My name is John Stell and I’m the owner of Stellar Bridge. I’ve been playing bridge since my College days, from over 30 years ago.

I absolutely loved playing cards since my Grandad taught me how to play Cribbage…I still have my Grandad’s Cribbage board…although different matches (LOL).

grandads cribbage board
My Grandad’s Cribbage board

At college every FREE period was taken up playing cards and money was usually involved…although if you won more than a £1 you’d be doing really well. We started off with the usual Pontoon (Blackjack if you’re from the US of A), Gin Rummy with black 2’s and one eyed Jack’s wild and then we moved onto Hearts, Spades, German Whist and finally finished up at Solo Whist.

I knew a game called Bridge existed, so I thought to myself, right, let’s learn that. I had a book called Waddingtons family card games by Robert Harbin. And there was a section on bridge….a whole 7 pages long….so I read that and showed everyone else how to play…and we were off.

Waddingtons family card games by Robert Harbin

I’d love to be able to go back in time and see how I played then, I’m sure my card play would have been okay due to playing so many other whist type games but the bidding would have been rank awful for sure. Let’s put it this way we used to use 3NT as asking for aces! How did that work?

After college I attended university and the first thing I did was look to join the Bridge Club. To begin with it was terrible, I was playing with a guy who kept crashing his honours….he would go 3 off in 3NT with a combined 28 account with the hands all balanced….I was really frustrated, then I was saved by a guy called Steven Allen …who possibly plays for Hertfordshire now…there is someone by that name if you check the NGS rankings anyway.

He announced himself by standing on a chair and shouting….”does anybody here play Italian Blue Club?”

Tumbleweed!

Well I was intrigued as I didn’t really play any systems because I didnt know they existed!

So I got talking to him and after many pints discovered Bridge was a completely different game from the game I thought it was….there was so much more skill and precision in the game and I loved it and still do to this day.

So a big thank you to Steve Allen for really helping me on my bridge way…

Update

I managed to find Steve and get in contact with him…and now he plays in our EBU lockdown League team! Pretty amazing!