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Bob Hamman

Robert David "Bob" Hamman (born August 6, 1938 in Pasadena, California) is an American professional bridge player, among the greatest players of all time. He is from Dallas, Texas.

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 and won three more Bermuda Bowls in partnership with Paul Soloway and Zia Mahmood.

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


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.

Dallas businessman Ira Corn established the first full-time professional team in 1968, the Dallas Aces, later simply Aces. Hamman joined in 1969, as the sixth player, and established a partnership with Billy Eisenberg. Following the retirement of Italy's Blue team, they won the 1970 Bermuda Bowl as North America representative and repeated in 1971 as defending champion. He has won 12 world championships and 50 North American championships. Hamman and Brent Manley wrote his autobiography At the Table: My Life and Times, published in 1994 (ISBN 0-9642584-1-2). He was inducted into the ACBL Hall of Fame in 1999; a version of his citation that reports 23,219 masterpoints to March 2001 also 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."

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 annual Vanderbilt Trophy, the oldest open teams event in North America, in 2000. 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 quarterfinal match; they won that session by 34 IMPs 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, a prize promotion business in Dallas.

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

Bridge accomplishments