BBO Rules of the Site


Introduction

We are committed to maintaining a pleasant atmosphere on Bridge Base Online. Playing on this site should be seen as a privilege, not as a right. As you will see, our site maintains higher standards of conduct than most other online sites. All members are expected to follow our rules as they are outlined in this document.

If you see another member violate any of our rules, please e-mail: abuse@bridgebase.com

First time offenders will be warned that their behavior is not acceptable and they will be put on probation. Subsequent complaints concerning a member on probation will result in that member's permanent expulsion from this site.

If a member is expelled from this site it is illegal for that person to try to return. Unfortunately, it is not always technically possible for us to keep that person away, but we will get that member's ISP and the police involved if necessary. We are serious about this.

We will detail some common abusive practices in this article. Members should be aware this is not an exhaustive list of objectionable offenses and we reserve the right to take action against any other unpleasant behavior taking place in our site.

Online Bridge Guidelines

Bridge is a game and the majority of our members play it for entertainment. Bridge is the greatest game ever invented, but it is still a game. If you do not like how your partner bids or plays, finish the current hand (or tournament), send a polite thanks on chat, and move on.

There are only 3 possible excuses for a player to leave a bridge table in the middle of a hand: Even under these circumstances, it is appropriate to inform the other players at the table before you leave in the middle of a hand (unless you are disconnected of course).

The following are considered serious offenses. Repeat offenders will be expelled from BBO:

Thinking about cheating?

We consider cheating in any form a serious offense to all other members and will take stern action against confirmed cheaters. This includes barring of the member from future games on BBO, forfeit of any BB$ left in account and any masterpoints won, reporting the offender to relevant National Bridge Organizations (NBOs) and more.

What do you really gain by cheating? A few more IMPs or masterpoints? Do everyone a favor and play ethically.

Chat guidelines

We have members from all over the world playing on BBO and this is one of our strengths. While English is the "official language" of this site, plenty of our users do not speak English at all or have only limited English skills. Members are sometimes offended over what is really no more than a language barrier. Please be aware of the possibility of a misunderstanding before you get upset by a chat message from another member.

The following are considered serious offenses. Repeat offenders will be expelled from BBO:
  • The use of profanities as well as racist or sexually explicit remarks
  • Insulting your partners, opponents, or any other member of BBO
  • Kibitzers chatting with players about the contents of unseen hands
  • Spamming other members with repeated messages, invitations or requests
The following are examples of bad manners. You will have trouble making friends if you:
  • Give unsolicited bridge lessons or criticize the bidding/play of other players
  • Use public chat for private conversations
  • Chat excessively at a bridge table where people are trying to play seriously
  • Gloat when you get a good result or complain when you get a bad result
  • Use public chat during live vugraph broadcasts, mentoring sessions, and lectures
  • Use BBO as a soapbox for non bridge related rants - if you get annoying or offensive enough we will take action.

Profile Image Guidelines

They say an image is worth a thousand words. Please be conservative in your choice of image. Images that are offensive, disruptive or hurtful will be removed without warning. If you run across an image that you find offensive, let us know.

Guidelines for Undos, Redeals, and Claims:

The only acceptable time to ask for an undo is when you have misclicked. If you make a poor bid or play or for any other reason, it is inappropriate to ask for an undo.

There are only a few cirumstances under which it is appropriate to ask for a redeal:
  • If a player at a duplicate table has seen the current deal before (impossible in theory)
  • If a player has left the table in the middle of a hand
  • If there appears to be a software problem involving the current deal
All members have the right to reject an undo, redeal, or claim request for any reason. Members are not required to explain why they have rejected such a request and it is inappropriate for a player to be offended if one of his requests is rejected. If your undo, redeal, or claim is rejected and you do not want to play at the current table anymore, finish the current deal and send a polite chat message before leaving.

Advanced players should understand that while a claim looks "obvious" to them, it may not be obvious to other less advanced players at the table. Do not be offended if your claim is rejected. Just continue to play the hand out and reclaim if your opponents ask you to do so.

Guidelines for Alerts:

All members should understand that, due to the fact that we have members from all over the world as well as members of all levels of ability and experience, not all players will agree on which bids should be alerted and which bids should be considered "standard".

The management of BBO is not going to get involved with trying to make rules in this area. It is up to our members to try their best to provide their opponents with information that may be helpful to them. Always remember that it is against the laws and spirit of the game of bridge to conceal information about your partnership agreements from your opponents.

