Vincent Brévart

Vincent Brévart

Tips for Leaders Français

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Huntington's disease





Besides Windows
Mac OS X


Useful information
Rules of the game

Tips for Leaders

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Letting a player play on computer

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To make bridge an enjoyable activity, there is nothing like playing around a table, obviously. New players learn to hold and hide their cards, to handle the bidding cards, to lay down the cards on the table, and of course to respect the rules of the game. They learn as well, and this is important, to behave well towards their partner and opponents. This is why playing around a table should be favored as much as possible.

But there may be special situations :
  • one player too many (five or nine players for example)
  • one player with a very different level than the others
  • a wait period which is getting too long
  • some absent players (illness, strike, day out)
  • an undisciplined player difficult to calm down
  • a player who no longer wants to play with the others
The computer may then become an invaluable help, allowing a single player to enjoy himself for a short time. If the leader doesn't use it too frequently, playing on computer will keep its attractive side and provide variety in the sessions, often a condition necessary to keep the interest of new players.

Small advantages of playing on computer

  • Playing more quickly
    The 3 machine players play quickly, what increases the tempo of the game. A player can play 2 or 3 deals while only one deal is played at the table.

  • Easier to concentrate
    It is sometimes easier to concentrate when playing on computer, as chattering at the table (mainly with beginners) is often disruptive.

  • Ability to replay a deal
    At the end of a deal, the player can show to the leader how he played, and feel valued for doing so. If he has made mistakes, he can himself find how he should have played, or have it explained by the leader. Studying the different lines of play is easier than at the table.

  • Evaluating the player's level of skill
    It is better to let a player play alone, without watching him. This one will feel free to make mistakes and will develop increasing autonomy. Neither will the leader tell that he can see the last 50 deals played (by the File / Deals of the last games played menu), and thus evaluate his players' level of skill. However, he will not miss this opportunity to discreetly check what they already know and find the technical points to go over again, if any.

    Even so, you can disable the automatic saving of deals, if a player asks to play totally incognito. This can be done by the general preferences at the Files tab.

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The different types of game

SimiliBridge proposes several types of game that the leader will be able to choose according to his educational objectives or simply to what his players like best.

  1. Rubber bridge (random deals)

    In rubber bridge with random deals, a game has the advantage of being short (sometimes 2 or 3 deals) while often making players feel skilled if they are a bit lucky. So, it is quite suitable for beginners who at first will be very happy to win a game without too much effort. It allows to start being concerned about the scoring, and to remind that bridge is a card game like the others, that can be played by four players with the family or friends.

    Still, if the player finds the game interesting, remember that you can switch on the comparison with the computer. Then there will be two challenges : winning the game against East-West, and winning the comparison against the computer. Doing so, you will smoothly introduce the player to the notion of duplicate bridge.

  2. Bridge like in tournaments (random deals)

    You can make a player play little games of 3 or 4 random deals like in tournaments, that is to say with the scoring used in tournaments. You will then switch on the comparison with the computer, and direct the player towards the objective of making a better score than the one the computer makes when replaying the deal. Now you directly introduce the player to duplicate bridge, where each deal is interesting whatever the dealing may be.

    You should not be afraid that random deals might be too difficult to play. They probably would if the three other players had a very good playing level. But if these ones don't have much technique and play simply, the difficulties vanish very quickly and random deals can then be compared to the ones prepared for low level players.

    Playing random deals also allows to get players used to reasoning about the real probability that the distribution is favorable or not, and not about what they guess the traps and difficulties are prepared by the leader. When a player is beginning to refuse to establish a suit or try a finesse because he suspects the leader of having intentionally put the cards in the wrong place, then it is probably time to make him play again a few random deals.

  3. Bridge like in tournaments (prepared game)

    The leader can group several deals together in a file and have them played by his players as a prepared game. Then, the playing conditions are the ones of a normal game (no way to see the other players' cards, playing North's hand when declarer, comparison with the computer, button for ending a deal rapidly, etc.), but the deals played are those included in the file. Here is a short reminder of how the prepared games work in SimiliBridge :

    • In a prepared game, it is always the tournament scoring which is used.

    • It is the first deal of the file that sets the rule options for the whole game (bidding and playing techniques).

    • Each deal sets itself the dealer and the vulnerability.

    • You can make a prepared game with any deal file, by the File / Presentation of file when opened menu.

      Check this box to change a deal file into a prepared game.

For the three types of game

  • Setting the playing level

    For some players, computer games have a very bad reputation (the machine is unbeatable, it cheats, etc.). It is important to make a player play at his level, if needed by setting with him the different options (Preferences / Rule preferences menu).

  • Enabling / Disabling tool tips

    The tool tips of the bidding box give real help to players when it is time to bid. Don't forget to inform the beginner about them, so he can play with greater ease. Still, according to the player's level, you may need to disable the tool tips by the general preferences at the Display tab, or hide the decision table at the Play tab, or even stop using a special color for the system bids (Colors tab).

  • Setting the sounds

    If the sounds are not played too loud and do not disturb the other players, you can keep them on. Certain players feel happy and proud for activating the various applause sounds. Nevertheless, you may want to remove or replace the mocking sounds that could make some players feel uncomfortable. This can be done by the Preferences / General preferences at the Sounds tab.

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How to set the technique options rapidly

So, when a player wants to play a few deals on computer, he must play at his level with the right bidding and playing techniques. And if several players of different levels want to play one after the other, setting the options may become tedious very quickly.

Fortunately, SimiliBridge allows to rapidly change the current user, and at the same time all the preferences, including the general preferences (colors, sounds, etc.) and the rule preferences (scoring, bidding and playing techniques). You can do it by :

The File / Choose user... menu (or the Ctrl+U shortcut key).

Then the Choose user window opens :

By correctly naming each of the 6 users (or 6 using modes), you can easily skip from one set of preferences to the other. Besides, players can learn to change the current user themselves, what makes the leader's work even easier.


If the leader uses his computer in very different situations, it is possible that the 6 users (or using modes) are not enough for what he needs. Still, he can find solutions by taking into account the following points :

  1. The preferences files are simple text files with the .ini extension. They are located very close to the My deals folder (see the end of previous page) and therefore are easily accessible. They can be copied and pasted as any other file.


  2. By creating like in the above example a folder called Ini Files and a sub-folder for each of his activity situations, the leader can easily save several full sets of ini files, and restore at any time the one of his choice.

  3. To create, for user n°3 for instance, an ini file with all the default preferences, you just have to delete the similibridge3.ini file, and next choose user n°3. His ini file will be recreated with all the default values.

  4. To create, for user n°3 for instance, an ini file identical to the one of user n°2, you just have to make a copy of similibridge2.ini and rename this copy to similibridge3.ini.

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Helping a player to install SimiliBridge