"On Line" vs. "Live" Spades

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Joe Andrews
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"On Line" vs. "Live" Spades

Post by Joe Andrews » Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:57 am

Any comments on this?
Last edited by Joe Andrews on Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by _S_X_Eian_ » Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:40 pm

I would have to say live spades is a better but harder test of skill. I think the deals are way more accurate you don't see alot of the random deals that you see online. As Galt said the rate of A's lost in the second round of a suit during a failed finess is huge online. For the most part in live events this does not happen although there are some instances. I remember the hand you lost on Joe in Nashville where one side ended up with a Nil/9 bid or something crazy like that in the last hand to win the game. I know this because me and my pard lost in a similar manner the very next round so we were watching the game. These hands are few and far between at live events yet I see them every couple of games online. I also strive at catching renegs and cheats and beating them anyway. I have had people come up to me before a live game saying so and so turns the pencil a certain way to mean something specific. I have caught endless renegs from teams trying to slip one by it does add a new aspect to the game and you have to be that much sharper. There is little talk during competitive games and there is none of the inherent "lag" that we see so much during online games. There may be the occasional pause which might be a signal or might not but no 30 second lags during a nil hand. I would love to have a live event where all the big names came out to play but unfortunately there is an additional cost involved with live events. Entry Fees and Hotels and Flights all cost money and with everyone scattered around the world would make it a hard thing to accomplish. I take alot more pride in my 19 1/2 hour marathon live tourney win in Charlotte then I do any online tourney wins I have. Fatigue starts to set in and you still have to be on top of your game because 1 mistake could cost you everything. Online the computer does alot of the work for you and there is alot less thought involved in some of the side things like adding up score or figureing out how many tricks are out and how many each team needs to make their contract. My vote goes for live spades although the cost will keep alot of people from ever participating. I would love to the see the prize pools increase to a point where the top 8 teams could make enough to pay for their trip but there just is not enough interest as of yet maybe in a few years. I would recommend any live tournament to anyone at least once in their life I have been to several different ones and have enjoyed them all for different reasons. I have met people like Joe and Galt who write on these forums as well as became good friends with people like JCree and Higgy who Joe has mentioned before. Hopefully Live tournaments can only grow in the future.

Todd

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Post by Galt » Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:00 pm

The huge difference with live play is that it takes a whole different level of concentration.

You can't renege online. You can't mistakenly lead a Spade if Spades have not yet been broken in an online game.

I played in a live event once where the same player reneged 3 times in one game. He just got up and left the room.

There are distractions all over the place as well. There is no last trick window (although you can ask to see the last trick). It can be harder to quickly tell how many tricks each player has taken in a hand if the opps are not piling their tricks neatly, or worse yet, if one opp is raking in tricks taken by his or her pard (something that should never be permitted).

It is really fun however.
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Conclusion...

Post by Joe Andrews » Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:14 am

It will be many years before "live" events become established. Perhaps, someday, there will be an ACBL (Bridge) - like type organization for Spades - with local, regional and National events.
For now Spades is an Internet phenomenon. Enjoy it for what is is - a card game played for fun, and on occasion, some competitiveness.
And if you do have the opportunity to go to one of the few "live" events out there - you will be in for a great time!

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Re: Conclusion...

Post by dustin7609 » Tue Nov 27, 2007 12:44 pm

Joe Andrews wrote:It will be many years before "live" events become established. Perhaps, someday, there will be an ACBL (Bridge) - like type organization for Spades - with local, regional and National events.
I don't see this ever happening.

The major difference between spades and bridge is that bridge became popular during a time when the Internet wasn't around. If the Internet was around, I think Bridge would have developed as an Internet game much like Spades has. We are now seeing the demise of Bridge as it is becoming increasingly less popular year after year -- largely because of the internet (unfortunately) and will eventually become a very niche-driven game (actually, it already is).

While live play is certainly a better test of skill since you can completely eliminate all forms of cheating, spades will remain primarily an online game for practical reasons and "live play" will remain a small niche market. Heck, out of 20 people who I consider to be the best elite spades players around, only 2 of them have ever been to a live event. And the person who I consider to be the very top spades player online will never attend a live event. Online play is where truly competitive play exists. The field for live play is far too small and far too nichey to be taken seriously as a competitive endeavor.

