Libby Stoker-Lavelle — Libby’s Bridge Blogging Site

The Secret to a Healthy Partnership

As I start to learn a little more about bridge and bridge players, I find myself wondering about the dynamics of partnership.  At a wedding I attended recently, the newlyweds got an earful of relationship advice: figure out how to communicate effectively; take the time to work on your relationship; forgive; give a little, take a little; laugh.

It seems to me that bridge partnerships might face many of the same challenges that couples do, such as differences in communication styles, background, and personality type, and I wonder how bridge players find the counsel they need when they run into difficulties. So I put these questions to you: what is the secret to a healthy partnership in bridge? What guidelines have you used to choose your partners in the past, and once you have found a partner you’re happy with, how do you keep that partnership working well? What lessons have you learned about partnership in bridge that you wish you knew when you started playing?

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cartoon © Dell Publications, 1000 Jokes, 1968

Cartoon published with permission from Don Orehek




Cam FrenchJuly 10th, 2012 at 2:43 am


great issue, under-explored.

I know the secret. And I will share it (for free) with anyone who asks. But I will not post it. Once you have it, you must abide by the same guidelines. You and your partners will be eternally grateful

Anyone is welcome to contact me, put Partnership Success in the Subject field.



Libby Stoker-LavelleJuly 11th, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Thanks Cam!
Cam’s secret is a goodie – here is a snippet – contact him if you’d like to hear more:
“One thing we learn as we advance (and if your readers want to read about this, Fred Gitelman and others talk about it) that one key to partnership success is the criticism is done away from the table.” – Cam French (emphasis added)

Steve FamaJuly 12th, 2012 at 10:34 pm


Some time back Marty Bergen published his 21 Rules For Being a Good Partner. It’s a very good list. Here’s a link.

I consider my self very lucky to have found my regular partner. We’ve been playing together for 20 years and still growing strong. We’re fortunate that we’re both at the same skill level. Neither one of us feels a need to compete against the other to prove who’s better. Rather our goal is ALWAYS how can we do better AS A PAIR. We both have our strong and weak points but we both know each others’ game well enough to play to the strengths. Discussion is never personal, but how can we get it right the next time. I know he always roots for me, just as I always root for him.

When looking for a partner, try to find someone with a similar approach to the game in terms of goals and attitude. If you want to really work at your game, you’ll probably be frustrated by a partner who doesn’t take it as seriously.

Of course, the best way to get a good partner is to be one yourself!!

Libby Stoker-LavelleJuly 16th, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Thanks for sharing this excellent and witty list. My favourite of the 21 Rules For Being a Good Partner is number 1: “Do not give lessons, unless you are being paid to do so. “According to an evening paper, there are only five real authorities on bridge in this country. Odd how often one gets one of them as a partner. ” Punch (British magazine). I appreciate your comments on your personal experience, too – congratulations on building such a mutually rewarding partnership! It seems that partnering in bridge offers a great opportunity to build character : to become a more empathetic and supportive person, to become more self-aware, and, ultimately, become a better player–if you are willing to sacrifice some pride and ego in order to get there.

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