All-Western 99er NiteClub – Q&A

A.  What is the program?  

Districts 17, 21, 22, and 23 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.  Initially launched by California districts as the California 99er NiteClub, we have recently added District 17 and are re-branding the club as the “All-Western 99er NiteClub.”  

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 PT on Monday through Thursday nights. A support “hotline” is available 6:00-6:30PM PT on our days of operation to assist players with registration issues.

C.  What are the table fees?  

$6.00 per game. Entry fee may be adjusted for special ACBL games to cover the extra sanction fees.

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 17, 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 four districts has a home club and the home club does not enroll the member in the All-Western 99er NiteClub, 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 4 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 All-Western 99er NiteClub, like the ACBL SYC games, will be sending a large part of the table fees ($3.00 normally) 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.  

K. Do Districts have VACBs? 

No. Districts do not currently run virtual clubs. This All-Western 99er NiteClub is being hosted by the La Jolla Unit 526 VACB and sponsored and managed by D17/21/22/23. 

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 All-Western 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 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

Alternatively, if you don’t have access to the V-Portal (for those clubs that don’t have virtual presence) or you’re not sure how to enroll, please email 99erNiteClub@gmail.com with your club name, club number, and desired opt-in days – all days or choice of M, Tu, W, Th, and we’ll take care of it for you and send you a confirmation email when it’s done.

P.  Where can I learn more about this?  

Feel free to contact us at 99erNiteClub@gmail.com  with any questions you may have on this program. 

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