The BBO software is designed so that players alert their own bids. This is called "self-alerting" and it is opposite to the approach that is used in live bridge clubs and tournaments. If you have any doubt as to whether one of your bids should be alerted or not, it is appropriate to alert.

If an opponent asks you for the meaning of one of your bids, you are expected to answer them politely, even if you think the answer is obvious. An appropriate answer can be "I have never discussed this with my partner". You do not have to tell the opponents how you intend your bid - only what you have agreed with your partner. It is innapropriate to use chat to explain your bids to your partner unless you get permission from the opponents first.

Courtesies when playing online bridge:

  • If you are taking a long time to make a bid or play, send a "thinking" chat to let the other players know that you are not having connection problems. Playing slowly is not an offense. If the pace of your table is too slow for you, finish the current hand, send a polite chat message, and leave.
  • If you have to stop playing temporarily (to answer the door for example), send a "be right back" chat to let the other players know that you are not having connection problems.
  • If you think your partner or opponents deserve a compliment for their bidding or play, please give them one! If you think that such a comment from another player was not deserved, please keep this information to yourself.
  • Remember that players should never leave a table without informing the other players first (through chat). If you know in advance that you will be able to play only one or two more hands, it is a courtesy to let the other players know this.
  • It is considered a courtesy to ask the other players at a table if it is ok for you to sit down before you take a seat. If, after sitting down without asking, you are asked to leave the table you should do so immediately without making any rude comments.

Guidelines for filling out your User Profile

Any player who uses profanities, racist, or sexually explicit remarks in their profile will be expelled from BBO permanently and without any warning.

The "other" section of your user profile can be used to display information about yourself, to write something nice or your preferred bidding methods (among other things). However we recommend filling in a convention card (CC) with your favourite system and marking it as your "favorite". This card will be visible to others when clicking the "Favorite CC" button in your profile. New partners should look at each other's profiles, but you should not assume that your partner can play your favorite system or conventions unless you discuss this with him or her.

There is an area in your user profile where you can enter information about your level of play. It is not important how well you think you play since most bridge players are unable to assess their own skills with any accuracy. What matters is your level of experience and the degree of success that you have had in live competitive clubs and tournaments. Here are some examples of terms that you can use and how they should be interpreted:
  • Novice - Someone who recently learned to play bridge
  • Beginner - Someone who has played bridge for less than one year
  • Intermediate - Someone who is comparable in skill to most other members of BBO
  • Advanced - Someone who has been consistently successful in clubs or minor tournaments
  • Expert - Someone who has enjoyed success in major national tournaments
  • World Class - Someone who has represented their country in World Championships
If you disagree with another member's assessment of his or her skills, it is completely inappropriate to mention this to them (via chat for example). All members should strive to give an honest approximation of their skill level. This is very much in the best interest of everyone who plays on BBO.

If you would like to join a table to which players of a certain level have been invited, you should follow the above guidelines in order to judge whether or not you would be welcome.

Guidelines for fan content (eg videos)

We are honored by the interest shown by bridge fans towards BBO games and our company, and we love that you want to create articles, videos and other stuff based on our brands and software. At the same time, we spend a lot of time, thought, and money creating our intellectual property and we need to protect it. Please click here to read more about how you may use our intellectual property in your materials (such as videos or live streams).

Summary

The guidelines described in this document are designed to ensure that all members of BBO are able to enjoy playing online bridge here. If you feel that you cannot adhere to these guidelines, please find another place to play online bridge.

If you need a quick summary, try this: Be Nice to others. That is the only real rule.

If you accept the responsibility of membership in BBO then we will expect you to follow these guidelines and to report other members who are breaking our rules. We need your help in order to maintain a pleasant atmosphere on this site.

There are several members who have graciously volunteered to help keep the peace on our site. The names of these members appear in yellow and they are referred to as hosts. You can send a chat message to a host or e-mail abuse@bridgebase.com if other members are in violation of the guidelines that are described in this document.

Please keep in mind, however, that some members do not speak the same language as you and that bridge players frequently disagree about what constitutes proper bidding and play (especially those that come from different parts of the world). The vast majority of our members are very nice and decent people. Please try to keep an open mind as a comment or action that offends you may be no more than a misunderstanding or language problem.

Regardless of how many documents we write and warnings we make, there will always be a few very rude people who slip through the cracks. We are trying to keep such people away, but it is not always easy. We thank you for your patience.