MEET OUR BRIDGE TEAM
THE BEST BRIDGE TEACHERS IN THE BUSINESS
Giorgia Botta is an international bridge champion and world class teacher. Born and raised in Rome, Italy, where she learned to play bridge at the age of 12 from some of the greatest bridge players in the world, Giorgia now resides in New York City, where she has become one of the most respected and sought after teachers and professional players. She teaches and plays regularly at Honors Bridge Club, the largest bridge club in North America, as well as traveling internationally to teach and play bridge. Giorgia has a youthful exuberance and currency in the game that assures you excellent bridge instruction.
John Ramos is a professional bridge teacher and in the country's top echelon of tournament players. At the 2019 Fall Nationals, he placed third in the Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs, the oldest and most prestigious pairs event in the United States, besting a host of top experts from all over the world. In addition to his skill at competing, he is a passionate teacher and believes that anyone can improve with the help of an attentive and engaged instructor. Originally from New York City, where he was mentored by many of the country’s top players, he’s lived in Los Angeles for the past twelve years. He works with players of all levels privately, on cruises, and at his adopted home, the Beverly Hills Bridge Club, one of the biggest clubs in California, which he also manages.
Christopher Rivera is an ACBL Accredited Bridge Teacher and tournament rated director. He is Assistant Head Director at Honors Bridge Club, the largest bridge club in North America. He learned to play bridge from his grandmother, who taught him valuable lessons in card play, but Goren style bidding, which he had to unlearn when he began playing bridge seriously. In addition to bridge, he plays many other card and board games. He has a degree in Physics from Lawrence University. He also serves as Bridge Director at Play Bridge At Sea.
some of Our teachers
Stephannie Culbertson is the Manager and Head Director at the Cavendish Bridge Club, as well as a Gold LIfe Master. She learned to play bridge after she moved across the street from a bridge club and quickly became addicted. In addition to bridge, Stephannie chairs the Nero Award for Best American Mystery and is a wine and spirits judge for The Fifty Best. She is a retired IT Manager and has degrees from MaryMount Manhattan College, New York University and Baruch College, City University of New York.
Jim Gundell is a passionate and competitive bridge player who took up the game after capping off a forty year career in the Retail and Fashion industry sectors, most recently as a Chief Operating Officer at Eileen Fisher. His connection to the game is inspired by his life master mother who he continues to learn from when they get a chance to play together. Jim is a co-founder of Play Bridge at Sea™---he has supported the cruise experience as a house player and has worked with the team to pivot to on line learning in 2020. Jim was born in New York City, grew up in Westchester County, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Romance Languages
Patty Tucker is a full-time bridge teacher, Grand Life Master, and member of the American Contract Bridge League Hall of Fame. Her contributions to teaching and bridge education are extensive: she is the creator of Learn Bridge in a Day, co-founder of Atlanta Junior Bridge, coach for the Georgia Tech collegiate team, and past president of the American Bridge Teachers' Association.
Michael Polowan is a professional bridge player and instructor as well as a respected bridge theorist. A Grand Life Master, he has been playing competitively since the age of 15, and has been a presence at the highest levels of bridge competition for over 30 years. Michael has won four North American Bridge Championship titles including the prestigious Vanderbilt Cup, and has placed second 11 times. Additionally, Michael has been the recipient of the Mott-Smith Trophy which is awarded for the best individual performance at the spring North American Bridge Championship. He also has won and placed second in numerous international events including the Forbo Teams, the Whitehouse Teams, the Cavendish Teams, the NEC Cup and the Israeli National Open Pairs. Michael believes that bridge allows us to think both creatively and analytically, and this animates his continued passion for the sport. He lives in New York City.
Tom Carmichael is an ACBL Grand Life Master. He has been an ABTA certified bridge teacher for over 25 years. He has also represented the USA in international competitions both as a player and as a coach since 1994.
Ron Smith is a champion bridge player who currently resides in Chicago. His accomplishments include winning 10 North American Bridge Championships, including the Blue Ribbon Pairs and the Reisinger Teams, 15 second place finishes, and a Bronze Medal in the Senior World Championships. He credits his sister with introducing him to the game. She used to take him to the local bridge club when she was his babysitter. He discovered at that early age that he had a knack for playing.
Finn Kolesnik . at only sixteen years of age, Finn already has several major accomplishments as a player on the national scene, and is quickly becoming an acknowledged teacher. Finn also teaches with John Ramos in his Think Like an Expert series on Wednesday mornings.
Liam Milne is from Sydney Australia and is an accomplished bridge player, writer and teacher. Liam's recent NABC results include a win in the Mitchell B-A-M and 3rd in the Reisinger at the 2019 San Francisco NABC. In addition to frequent appearances on the Australian national team, Liam runs private bridge clinics in Sydney and has recently edited a book about improving one's mental resilience at the bridge table.
Anam Tebha is a Pakistani-American professional player who learned bridge as a teen-ager while attending school in Pakistan. She has gone on to win several major bridge titles, including the Mixed Swiss at the 2016 NABC in Orlando, Florida, partnering with bridge legend Zia Mahmood, and both the Team and Board-a-Match events at the 2017 Youth Open Bridge Championships in Lyon, France.
Josh Donn is a professional bridge player, teacher and writer who lives in Las Vegas. He is a Grand Life Master who has won four NABC open championships and a World Junior Team Championship. In addition, he works for Bridge Base Online investigating potential cheaters. Starting January, 2021, Josh will write the Bidding Box column in the ACBL Bridge Bulletin.
Zach learned to play bridge from his mom at age 7 and became a Life Master at 12. He's won four North American Bridge Championship titles, and is the youngest player in ACBL history to become a Grand Life Master, having earned that rank in 2019, the year he graduated from Tufts University. Zach plays and teaches bridge professionally
Mitch Towner is a champion bridge and poker player, as well as a Professor of Finance at the University of Arizona. In bridge, he was a 4-time US Junior team representative, and has many top 20 finishes in NABC+ events, including the Fast Pairs and the Platinum Pairs. In 2016, Mitch won the World Series of Poker Monster Stack Championship for $1,120,000.
Joel Wooldridge is an ACBL Grand Life Master and world renown bridge player who has won nine NABC titles, as well as two silver medals and a bronze in international team events. He is also a highly regarded teacher. Joel lives in New York City, where he plays and teaches bridge daily.
Alfredo Versace is a professional bridge player born in Turin, Italy, who currently resides in Rome. He has been a stalwart on Italian teams for almost three decades and has won many European and world championships. He is ranked in the top ten best living players. Versace watched the game as a youngster at his grandfather's club. He played in his first tournament at the age of ten and at fifteen he joined Belladonna–Garozzo on Italy's Lavazza team in Turin."
James Holzhauer is a competitive duplicate bridge player and Silver Life Master. He is perhaps best known as a game show contestant and professional sports gambler. He is the third-highest-earning American game show contestant of all time, and made news headlines for his 32-game winning streak on the quiz show Jeopardy!. He set multiple single-game records for winnings, and he won the following Tournament of Champions that November. James brings insights from a broad experience of competitive gaming to the bridge table.