Our virtual club on Bridgebase.com (BBO)
offers a full schedule of online bridge,
including ten weekly masterpoint games and free lessons and workshops.
♥ Game results on ACBL Live
♥ Common Game results
Hand analyses on Bridgewinners
Schedule updates, winners lists
Who can play in the Central & Southern Illinois Virtual Club games?
Games are open to anyone who has played in a club game in our participating clubs since January 1, 2019. These include:
Central Illinois Unit 208 -- Clubs in Bloomington, Champaign, Charleston-Mattoon, Danville, Decatur, Galesburg, Peoria and Springfield IL.
Southern Illinois-Paducah Unit 223 -- Clubs in Alton, Carbondale, Effingham, Edwardsville, Harrisburg IL and Paducah KY.
These are pair games for humans only (no robot partners).
Can I play with a partner from outside our area?
Yes. Before you register, just send a message to the director (click the VACB223115 ID) with the login name of your partner and allow a few minutes for us to update the list.
We also have limited openings for guest pairs. If you or your partner is a former player at one of our clubs, you can request entry by messaging the director with your login names.
♣ Entering the game
How do I find the Central & Southern Illinois Virtual Club games?
You need to join BBO (free) and log in to the web page Bridgebase.com. No software is required.
On the BBO home page: Click Virtual Clubs, then ACBL Virtual Clubs. If you're eligible to play in our game, it will be listed under the Pending tab two hours before the start time.
If you don't find our game on the ACBL Virtual Clubs page: Click Back, then All clubs. Scroll through the list to find CENTRAL ILLINOIS or use the Search box at the upper right of the list.
To make it easier to find these games and communicate with the director: Add our virtual club host name -- VACB223115 -- to your BBO "friends" list. Click the VACB ID number in the game listing, then Follow in the pop-up box.
How do I enter?
Join BBO and add your ACBL number to your profile at least 24 hours before you enter your first Virtual Club game.
To check or add your ACBL number: Click here or click ACBL World on the BBO home page, then Update your ACBL number (blue box).
To enter our game: Go to the ACBL Virtual Clubs listing and click the line with our Central Illinois game. Click the Registration tab and fill in the box.
Please try to register early. You can register up to two hours in advance, leave BBO and then log in again near game time.
We ask that all registered players be logged in at least 10 minutes before the announced start.
What do I do if I have problems
If you are blocked from entering a game: Check to be sure that:
▪ "Invisible" is unchecked when you log in. Log out and log in again to fix.
▪ BBO has ACBL numbers for you and your partner.
▪ You have enough BBO$ in your account to cover the entry fee.
▪ You and/or your partner are members of Central Illinois Unit 208 or have played in one of our clubs since January 2019.
If you are still blocked: Send a chat message to the host name (VACB223115) in the game list and explain the problem.
Outdated web browsers can interfere with logins and display of BBO menus. To install the latest update, look for a download link in your browser menu (in Firefox, click Help on the top menu, then About Firefox). You might also try using a different browser (Chrome or Firefox is recommended for Windows computers).
For help with registering for a game: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a BBO private message to kwalker. For problems with your connection or BBO menus, email email@example.com .
How do I find my table?
If you are logged in and registered for our game, BBO will automatically take you to your table when the game begins.
You and your partner must be online when the game starts or you will not be seated.
BBO has two separate playing areas -- "Casual" (solitaire games and tables in the Main and Relaxed clubs) and "Competitive" (our virtual club games, BBO tournaments, Vugraph). When you log in, you will be in the Competitive area by default and will receive tournament messages and automatic seating when our game starts.
Note: If you have entered the Casual area -- by kibitzing or playing at a table in the Main Bridge Club, for example -- you will need to switch back to the Competitive area where our game is held. To do this, leave your Casual table 10 minutes before our game and click Competitive on the home page.
♣ Entry fees
What is the entry fee?
The fee is $5 per player for each game. BBO and ACBL will return about 80 percent of that fee to your local club.
The fee is the same for events that offer upgraded masterpoint awards (Silver Point Week, charity pairs and other special games), Your home club is subsidizing the extra sanction fee that ACBL charges for these games.