While I truly applaud your efforts to bring Spades to a live arena (I really do respect you for that, Joe -- it took a lot of work), unfortunately the live arena is not where competitive spades will ever be. It's simply too impractical and will never compete with the HUGE internet arena. It's just a sad truth that most of the top spades players simply don't want to pay money to travel for a live event. Unless big money is involved. Big money would change everything. But it doesn't make sense for big advertisers to pay big money for a spades event (lol).

If you can get big money to support these events, and I mean a bare minimum of 20 K to the winners (50 k is more likely), then I will change my mind.

Again, I applaud your efforts and am not criticizing live events. I'm just "keepin' it real" and telling it how it is.

To this day, I think the most competitive and largest spades tournament ever held was the 2002 Zone tournament that lasted an entire week and consisted of several thousand top flight pairs (which I was extremely fortunate to win). There needs to be more of this!

Unfortunately there exists very little structured online competitive play. Online duplicate leagues with teams-of-4 would be the pinnacle of competitive play, but unfortunately I don't think the game will ever reach that point.

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Post by _S_X_Eian_ » Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:39 pm

I made it to the semi finals of that same Zone event in both spades and euchre looking for the trip that went with it. My nic was Zeonlyone (was something to do with partners nic at the time) I wonder if it was you or your opponents that ousted us. I remember my nil was set I had the lone 8 of diamonds and my pard let the 7 lead slide because she had the 2 and the 9 only. Was unfortunate and with people who use the "can duck a 6 if you nil" rule this would be nothing. Was pretty frustrating at the time it happened though to get so far to lose to that. It was a great tournament but unfortuntely you will also not see these big events with big sponsers online since it is very hard to control the amount of cheating that can go on in live events. The bigger the event the more complex the cheaters. Sometimes they still lose but with so many tools available (MSN, Phone, Multiple computers/IP's in a household etc) I don't think you will see many of these big tournaments where big prizes are available. Even in my many live tournaments I have went up against apparent "cheaters" who would angle pens or use signals that would be hard to prove. I enjoy playing them and beating them knowing this in advance but unfortunately you have the people who also accuse just because they lost. When I won in Charlotte I had accusations thrown at me left right and center. The tourney started at 9AM on saturday and we played straight through with nothing more then 5 min breaks until 4AM the next morning. We were accused of losing and getting put back in (not true for us but was true for our opps) we had alot of insinuations because of the conventions we used etc. It happens everywhere and even more so when money is on the line. The prize was only 1400 each nothing close to the 20,000 you suggest and still we had all these issues. I can't imagine what a 20,000 dollar tournament or even a 50,000 dollar tournament would be like. Flipped cards, renegs galore, yelling and cursing at partners etc. The tension would be pretty high indeed. I would love to see and would be there for sure but as you said I can't see it happening. Getting the competitive online crowd to go to a live tourney is hard enough as it is.

I would love to see Live tournaments all over the North America leading up to one big event where you can qualify in your region for a main tournaments elsewhere. Having several tournaments a month but I can't see it happening anytime soon. The Grand Prix was close when it used to have qualifiers but it was hard getting enough qualifiers alone to make a good tournament and you were assured the qualifiers would show up so it would have to be opened up to other entries as well which takes the thrill of the qualifier out of it. Would be good to have regional qualifiers and the best of the best meeting in a final at a central location. Maybe in 25 years lol

Good post

Todd

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Post by dustin7609 » Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:04 pm

_S_X_Eian_ wrote:I can't imagine what a 20,000 dollar tournament or even a 50,000 dollar tournament would be like. Flipped cards, renegs galore, yelling and cursing at partners etc. The tension would be pretty high indeed.

Todd
Yeah, in the bridge world they've had big money tourneys for years with no problems. It just needs to be regulated very well with great directors.

I once played in the Kool Cigarettes tournament which was for 50 grand. But the rules were so ackward we didn't have a chance. No nils, the jokers were all in play, and there were a lot of other funky rules. It wasn't really spades. Unfortunately the Kool Cigarettes Spades Tournament was a miss and it's unlikely Kool will ever take another gamble with it. But it was sweet to see an advertiser take a gamble and promote it.

But hey, if Kool Cigarettes was willing to sponsor a big event, I'm willing to bet other advertisers would take a chance. I'm actually in the internet advertising biz and I know for fact that there are companies that would pony up some money for good exposure. Most of the big name labels want to market the 18-35 yr old male market (because it is the most lucrative). It's just a matter of getting the right people to pitch spades as a game that appeals to a younger predominantly male crowd, that's the biggest obstacle. Spades needs to have the "coolness" factor that poker has in order for advertisers to be persuaded to gamble on it. For this to happen, it would need either big money involved or TV exposure. Both a long shot.

I think the first step if we ever have a shot of something like this happening is to have a truly organized online competitive arena in a duplicate format and standardized rules. This would allow legitimate rankings and spades would then have credibility as a game of skill. This is the only way it could happen. But as the demise of e-spades has shown us, this might be very wishful thinking. Fact is, most spades players just play for fun -- not to be competitive.

Btw, Steve and I were accused of cheating in that Zone tourney for a long long time. We were extremely fortunate to win that tournament considering it was single elim. I had to bid an extremely risky nil at one point when we were down over 200 points. Steve had made a 7 bid and I held both the KJ spades and nothing else. I decided the risk was worth it at that stage of the game and was accused of cheating bc of it for several months afterward. Just outright ridiculous. Funny thing is, if you know Steve Fleishman, he very rarely talks -- and never during a spades game. Hell, I could barely get a word out of him on messenger after a game to discuss post mortem. So to accuse us of cheating is just outright laughable. Of course, I always take it as complimentary when I'm accused.

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Post by _S_X_Eian_ » Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:42 pm

As do I, I would like to think that most people who have met me in person know I am a stand up guy and if you have parded me you know I can play. I also take it as a compliment when I am accused and usually laugh it off. I have met both Galt and Joe on several occasions and have played with and against them at many tourneys from up here in Canada to all over the states in Chicago, Cleveland, Nashville, Charlotte etc etc etc. I am sure I have people who dislike me and that is fine but I do defend my name as much as I can against the accusations. And of course you were accused you won lol (sarcasm meant)

Todd

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"Live" Spades

Post by Joe Andrews » Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:32 pm

There is a future in "live" events, for there will always be those individuals who will travel to a "live" tournament to meet their friends. I just don;t think they will ever be as big as the "Vegas 99" Nationals, which had 280 Spades players! As for the possibility of large events, that is another matter.

It is good to "see" you back in the Spades world, Dustin. The years do pass so quickly...

Firstly, here are some responses.

Quotes from Dustin -

"Yeah, in the bridge world they've had big money tourneys for years with no problems. It just needs to be regulated very well with great directors."

The ACBL does not sponsor or sanction large cash prize events.

"I once played in the Kool Cigarettes tournament which was for 50 grand. But the rules were so ackward we didn't have a chance. No nils, the jokers were all in play, and there were a lot of other funky rules. It wasn't really spades.

You got that right, it was not the standard Spades game. It was played with Jokers, no Bags, No Nils, and really funky decks of cards. And most of the events were held in bars, discos or halls with loud music playing, dimmed lights, lots of alcohol, and thick cigarette smoke. I played in Baltimore, and it was a joke. The Host did not know the rules, and the games were timed. The piece de resistance was my partner and I playing at a table where the opponents were so drunk that they reneged twice, took forever to play, and were given redeals for renegging! And we lost after only three hands because the time ran out! UGH!I would never host an event with a tobacco sponsor.

Btw, "Steve and I were accused of cheating in that Zone tourney for a long long time. We were extremely fortunate to win that tournament considering it was single elim. I had to bid an extremely risky nil at one point when we were down over 200 points. Steve had made a 7 bid and I held both the KJ spades and nothing else. I decided the risk was worth it at that stage of the game and was accused of cheating bc of it for several months afterward."

I heard about the incident, as the Zone event was a Grand Prix qualifier.
I did not observe that game, as I was busy with the Hearts and Euchre qualifiers. I believe when you say that you did not cheat, as you and Steve have integrity. And you took a chance based on his bid of 7 (which usually promises a massive trump suit). Considering the score, the chance was the only hope to come back. And you did. And you won and went to the Cincinnati '03 Grand Prix.


Oh well, life goes on.....
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Post by p0is0ned_fl0wer » Wed Nov 28, 2007 3:14 pm

I find this a rather difficult topic to discuss. I am not sure how one can say because a person plays better online that makes them less or more of a skilled player in a live event or vice versa.

