Bob Hamman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Robert David (Bob) Hamman[1] (born August 6, 1938 in Pasadena, California)[2] is an American professional bridge player, among the greatest players of all time.[3], [4]

Hamman and Bobby Wolff played as partners for nearly three decades on teams that challenged for major trophies in North America and often for world championships. Representing the United States (from about 1980, previously North America) they won eight world championships for national teams, the 1988 World Team Olympiad and seven Bermuda Bowls spanning 1970 to 1995. For the last they were members of Nick Nickell's professional team, where Hamman remained a fixture through the current two-year cycle[a] and won three more Bermuda Bowls in partnership with Paul Soloway and Zia Mahmood.

Beginning 2012/2013,[a] Nickell has replaced Bobby Hamman and Zia Mahmood with Bobby LevinSteve Weinstein.[5] A new pairing for Hamman with Bart Bramley was announced in July[6] but never secured, according to a November report that Hamman will play with Justin Lall.[7] Justin was a silver medalist in the 2011 Bermuda Bowl[8] and is the son of Hemant Lall, Hamman's partner in 2007.[9]


Hamman first qualified for a world championship in the open category by winning the American Contract Bridge League international trials in 1963, for the 1964 World Team Olympiad. That was a "pairs trial" from which the winning pair and two of the three runners-up would be selected as a 6-person team.[citation needed]

Late in the decade he joined Ira Corn's professional team, the Dallas Aces, which won the Bermuda Bowl in 1970 (as North America representative) and repeated in 1971, following the retirement of the Italian Blue team. He has won 12 world championships and 50 North American championships. In 1994, Hamman wrote his autobiography At the Table: My Life and Times (ISBN 0-9642584-1-2). His citation at the ACBL Hall of Fame (2001) lists his competition achievements, and reads:

"One of the world’s greatest players, ranks #1 among WBF [World Bridge Federation] Grand Masters, also ranks 1st in world performance over past 10 years. Member ACBL Hall of Fame. Has been highest ranked player in the world since 1985."[10]

Hamman's most unusual accomplishment may be eight wins in the ACBL's most important pair championships (Blue Ribbon Pairs, Life Master Pairs and Men's Pairs) with eight different partners. He won the World Open Pairs once, with Bobby Wolff in 1974, and he was second in 1994 with Michael Rosenberg.

Probably his most popular and emotional win, other than the 1970 Bermuda Bowl, was the 2000 Vanderbilt Trophy, the oldest open teams event in North America. Despite myriad other wins, Hamman had not won the Vanderbilt since 1973. His partner Paul Soloway was severely ill, commuting between the tournament site and the hospital, and literally came out of his sickbed to play the final quarter of the teams quarterfinal match, where they won 34 IMPs in the final quarter to win the match by 1. On the final board, Hamman and Soloway had a bidding misunderstanding to reach a very poor 6H contract, but their opponents could not work out declarer's hand due to the unusual auction, and the contract made, providing the margin of victory.

Hamman is the president of SCA Promotions,[11] a prize promotion business in Dallas, Texas.

Hamman's Law is the maxim, "If you have a choice of reasonable bids and one of them is 3NT, then bid it."[12]

Bridge accomplishments[edit]


  • ACBL Hall of Fame 1999
  • ACBL Honorary Member of the Year 1991


  • ACBL Player of the Year 1990, 1993, 2006
  • Fishbein Trophy 1969, 1983
  • Herman Trophy 1978, 1988, 1993
  • Precision Award (Best Defended Hand of the Year) 1986, 1993




  1. ^ a b The current cycle for major professional teams in the United States covers 2011 and 2012 world championships, which are contested in the second half of the calendar year. New commitments begin in July but do not interfere with the world stage of the previous cycle. "Rosenberg-Willenken Joining Fleisher in 2012" by Martin Fleisher (2011-07-13). Bridge Winners. Retrieved 2011-07-15. See the clarification by Fleisher in the comments.


  1. ^ The 1st World Mind Sports Games.
  2. ^ Biography - Texas Monthly, May 2010
  3. ^ Hasenson, Peter (2004). The British Bridge Almanack. London: 77 Publishing. p. 486. ISBN 0-9549241-0-X. 
  4. ^ Smith, Marc (1999). World Class, Conversations with the Bridge Masters. Toronto: Master Point Press. ISBN 1-894154-15-0. 
  5. ^ Levin-Weinstein Joining Nickell in 2012 (2011-07-05). Bridge Winners. Retrieved 2011-07-15.
  6. ^ Hamman Joins New Team for Next Cycle (2011-07-22). Bridge Winners. Retrieved 2011-07-23.
  7. ^ Justin Lall to Play With Bob Hamman (2011-11-27). Bridge Winners. Retrieved 2011-11-27.
  8. ^ Team USA 2. 40th World Team Championship. 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
  9. ^ Team USA 2 (Nickell). 38th World Team Championship. 2007. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
  10. ^ Robert D. Hamman at the Wayback Machine (archived June 1, 2007). ACBL Hall of Fame.
  11. ^ "SCA Promotions". 
  12. ^ English Bridge, June 2006, page 19

Further reading[edit]

  • Hamman, Bob; Manley, Brent (1994). At the Table: My Life and Times. Memphis, TN: DBM Publications. p. 314. ISBN 0-9642584-0-4. 
  • Wolff, Bobby (2008). The Lone Wolff: autobiography of a bridge maverick. Toronto: Master Point Press. ISBN 978-1-897106-37-2. 

External links[edit]