Players: 4
Type: Trick-Taking
Card rank: A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
Suit rank: NT (No Trumps) > ♠ (Spades) > ♥ (Hearts) > ♦ (Diamonds) > ♣ (Clubs)
Following an auction players score points by taking tricks during the play and aim to eventually
win a rubber of two games. Note that there are several bridge variations, this is just one.
The Deal
The game is played with four people, playing as two pairs. