CAL 99er NiteClub – Q&A

A. What is the program?

Districts 21, 22, and 23 (D21 being Northern California and D23 being Los Angeles) have joined together to arrange games in which all 99ers in these districts could play in a dedicated 99er game. This segment of the membership is mostly overlooked by the existing offerings of the ACBL SYC games and local VACBs. We feel that the 99ers deserve a place to play. That is the purpose of the “Cal 99er NiteClub.”

District 9 in Florida was able to set up such a program and they were joined by District 7, and are growing as we speak. While there are thousands of members in those districts with fewer than 100 masterpoints, when one considers the percentage of those members who play online, it takes a large membership pool to support a single limited game.

B. When would games be offered?

We are scheduling evening games beginning at 6:30PM PDT on Monday through Thursday nights.

C. What are the table fees?

$6.00 per game.

D. How many boards would be played and for how long?

12 boards allowing seven minutes per board.

E. Would more than bridge games be offered?

Yes. We are also offering a post-game Zoom session at which one or more experts would discuss the evening’s hands with the players. There would be no additional charge for participation in the Zoom session. Players can simply socialize and are not required to discuss the hands.

If the program is successful, and there is a demand for pre-game lectures, those may be added at no additional charge. We are starting on a small scale and grow if we see the interest. Adding mini-lessons will contribute to the wealth of the program.

F. Who can play?

Players must either be members of Districts 21, 22, and 23 and must have under 100 masterpoints, or be on the include list of one of the districts’ clubs. An example of this are the snowbirds who may be members of an outside district but having played locally in the past year, they would also be part of our local clubs. If a 99er in one of the three districts has a home club and the home club does not enroll the member in the Cal 99er Nite Club, the 99er will not be allowed to register to play (unless they are on another club’s include list).

G. I’m a new member in our district, and enrolled directly with the ACBL. Can I play?

Yes, seeing you don’t “belong” to any club, you can play in all VACB games. Register early the first time you play, so our club manager can vet you.

H. What about guests and visitors?

No guests and no visitors will be allowed. This is strictly limited to the membership of the 3 districts and their opted-in include lists.

I. What’s in it for me as the owner or manager of a VACB?

We hope that just giving your 99er members a fun and safe venue to play is reward enough. But the Cal 99er NiteClub, like the ACBL SYC games, will be sending a large part of the table fees (starting with $2.50) to the VACBs who enroll their members in this program.

J. What’s in it for the Districts?

Districts want to offer their newer members a fun and safe place to play online. They represent the future of bridge. District financial participation is intended to be break-even. The difference between the table fees, the BBO percentage, the ACBL table fees, and the payout to virtual clubs is intended to cover administrative overhead, including hiring directors/teachers/bookkeeper to regularly send table fees to the participating clubs and to share with clubs their member participation. We will evaluate the program a few weeks into it, and if the program costs end up being lower than anticipated, then the club payouts will be higher.

K. Do Districts have VACBs?

No. Districts do not currently run virtual clubs. This Cal 99er NiteClub is being hosted by the La Jolla Unit 526 VACB and sponsored and managed by D21/22/23.

L. What prevents this new program from enticing my members into other future games?

The main answer is that you do. The program is an “opt-in” program. A local VACB can only enroll its 99ers, not all of its membership, and it can enroll them for a limited number of games. If your VACB offers its own Wednesday evening 99ers game, it can enroll members in the Cal 99er NiteClub just on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.

The include list for this game is run nightly, allowing you to change your opt-in options on a daily basis if desired.

Again, the Cal 99er program’s only objective is to offer evening games for 99ers. It will not expand to offer day games or evening games to a different stratification of players.

M. How does this differ from pooling the members of two clubs?

This is a different form of pooling than the one you’re used to. It is called a “product” pool. If you try to enroll members with over 99 masterpoints, the software would prevent you from doing so. You use the V-Portal software to opt in to enroll your players on particular evenings.

N. Do I need to do anything if I’m already pooled? Will my master pool take care of it for me?

No. This is independent of your current pooling agreements. You will need to opt-in to this program for your own VACB.

O. How do I opt in?

Only clubs can opt-in their 99ers. To opt in, use Club V-Portal Login:

1 - Login

2 - Select “Commands from Bridge Finesse”

3 - Select “MP Limit Enrollment” at bottom of screen

4 - Use drop-down menu to select days of week, and select Enroll Club

P. Where can I learn more about this?

Feel free to contact Lamya Agelidis (lamya.agelidis@gmail.com) with any questions you may have on this program.

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