bridge since as far as real “killer” type competition it is hard to imagine anything more intensive than either bridge or poker. And the endurance required for either would probably rank high on any meter judging it against any physical sport already played. Those who have never been there should reserve judgment, until they are in better position to decide.

DANNY KLEINMANJuly 19th, 2010 at 12:32 am

As co-inventor (with Bruce Altshuler) of Duplicate Poker. I would want to denigrate neither poker nor the skills required to excel at poker. Indeed, my bridge idol, S.J. Simon, wrote in “Why You Lose at Bridge (page 11), “A great game, Poker. I must learn it some time.”

That being said, I cannot understand how anyone who has played both games could consider bridge “boring” by comparison to poker. If anything, the beauty and variety that we see in every session of bridge makes a session of poker seem dull by comparison. Only people who need substantial sums of money to trigger their interest in games of the mind could consider duplicate bridge, which is not often played for money and even less often played for large sums of money, to be boring. As I see it, few things are boring, and bridge is not one of them. Boredom lies within the person who cannot be stimulated without the involvement of money, not within the activity that they say bores them.

Bobby WolffJuly 19th, 2010 at 12:40 am


I, for one, appreciate your interest, for taking the time to do it, and especially because you are European which has come out (at least the European bridge administrators), against wanting bridge to hob and nob with poker.

I do agree with your gambling analogy with both poker and bridge. Perhaps the years ago formal dress at the World bridge championships (Tuxes and Evening gowns) differed too much to the scenes often shown representing the informal (to say the least) big time poker tournaments.

I also heartily agree to hoping poker’s TV success might suddenly pass to bridge and the only way to find out is for creative people to get together and experiment. The odds are probably strong against it happening, but it is something worth striving to create. In case it has never been said before, Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained!

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 19th, 2010 at 12:43 am

Responding to Nigel, Richard and Nick:

Olympic sports are far from my area of expertise, but isn’t the major differentiation between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the allied International Mind Sports Association (IMSA) based upon the type of prowess: PHYSICAL (IOC) V. MENTAL (IMSA)? That was always my interpretation and if I am incorrect, please advise.

Mention was also made of drug testing. I believe that should be mandatory in any form of competition but considering caffeine or regular nicotine as an enhancer, IMHO, is off the wall. One has to draw the line somewhere and not go off half-cocked. And, I might add, that many are aware that a few years ago one of our U.S. Women Bridge Players refused to be drug tested (for personal reasons). Whether it was on general principle or not, I have no idea but it was documented and publicized.

I am not quite certain in which context ‘well heeled sponsors’ and ‘gold medals’ were alluded to. I do feel vehement that there is no place in any Olympic competition of any venue wherein a sponsor (who paid to play on a team with experts who got them thus far) should be allowed to compete with true experts in the most exalted competition in all the world: The Olympics. To me it would make a pure, unadulterated mockery of the zenith of all contests.

Richard WilleyJuly 19th, 2010 at 12:55 am

>I do feel vehement that there is no place in any

>Olympic competition of any venue wherein a

>sponsor (who paid to play on a team with experts

>who got them thus far) should be allowed to compete

>with true experts in the most exalted competition in all

>the world: The Olympics. To me it would make a pure,

>unadulterated mockery of the zenith of all contests.

For what its worth, I feel the same way. With this said and done, I don’t expect my opinion to carry much weight.

I would be much less skeptical about “Bridge as Olympic Sport” distraction if the selection criteria explicitly banned sponsors from participating (including sponsors who hired team mates for other events such as the Vanderbilt, the Bermuda Bowl, etc.)

[Please note: I will readily concede that virtually any of the well known sponsors play at a level far above my own]

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 19th, 2010 at 1:14 am


Thanks for that very up-front response. It is not about challenging either of our individual bridge prowesses as compared to a wealthy sponsor.

Further, it is not about “your opinion” (or mine for that matter) carrying any weight. That is why bridge blogging is so wonderful. It gives people like us who obviously love the beauty of the game to speak from the heart and try to make a difference!



LuiseJuly 19th, 2010 at 1:37 am

Judy — I didn’t say bridge IS boring… I just said that it LOOKS boring. I said that it looks boring compared to poker from the eyes of a newcomer because that’s the truth. To those who don’t know the game, they haven’t a clue whats going on. Each hand takes forever to play, there’s no major excitement or outbursts from the table, etc. If I knew nothing about either game and I had a choice at watching the poker game vs. the bridge game, I would choose the poker game to watch. Face it — poker is a much more exciting spectator sport.

