Friday, March 18, 2011
Above: Nira Talova and Rene De Waele, a married couple living in Rotterdam, Netherlands, have founded Bridge Big, a new online bridge site. They met at a Junior tournament in Poland. He was from the Netherlands, she from Israel.
Rene De Waele had a PhD in physics and a great job, but he gave it all up. Why?
"Bridge is our passion," said De Waele, referring to him and his wife Nira Talova. Both have played poker online and seen the explosion. Why not try a similar concept for bridge.
"When people play online, if you don't care about masterpoints, there's nothing to play for," said Talova (she has an MBA and handles the business side).
"Bridge is a beautiful game, why not spice it up?" asked De Waele.
Their concept is to have bridge games where the entry fees (minus a small amount for the "house") are returned to players as prize money. Poker has multi-table and sit and goes, why couldn't the same concept work for bridge they wondered. Players could play in tournaments for a $1 entry fee or for bigger stakes such a $20 entry.
They were thinking big and decided to call their company BridgeBig. A demonstration was given today at the Louisville NABC. The hotel wireless connection was flakey, but the software was well-received by the players.
To help promote their product, the pair talked to world-class player Zia Mahmood, who is now an official backer.
One of the biggest problems when money is involved is cheating. The couple have procedures in place that they say address that. You can go to their web site to find out more details if you go here.
The software is in beta status now. When the kinks are worked out, there will be an opportunity for beta testers to play and give feedback, perhaps in mid-April. You can go to their web site and read more, or sign up to be a beta tester if you go here.