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Meet the 2015 Winner of The World Cup of Online Bridge: Mark Thiele

Winner of The World Cup of Online Bridge

Mark Thiele (aka ‘Tieltje’) is the big winner of the 2015 World Cup of Online Bridge which took place last Sunday on We contacted him to learn more about the new champion and his way to the top. So without further ado – we introduce to you Tieltje:

Mark is 43 years old and lives in The Netherlands. He started playing bridge at the age of 22. He used to play chess and was quite good at it but decided to focus on bridge being inspired by the Dutch team winning its first Bermuda Bowl back in 1993. Nowadays Mark plays bridge at the highest league in The Netherlands. Besides bridge, Mark has been working in IT in various jobs, the last years he has been mainly working as a database programmer.

We asked Mark a couple of questions about the tournament and his experience playing on

  • How does it feel being the first winner of the World Cup of Online Bridge?

“The feeling of winning the tournament is fantastic, the adrenaline rush after winning I just can’t describe. The money involved with it is very nice, sure, but winning such a strong tournament gives an enormous boost in your confidence.”

  • You bought in directly to the tournament. why didn’t you play the Step qualifiers?

“I played a few qualifiers but the bots sometimes make me crazy :).”

  • I heard that someone bought half of your ticket. Do you regret it now? 😉

“A friend of mine was willing to pay half the ticket as i wanted to compete and i still found €350 quite a lot of money, after all you can be finished in 8 boards. I surely don’t regret it, what I said before; winning the strong tournament was way more important to me. Furthermore his trust in me paid out for him, he fully deserves his share!”

  • In your opinion, how is playing on different from ‘real live’ bridge? Do you play differently (more aggressive/careful etc.)?

“The level of play in the World Cup was a lot better than in cash games where people sometimes play really strange. In cash games people tend to bid NT much more often because probably think they play better, to see the quality of play when being dummy can be quite frustrating sometimes. As I said the quality of the world cup was quite good, I just tried to play my ‘normal’ bridge and don’t let a bad board influence me.

The main difference between playing on and real live is of course the interactions with the other players. That people cannot chat with each other during the game I can understand, perhaps it is an idea to create some kind of lobby where people can meet (chat) each other, lets say the BridgeBig Cafe :-)”

  • Could you give any advice to (new) players on

“If I could give any advice to a bridge player it would be to play ‘normal’, bridge is not an action game.”

And of course any bridge related article would not be completed without a nice deal from the tournament:

Mark explains his thoughts process for the first 2 passes and for the killing double:

“After my right opponent passed, I passed as well. The hand has great defensive power, therefor i like to open 4441 or 5440 hands having more hcp. Left from me opened 1S pass and right from me bid 2NT as a spade limit. When my left opponent bid 3S it went pass pass. I now doubled because points are somewhat 20\20 and the suits splits real bad. The contract went 1 down for 85%.”


What do you think?

Written by BridgeBig

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