I harbor no harsh feelings towards bridge, by the way. You simply asked for opinions, and I have stated mine.

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 19th, 2010 at 1:43 am


Pearls of wisdom! “….. the beauty and variety that we see in every session of bridge …”

The true student of bridge never exhausts the endless opportunities for learning and improving. Your words above hold a special meaning for lucky me — especially after returning home from a duplicate with Bobby and over a glass of wine review the printed hand records of the session we have just completed. Whether we won or lost has absolutely no significance on my learning process. Of course, I am in a better mood when we win, but it is amazing how a game of pasteboards can activate the inner-workings off one’s mind and investigate avenues of alternatives you never explored before. This game is unlike any other!

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 19th, 2010 at 2:06 am


BORING is in the eyes of the beholder. And true — from the viewpoint of a newcomer, it may be less stimulating and exciting than poker as the fundamentals of poker are far less difficult to learn and digest than bridge.

Bridge doesn’t necessitate excitement or outbursts at the table to be thrilling. Perhaps outwardly it may appear that way, but the beauty and fascination of the game is something that a bridge player feels from within and I dare say no other game could ever challenge its majesty.

The problem is many extraneous factors have played a role in destroying its original beauty and honor and because the youth of the world have moved on to more outwardly exciting quests, I fear bridge is on the wane. Without bridge in the schools on our continent (though they are featured in many foreign countries – particularly in Asia), the game will soon be a goner. I hope history proves me wrong.

PaulJuly 19th, 2010 at 8:07 am

No-one seriously expects to see bridge (or poker for that matter) being played at the (Winter or Summer) Olympic Games. The pursuit of recognition is all about money.

In the UK there is a lot of funding available to Olympic sports that the bridge authorities do not have access to. It seems that some European countries are more flexible and consider that bridge is a sport that can compete for such funds. These countries would not like to see this threatened.

The association of bridge and poker is not just a European problem. I believe that online poker companies are largely banned from the USA as it is regarded as illegal gambling over the Internet. I’m sure BBO would prefer that the authorities continue to regard bridge as a game of skill and not have to relocate to the Bahamas or elsewhere.

Whether this distinction is fair or reasonable is moot, but I can understand that many in authority are wary of the damage such an association could bring.

Like many I think the pursuit of IOC recognition is pretty ridiculous. But I could be convinced that it was the right idea if the WBF published the costs of its efforts and the results achieved.

PaulJuly 19th, 2010 at 8:19 am

One of the real benefits of working with the IOC has been the adoption of WADA Anti-Doping Code. At least we have a single standard and it has not proved a problem for my teams at the last two European Championships.

And, just to allay Judy’s fears, nicotine and caffeine are no longer on the prohibited list.

Bobby WolffJuly 19th, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Paul has added a certain realism and stability factor which every important discussion needs. I, for one, appreciate the other bloggers who took the trouble to be heard, with the upside to all of us of understanding a little better of what might be involved.

Having said that, let me add in a relatively brief manner my thoughts on our current subject of whether or not for bridge to cozy up to poker in order to create a positive break-out for our beloved game:

1. The EBL (Yves Aubry, Presiding) and the WBF (Jose Damiani, President) are very credible organizations, with hard working, very intelligent leadership, both with the very best interests in the future of bridge, and throughout the world, as we know it.

2. The EBL has noted a specific concern for a close relationship between the new IMSA member, Poker (aka duplicate poker) and Bridge because of fear that the gambling reputation of poker may cause the IOC to withdraw crucial financial support for bridge in many National Bridge Organizations in Europe and around the world therefore greatly reducing those NBO’s ability to continue to support the WBF on a consistent basis. The EBL has voted strongly in favor of the WBF withdrawing any and all attempts to seek any alliances with Poker as a means of trying to develop a money stream to further the WBF’s financial position as well as increasing the popularity of bridge in the eyes of the world.

3. Enter Jose Damiani, the sixteen year President of the WBF (retiring in Philadelphia in October, 2010). His lifelong occupation of running a successful public relations firm in Paris together with his overwhelming results of caring and nurturing the WBF through many crises since 1994 (along with our President Emeritus, Jaime Ortiz-Patino and others) has established and maintained a strong and cordial relationship with the IOC which, at least, up until now, has stood the test of time.

4. My decided preference would be to give Jose the privilege and the choice to continue to steer the WBF through these controversial waters and let him decide what he thinks (while both the WBF and the EBL are kept closely informed) is the best course for the WBF to take.

