ACBL Bridge Beat #124: 50,000

Think about it – 50,000 masterpoints. Even in an age when critics argue that masterpoints are inflated and easy to obtain, it is still a stupendous achievement.

In late September 1998, Paul Soloway, the expert who topped the masterpoint list since the death of Barry Crane in 1985, propelled himself past a masterpoint milestone that only a handful of other players could only think about attaining.

“Let’s face it – masterpoints are easy to earn. Much easier than when I began playing. But I’d trade them all for world championships,” Soloway said. “I wouldn’t say that masterpoints are meaningless,” he continued, “but for me they’re just a by-product of doing my job. They’re part of how I make my living. For me personally, masterpoints have become an attendance award.”

So how much is 50,000? If you were to take 50,000 of the old ACBL masterpoint slips and lay them end to end, they would stretch the length of almost four miles. If you were to stack them, they would reach a height of more than 16 feet. If you were to go to your local club and play everyday and you earned one masterpoint each day, it would take you 137 years to earn 50,000.

Soloway remained at the top of the masterpoint list until 2010 (three years after his death), when his lifetime total of 65,511.92 masterpoints was surpassed by Jeff Meckstroth. Since then, both Jeff Meckstroth and Mike Passell have surpassed 70,000 masterpoints, two players – Eric Rodwell and Eddie Wold – have cracked 60,000 masterpoints and Mark Lair has earned more than 59,000 masterpoints.

Paul Soloway

Paul Soloway

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