More information about virtual clubs and BBO's Support Your Club games is here.
How do I pay the entry fee?
BBO bucks are the coin of the realm. 1 BBO$ = $1.00.
To buy with a credit card or checking account: Click the blue BB$ box at top right of the BBO home screen. Do not buy through a phone app (Apple Pay or Google Pay), as it will add a hefty surcharge.
When registering for a game, you and partner can pay separately or one of you can pay for the pair.
Are partners available?
To find a partner: Click the game name in the BBO listing, then Partnership Desk at the top of the next screen. Click I will pay for only myself to list your name. You will not be charged an entry fee unless you play.
Others who are looking for partners will be shown on the Partnership Desk list. Click the Invite box to pair up.
To request partners in advance for 299er games: Contact Ann Caparros (firstname.lastname@example.org).
How do I volunteer as a fill-in pair or partner?
Before the game begins: To volunteer as a substitute, send a private chat message to the director (VACB223115). Stay online and we'll send you an invite if a registered player doesn't show up or we have a half-table.
After the game begins: Click the blue Substitutes box below the table listing to volunteer as a sub or a temporary fill-in for a disconnected player.
Substitutes and fill-ins play free. Thanks for helping!
You and partner can play on different computers at the same location, but you are honor-bound not to discuss the hands during the game.
♣ Game format
How many boards
will we play?
Each game is 18 boards, 7 minutes per board (8 minutes per board for 299er and 499er games). This will result in a game of about two hours.
Each round is 2 boards if there are 9 or more tables entered, 3 boards if there are 8 or fewer tables.
These are "barometer-style" movements where all tables are playing the same boards at the same time.
If you've played all boards in a round and still have time on the clock, stay at your computer and be ready for the next round. You'll be moved when all tables in your section finish, so a round may be shorter than the posted time.
What happens if we don't finish a board?
There are no late plays. When the round timer (bottom left on your table) hits zero, your pair will be moved to a new table. The director will provide an adjusted score for a board you did not finish.
The movement will not allow you to start a new board if there are fewer than 3 minutes left on the clock. If this happens, you'll receive an average for the unplayed board.
If you're concerned about having enough time to play the boards, see Managing your time at the table for tips.
Are the games stratified?
Yes. BBO assigns strata (A, B and C) and awards points based on the average masterpoint holding of your two players. For open games, ACBL masterpoints and BBO points are included in your total.
Masterpoint awards in virtual club games are 50 percent higher than full club rating (more for special events). The 50-percent bonus is not shown in the BBO point awards. You'll see the correct award when the game posts to ACBL Live.
Where will the results be posted?
You'll see your percentage scores for individual boards shortly after each round. Click the History tab to display these results during the game.
BBO will post total scores and rankings immediately after the game. You'll also receive links in emails from ACBL Live and The Common Game.
Links to final results from all our games are here .
♣ Convention cards
We encourage all pairs to post a convention card. BBO has easy-to-use templates you can fill in and store for all your partners.
How do I create a convention card?
Click Account (tab on far right of the BBO home page), then Convention Cards from the top menu. You can use a stock card (2-over-1, SAYC and others are available) or you can edit a custom card for each of your partnerships (click New ACBL Convention Card at the top of this screen).
To create the card for a partnership: Fill in you partner's login name at the top of the editing screen.
Click "save" to store the card. You can go back and re-edit the card as many times as you like.
To save or edit a copy of the card for use with another partner: Open the card, fill in the other partner's name and make any necessary changes. When you save the edited card, it will be stored as a new card for that partnership. Your original card will still be there.
See this video tutorial for step-by-step instructions.
How do I load the card when the game starts?
Click the blue box at the top of your table to load your card.
If you've saved the card with your partner's login name: You don't need to do anything at the table. That card will automatically load every time you play with that partner.
Once the game begins, you can see your opponents' convention card (and your own) by clicking the blue box with three lines (top right of your table).
♣ At the table
How do I explain alertable bids?
During the game, you alert and explain your own calls, not partner's
To alert a bid: When it's your turn to call, click the Alert box and type a short description, then click your bid. Your partner will not see the alert nor your note.
If you forget to alert: You can also add an explanation after you've made your call. Just click your bid in the auction box and type in a note.