5. While it is almost never possible to insure success, especially when the stakes are high, it seems prudent to give the authority to someone like Jose. He deserves nothing less and with his experience in this type of endeavor, his unquestioned good judgment through the years, and above all, his undying love of our game itself, is reason enough rather than paint ourselves into a corner where our proven leader will be burdened by what might well be unnecessary strictures.

5. My opinion is that Poker has been there/ done that, and through it all has succeeded in No Trump. It would be unfair not to give ourselves a chance to do what is necessary for Bridge to also have a chance (as long as our leadership understands — and I am sure they do). Much is at stake as far as dealing with the IOC in keeping our reputation at its highest level and unruffled.

6. To do otherwise and miss a chance to make a quantum leap forward is, at least to me, not to be considered. Bridge and Poker will always be considered as separate entities by every thinking person and it is most unlikely that anyone will ever think of bridge as a gambling game, simply because it isn’t now and never was.

7. The EBL has made its point and their issues will forever be part of Jose’s and our future leaders’ thinking, but for now let us set our cap on doing what is best for bridge and continue our twin motto’s, Bridge for Peace and Bridge for a Lifetime.

I will suggest that the EBL choose a representative to monitor and serve as a liaison with the WBF and report to all who want to be kept informed, the current options and choices as well as the status of what is happening.

DANNY KLEINMANJuly 20th, 2010 at 12:10 am

Why might bridge have so little appeal as a spectator sport? For bridge to have such appeal, it must be intelligible to the relatively unsophisticated (though not ignorant) spectator. And with all the fancy stuff in many pairs’ methods nowadays, it simply isn’t … without clear explanations that are seldom forthcoming. The alerting and announcing procedures should be implemented in such a way to provide such explanations. Imagine that Rip Van Winkle were to come back to bridge after 60 years and see an auction that has become fairly common nowadays:

OPENER: 2C. Nothing alerted or announced.

RESPONDER: 2H. Alerted. Upon inquiry, explained “Weak hand. No ace or king.”

Users of the conventions involved (Omnibus 2C and Heart Murmur) know exactly what is going on, but Rip does not. He sees a singleton club and five hearts in opener’s strong hand, five clubs and a singleton heart in responder’s weak hand. However, what if a full explanation were provided:

OPENER: 2C. “Artificial. Force to game or one trick below game.”

RESPONDER: 2H. “Artificial. Weak hand. No ace or king.”

The only thing a spectator needs to know is the meaning of some simple terms. “Artificial” means “says nothing about the named suit.” “Game” means 3NT, 4H, 4S, 5C or 5D.” “Force” means “the partnership must keep bidding until that contract or level is reached, or double the opponents below it.” These are bridge terms, not names of conventions (e.g. “Drury” or “Lebensohl” or “Blackwood”).

Well, actually, I played with Rip on Friday. His name is actually Steve, and he’s an immigrant from Taiwan. He played there 40 years ago, then devoted the next four decades to his profession (gynecolgy and obstetrics). Now he wants to return to bridge (at which he was very talented and still is). I was astounded during the game when he said he hadn’t played in 40 years. A good standard for the benefit of opponents and spectators alike: announce, alert and explain adequately for Steve to understand.

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 20th, 2010 at 1:28 am

Elementary, my dear Kleinman! You make it sound so easy.

BillJuly 22nd, 2010 at 4:02 pm

I think the exchange between the women is enlightening. Luise stated “Let’s face it — on the surface, bridge is boring!” Judy’s response is “Only a person who doesn’t understand its deep beauty, challenge and mystique could ever utter a statement like that.”

If the bridge powers that be cannot accept Luise’s statement as simply a fact, then they cannot possibly devise an effective strategy to combat bridge’s image problem. It’s not the view of the few with a deep understanding of the game that is important here; it’s the view of the many with a cursory understanding of the game that matters.

Bobby WolffJuly 22nd, 2010 at 6:49 pm


There is not a doubt, at least in my mind, that what you say is correct. Having said that, it is hardly ever my intention to act like a bridge businessman, and try and sell our wonderful game to everyone who is on the street.

In my opinion, bridge is too cerebral and probably only appeals to people’s minds who have, at least, some arithmetical bent and above average competitive instincts. Also since much basic detective work is required (assessing the bridge evidence) the logic required in even playing it at a very mediocre level, is necessary as soon as one feels secure enough to leave the batters box on the way to first base.

As a disclaimer, some of the absolute uncontested brightest people in the world would not be able to succeed in bridge, (many times proven theory), where they could and have risen to among the world’s best in whatever their aptitude suggested.

