The most common type of professional bridge that I play is in a student-teacher (or pro-sponsor) format. I am hired to play as a student's partner for a club game, sectional, regional, or national event. In doing so you and I work to improve your game while competing and having a good time. This is the best way for people to learn to play bridge. In each session of bridge we are able to discuss many topics on Bidding, Defense, and Play. In just one session we'll discuss more topics than you could learn in a day long class!
I often play as a professional pair as well - I and one of my professional partners play as teammates with a pro-client pair or on a full professional team. It is a lot of fun to play at the highest levels against some of the best pairs in the world -- and I am fortunate enough to get hired to do so on a regular basis. If you are looking for strong teammates to help you compete in bracket 1 or to try to help you win gold points, hiring a professional pair as well as a professional partner are great ways to go.
Team Captain (Running a team)
If you are looking to play a first class bridge tournament, the best thing you can do is hire a team of bridge professionals. This is a great way to accomplish a lot of goals all at once -- learning, winning, getting to play with great players, and having a great time!
I often build teams for one or two sponsors (usually 6 person teams) that go to a Regional or National Tournament and play for a week. This experience is the best in bridge and this is what most of the top bridge professionals do on a regular basis. The sponsor plays with his regular professional partner (or the teammate he is most comfortable playing with) and the other professional members of the team play as support players.
I highly recommend that everyone looking to learn the game of bridge try this at least once -- you won't be dissappointed!
I very much enjoy teaching bridge as well and am fortunate to have many opportunites to do so. Part of the reason that I gave up my University teaching position was that my bridge students were so enjoyable to teach. Bridge students are energetic, enthusastic, motivated, and engaged in learning -- what else could a teacher want from their students!
Workshops are the most common type of bridge teaching that I do in person. A workshop is a small group of players working together on some interesting bridge topics (each workshop usually has a theme.) A workshop can be as small as 4 players and as large 15 to 20. Workshops often involve a lesson on a specific topic, play of several hands, post mortem and analysis of these hands, and general bridge discussion. The nature of the small group work allows for communication of very subtle ideas and bridge concepts. This is a very effective way to both teach and learn a lot about the game.
Seminars are larger group bridge activities. A seminar is usually a day or two day long bridge event where I (and often other bridge professionals) come to a bridge club and put on an event for the local players. Seminars vary in the amount of lecturing and actual play. We often give a detailed discussion of some interesting bridge problems and then play hands related to those problems. This is a good way to open your bridge game up to some new issues and to start moving to a new level of play.
One of my favorite (and most common) ways of working with students is online. I regularly correspond by email with my students -- they send me questions and bridge problems that come up while they are playing and I respond with analyis and wider applications of bridge ideas that arise in those situations. I also often work online (on Bridge Base Online), both playing in small tournaments and working at the Partnership Bidding Table. A weekly 1-2 hour session is a great way to keep learning new ideas and and keep improving your game.
Another type of teaching (or training) that I provide is partnership coaching. I work intensively with a partnership of any level to help them improve their communication and agreements. I also work as a mediator helping to settle disputes and allowing players to effectively work through issues that arise at the table.