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Regional and Open Sectional Bridge Tournament taking place in Bentonville

Players come from all over to compete in the Regional and Open Sectional Bridge Tournament in Bentonville this week.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Bridge players from all over are in Bentonville this weekend to compete in the Regional and Open Sectional Tournament.

But, it’s not your average card game, these competitors are here to win.

This year’s bridge tournament pulled in the largest turnout with 250 people. The tournament has been held in Bella Vista for the past 12 years but moved to Bentonville this year.

“Most of us are retired professional people that like competition, that have strategic minds, that want to keep our minds thinking,” Laura Batey, Chairman of the Tournament said.

One bridge player came all the way from Mississippi to compete.

“This is what we come here for,” Bridge player Rodney Nichols said “You get to play with other people from other areas that you obviously don’t normally play against. You’re meeting different players with a little bit different techniques of playing, different strategies, that you don’t see in your home club.”

The players don’t compete for physical prizes. They're trying to earn enough points to eventually be awarded the title of life master. And to give the players more techniques, the tournament brought in a professional bridge player and life master to teach a bridge workshop.

“So that was my goal, was to, you know, help improve their overall ability to play this game, which can be pretty complicated,” said Jerry Helms, professional bridge player and teacher.

They also try to give back with the tournament. The proceeds from their game on Wednesday are going to the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank.

But most of all, the players love the competition.

“They teach us to be friendly and to be nice. That doesn’t mean you can’t still be competitive and want to win, because everyone in here, trust me, wants to win,” Batey said.

And they came ready to win.

“Absolutely, everybody tries to win!” Nichols said.

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