For anyone to suggest differently would be to defy reason since at least in my world, psychologists after having agreed, have wrestled in vain trying to exactly pinpoint the


Judy Kay-WolffJuly 22nd, 2010 at 7:01 pm


The two opinions you are considering come from totally opposite ends of the spectrum, i. e., a new player v. one with half a century’s experience — though not necessarily expertise.

Basic poker is a piece of cake compared to bridge and its hundreds of nuances. I don’t play poker but I would imagine one could pick it up in an hour and be able to enter a game and not look like a fool (but may lose a lot of money). Not true of bridge.

It requires desire, spirit and devotion to attempt to master it even at a low level. To an inexperienced observer, I can understand how it could appear boring. It is like being in a foreign country and not being able to decipher the language.

It has nothing to do with intelligence. We all know lots of amazingly smart people at the top of their chosen field who cannot follow suit. That’s life.

Having a cursory understanding of a great game like bridge doesn’t cut it. If one wants to be able to bid, declare and defend, it will take a helluva lot longer than the hour to pick up the basics. If people are not willing to devote the necessary time to become familiar with, first, the rudimentary elements of the hobby and then follow it up with serious lessons or instructional books, it would be a total waste of time — even for the brightest of people.

One must accept the fact that bridge is a very difficult game (especially at the upper echelon) — but one should not expect to be able to watch a televised bridge competition before devoting a considerable amount of time to learning the far more involved elements that bridge demands (as opposed to poker).

The image of bridge will not be elevated by those with ‘cursory’ understandings. It would only be a waste of time to try. You’ve got to learn to crawl before you walk.

Ross TaylorJuly 22nd, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Forgive me if this has been mentioned, but below I will insert news from the WBF website re their new President, Gianarrigo Rona.

Seems this gentleman is the outgoing President of the EBL. And Jose Damiani is the president of the IMSA, (and the WBF till October 2010.)

I need a program to keep track of the players here.

“Gianarrigo Rona is WBF President elect

Gianarrigo Rona of Italy will be the new President of the World Bridge Federation. He will succeed José Damiani of France when he steps down as WBF President at the end of the 2010 World Bridge Series Championships, due to take place in Philadelphia, USA. The election of the new President took place at the WBF Executive Council meet­ings in São Paulo, so that there will be ample time for the new administrative head of the WBF to prepare for office. José Damiani who has served as WBF President contin­uously since 1994 (the longest serving President in WBF history), did not run for re-election; he will concentrate on his duties as President of the International Mind Sports Association (IMSA), a post to which he was re-elected earlier this year.

Gianarrigo Rona is a very experienced sports admin­is­trator. He was President of the Italian Bridge Federation (FIGB) for 23 years (1986-2009) and is the current Pres­ident of the European Bridge League (EBL). When his term as EBL President expires in June 2010, he will have served for 11 years. He was instrumental in the Italian Bridge Federation being recognized by CONI (Italian Olympic Committee), and represented associated members to CONI before he was elected on the CONI board in 2005; he was re-elected for another 4-year term in 2009. “

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 22nd, 2010 at 10:00 pm


The position of the EBL is totally up front! Make no mistake about that. They come through loud and clear. I am not acquainted with the innerworkings of individual country’s Olympic funding, but I do find it difficult to understand such a staunch position since bridge gambling events mentioned by me in an earlier blog (though often quite classy) are not alien to many European cities.

Could the EBL letter sent by Aubry wanting to totally disassociate the WBF from poker have to do with the feared loss of European financial grants and/or support received for bridge? It sounds to me like it boils down to the almighty dollar (or whatever overseas currency rules the roost).

LuiseJuly 23rd, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Bobby, Judy,

I’m a bit confused… In one breath (not in this particular thread, but in others that I am remembering), I remember you commenting on the bridge scene and how numbers are dwindling, and how bridge is losing popularity with the younger generation, and you were collaborating as to how to increase the popularity of bridge.

But then with your two recent posts, it seems that both of you are saying that you WANT bridge to be more of an “exclusive” game, reserved only for those individuals who are willing to dedicate a lot of time and study at playing the game.

Is it really possible to have it both ways? I don’t believe that to be the case. I think in order to increase the general popularity of bridge and to get more people playing bridge, you MUST appeal to BOTH categories of players: The serious player, and the “kitchen bridge” player.

