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Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are still playing bridge at home during the pandemic

Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., right, and Bill Gates, chairman and co-founder of Microsoft Corp., participate in a newspaper toss event at the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting on Saturday, May 5, 2012.
Daniel Acker | Getty Images

Billionaires Bill Gates, 64, and Warren Buffett, 89, like to keep their minds sharp with bridge, a card game that requires strategy and brainpower.

Buffett predicts that he plays the game close to eight hours a week, enough to hone the skill to the point where he can typically beat Gates. "I probably play 100 times as often as Bill, so that probably is the only game in the world where I would have a slight edge with him,"  Buffett told CNBC's Becky Quick in a 2019 interview on "Squawk Box."

"Very slight edge," he added.

The longtime friends are still playing at home amid the coronavirus pandemic. "We don't get together in person now that we're sheltering in place, but we still play online," Gates writes on his blog. "There are lots of great options out there, including this guide to learning the game, and the online platform that Warren and I play on, which is called Bridge Base." 

It's becoming an essential part of Gates's routine: "I got worried a couple months ago when their service briefly went down, but it was back up in no time. I was surprised at how relieved I was to see it running again."

It's not surprising that the billionaires make time for a game that gets them thinking. Successful individuals would generally rather be educated than entertained, according to author Steve Siebold, who has studied more than 1,000 wealthy people. "The rich like entertainment but love to learn, and they spend their entire lives soaking up information and using it to get richer every day," he writes in his book, "How Rich People Think."

The card game may also keep the billionaires sharp for longer: Those who engage in mentally stimulating activities experience slower memory decline than those who do not, research published in the Journal of American Academy of Neurology finds.

Even Gates makes time for TV, though. Recently, he and his wife Melinda have been keeping up with "A Million Little Things," "This Is Us" and "Ozark."

Don't miss: How Steph Curry, Serena Williams and other athletes are entertaining themselves at home during the pandemic

Check out: The best credit cards of 2020 could earn you over $1,000 in 5 years

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Billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates play this 'crazy' game to unwind
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