Faces and Gestures

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 03/01/2016
Level: General Interest

"See No Evil, Hear No Evil" is good advice for bridge. Better might be: "Make no facial gestures, see no facial gestures."  Yes, we can get emotional at times, but if your partner leads a spade and you make the face shown here, you are saying, "Partner, I don't like spades." Who needs legitimate bridge signals if we can signal attitude with a frown or a smile?

Need I state the obvious? It is unethical to make any gestures during the bidding or play of the hand. This includes (but is not limited to):

Smiles, frowns, agitation, staring at partner, frustration, confusion and anger.

If your partner forgets to alert your alertable bid, you must keep a poker face. Say nothing, show nothing. To do anything else is unethical. If you do commit such a sin, your partner needs to bend over backwards not to notice or act on the illegally gained information.

If you are confused by partner's bidding (what else is new), you can't show it with gestures of puzzlement or frustration. Don't do what you see here:


If you don't like your partner's bid or play (what else is new again), don't show it! Keep a poker face. Don't do what you see here:


If you are annoyed (by partner or an opponent), don't show it. Stay calm, cool and collected (I know, it isn't easy). Don't do what you see here:

Not only is it unethical to make faces or noises, but it's not good for your partnership! Good partners are hard to find, and if you grumble while your partner is doing his best, you'll soon be in the market for a new partner. 

Any facial gesture or emotional reaction during the bidding or play of the hand is verboten. Period. 


Updated December 2019

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