I remember in my parent’s day, bridge was “the thing to do” on a Friday night when my parents and grandparents got together. The kind of bridge that they played wouldn’t really be considered to be bridge on any scale larger than the size of their kitchen… But in order for bridge to be a popular sport, don’t you NEED those types of games to be happening in homes all across the world, so that more and more people (their friends, their children, etc.) can be exposed to the game? For those who have the desire and aptitude, they can then decide to pick up some good books and start their serious study of the game. But without that kind of broad-reaching exposure, how will you increase the game’s popularity?

People aren’t sitting around in their kitchens or at their cottages playing bridge anymore. In my world, they’re playing Hold’em.

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 24th, 2010 at 4:45 pm


I think the reason for the confusion lies in the interpretation. Let’s take it from the beginning.

Back in the fifties and sixties, when I became indoctrinated to the game, we either took basic lessons or learned from our parents or friends. TVs, DVDs, VHSs, computers and cell phones were the wave of the future. Kitchen Bridge (KB) became the test sites for the friendly practice sessions where we sat down at a table, changed partners every four hands, and bid, declared and defended. We usually argued who was right and wrong — but we all knew so little, it mattered not. In those days most everybody played a basic, simplistic style. It’s sphere encompassed opening No Trumps (16-18), Stayman (one way), Blackwood and Gerber. The theory was KISS (Keep it simple — stupid!). Such newfangled conventions as Weak No Trumps, Jacoby, Flannery, Splinters, Transfers, Short Clubs, Lebensohl and all its cousins, aunts and uncles had yet not been discovered. It was held in a friendly informal setting and was indulged in more for the sociability than any other reason. In fact, my foursome played 1C denied four pieces and “A club” promised four or more. We just didn’t know any better. No money was exchanged or master points awarded — so nobody suffered.

Lest we forget — fifty years ago none of the high tech stuff had made their debuts and Bridge was like our new toy — which qute often evolved into an addiction. Many of the serious players took private lessons and ventured into more challenging venues where most got their not-so-shocking comeuppance (lessons or not). We had moved on from the kitchens to sanctioned clubs which featured duplicate bridge almost every day and night of the week, including the weekends. We couldn’t get enough of it! Since you paid a card fee and joined the ACBL for which you paid dues, you were then entitled to receive those much craved fractional Master Points if you scored well in your section. However, THERE WAS A CERTAIN PROTOCOL WHICH YOU HAD TO OBSERVE as far as both social amenities and hard and fast rules, sanctions and laws to which the director subscribed with his or her focus on running a tight ship. Gone were the days of the “1C” and “A club” private understanding.

In the 50s and 60s the card fees were $1.00 or $1.50 and the directors and owners were not getting rich, since they had to pay rent, a fee to the League and give money sweepstakes to the winners. Those who moved on to duplicate bridge immediately realized what we played in our kitchens or recreation rooms hardly resembled the game in which we were now immersed. From the clubs, we graduated to Sectionals, Regionals and eventually Nationals where we mustered up the courage to play against better players in an effort to learn and improve.

Those of us in Philadelphia got smacked around pretty good in our bridge infancy by the likes of Mark Blumenthal, Bobby Goldman, Bobby Jordan, Norman Kay, Peter Pender, Arthur Robinson, Sidney Silodor, Charlie Solomon, Sally Young, et al. It was no picnic, believe me. We all had the scars and bruises to show for it. In Center City there was also a popular club called the Cavendish with daily rubber bridge games and a weekly duplicate which gathered people from near and far. So as you can see, where I came from we were inundated with serious bridge from sunup to sundown. It was truly a case of survival of the fittest! You either hung in, took your licks and tried harder or fell by the wayside.

BRIDGE means different things to different folks. KB (usually the disparaging term used for informal social bridge) or bridge games that take place daily in retirement homes are totally go-as-you please. No stringent action; no pointing fingers; no disciplinary committees — and no strictures except those made by the hosting group. That is all well and good and I am not casting any aspersions as these games serve their purposes — which is sheer pleasure for the participants and it certainly brightens their lives. But — accept it for what it is — and don’t confuse it with the majestic game as more experienced people know it. In some cases this version is merely tantamount to just tossing the cards in the air and letting them fall where they may. It doesn’t vaguely begin to resemble the organized competition we see featured on BBO of the Trials or major ACBL Team events like the Vanderbilt, Spingold or Reisinger.

A classic example I remember occurred while substituting in my mother’s Tuesday Night Game when she was out of town. My partner leaped to 4C and since they permitted ‘table talk,’ I asked if that was Gerber. The silence was deafening. Everyone was staring at me with mouths agape. Finally, one embarrassed lady (having no clue where I was coming from) sheepishly replied, “The only Gerber we know is the neighborhood plumber but no one uses him as he is too expensive.” (With apologies to the late, great Johnny Gerber, Bobby’s primary mentor).

