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Keeping Track of Payments for RealBridge

Does anyone how a good solution only allowing people who have paid to play in RealBridge? I am looking for a solution for a club which has up to 100 people playing across 6 games a week and a county which has about 150 people playing across 2 games a week. Neither wants to be in the position of chasing people for payment after they have played.

BBO makes life easy it collects the money as people play. RealBridge does not. Anyone can come and play in your RealBridge game if they can get hold the link. You can stop this by using a config file (which also overcomes another problem, RealBridge does not randomise seating in the way that BBO does). This is equivalent to an 'Include File' in BBO but not nearly as user friendly which is saying something.

What is difficult is keeping track of who has paid and only putting them in your config file. Many people will not want to pay for an individual event but to pay in advance for a number of events. Does anyone have in place a way to achieve all this without your treasurer resigning?


  • A few points to note on the above:

    • As you say, it would be ideal to have an integrated payment system of some kind. However, there are several advantages to the current system as it enables clubs to charge players different amounts (for example, by paying for several events in advance). BBO also takes around a third of entry fees as its own profit, whereas RealBridge's fees are much lower (the exact difference will depend on your normal table money). RealBridge's fees would have to rise if they integrated a payment system.
    • Bridge clubs have always operated on a friendly and trusting basis. Links are sent to players in good standing with the club and on the assumption that they will be kept to themselves. Players that attend "without permission" can be kicked out if necessary too, whereas BBO doesn't let you kick out players who you didn't intend to permit entry to.
    • BBO's starting position is not technically random as it is based on registration time. RealBridge's starting position design is exactly the same as face-to-face in that you sit where you want (and this is intentional to replicate F2F as best as possible). Events that need to have random starting positions can always allocate seats in advance and send them out via email, which is no different to pairs arriving and choosing starting positions at random when they arrive at the club.
    • A simple way of managing finances is to ask players to pay for e.g. 10 events at a time. The treasurer checks for new transactions at the deadline. New payments are added to 1 spreadsheet which shows a player's name, email, EBU number and total credit. Emails with the link are only sent to players with positive credit, and players forwarding the link to others can be approached by the director with video during the event (however I suspect this will be a significant minority). Although perhaps more complicated than BBO, it gives complete control to the club, at the expense of having to check transactions more regularly.

    Our club is smaller and just charges players via invoice on a 3 month basis (in arrears). There's a bit of chasing involved of course but is normally relatively straight-forward.

  • 495670 Just to deal with your points in order:

    If RealBridge does not have a payments system the club will need to have one which will be an additional cost. RealBridge should be able to negotiate a better rate than is available to a club.

    As a director running the event I don't want to be continually going over tables to check that the players who have sat down are in credit and are on the list on entrants and kick them out if not. This is much easier on BBO's registration screen and BBO does the credit check for me.

    BBO's starting positions do appear to be the 1st,3rd,5th etc. registrants sit NS and the others EW but there does appear to be a pseudo-random allocation of table numbers so if you are the 1st to register you can't predict which of the even number registrants will be your first opponents. Players being able to choose their starting positions is one of the worst aspects of face-to-face club events which is why many clubs don't allow it or have a method of randomly getting some tables to swap NS and EW and I can't imagine a county event where we allowed people to choose their starting positions. Equally I don't want the director to check that players have sat in the right place so I can never imagine running a RealBridge event without a config file to force people to sit in the right place.

    The idea of around 100 people paying for different amounts of events in advance at different times and sometimes paying for their partners and reducing their balance appropriately each time they play is would mean we would be looking for new treasurers and finding no takers. Not everyone has internet banking so you will still have to deal with cheques. At club level these balances would have to be updated daily ready for the next event so the director/organiser only sends out the link to those in credit and only includes those in the config file.

    The idea of chasing members for over £100 after 3 months once again would mean we did not have a treasurer.

    In short it is a problem of scale. The solutions 495670 suggests are fine for a small club meeting once or maybe twice a week or 8 to 10 major county events a year but on the scale I have suggested they are impractical.

  • Agree with you Paul.

    And that is with my County Treasurer Hat on.

    would be interested to see a system to download entries; download payments and be able to "find" all the cases on both lists and link them together. I have looked at a few processes and all say that there will need to be manual checks on unlinked cases. Those can be many and varied.

    I have now developed a memory of BBO names and can link them to payments including those that are out of format and those that include other names that haven't played. May we live in interesting times.


  • Its not specific to RealBridge, but we run a 3 club sytem with around 2300 player sessions per month. Every XML file is put in a shared DropBox folder with each club having that responsibility for a month. I have a utility that analyses all the XML files and prinits the individual costs (and the monthly summary) so we can invoice players at the end of month, (with the Player Session allocation supplied to the EBU for UMS allocation purposes between the 3 clubs).

  • We implemented SpadeTickets to enable us to keep track of the table money paid for Realbridge sessions. Members buy a ticket before the session and are automatically sent the relevant Realbridge link. Although the system was implemented to enable us to run Realbridge sessions without undue administration, it is now used for all member purchases, for example training sessions and renewal subscriptions.

  • AndrewF, would you reccommend SpadeTickets ? I am a County treasurer and a bit concerned about the workload of tracking payments if we move to RealBridge from BBO. Thanks for any advice.

  • edited February 2021

    The latest EBU Club management focus mentions 3 different systems for taking money, each no doubt with their advantages and disadvantages. https://ebu.co.uk/newsletters/Winter-2021 Certainly worth a read. I can't offer any advice, as we still play on BBO, and I can't see us moving having educated the members on how to use that.

  • I understand Bridgewebs will be introducing a payment system soon, which might be convenient particularly for clubs that already use it to display their results.

  • edited June 2021

    Our club runs RealBridge and BBO sessions. The results are then imported into ScoreBridge.
    ScoreBridge now has a facility to create a Player Game Count Report, which we do every 2 months and then post a list of table money owed by each player. They then pay by BACS or cheque, an acceptable work load for our treasurer.
    We expect to continue with this when we reopen. We have not had unwanted players, but welcome visitors from other local clubs.

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