Judy Kay-Wolff

A Traveling Bridge Circus locates in New Quarters

Undoubtedly when the words Bridge Circus are mentioned, everyone thinks back to the fascinating world of the Omar Sharif Bridge Circus in the late sixties and early seventies which journeyed to several major cities featuring exhibition matches attracting thousands of enthusiastic bridge players. 

I, particularly, reflect upon it with fondness as I coordinated it in Philadelphia and my late husband Norman Kay played on the ‘local’ team in the three cornered matches between the Locals, those Dallas Aces (with a fella named Wolff) and the Circus (consisting of the some of the exalted Italian Blue Team, Claude Delmouly and, of course, Omar himself).

However, Las Vegas bridge, an altogether different format, has had a rather unsettling home base since 1994.  A duplicate club known as Bridge World was started by Steve Levy and together with the late Loretta Brown, ran it for about a year and a half.  Years before that Steve ran a bridge game at The Draw Bridge, owned by Howard and Sandy Tuft.   Steve eventually retired and Loretta was left holding the cards.  She moved to a large facility south of Jones and Sahara, nearby the Chevron Station.  A couple of months later, they were uprooted to Bugsy’s Saloon on the same corner and before very long used a tax firm (H & R Block) facility during their off-months and renamed the club Bridge World II because of all the moves.   From there they moved to a restaurant off of Sahara and Valley View.  Then, confessed by one of the present owners whose name shall remain anonymous, they found themselves in a horrendous roach infested bar called Larry’s Hide-a-way.  That was not what bugged them, however,   It was a falling ceiling tile that had been reported by the player (whose table it fell upon) to the Health Department that forced them to find another location.   Their next stint was at The Palomino Bar, just North of Cheyenne on Rancho, for a couple of months.   Because of the love of the game, this band of traveling bridge gypsies hung in.

FINALLY, in late 1997, Loretta learned that a non-profit licensed group could rent a space in a lovely Las Vegas facility called the Charleston Heights Art Center, a magnificent building, where Bobby and I finally caught up with this industrious group of vagabonds.   It was bright, spacious, clean, with lots of bathrooms, a kitchen and tons of parking — besides being centrally located.   They moved there on January 2, 1998 and stayed until this past week, bidding it a fond farewell on Saturday, August 7.  Although the location was as letter perfect as a bridge club could be, the City had other obligations and from time to time we got ousted (and transferred to other City owned facilities) but people like sleeping in their own beds and playing hot scotch was a terrible inconvenience.  The club ran daily games Tuesday through Saturday — but had to close shop on Sunday and Monday — to the disappointment of many retired residents who adore playing whenever they get the chance.

Loretta, who had been playing less and less (only Fridays for the last four years of her life as she was no youngster) passed away in August of 2008.   Loretta’s chief liaison was a popular, outgoing lass by the name of Dixie Perkinson (a director and certified teacher).   Dixie fell heir to the club and its supplies, but still had the responsibility of paying the rent.  Another staunch bridge devotee and lovely woman, Joanne Euler offered to ‘buy in’ and become a partner, an offer which Dixie graciously accepted.  In January of this year, another terrific, soft-spoken gal, Jane Rubin, joined as owner and director — making for a lovely threesome.

The new club (3200 square feet) is set up for about twenty-five tables but in a pinch for special games could hold as many as forty. Food, coffee, tea, etc., is served prior to and during the game.   It is a warm and friendly atmosphere in which Dixie (our own Perle Mesta) never fails to mention any visiting guests and asks our group to welcome them with open arms.  Of course, we use Bridgemate (without being able to review earlier results as in the beginning – or any scores for that matter); the scores go directly to the computer and are posted (with one round to go) and then the Finals immediately after the game.  Naturally hand records are provided for the earlier prepared hands and if you have to run out early, you can get the game recap that evening on your computer.  As good as it gets!

One aspect of the duplicate which has made Bobby and me very proud is that no favoritism is shown, rulings are made fairly and equitably, huddles, hitches and their country cousins have been outlawed for the most part, and it is a delightful experience.   They are now open seven days a week (12:30) and Wednesday evening (6:30).

The game is called the THE LAS VEGAS BRIDGE WORLD, located in an office building just west of the corner of Flamingo and Lindell – a short cab ride from The Strip.  So …  if you are visiting Sin City and feel the need to take a break from blackjack, poker. roulette or the slots — c’mon over.  We’d love to see you.  There are always strays looking for partners and a good chance if you come alone, you can be paired up.

Our Grand Opening is this Friday, August 20th at 11:30 (Speaker/Lunch/Bridge) and we predict Blue Skies, Green Lights and a PERMANENT HOME AT LONG LAST.