Yes, it would be encouraging if young people ventured out to learn bridge. There is much to the game and is helpful overall in the development of one’s mathematical prowess, as well as reasoning skills — but if they want to succeed, it’s not a walk in the park. One can hardly grasp it after sitting and observing it for an hour on TV. I don’t play poker but from what I have been reading, I am sure it would be much easier and far less frustrating for them to join your world of Hold ’em!

Bobby and I were discussing the difference between social bridge and a simple duplicate and he went out on a limb stating that in his opinion, the level of bridge at retirement homes (abundantly located in California, Arizona, Florida, and other warm climates) does not manifest the skill anywhere nearly as good as the above average duplicate player in decent local club contests. The reason is that KB is a bastardized version of the game and has no real structure as compared to a coordinated system necessary for winning bridge, starting at the duplicate club level.

The only hope for bridge is an educational program — with help from some of our wealthy sponsors who would be kind enough to use their overflow to endow bridge camps or bridge in the schools and play a major role in developing the latent talents of some of the budding young experts who are on the horizon.

The point I am making is don’t confuse Kitchen Bridge or any other informal bridge setting with Real Bridge as they are two different animals. And, yes, bridge is FAR, FAR more complicated than poker. No doubt about it!

LuiseJuly 24th, 2010 at 8:20 pm

I am slightly bothered by your comparison that bridge is “far far more complicated” than poker, considering your own acknowledgement that you have never played it before. How can you make such a claim when you yourself admit you know nothing about the game?

If I consider all of the factors, reading players, betting patterns, recognizing tells, learning the odds, reading the cards, etc. Bridge has far more possible outcomes in the layout of the cards, and for that reason only, it probably seems more complicated. But I have actually played both seriously, and there is a lot more to poker than first meets the eye.

The best part about poker, as you said yourself, is that a person CAN sit down and after 1 hour of instruction, then can learn enough to at least APPEAR to be competent. But just as with bridge, in a post-mortem conversation, the high-level poker player would ask questions of the newcomer describing a hand that the newcomer wouldn’t even have been able to answer because the concepts would be completely lost on them.

I’m not saying that bridge ISN’T more complicated than poker, it may very well be (though I tend to believe poker is much closer to bridge in complexity than you may realize)… I’m just saying that poker is more complicated than it appears to be. And it’s beauty, for me, lies in it’s misleading simplicity. It LOOKS easy and simple, and that’s what makes it fun for the newcomer, and profitable for the expert.

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 25th, 2010 at 4:40 am

Correction, Luise. When I said I hadn’t played poker, I misspoke. I should have added “in forty years.”

Norman and I belonged to a group of couples who were hosted every summer on Sunday afternoons at a friend’s suburban pool. We played bridge in the afternoon, indulged in a buffet midway through the visit and then played poker when the sun went down. Norman was an average poker player but learned early in the outings to keep his chips in his shirt pocket as the adorable prankster next to him always seemed to have his grubby fingers meandering into Norman’s pile. We were playing for miniscule stakes so it would not have mattered, just added a lot of laughter to the game as more people were focusing on the table action rather than the cards. Neither the bridge nor the poker was sterling — simply a social gathering that got to be a delightful habit. So, I’m not as totally illiterate about poker as I pretend. I’m just not into it.

You talk about all the factors in poker (reading players, betting patterns, recognizing tells, learning the odds, reading the cards). Every single one of the above challenges exists in bridge.

In bridge you’ll find overbidders, underbidders and trappers; some who take direct saves and others who wait to see if you arrive at a game before making the decision. You get to know the habits, styles, tendencies, failings, successes and often strange idiosyncrosies of your opponents and as far as learning the odds, just go to the bridge encyclopedia and you will see just about every imaginable combination. There are bluffers in poker, psychers in bridge, histrionics and body language in both games and you just have to learn to sort them out. It is a study in human nature as well as high level reasoning.

You say “there is a lot more to poker than first meets the eye.” Well, there is ten times more to bridge than first meets the eye — and for some it is a lifetime struggle.

To satisfy my own curiosity, I went to a site called “SOYOUWANNA.COM” I tripped over the page that alludes to poker, telling you to click on 1. Understand the cards and their values; 2. Learn the basic rules of the game; 3. Know the lingo; 4. Bet smart; and 5. Learn some variations of the game. As I followed along, it was quite informative, well-written and educational but I dare say — a similar format for bridge (as far as time spent and pages read) wouldn’t come near hitting the tip of the ice burg before being able to sit down and play — let alone being able to hold one’s own in the game).

