Big Bridge tournament comes to Reno

RENO, Nev (KOLO) - There is no hoot or hollering, no quick moves; it’s bridge where knowing when and how to play the cards keeps you in the game.

Robert Levin started playing bridge at 12 after a rainy summer in the Hamptons where his mother taught him the game. He's never looked back. We call him the Tiger Woods of the game as he is now an international bridge champion.

“I got to travel, I got to eat out. I got to meet people. And as I got older and became more independent, I got to do more things--a lot of them I wasn't supposed to do,” say Levin.

Levin is playing in the Vanderbilt, a very elite elimination game where teams of 4 to 6 players are given the exact same cards.

The teams move up the ranks by playing the card better than their opponents.

Don't ask this reporter; I always thought this game was going to go the way of the crank telephone. But according to the North American Bridge Championship, they have 168,000 members in their organization. The average age is 70.

“We serve an aging demographic. The good news is we are always going to get older,” says Darbi Padbury with the North American Bridge Championship.

Padbury says there are youth bridge groups all over the country, including here in Reno. The game may not click with them like it did with Levin, but Padbury says as the kids get older, they may come back to bridge---even if it’s at the time they retire.

Reno is one of three North American Bridge Championships held throughout the country each year.

The average stay for each player in Reno is four to five days. It’s not too tough to understand how the tournament gets to the $8,000,000 and its impact to the local economy.