Which Bridge Scoring System Should I Use?

Which Bridge Scoring System Should I Use?

A Comprehensive Guide for Clubs and Tournaments

In the world of bridge clubs and tournaments, selecting the right scoring software is an important, and sometimes anxiety-inducing, decision for organizers. With a variety of options available, each offering unique features and pricing models, it’s hard to decide without understanding how these systems compare in terms of ease of use, cost-effectiveness, and overall functionality. We’ve asked chatGPT (with a little help from our writer) for an article that provides a comprehensive comparison of five leading bridge scoring software products: BridgePad, Bridgemate, IBEScore, BriAN and BridgeTab. We explore their pricing models, user interfaces, key features, and the flexibility they offer. Hopefully this will help club and tournament organizers in making an informed choice that best suits their specific operational needs and preferences.


BridgePad offers a traditional, hardware-based bridge scoring system, emphasizing ease of use and reliability. It provides both purchase and leasing options for its scoring terminals and base units, making it versatile for different budget needs. This system is designed for clubs and tournaments that prefer a tangible scoring solution with straightforward functionality.

  • Pricing and Options:
    • Purchase or Lease: Options to purchase or lease the BridgePad™ Bridge Scoring System.
    • BridgePad™ Terminal:
      • 1-19 units: $125 each, with a leasing option of $40 initial and $5 monthly, and an extended warranty at $10/year.
      • 20 or more units: $120 each, same leasing and warranty options.
    • BridgePad™ Base Unit: $125 each, with the same leasing and warranty options. A discounted price of $120 when purchased with 20 or more terminals.
    • Carry Case: $75, holds 20 BridgePad™ TableTop Terminals
    • Author’s Note: The Bridgepad website has removed content from their ‘How to Purchase’ and closed their contact form. This begs the question whether they are still in business.
    • Contact Info:
      Los Altos, CA
      650.520.6210 sales@bridgepadrf.com


Bridgemate is known for its elegant design and user-friendly interface, catering to a wide range of bridge scoring needs. It offers a variety of hardware products, including the Bridgemate II and Bridgemate Pro, accompanied by a range of accessories and additional services like the Magic Contest scoring program.

  • Products & Pricing:
    • Bridgemate II: €120. Includes 2 AA batteries and a 2-year warranty.
    • Bridgemate Pro (refurbished): €50. Includes 4 AAA batteries and a 1-year warranty.
    • Accessories: Various accessories ranging from €4 to €170.
    • Additional Services: Magic Contest scoring program (€310), Extended warranty (€9 per Bridgemate for Bridgemate II).
    • Credits for App Scoring and Play: Ranging from €21 for 1,000 credits to €375 for 25,000 credits​​​​​​​​​​.The company uses a credit-based system where users must purchase credits to use the software for scoring bridge games. Each credit allows for a certain amount of usage or functionality within the app. For example, a credit might be consumed for each score entered or each board played using the app. You can purchase credits in bulk.
    • Distribution – Bridge Systems has appointed official distributors of Bridgemate in all major bridge markets. You can find your local distributor at this page.
    • Contact Info:
      Bridge Systems BV
      Nijverheidsstraat 118
      Rijswijk, 2288 BB
      The Netherlands
      Phone: +31-70-2505444
      Email: info@moc.etamegdirb

IBEScore: It’s on your phone

New kid on the block, IBEScore is a digital, app-based scoring system, offering a modern solution for bridge game scoring. It provides flexible subscription-based plans, including comprehensive support and training, making it ideal for clubs that prefer a fully digital (players use their phones) and service-oriented approach to scoring.

  • Plans:
    • Silver Success Game Code: For club/private games, self-managed, result publication, 2 virtual training sessions, player database support. Prices: £27.50/month, £275.00/annually; €33/month, €330/annually; $36/month, $360/annually.
    • Virtual Gold Game Code: For multi-session games/tournaments, managed services, up to 4 game codes, 6-hour virtual training, online club hosting. Prices: £60.00/month, £660.00/annually; €72/month, €790/annually; $78/month, $860/annually.
    • BEX Bronze: Free limited access service for private games and team matches.
    • Enterprise Solution: Starting from £100.00/month for comprehensive services tailored for larger organizations​​​​​​.
  • Contact:
    • International Bridge Excellence Ltd
      62 Lynmouth Ave Chelmsford, Essex, UK CM2 0TR
      Phone: +44 7503 923 150

BridgeTab: Uses tablets

BridgeTab presents a cost-effective and innovative approach to bridge scoring, utilizing standard tablets as scoring devices. It offers free software and server licenses, emphasizing an intuitive user experience and compatibility with various scoring programs, ideal for clubs seeking a simple, digital scoring solution.

  • Pricing: Free apps and server license. The initial server license allows up to 15 tables. There are options for additional licenses.
  • Features: Intuitive interface, no special hardware required, compatible with a range of scoring programs, silent TD calls feature.
  • User Reviews: Positive feedback from users who have transitioned from other systems like Bridgemate​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​.
  • Contact:

BriAn: Uses Smartphones

BriAn is  an electronic scoring system for contract bridge. It is designed to work with smartphones, including Android and iOS devices, and is versatile enough to support various forms of bridge play, including duplicates, tournaments, and café bridge. This makes it a flexible tool for organizing and scoring bridge games in diverse settings.

