ACBL Bridge Beat #123: Beer Card

Under certain special circumstances the 7 is known as the beer card. If declarer wins trick 13 with the 7 in a successful contract, he claims, “Beer Card!” and his partner must buy him a beer. You cannot claim “Beer Card!” if you go down. If a defender wins the last trick with the 7 and declarer has been set, the defender may also claim, “Beer Card!” and his partner must buy him a beer. A defender cannot claim “Beer Card!” if declarer makes his contract.

Greg Morse, with help from Jeff Goldsmith and Sheri Winestock, unearthed the Beer Card history. The 7 has a special role in a Danish game called “Boma-Loma.” Partly because of this, bridge players in Copenhagen were the first bridge players to use the Beer Card term. It became common in Europe and reached London by the Eighties. The term was imported into North America by the American Junior team after they made a visit to Poland for a Junior Bridge Camp during the Nineties. It has since spread around the world, mostly via World Junior Championships.

This situation came up in a bridge laws discussion group on the internet in 1998.

Declarer (South) was playing 3NT and had lost four tricks. At trick 12, West was on lead in this position:

♠ —
♣ A
♠ — ♠ 3 2
♣ K 7 ♣ —
♠ —
A 7
♣ —

As West’s ♣7 hit the table, declarer claimed. A few seconds later (but after a perceptible pause), declarer remarked to North, “And you owe me a beer.”

The director was bemused at being summoned to the table by dummy who contested the claim.

Dummy protested that declarer did not state that he was going to unblock the A (so as to take the last trick with the beer card).

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