I think the main factor in a live event would be nerves. I have been to a live event and seen a prime example of this.. one player (i'll not name names but she frequents this forum and may well post her comments on here) whom is a good solid player online.. much better than your "average" player in my eyes anyway, was so nervous her hands were shaking so badly she could hardly hold the cards, let alone concentrate effectively. It is a totally different format and we do get lazy and complacent when a computer generated programme plays the cards for us practically, adds the scores, deducts the bags, does the mathematics, shows the last card played etc..It is a much more demanding game offline than online in the sense that more focus is needed, more attention but not necessarily more skill in my eyes.. not the actual card playing skill anyway. Nerves affects us all at times in our lives..hell I failed my driving test 4 TIMES!! (no laughing please) due to such extreme nerves I couldn't work the clutch as my leg was shaking so badly (I'm in Europe we drive manuals lol..not autos), but I can assure you put me in a car without an actual test instructor and I could drive perfectly.. tee hee (anyway fifth time lucky..right)

I think a comparison between the 2 is pretty much impossible.
"There is no such thing as equal"

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Re: "Live" Spades

Post by dustin7609 » Wed Nov 28, 2007 3:58 pm

Joe Andrews wrote:
The ACBL does not sponsor or sanction large cash prize events.
Ah, my bad on that. I was under the impression that the top professionals make a decent living. How do they earn their income playing bridge?


Joe Andrews wrote:You got that right, it was not the standard Spades game. It was played with Jokers, no Bags, No Nils, and really funky decks of cards. And most of the events were held in bars, discos or halls with loud music playing, dimmed lights, lots of alcohol, and thick cigarette smoke. I played in Baltimore, and it was a joke. The Host did not know the rules, and the games were timed.



Yes, you're exactly right. To say it was poorly run would be an understatement. I do understand what Kool wanted to do -- they were trying to market to the younger crowd and have that kind of ambience. From a marketing standpoint, it completely made sense. But from a logistics standpoint it was a nightmare.

It was so kool (no pun intended) to see a big sponsor try to do this with Spades! It's too bad that whoever ran their logistics effort didn't have a clue what they were doing.

I think a campaign such as the Kool Cigarettes tourney could really work with the same type of marketing but with a knowledgeable expert/director of the game to run the logistics side. They should have employed you, Joe. Basically keep the marketing how it was, which was aimed at the younger crowd, but have the real spades directors out there run the other side of things.

It could work. Now who wants to put together a good campaign pitch to the right advertisers?

The main problem with running a cigarette or alcohol campaign is that they are limited to how they can advertise. If you noticed, the Kool Tourney was not advertised online at all. They are restricted by laws to where they can advertise. A successful campaign needs to hit the core spades audience.

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Post by Dust In The Wind » Wed Nov 28, 2007 7:04 pm

Your right Flower some people do have the nerves thing going when playing live and almost the best best attitude while live is a cocky one that is not too flamboyent. Works for me and the nerves do not get to me.

I like a quick game myself and hate one where players take too much time to think (think long think wrong). When I play a hand I already have figured how it will go down and am ready to play. I count the cards better fast than slow.... really can't tell you why, just works for me. BUT I do adjust to the players I'm with.

I would LOVE to go to live events and know I would enjoy myself, but job and family come first and to justify taking off for an event would be hard to do since my wife is not a card player other than UNO (which she HATES playing against me because she figures I cheat because I win too much) and a few other games like that. I grew up playing cards, everything but Bridge and most for money, so you get that killer instinct as a player, sort of like kill the quarterback, no matter who it is. So the only way I will be going is to sneak off (LOL) for the day to somewhere around the Atlanta area play my games, come home, and sneak off for the next day AND if I come home with the big prize then she will sponsor me in the next T. LOL.
Naw she not that bad being Mrs. Ogre but, the more I read about the Live Events the more I want to attend.... now it's what game do I want to play Spades/Hearts/Euchre..... I really never knew there were big (more than 8 players) live events out there and I will be attending one someday soon. I'll be the big guy in that looks like an Ogre.

JUST DUST

PS - Seen where you have had some events in Atlanta and other area close by and looking forward to being at one, now all I need is a partner, hopefully one that knows the difference between suits and we can work from there. I play hard, I pay attention, I know the games and I won't cheat except for the ESP thing, sometimes called luck.
TO BE OR NOT TO BE..... NOW WHAT KIND OF QUESTION IS THAT??? TO BE OF COURSE!!!!!