So, let’s agree to disagree though I suspect few of the top bridge players who are also poker aficionados would concur with your overall appraisal and judgment on the comparison.

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 25th, 2010 at 4:42 am


I have tried to respond to your comment above on three different occasions in the last four hours and my post does not appear. Strange. Could the site possibly be down?

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 25th, 2010 at 4:44 am

Interesting — a three line remark appears — but not a normal size one equivalent to yours above — even after three attempts.

LuiseJuly 25th, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Judy — The site isn’t down. You used a reference to a website in your post. References to websites will automatically be recognized as SPAM, and your three comments were marked as such. I have recovered the most recent, and corrected your spacing.

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 25th, 2010 at 6:09 pm

Luise —

This, to me, is a form of censorship, and I was never advised that mentioning another legitimate website was considered taboo. Several times in the last couple of years — one of my comments or blogs floated into SPAM and your former apprentice, Eric, immediately recovered it/them and automatically had them posted. He never explained why — just dutifully did his job at my request and advised me it was DONE! If this was the reason, I never knew.

When did this come about? And, does everyone know this regulation but me?

In other words, an automaton controls the acceptability of one’s subject matter (and I am not alluding to foul language or lewd issues). I (and I am sure others) would never have known that. I would assume that one could not use real expletives — but the mention of an informative website having to do with learning poker with ease is beyond the realm of my imagination. The automaton should learn better manners.

Because this must be a hard and fast rule, I think all bloggers and commentors should be made explicitly aware of the restriction.

After I posted this (and am amending herein) — I see that you did post my blog. Let me understand what you are saying. When another website is mentioned, it goes into SPAM without ever being posted, but if you or Jessica are so notified, you are able to restore it — as is (allowing the use of the other website)? Am I right?

Thanks for taking the time to explain.


LuiseJuly 25th, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Yes, Judy, that’s right. And it has to be this way, otherwise you would see 30 comments (or more) per day posted where spammers are trying to just plug their websites. Legitimate comments that mention a website are acceptable. Comments that have no relationship whatsoever to the topic at hand, where their only existence is to promote the spammer’s own cause, is not acceptable.

Thanks for your understanding.



Judy Kay-WolffJuly 25th, 2010 at 9:30 pm


Thanks for your explanation — but let me get this straight.

You say: LEGITIMATE comments that mention a website are acceptable.

Was my mentioning the poker website not “legitimate” (which obviously is was) — so why would I not think it passed the SPAM INSPECTION? My hands were lily-white.

Does a real live human not survey the SPAM REJECTEES and if, indeed as in my case, I had not received a ticket for speeding, should I not expect it to see it automatically posted?

If there is no live monitor on duty, how can it be regulated fairly and cause a blogger like myself to waste endless time trying to figure out why it failed to appear.

There has to be a better method. By the way, other than citing another web site, what else is considered REJECTABLE by SPAM. I think your bloggers and commentors are entitled to know — perhaps in an open blog by you. This is all news to me (and I suspect many others as well).

It is a whole new concept. I spend a great deal of my private time contributing to the blogs (including comments) and I would like to know what else I (or any other blogger) should be made aware of in advance.

Sorry to be wasting time on something that may be thought of as trivial — but to me it is far from that and warrants full disclosure. It was quite by accident I fell upon the sword.

Thanking you in advance for taking the time to straighten this out.



LuiseJuly 25th, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Honestly, I can’t answer your questions about what triggers the “spam” classification. I didn’t write the program that performs this task. And no, we don’t, as a general rule, go in and check the spam messages to see if there are any legitimate comments that got incorrectly classified. For the most part, most of our more technologically adept bloggers manage the comments made on their own blogs. We don’t really have the budget to do this kind of micro-management on everyone’s individual blog websites. If you are interested in learning how to check this in your own blog, I would be happy to assist you. Remind me on Tuesday in an email (or call me) and I can walk you through the steps.



LuiseJuly 25th, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Just to clarify my previous statements, ALL comments that mention a website are recognized as spam. If the comment was “legitimate”, then myself, Jessica or the blog owner needs to “approve” the comment before it will show up.



Judy Kay-WolffJuly 26th, 2010 at 12:26 am

Thanks, Luise:

This is very educational and I will be happy to follow this up. I just wanted to know what words or subjects trigger their vanishing into the stratosphere.