Products & Pricing

  • Free BriAn Version: This version is available for those who wish to use BriAn only for duplicate bridge. It’s free to set up your phone to enter scores and browse results and hand diagrams for a BriAn-based duplicate game. This version is recommended for club directors and contains game administration functions. The use of the server by game administrators is chargeable, but it’s not necessary to purchase the paid app to create and run a duplicate game using the BriAn system. Free BriAn is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices​​.
  • Credits System: Games are valued based on their size (number of boards, tables, and rounds), and you pay for server time using credits. The cost in credits varies depending on the size of the game:
    • Small game (2-10 tables): 3 credits per traveller line.
    • Medium game (10½ – 20 tables): 4 credits per traveller line.
    • Large game (21½ – 30 tables): 5 credits per traveller line.
    • Huge game (more than 30½ tables): 7 credits per traveller line.
  • Credit Values and Purchases: Approximately 100 credits are worth one British pound. Buying more credits at once offers a better rate. There’s also a loyalty scheme for regular customers. For example, game prices in credits could be:
    • 2-table, 15-board Howell game: 90 credits.
    • 6-table, 24-board Hesitation Mitchell game: 432 credits.
    • 14½-table, 30-board Mitchell, 14 rounds game: 1,568 credits.
    • 48-table, 24-board café bridge game: 7,056 credits.
  • New Accounts and Loyalty Factor: New slots/accounts are primed with a credit balance of 1,000. Regular purchases increase the account’s loyalty factor, which acts as a multiplier for the nominal credits purchased.
  • Redeeming Credits: Unused credits can be redeemed at a rate of 85% of the original expenditure, including an administration fee. Credits bought most cheaply (e.g., due to the loyalty factor) must be redeemed first​​.
  • History: In summer 2011, London bridge director Ned Paul and biologist Victor Lesk had the idea of using modern smartphone technology to drastically reduce the cost of electronic scoring to bridge directors, as well as improving the experience for players. Over the next few months Lesk developed a prototype application, BriAn, which was trialled for the first time at the Young Chelsea Bridge Club in Earl’s Court, London, on December 2011.
  • Contact:

Key Comparison Points, all systems

  1. Pricing Models:
    • BridgePad: Offers both purchase and lease options, providing flexibility for different budgets. Extended warranty available for additional cost.
    • Bridgemate: Products sold at various price points, with additional costs for accessories and extended services and per score credits.
    • IBEScore: Subscription-based service with monthly and annual plans, catering to different levels of usage and service requirements.
    • BridgeTab: Primarily a free solution, focusing on software with free apps and server license, and options for additional licenses at a cost.
    • BriAn: Operates on a credits system, with free and paid versions. Costs depend on the size of the game, with additional benefits for regular users through a loyalty program.
  2. Ease of Use & User Interface:
    • BridgePad: Traditional hardware-based system, requiring a terminal for each table and a base unit for the scoring computer.
    • Bridgemate: Offers a user-friendly interface with a variety of hardware options for scoring.
    • IBEScore: Digital, app-based system with extensive support and training, indicating a focus on user accessibility.
    • BridgeTab: Emphasizes an intuitive interface and simplicity, with no need for special hardware.
    • BriAn: A digital, app-based system that’s user-friendly and requires no additional equipment other than smartphones or tablets.
  3. Features & Support:
    • BridgePad: Basic scoring system with hardware components; support available through warranty and customer service.
    • Bridgemate: Comprehensive system with various hardware options and additional services like the Magic Contest scoring program.
    • IBEScore: Offers managed services, virtual training, and support for both online and physical games, making it versatile.
    • BridgeTab: Provides free software with features like silent TD calls, compatible with a range of scoring programs.
    • BriAn: Supports various types of bridge games including duplicates and café bridge. It offers a free version for basic use and a full version with game administration functions.
  4. Flexibility & Suitability:
    • BridgePad: Suitable for clubs that prefer a more traditional, hardware-focused scoring system and have a flexible budget. Uses hand-held scoring devices.
    • Bridgemate: Ideal for clubs seeking a comprehensive, hardware-rich scoring system with a range of products and accessories. Uses hand-held scoring devices.
    • IBEScore: Best for clubs that prefer a digital approach with a variety of service levels and extensive customer support. Uses smartphones.
    • BridgeTab: Perfect for clubs looking for a cost-effective, straightforward digital scoring system with minimal hardware requirements. Uses tablets.
    • BriAn: Suitable for a range of settings from casual to competitive, ideal for clubs and events that prefer a flexible, app-based system. Uses smartphones.
  5. User Feedback & Reviews:
    • BridgePad: Information not specifically available; general consideration needed for hardware maintenance and user familiarity. Some concern that the website purchase information is not available.
    • Bridgemate: Known for its elegant design and user experience; however, the cost might be a consideration for some clubs. The World Bridge Federation (WBF) and the European Bridge League have been using Bridgemate scoring systems for all their tournaments since 2005. This long-standing use highlights Bridgemate’s capability to handle the complexities and scale of international bridge tournaments, ensuring accurate and efficient scoring.
    • IBEScore: Likely to be well-received for its comprehensive digital approach and support, especially for clubs inclined towards app-based solutions. Case studies can be found on their website here.
    • BridgeTab: Positive feedback from users, especially those transitioning from other systems, highlighting its ease of use and reliability. Read a review, dated 2018, on Bridge Winners here.
    • BriAn: User feedback would likely focus on the convenience of using personal devices and the flexibility of the system for various game types, though detailed reviews specific to BriAn were not available. Bridgewebs points to events using BriAn. Read an article in EBU Magazine dated 2013.


Each system offers distinct features and pricing models, catering to different preferences and operational styles of bridge clubs and tournaments. The decision would depend on factors like budget, preference for hardware vs. digital solutions, ease of use, and the level of support and features required. We hope this article, and its links, will help you make your decision as to what system to incorporate into your bridge clubs and tournaments. For more information on any of the five systems discussed above, please contact the developer directly.