It’s not the World Series of Poker, but it’s close enough…. For the Smoky Mountains that is.
Every spring for seven days in Gatlinburg (April 15-21) people from all across the country descend on this small, Smoky Mountain town for the bridge tournament to end all bridge tournaments – the Smoky Mountain Regional Bridge Tournament. For around 4,000 card-playing enthusiasts, Gatlinburg is the bridge capitol of the world. Officially, it’s titled the Smoky Mountain Mid-Atlantic Bridge Conference Regional and it’s simply the largest regional bridge tournament in the United States. It’s a tournament that has been going on for over 40 years now.
Not only do people from all over the United States come to Gatlinburg to battle it out at the bridge table, players from England, Poland, Germany, France, Denmark, and even Japan pull up a chair in Gatlinburg to compete against the best in bridge.
Starting at 9 a.m. and continuing until 2 a.m., people who wake early and those who burn the midnight oil can play almost around the clock. During the course of the tournament there will be over 9,500 tables in play and 1,000 card tables anticipated. All types of bridge will be in play during the tournament – KO’s, BAM’s, Open Pairs, 299er events, Gold Point events, Swiss Teams.
If you are coming in for the tournament, make sure you take some time to explore Gatlinburg. Gatlinburg is one of the most sought-out vacation destinations in the U.S. and serves as the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Tennessee side. Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains area annually hosts 10 million visitors and ranks first in the Eastern United States and second in the nation in number of weddings performed each year.