The Axe Virtual Bridge Club is a collaboration between Cheddar & Wedmore and Winscombe bridge clubs to play online duplicate bridge on the Bridge Base Online platform (BBO). Members may play with a visitor should they wish to do so but we do not accept entries from pairs of visitors.
Club sessions are held on Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. and last about two hours. Before they can play in a club session members and visitors must:
- Have a BBO username and know how to use the platform
- Email Gillian Toogood to inform her of their BBO username (at least two days before they want to play)
- Buy some BB$ (the ‘currency’ used on BBO to pay your table money)
- Register with their partner on BBO between 5 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. for an event to be played at 7 p.m.
- Be logged on to BBO with your partner at 6:45 p.m.
To obtain a BBO username
Click here to open your browser at the BBO home page. You could bookmark this for future use. Next, click 'Login/Register' at the top right of the page then click 'Become a member (free)', fill in your details and click 'Register'. You may like to watch these instructions. first.
Berwick Bridge club have made an excellent series of introductory videos to using BBO which you can see here.
Alerting and Announcing
There is a fundamental difference between what you are used to and what you do on BBO. The player making the bid creates the alert not their partner. There is an Alert button on your bidding panel. You can enter explanatory text beside it if you wish. You must do this before completing your bid. This is how you 'Announce' a 1NT bid as 12 - 14 for example. You don't have to enter any text, however. Just pressing the Alert button warns your opponents that the bid is not natural and they can ask for an explanation. Please watch this video to see how it all works.
Bridge Base Dollars (BB$) are effectively pre-paid entry fees. They are added to your account when you purchase BB$ or if you win BB$ as prizes. They are deducted from your account when you play in the Axe Virtual Bridge Club or other clubs, enter a tournament, rent a robot, and so on.
BB$ cannot be withdrawn as cash but they are transferable to other BBO members. BB$ normally expire after no logins to BBO for 3 years.
One BB$ is notionally one US$ and we will be charging 3 BB$ per session. When you register for an Axe Bridge Club session you can, if you wish, pay for your partner as well as yourself so in a regular partnership only one of you needs to buy the BB$.
First note that there are different ways to access BBO. If you have a normal desktop computer or laptop you will probably use your web browser (Internet explorer, Safari, Chrome, Edge or whatever.) If you have an iPad, Android tablet or a smartphone then you can use your browser but most people download a BBO app. This is usually better since the device app is specifically designed to make best use of your device’s facilities.
In the case of buying BB$, however, YOU SHOULD ALWAYS USE YOUR WEB BROWSER. This will avoid extra charges levied by your app provider, something like 30% in the case of Apple.
Fast way to buy BB$:
- Open your web browser, type https://www.bridgebase.com/bb$ into the address box and press return. click here to do it now
- If you want to use a credit card then enter your BBO username and password and press continue, or for Paypal use ‘click here to pay with PayPal’
Follow the instructions to complete your purchase.
Slow way via your BB$ account screen:
- Open up your web browser, type bridgebase.com into the address box and press return
- Click ‘Play bridge now’ or ‘Login/Register’
- Login on the next screen then
- Click the blue ‘BB$’ button at the top right
- You are now on your BB$ account screen for administering your account
- Click ‘purchase BB$’
Continue as in the fast way
Registering to play in an Axe club session
You can register from from 5 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. on a Wednesday. One player from a pair makes the reservation but both players will need to be logged in to BBO to complete the registration since the second player needs to accept an invitation to play. It would be a good idea to try to register early for your first session in case you have problems.
- Both players login to BBO.
- The player making the reservation should click on ‘Virtual Clubs’ then ‘EBU – England’ to obtain the current tournament list.
- Click on the title of the session hosted by vEBU206732 or vEBU530491 (not the host column),
- Enter your partner’s BBO username, click the little box if you will be paying for both of you, then click 'invite'.
- Your partner should then accept the invitation sent to them.
To actually join the event, both of you should log in to BBO at about 6:45 p.m.and wait. You will be taken to your table when the event director starts the session.
Refining your setup
As a novice you may like to make some changes to the default settings. In particular, to avoid mis-clicks, it is a good idea to set things so that you must confirm that the bid you have selected is th one you wish to make and also that the card you have selected to play is correct. To do this you need to locate your 'Account' tab which will be on one edge of your screen along with Messages, People, History and possibly Play tabs. Click ‘Account’ to open this tab.
Along the top of this tab you should see ‘Profile, Settings, Convention cards, Deal archive’. You may need to scroll left or right using the < or > to see everything. Click ‘Settings’.
If you have a large screen the first option will be ‘split screen’. This is probably best set to on which is indicated by a green circle to the right. If it is a grey circle to the left then click it to turn it on. The division between the normal area and the tab area can be shifted left or right by clicking on it and holding your finger down while moving left or right. If you don't use split screen, or don't have the option then there will be a 'Play' tab to return your screen to the normal view.
I find the sound effects of shuffling and placing cards on the table intensely annoying so I turn them off. I have Animation on since the movement of the cards helps me appreciate who played them!
A little further down you will see ‘Confirm bids’ and ‘Confirm cards’. I recommend that you turn these options on.
If you can only see content from your Account tab then clicking the ‘Play’ tab will return you to your normal screen.
Also on your Account tab you will see 'Convention card' at the top. You can have a convention card for yourself, so if people are thinking about joining you as a partner at a table they can see if they play similarly to you. To play in a tournament, however, you should have a convention card for you and your partner. To create a convention card you can choose a standard convention card such as Simple Modern Acol then edit it and save it. Remember to give it a meaningful title so you know which is which when you have several. You can watch how to create a convention card here.
If you create a list of friends then it will be easier to know when they are online, see what table they are at, join them or message them. To create the list click the 'People' tab. (In split screen mode remember you can change its width by dragging the divider bar.) Select Friends at the top and add a friend's username where it says 'add friend' at the bottom and click 'Add'. If you don't see the name added to your list of friends then switch the 'Show Offline' button on. Do this for all your friends.
If you cannot view the list of BBO usernames below then click 'Membership' and login.