Attention Card Players.
You are no doubt aware that during “normal” times, there are three interest groups which cater for the needs of card players: Bridge & Canasta; also Dorrie Oliver runs Cards = anything else (from Chase the Ace to Cribbage, Solo Whist and anything in between). Unfortunately, card playing does not lend itself to social distancing or to zoom so all three groups have been suspended since March 2020. However there are ways to keep playing!
Many of our generation will have grown up with cards; it is multi-generational and I have happy memories of playing with my mother and grandmother from an early age. If you are lucky enough to be “bubbled” with grandchildren, why not introduce them to some card games? Strip Jack Naked or Beggar My Neighbour is an easy game for 2 or more and helps counting skills for the young. Chase the Ace is another easy one for youngsters (3 - lots of players, the more the merrier). Rummy (for 2 -6 players) is simple to learn (but requires the ability to hold cards in a fan). There are many more. You can find the rules for the games in italics using Google – or enter “Simple card games”.
There are also many games of patience – again use Google if you aren’t sure or need the rules. Solitaire and Free Cell are two popular ones which can be played online (I find Free Cell quite addictive so beware!)
If you want to play online with others there are many options:
BRIDGE Try the website Bridge Base Online.
It is a website for all levels of players. It is free to join and playing is free. You can watch games. You can play alone against the computer robots. You can play with your own partner against robots or other humans. Be aware that robots play very quickly but you can take as much time as you want. You can set up a table of 4 friends and play just as you would when you invite people round. You don’t see each other, the cards appear for you, you can chat by text. Start and stop when you choose.
I use this site a lot and play competitively, as I would at a bridge club. There is a charge for competitive bridge (3$, you need to purchase these dollars on the website). If you are a club player and want to do this, you need to choose a club which offers this facility. Use this site to see a list of Bridge clubs Oxfordshire Bridge Association. You then need to contact your chosen club to register there (no need to join the club) then you and your partner log in on the night you wish to play. You will see the results at the end of play and a full breakdown on their website the following day. I found it quite stressful at first but once you get used to the set-up it is very enjoyable!
I have just tried a couple of taster sessions with the website Real Bridge. This is more like face to face bridge as you can see the people at your table and have spoken conversations. Again this can be played just with your friends or as club bridge. Early days for this site but it looks promising.
If you want to improve your bridge, Bernard Magee has been running sessions on Utube since March. Initially these were broadcast live 3 times each week. All the sessions are archived on Utube so you can work your way through. Start by googling "Bernard magee bridge utube 1" which will take you to the first session. The sessions are easy to follow, there is a bidding quiz each time, discussed in the next session. I am sure you will find the sessions interesting and informative.
There are sites where you can play Canasta online. If you google “canasta online” you will find many options. I can’t advise on these as I have not used them. Our Canasta group meetings have been very sociable get-togethers where we play cards; we have continued the social side when restrictions and weather permitted by meeting in my garden in socially distanced groups of up to six – no cards, just an opportunity to see friends safely.
The trickstercards website offers many card games (including bridge). I haven’t tried this but have been told it is good.
I hope these ideas will provide you with an interest during lockdown, and onwards until we can get together round a table again. Do get in touch with e if you need more information or help in getting started online. I look forward to playing with the groups again and maybe some new faces as well. In the meantime, keep safe and keep smiling.
Group Co-ordinator, Bridge and Canasta.