A newcomer game is limited to players who hold fewer than 20 masterpoints, although a club can set a lower maximum, such as one masterpoint, if it so desires.

A newcomer game is conducted to acquaint new players with duplicate bridge and to encourage participation by inexperienced players.

A newcomer game must consist of at least two and one-half tables. However, there are masterpoint awards for two-table newcomer games conducted as individuals or team games. Participants must be scheduled to play a minimum of 6 boards.

Any club with a sanctioned game may conduct a newcomer game session. The game session may be run any time. The club must list the newcomer game session on the sanction application and the monthly report. When the newcomer game is run concurrently with another sanctioned game, only the table fees are due ACBL.

ACBL recognizes that some relatively skilled players, through failure to register their club masterpoints, retain masterpoint eligibility to participate in newcomer events inappropriate to their skill and/or experience. When the director or club management determines that the ability of a player is vastly superior to that of the other newcomer game participants, the club may refuse entry of that player in its newcomer events. In such a case, the director should advise the player, as diplomatically as possible, that he or she is too proficient to play in the newcomer game. The director should encourage the player instead to participate in the club’s games with a higher masterpoint limitation or the open games.


Subject to specified conditions, a club may allow one or two players who hold 20 or more masterpoints to play in a newcomer game. This would be the case when there is a single newcomer player available whose participation would eliminate a half-table movement. For example, if there were 13 pairs plus one single, there would be a 6½ – table game which, by adding a player, would become seven tables. In this instance, the club may allow one non-newcomer to play. In addition, when there is an odd number of newcomer pairs entered, resulting in a half-table movement, the club may allow two non-newcomer players to participate if each plays with a newcomer partner and if a Mitchell-type movement is used; that is, the two newcomer/non-newcomer pairs sit in opposite directions. These pairs are ineligible for masterpoint awards from the newcomer event. In no case may the two non-newcomer players play as partners.  A partnership, including one with a fill-in player (non-newcomer), may use only the conventions the club allows for that game.


Pairs in which one partner is a non-newcomer will not receive masterpoints and will not be ranked. For example, if an ineligible pair earns sufficient matchpoints to have finished second, that pair is not ranked. Instead, the third-place pair is ranked second and receives the second place masterpoint awards. In such a case, all lower-ranked pairs move up one rank, accordingly.


Ineligible pairs count in table totals. For example, ACBL considers as a three-table game one that consists of four pairs of newcomers and two other pairs, each of which is made up of one newcomer and one non-newcomer, even though the two mixed (non-newcomer and newcomer) pairs are ineligible for masterpoint awards.


At the discretion of club management, three-member pairs may participate in newcomer games. The club will apportion earned masterpoints among the three players in a ratio that approximates the number of boards each played. For example, a pair consisting of newcomer players A, B, and C finishes first in a newcomer game where each member of a two-member pair is entitled to .40 masterpoints, or .80 masterpoints for the pair. In this three-member pair, however, A, B, and C split .80 masterpoints according to the number of boards each played.