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Post by _S_X_Eian_ » Wed Nov 28, 2007 8:04 pm

Where were you a few months ago Dust I was looking for a partner for the Atlanta tourney. My regular live tourney partner who actually won that 99 vegas event Joe was talking about couldn't make this one and it was in Atlanta. I am a bit fussy when it comes to live tourney partners and havn't had the best brand new partner experiences but if I knew you were close and could "sneak away" we could have played some beforehand to see if we clicked. Coming from Canada I don't like shelling out the cash for a random partner because you don't know what your going to get. If there is another one in the area and he can't make it I will give you a shout and maybe we can play beforehand and see how it goes. I doubt the money logistics would have worked out for me anyway but good to know for next time.

Todd

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Post by Dust In The Wind » Wed Nov 28, 2007 8:06 pm

Well certainly let me know next time and I am looking to attend one. Very good idea to see if we click at pards because that can be the difference between 1st and 2nd.... I plan on 1st.

JUST DUST
TO BE OR NOT TO BE..... NOW WHAT KIND OF QUESTION IS THAT??? TO BE OF COURSE!!!!!

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Live Events

Post by Joe Andrews » Wed Nov 28, 2007 9:41 pm

"Live Events"

The ACBL (American Contract Bridge League) was founded in 1937. However, the game of Bridge was created more than 30 years prior to that. And Bridge was a "live" game back then. Rules and a scoring system were not in place until the mid 1920's. A Governing body was organized in the mid 1930's. After WW II, Bridge was immensely popular, and had much publicity in the newspapers, magazines (most notably, Sports Illustrated, and eventually on TV (ABC Network). The great Masters were Goren, Stayman, Jacoby, Blackwood, Becker, and others.
We know those names for they are the innovators of Conventions and bidding systems. Did you know that Omar Sharif is a world-class Bridge player?

As Dustin and Todd posted earlier, multiple "live" Spades events are still many years away. However, Spades does an advantage which Bridge never had in its early days. And that is the Internet. It is an endless source of players! There are also who care about the game , and promote it. Since 1996, there have been some successful "live" events. -And this is hopefully, the beginning.

Here is a brief timeline of the "live" Spades events.

SUCCESSFUL EVENTS

1996 - 1998 The Indianapolis Spades Convention (Host - Nancy Landau)

At one time this event drew more than 150 players. It was structured as a social event for small Prizes. Zone sponsored, and the first "live" Spades gathering, it was quite popular among MSN players. It was discontinued after its 3rd year.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

1999 The U.S. Open Spades and Hearts Championship, Las Vegas, NV (Hosted by Joe A)

Sponsored by the MSN Zone and Bicycle Playing Cards, the event featured 280 Spades Players, and had a $15,000 Prize Fund.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1999 - 2007 The Spades Connection (Host - "Doll" S.)
Nashville, TN, Louisville, KY, Houston, TX, Indianapolis, IN

This event was the natural replacement for the Indy Spades Convention. The annual March event in Nashville, TN regularly draws more than 100 players, including many Spades clubs. It is now the longest running "live" Spades event, and features terrific camaraderie among the players in a relaxed atmosphere. Great food, too!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1999 - 2007 The Grand Prix World Series of Spades Host - Joe A)
(Different cities, each year)

The Vegas '99 event became the World Series of Spades with cash Prizes.
It's largest turnout was Chicago, 2005 with 108 players. Competition was always intense, and the Main event had 7 qualifying games plus a three round Playoff. The Grand Prix has been acquired by Cases' Ladder with plans for an '08 Championship.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2006 - 2007 Elite Spades (Host - Craig D.) Charlotte, NC Two events were organized, with multiple separate entry fee tournaments. Cash Prizes were won by several players. The concept was well received by the players. This series has been discontinued.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2004 - 2007 Go Spades (Host - Betts B.) Washington, DC / Warners Robbins, GA.

This nifty event featured an unusual "twist" - a total points format. Although attendance was small (30 - 50 players), everyone had a good time And the social atmosphere was maintained.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
There have been other "live" Spades events with mixed or disappointing reviews .----------------------------------------------------------------------

Some were doomed because the hosts wanted to play in their own events, and take money or Prizes from the players. Others fell apart when their attendance dwindled, and they started absorbing losses. One particular event several years ago on the West Coast, was self - dubbed as the "National Championship", and had a turnout of SIX teams (12 players). Still, these organizers made the effort to put these events together, and if their players had a great time, maybe it was not a total loss, after all.

The future of any "live" events will depend on the dedication of the Hosts/Organizers, and the willingness of people to participate.

And ---- as long as I am around, I will continue to encourage the development of a National Spades Organization and "live" event community.....

I hope to see you at one of the future "live" events! :) -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
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