Most people love being able to look at travelers. They want to see how they've done and what others are doing. I, however, am not a fan. After all, I can tell when the dummy comes down if I've reached the proper contract, and paying attention during the play or defense of the hand is enough to tell me if our side has taken all our tricks. So without looking at a traveler, I already know how well I've done compared to the optimal result -- and isn't that what matters more? Would you rather play bad bridge, but get lucky and score well, or play good bridge on a day where everyone else at the club is going bonkers and settle for a 50% game?
Some folks prefer masterpoints. I prefer to play well. On most days, the masterpoints will come when you play well, after all.
So that's why travelers aren't necessary. Here's why they're just plain bad:
- Someone always reads off the results. "Some people made 3N, but 4S goes down every time!" The people at the next table thank you for this hint.
- Club games are slow enough already without everyone taking extra time to analyze "what the others did." You'll know what the others did when the final scores come out. Take all the time you need at the end of the game to go over the hands.
- It's impossible for you to say "We got a top board, pard," without it sounding like gloating. If you're going to discuss the results of a hand, whether there are travelers or not, you should always do it quietly and out of the earshot of your opponents.
- Travelers tell an incomplete story and therefore give you an inaccurate idea of how your game is going. After a hand has been played 3 times, you may have a 100%, but by the time it gets all the way around the room, that 100% could be only a 40%. You can't know how your score is going to change as the board gets played more and more, so what's the point in looking now?
- If you're playing against us, we don't want to hear the scores so far. But you're going to read them anyway, aren't you?
Furthermore, if you are being ethical, let's just say you've heard from the guy with the loud voice at the table behind you that your side makes 6S on board 12. But even after going through your normal sequence, you have a 50-50 guess as to whether or not to bid the slam (except that you know from UI that you should). Maybe in normal circumstances, you almost always bid your 50% slams, and without the UI, you would've bid this one. But you have information that you're not entitled to, and it tells you to bid, while pass is undeniably a logical alternative. I don't know about you, but I'd have a hard time sleeping at night if I didn't pass. (What you should have done is called the director before you played the hand, actually, but even this will likely result in an average plus for you at best, which may be less than the score you would've earned otherwise.)
Sure it's neat to see how your score measures up as soon as you're done with a hand, but unless you're playing a barometer movement, you're not seeing your real score anyway. It may seem like a long wait to the end of the game to see how you did, but the end of the game will come a lot faster if we stop wasting so much time on travelers.