Pavlicek began to play bridge in 1964 at the age of 18 while stationed in Stuttgart, West Germany, with the U.S. Army. Upon returning to Florida in 1966 he started to play in bridge tournaments in his spare time. Since then he has won over 400 events and accumulated more than 16,000 masterpoints. He is a Grand Life Master of the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) and World International Master of the World Bridge Federation (WBF).
Pavlicek has won 11 North American Bridge Championships, including a record-setting three straight wins in the Reisinger Board-a-Match Teams, 1982—84. In 1990, his team mounted a come-from-behind finish to win it again. He won the prestigious Vanderbilt Trophy in 1983, 1986 and most recently in 1995 playing with a team that was arranged the day before the event. He won the Grand National Team Championship in 1973 (its inaugural year) and again in 1997 ... an interesting sidelight is that in 1973 one of Pavlicek's teammates was Billy Seamon, and in 1997 he played with Billy’s son, Michael. His most recent national win was in 2004 when he and his son, Rich, became the first father-son combination to win the Life Master Open Pairs.
Richard Pavlicek is the author of a variety of bridge textbooks and lesson material. He is co-author of Modern Bridge Conventions, published in 1981 and still a popular best-seller in the bridge marketplace, with William S. Root.
Pavlicek is also a bridge columnist and composer of bridge puzzles, double-dummy problems and other novelties, which have appeared in a variety of publications. Since 1987, he has written the analysis booklet for the continent-wide “Instant Matchpoint” games of the American Contract Bridge League.
Since 2000, Pavlicek has conducted monthly bidding polls and play contests through his website, with thousands of regular participants from over 90 countries.
Richard and his wife of 40 years, Mabel, are not only a partnership in life but also in bridge teaching. Together, as the Pavlicek School of Bridge, they have taught thousands of students in South Florida, some of whom won national titles. In 2006, Richard retired from teaching to be with his wife, who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease.