If you're paying attention, you may notice that some bridge players, especially in the junior crowd, have a special affection for the seven of diamonds. What is it about the seven that makes it so special?
An unofficial rule in bridge, the diamond seven is known as the Beer Card. The conditions are simple:
1. If you are declarer, and score the final trick with the diamond seven, your partner owes you a beer. (Diamonds must not be trump, you must make the contract, and you must not sacrifice any tricks to set up the seven.)
2. If you are defending and set the contract, winning the final trick with the diamond seven, your partner owes you a beer. Again, diamonds can't be trump and you can't give up a trick to establish the Beer Card.
Doubled and redoubled contracts up the ante, doubling and redoubling the number of beers earned in a Beer Card situation.
For information on the origins of the Beer Card, there is a good explanation here.
One of my best bridge moments came in Gatlinburg 2008. Playing with my friend Al in the first session of a knockout, I had played only eight or nine tricks, but the board was clearly going to take the remainder of the tricks, and both opponents folded.
"Wait, wait, wait!" I said. "Spade ace, club ace, diamonds from the top, BEER." No one at the table knew what I was talking about, so I explained the Beer Card concept to them, and then told my partner that he didn't really have to get me a beer. I don't even like beer -- it's just tradition. A conversation about alcohol ensued, and I let on that my drink of choice is bourbon. We shared our preferences for a moment and then moved on to the next hand.
We won the KO match, and when I arrived at our assigned table for the second session, a brown bag was in my seat. Al had brought me a fifth of Wild Turkey Bourbon to make good on the beer he owed me -- and then some! A good partner is one who actually buys you the beers you've earned. A great partner brings liquor.
And that's the significance of the seven.