Monday, March 23, 2009


At the Houston NABC, I had the second Sunday afternoon off, so I grabbed my camera and took some photos. I went outside first, and I'll blog those photos later this week and call that blog piece "Places." Then I watched some bridge and took the photos below, and I'm calling them "Faces." Faces and places -- not too original, but what the heck.

You can tell when somebody has made it when people only refer to them by their first name. For example, Cher -- does anybody wonder who she is? Zia Mahmood (shown above) is his full name, but everyone just calls him Zia.

He is originally from Pakistan, moved to London as a young man, and now lives mostly in New York City, although he still lives part of the year in London. He is a member of the ACBL Bridge Hall of Fame and author of the book Bridge My Way. The events he's won are too numerous to list here, so go to wikipedia or just Google him.

Phil Gordon is one of many who excels at both poker and bridge. He finished fourth in the WSOP main event in 2001. Last summer at the Las Vegas NABC, his team won the Open Swiss. We interviewed him at the same tournament for the Daily Bulletin and you can see what I wrote about him if you click here. Gordon is author of several poker books including Phil Gordon's Little Green Book. He lives in Las Vegas.

Martin de Knijff is another who plays both poker and bridge at the top level. At poker, de Knijff has won two World Poker Tour events and has more than $3 million in tournament winnings according to Poker Pages. He finished third in a WSOP bracelet event and just missed the final table of the Main Event on another occasion.

In bridge, he was second in Blue Ribbon Pairs at the Boston NABC last Fall and his team was fourth in the open Board-a-Match Teams. You can see his photo in the Daily Bulletin in Boston if you go to page 13 after clicking here.

I did a short interview and took a photo of him one day at the Las Vegas NABC for the Daily Bulletin, and you can see it if you go to page 6, after you click here.

De Knijff's father is Dutch and his mother is Swedish. He grew up in Sweden and at one time was that country's youngest Life Master. He now lives in Las Vegas.

Larry Cohen is a world-class player who, in partnership with David Berkowitz, has one of the best records at North American Championships. He has written several books and two are best-sellers: To Bid or Not to Bid: The Law of Total Tricks and Following the LAW: The Total Tricks Sequel. He is a regular contributor to the Bridge Bulletin. His column is called "The Real Deal."

Cohen has decided to play less tournament bridge. He plans to concentrate more on teaching and writing about bridge. He has his own web site and you can visit it here. He lives in Boca Raton FL.

George Jacobs has won a ton of team games at NABCs. He is the auctioneer at the Cavendish Invitational Pairs. George used to do the Vugraph commentary at NABC for major team games, and is witty and entertaining. Unfortunately for the audience, he can't do it very often because his team is usually playing in the final!

Jacobs is a regular colunist in the ACBL Bridge Bulletin and it's called "George's World." His wife, Stacy, is also a fine bridge player and she blogs here. The Jacobs live in the Chicago area and are huge White Sox baseball fans.

David Yang is a many-time NABC champion who is also from the Chicago area. At the recently-concluded NABC in Houston, he was second in the Silodor Open Pairs. He has won the North American Pairs with two different partners.

Above is Daniela von Arnim. She is the bridge partner with Sabine Auken (see below).

Auken and von Arnim are German ladies who are one of the best pairs in the world. Notice that I didn't say best women's pairs. They play in the open events and are just about always in contention. Auken is an occasional contributor to the Bridge Bulletin. Her column is called "I Love This Game."

They met as youths at a bridge camp. All the others paired off and the two were 'stuck' with each other. They found they got along well, and, as they say, the rest is history. Both are world champions.

My photo doesn't do them justice -- they are both attractive. Because people were playing bridge, I suppressed my flash and the photos are not my best.

They were interviewed for the Daily Bulletin in Denver in 2005, and you can read what was written if you click here.

Norwegian star Boye Brogeland won the world teams' championship in 2007 in Shanghai, China. You can see some other photos of him here. If you look, you'll notice that he is always smiling. You might also notice he has a baby-face -- although he is 35 years old, he looks much younger.

You can read about his bridge accomplishments at the international level if you click here.

He was interviewed for the Daily Bulletin in Hawaii in 2006, and you can read it and see a nice photo of him and his lovely family if you click here.

Besides playing bridge, he is editor of the magazine Bridge in Norway.

Andrei Gromov is a Russian bridge player who won the Spingold KO Teams in 2008. He also won the European Bridge Championship and you can read all about it, if you follow this link by going here.

You can read about his international successes at the World Bridge Federation's web site or you can take a shortcut and click here.

Norberto Bocchi is an Italian player who has won four world team championships. He has also been very successful at NABCs. He won the Spingold KO Teams twice and was second another time. He has also won the Vanderbilt KO Teams once and the Reisinger Board-a-Match Teams once.

You can read more about his international success if you go to the World Bridge Federation's web site, of if you simply click here.

Jeff Miller is a top player from the Chicago area. Each time I run into him at an NABC, he always has an interesting story or bridge deal to discuss.

He has a bridge blog, and he calls it The Old Prof. He describes his blog as "Practical bridge discussion with a Midwest accent!"

He lives in the Chicago area. In his non-bridge life, he is an investment adviser. He has a PhD and used to be a college professor, hence the name of his blog.


  1. These bridge players appear to be a tad more genteel than poker players. Am I correct?

  2. @lightning36: Most of the successful bridge players are older than many of the hot-shot poker players. Bridge is much more complicated than poker, so bridge players often reach their prime at an older age. I'm not sure this makes them more genteel or not, however.

  3. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  4. Somehow I did not know that Phil Gordon was an accomplished bridge player. This does not come as a surprise, however.


  5. Gordon went to Georgia Tech to college and dropped out to hit the tournament trail in bridge. He didn't even play poker back then.

    After college, he took a job in California where poker was legal and got hooked on that game, too.

    He's a pretty sharp guy.