Now I know the mention of another “web site” will cause it to disappear. I’d like to know what else. I have, because of your great patience and under your marvelous tutelage, learned to manage my own blog space (and Bobby’s) and comments (typos, spelling errors, spacing, punctuation, grammar, etc.) so it is easy for me to retrace and correct without bothering you.

I do think if it goes into SPAM, there should be some automatic notification to the blogger who either blogs or comments and expects to see it appear.

Thanks again for taking all this time, especially on the weekend, to set the guidlines straight.



LuiseJuly 26th, 2010 at 4:14 pm

As I said, Judy, I don’t really know what causes the comments to be recognized as SPAM. The program we are using is called “Akismet”, and it knows what a lot of “spam” comments look like, it recognizes patterns of common bots that are out there, it learnes from its mistakes, etc.

I just checked on your blog,, and there are currently 490 comments that were marked as “SPAM” that have not been deleted. I went through the first 2 pages (about 40 comments), and everything that I saw was from a spammer. The remaining 450 comments will have to wait until later. I’m working on typesetting a magazine today.

I’ll talk with you more about this tomorrow. Actually, Wednesday would be better for me to go over this with you if that’s a good time for you. I’ll be in the office from 7am-2pm your time.



LuiseJuly 26th, 2010 at 4:26 pm

This is interesting… I just went to Akismet’s website (do a google search and you’ll find it easily) and saw their statistics for the day:

“17,191,918,001 spams caught so far

11,680,183 so far today

83% of all comments are spam”

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 26th, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Hi Luise:

It looks like everyone is getting better educated stemming from my outrage at having to waste time posting a normal, clean, unadulterated response on the volatile poker v. bridge issue and then finding it never reached the site.

I can understand the legitimate reasons for not allowing free advertising of deliberately mal-intended people who are continually spamming — hoping to sneak through the fence. It never occurred to me that mentioning a poker site (giving the actual http) would wave any red flags.

But to break up the tension and elevate the mood, I wanted to share with you a remark from one of the several bloggers I have been canvassing, and

I pass this along to you verbatim:

“I recall once using the word analysis and finding the comment marked as spam cause it included the word ‘anal’ !”

That is what I call being rear-ended for no reason! Let’s hope this version of it passes the spam test.



LuiseJuly 30th, 2010 at 2:02 am

I remember a comment like that once, and I remember that it was Bobby who had written it. Anyway, I don’t know if you remember this or not… but in the beginning, we got inundated with comments using the word ‘anal’ in another context and we received many, MANY complaints (I believe some were even from you!) and so I had to add in an over-ride that would block that word to be used in ANY blog, so that we could STOP the offensive comments. I’m not talking about one or two offensive comments. I’m talking about HUNDREDS of comments PER DAY! Unfortunately, my over-ride wasn’t very “smart” and couldn’t tell the difference between ‘anal’ and ‘analysis’. That over-ride not being “smart” had nothing to do with me — that’s just the way the software that we are using functions. Unless I wanted to completely re-write the blog software (which I didn’t), I couldn’t make it a “smart” over-ride.

Anyway, for whatever reason, in the beginning, the SPAM filter wasn’t working as well as it is now. I think the people over at Akismet have done a much better job lately of programming a good spam-killer, so I removed my over-ride a few months ago (didn’t we talk about this once already? I have this strange feeling of de-ja-vu. I’m pretty sure that you and I had this EXACT conversation a few months ago, which spurred on my act of removing the ‘anal’ over-ride in the first place. 🙂

More often than not, SPAM isn’t posted by a “person”, it’s posted by a “program”. And because programs run at an immensely fast pace, a “spamming program” can post thousands, even millions of comments on blogs across the internet PER DAY. If just ONE of those spamming programs get wind that your blog website or your forums website has weak security, within hours, your website will no longer be recognizable. All you will see is spam.

LuiseJuly 30th, 2010 at 2:44 am

Aha! I KNEW that we had a similar conversation like this before… I found the previous thread:

I can sleep easy now, knowing that I’m not completely losing my mind…

(P.S. This comment was marked as having to be “moderated” because I used a link. I had to log into Bobby’s blog as an admin to get this to show up.)

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 30th, 2010 at 5:24 am


I remember the Tiger blog — but not the Awaiting Moderation as it has appeared on my site far more than once — but not lately, so I guess I have cleansed my mouth (and fingers) with soap. Thanks for explaining. I will try to behave from now on!



slotmachineschweiz.chFebruary 27th, 2016 at 5:14 am

Es kann nicht einfach kommen, da es auf jeden Fall etwas mehr Fokus auf mehrere Fragen verlangt.

Leave a comment

Your comment