Burt and EvieAugust 19th, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Hi Judy:

We are writing to you from Hunt Valley, a lovely Regional, not too far a drive from home. The new club sounds terrific and next time we are in Vegas, we’ll see you and Bobby for dinner and be sure to play at LVBW.

It sounds like a winner to us.

Judy Kay-WolffAugust 19th, 2010 at 8:43 pm

It’s a date!


JaneAugust 20th, 2010 at 6:34 am

Hi Judy:

Read with amazement your accounting of the grand opening of LVBW today after what appeared like years on the circuit — with no real place to call home for very long but the Art Center. Hard to believe with the real estate market sinking to the pits that it took so long. Of course, having a club of my own, we found parking to be a major problem and had no night games because in our neck of the woods, though in a lovely apartment complex, people were not anxious to venture out after dark — except for special games where there were lots of cars and of course safety in numbers.

Knowing you from the old days here, I am sure you must have had your finger in the pot. You never could resist adding the JK touch. We all miss you.

Hope they get a great turnout. Will be anxious to hear how it went. I assume you and Bobby will be playing. Knock ’em dead.

Judy Kay-WolffAugust 20th, 2010 at 8:08 am


I have exciting memories of my days in Philly with the entertainment and publicity I helped with at our two NABCS. However, those days are history Bobby and I are really enjoying the leisure of retirement in our new locale. The people (few natives and many transplants like us) are warm, friendly and very accommodating. The game we attend averages about 18-20 tables but with the new surroundings will no doubt pick up the pace. Besides, it is five minutes from Las Vegas Boulevard, site of most of the major hotels — so we expect to be welcoming many visitors who would like a change of pace for an afternoon.

Just as in our unit in Philly and District 4, there are tons of worker bees who adore bridge and give 100% of themselves to further the game and strive for perfection in their tournaments. They have a website, a unit and district publication to be proud of — just as I have been accustomed to. Indeed, my bridge experiences in Las Vegas regarding administration have been positive ones. It is obvious my years in both Philly and LV have been delightful — and I might add that the Dallas Unit where I lived for an eighteen month interim couldn’t be beat either.

I would like to assume bridge is run all over the country in the same fantastic manner — but I am sure that would be dreaming.

Several good players (besides Bobby and Fred Hamilton) frequent the games (in addition to another dozen excellent seasoned pairs) and the competition can be quite stiff. As I wrote in the blog, the directors don’t cut any slack when players deliberately step out of line. The manners are just about exemplary and those at the helm move the game along at a good clip.

As far as adding my touch for today, I am just about to pick up some balloon decorations and throwing in some heirlooms I have saved in the way of funny bridge cocktail napkins.

Everything else has been tended to by the owners and hostesses.

Oh, yes, I almost forgot. A fabulous Thai site just moved from near the strip to our suburb and since Bobby and I have frequented it so often because we adore their menu, I conned the owner Nittaya, into giving away four complimentary lunches to the overall winners NS and EW. After all, master points aren’t everything. (says who?).



Judy Kay-WolffAugust 20th, 2010 at 3:30 pm

We just returned from the LVBW Grand Opening and as soon as I catch my breath, I will be reporting. However, apologies are in order at the moment. I mentioned the club is frequented by Wolff and Hamilton, but was quite remiss as I realized I had omitted two other very popular and respected players — Paul Ivaska and Ron Von der Porten, both of whom have won oodles of major events and National Championships. Please excuse me while I remove my foot from my mouth. A terrible oversight!



Judy Kay-WolffAugust 21st, 2010 at 4:30 pm


Today was a very special day for Las Vegas Bridge. The new Flamingo Road location of the LVBW welcomed twenty-nine tables, probably the largest ‘non-tournament’ gathering in LV history. The room was replete with good cheer, smiling faces, decorations, enthusiasm, divine cuisine and beverages. And incidentally, I understand both the decorations and food were donated by appreciative customers — and included a scrumptious decorated cake whipped up by one of the player’s wives who specializes in pastry as her business and luscious sandwiches donated by a bridge-playing caterer who wanted to remain nameless. In any event, we thank you one and all.

If ever there was a bridge love-in, THIS WAS IT!

Before we got to feed the bellies, the Directors (Dixie Perkinson, Joanne Euler and Jane Rubin) scheduled my Bobby to speak and I think they got a bit more than they bargained for — but he was received with open arms.

Bobby was overwhelmed by the sea of faces and as he began, you could hear a pin drop. It was the quietest, most respectful group of bridge players that ever assembled in one room and it was obvious they hung on every word.

