If you like playing cards and are interested in finding others who share your hobby, you might want to check out the Spring Mountain Bridge Club.
The club meets daily at 1151 S. Buffalo Drive. It was founded and organized by Charlene Mintz in 1997. Her sister, Rhoda Walsh, is a world champion card player who represented the U.S. team in six world championships. She is also a Grand Master in the World Bridge Federation and a Grand Life Master in the American Contract Bridge League. It was Walsh who got Mintz involved in the game, and bridge soon became a shared passion.
“She gave me nine lessons and then said, ‘Go for it,’ ” Mintz said, adding that she set up the club because “I wanted to bring new people to a game that I absolutely adored.”
She started it in her house in Spring Valley. That worked well until the club outgrew her home. It also outgrew her next place, closer to Summerlin. Buying another place just to host more bridge players was out of the question. It was time to look for a rental location.
Mintz found it on the southwest corner of West Charleston Boulevard and Buffalo Drive about four years ago. She took over a vacant office space of about 1,800 square feet.
The front section, a homey-looking spot, is set up for small groups to play. But most of the club action takes place in the back. There, 12 tables are set up, ready for players to arrive. Each sports a number and four chairs.
As people arrive, they pay $8 to play and are assigned a table. Those who arrive early on certain days find that Mintz has put out sandwiches and snacks.
This day, what began as a trickle of people turned into a sizable group, with card players greeting one another and meandering over to the snack table (Mintz lays claim to quite a reputation as a baker, so don’t be surprised if cake is included).
But the name of the game is bridge, and after consuming the food, everyone cleared away the dirty dishes and quieted down the minute the cards were dealt. This was contract bridge, a bit more involved than parlor bridge.
There are about 200 people involved in the club, the majority women. Many are retirees looking for a fun way to spend the afternoon.
Bridge requires four players. Mintz and her partner, Stan Hall, fill in if a table is not complete.
“Any contract bridge is competitive,” said Barbara Betz, a longtime player, adding that it didn’t matter if one was talking about male or female players. “… But this isn’t as competitive, as confrontational, as some other groups.”
Irene Wascavage said she’s been playing forever, adding, “It keeps my mind young.” She lamented that not many young people are interested in playing bridge and worried it would one day be a thing of the past.
The North American Bridge Championships were in town in July and caused Mintz’s numbers to dwindle. She wasn’t worried. The national group, which took up quarters at the Las Vegas Hotel, 3000 Paradise Road, offered Learn Bridge in a Day — a session that taught the basics of the game to beginners.
Mintz said such events only serve to educate novice bridge players and to promote the game to new audiences. She also gives lessons at her bridge club.
The Spring Mountain Bridge Club is open daily and offers games for beginners and intermediate players. For more information, contact Mintz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-278-8614, or visit lasvegasbridgeclubs.com/SpringMt.htm.
Contact Summerlin Area View reporter Jan Hogan at email@example.com or 702-387-2949.