To see your opponents' alerts and explanations: Click the bid in the auction box. A box will pop up with a description.
If your opponents ask questions about your alert: Reply with private chat.
When in doubt: Provide an explanation, even if you're not sure if your bid is technically "alertable".
do I "talk" during a game?
Use the chat box at the bottom of the screen to type a message to everyone at the table or privately to an opponent. Private chat with partner is not allowed.
Feel free to greet your opponents when you go to a new table and, if there's time after the last board, have a conversation. Please save "non-bridge" chat until the end of the round.
To inquire about an opponent's bid or answer a question: Be sure your message does not go to the whole table. Before you type, click the blue box on the chat line, change it to Private and select the opponent's screen name.
Please pay attention to the chat box during the game and learn how to use it. The director will post information there and may ask you a question that needs a reply.
Be sure your BBO account is set to show chat. To check, click the Account tab, then Settings and scroll down to Show chat. The green dot should be on the right side of the slider.
What happens if I click a wrong bid or card?
ACBL games do not allow an "Undo" for a misclick. If it happens, it's important to carry on as normally as possible so you don't provide unauthorized information to partner.
If you're worried about misclicks, you can set your table options to ask you to confirm all bids and plays. On the home page, click Account, then Settings. Under the "Playing" heading, move the slider to the right ("on") for "Confirm bids" and/or "Confirm cards".
You may find it's easier to see your cards and avoid misclicks if you set the display to show hand diagrams (each suit will be on a separate line) instead of pictures of cards. To change this, click Account, then Settings. Under the "Playing" heading, move the slider to the left ("off") for "Pictures of cards".
You can also switch the card display while you're at a table. Click the blue box with three horizontal lines, then Hand diagrams.
Will I know who my opponents are?
Your opponents' screen names will be displayed above their hands. Their full names may be on their convention cards and in their profiles.
To see a player's profile: Click the screen name and the profile box will pop up. Click the X at the top right of the box to close it.
You are encouraged to add your real name to your profile. We are a community, and the atmosphere is friendlier (and more "human") if we aren't anonymous.
To change or add your name to your profile: Click the Account tab, then Profile. Type in the new information and click Save (blue box at bottom).
How do I call the director?
Click the blue box at the top of your table. You'll get a table message when the director arrives. Use the chat box to explain the issue as soon as the director is at the table.
If you want to speak to a director privately: Send a chat message to the VACB223115 director.
If a player at your table has disconnected: The directors have already been notified, so it's usually not necessary to call. If someone has been unresponsive for more than a minute, though, let the director know.
♣ Technical questions
Can I play on
Yes, but it will easier on a desktop or laptop. You need to be sure you're using the latest version of BBO (look for /v3 in the URL at the top of the browser screen). Some tablets and cell phone apps may be running a different version, which will prevent you from registering.
On older Ipads, you may have to adjust your screen layout to see the chat box.
What happens if I'm disconnected?
Just log in again. BBO will automatically take you back to your table.
If you haven't logged back in within a few minutes: The director may substitute another player or a robot to finish the hand or round you were playing. You'll be reseated when you reconnect.
If you lose your connection and cannot log in again: We will seat a permanent substitute. If you played fewer than half the boards, we may be able to offer a refund of your entry fee.
♣ Getting started with online play
I'd like to play, but I've never done this
before. How can I learn?
It's helpful to become comfortable with the BBO interface before joining a virtual club game.
To practice: Ttry the solitaire games on the Bridgebase.com home page. You do not have to be logged in to play these games.
For playing tips and a demonstration of Bridgebase features: Contact Ann Caparros (email@example.com) and she will set up a Zoom session for you or your group.
Here are other excellent resources:s:
Quick start guide -- Basic information on how to sign up, navigate the site, bid and play at a BBO table, practice with the web interface
BBO Tutorials from ACBL -- How-to videos on a wide range of topics
Sagamore Bridge Club -- Excellent video instruction hosted by Silvana Morici
Tutorials from Paul Gipson -- 27 videos for beginners and experienced BBO players
Use the chat and messaging features
Create and save convention cards
Add people to your friends list
Add BBO$ to your account