He capitalized on openings and celebrations being a time for introspection but more importantly — that progress should be considered with a dose of reality. He went on about Captaincy — but not in the bridge sense — as the leader of the team — but rather as the Indian and the Chief in a partnership. He alluded to making a limited bid (like an opening 1NT or even 2NT) which announces the ranges of your respective hands and now turns the decision over to one’s partner who can evaluate their own holding within the limits of partner’s known values. He went on to hammer away at ethics and morality, i.e., bids in and out of tempo, long huddles, quick passes and the onus of partner to not be influenced by such histrionics. His best advice is if you study beyond the normal expectancies expected to make a call, you may as well take action, because if you are not in a forcing auction, you will be barring your partner unless his or her call is automatic (usually a subject of speculation or debate — and not always by qualified individuals).

Behavioral expectations was another of his chosen topics — aptly referring to The Golden Rule. He mentioned dealing with winning and losing and treating those two imposters in the same manner. He added: One’s civility at that time is summed up in Grantland Rice’s great quote: ” When the one great scorer comes to write against your name, he does not write if you won or lost — but how you played the game.” And added, “Always remember — gloating at an opponent and condemnation of your partner are definite ‘no-nos.”

In a serious, more realistic circumspection of our game, he alluded to the twin mottos of The World Bridge Federation (of which he was President but glossed over): BRIDGE FOR PEACE and BRIDGE FOR A LIFETIME.

Bobby closed by remembering the totally uncountable number of tables assembling in the sky and sitting down to play, adding “Up there all finesses will work, all contracts are fulfilled, no errors are made and everyone finishes in a tie for first.” Then added — Come to think of it — that would surely soon become boring, so we must consider ourselves blessed since none of the above happens down here, leaving it up to us to just Stay Alive and Enjoy Our Wonderful Game.

Despite the growling stomachs and excitement of the day, Bobby did field some questions. The one that seemed to intrigue the audience most was when it was asked if weird systems (such as 8 or 9 point openers where initial calls and responses are not natural) should be allowed at a club game. Without a flinch, he roared out against such methods, catching the opponents (especially inexperienced players) totally unaware and not allowing the opponents time to discuss or plan strategy upon a moment’s notice. He answered with a resounding NO!!!!!!!!

It was a rewarding twenty minutes for all — then on to the yummies and the pasteboards.

Congratulations to The Las Vegas Bridge World (owners, directors, countless devoted volunteers and players) who made Friday, August 20th a memorable day for all who were fortunate enough to be in attendance!

NanAugust 22nd, 2010 at 12:42 pm


Bobby’s topics were quite comprehensive, but I wonder if he really penetrated the audience. I often read his blogs and comments and though I am an experienced player, I have my doubts if he really gets through to the rank and file.

I have found over the years that most of the problems in the duplicate games are the directors (sometimes owners/managers) who are called upon to adjudicate problems. IMHO, I feel many are not qualified to do much more than read from the rule book — and often, it goes much deeper than that!

It does sound like a good time was had by all and they were indeed lucky Bobby is so generous with his time and totally dedicated to upholding the honor of the game. The LVBW is really blessed with such a member.

Judy Kay-WolffAugust 22nd, 2010 at 1:06 pm


Your candor is food for thought.

We have been playing there for about four years and since Dixie Perkinson took over originally after Loretta Brown’s death (actually the second anniversary of her passing was the day of the Grand Opening), I have gotten to know Dixie quite well. She is outgoing, warm, friendly, sincere and of course, with her other business partners, wants to make a grand success of the club. It has all the potential — so, why not?

Moreover, from my observation after a few minor incidents at the club (which are not uncommon at all duplicates), she has proven to be a no-nonsense person (in a polite and respectful manner), who wants to run a clean club, being fair to all of her customers — but wants to be true to the game and has an open mind as to what is best in the long run.

I think Bobby’s little chat was very much in line what she and her other partners, Joanne and Jane, are striving for as well.

Charles PageOctober 17th, 2010 at 6:28 am

Being a bridge junkie from Australia i needed my fix in las vegas so bravely fronted up to the Club after a referral from Fred Gitelman. What a fantastic club, friendly, welcoming and all wanting to know was I enjoying my visit from Australia. Your description of the club and the three owners who I met is wonderfully accurate. It will be a lasting memory of where I have bridge played around the world. 27 boards with Jane’s husband was a great enjoyment.

I left some postcards with Jane and her husband of the Bridge event I was promoting, the 50th Gold Coast Congress in Australia from 26th Feb to 6th March 2011. Australia is a great place to holiday and the event has some wonderful bridge. Caring for the bridge players is our number one prioroty. Modestly we would say we have been getting this right year after year and now we have reached the 50th congress with over 450 teams and 400 pairs !

The Congress was a great favourite of your friends Carole and Jessel Rothfield both of whom have passed away in the last couple of years.

My bridge pilgrimage made it to Philadelphia to look and see a world championship in action. A great event. I found time to play a game in the regional event and what a great job the volunteers did in finding me a partner ! The voulnteer is so precious to a sucessful event based on my own experience of having cordinated a major international championship in Australia.

Please pass on my best wishes to Jane and the other owners.

charles page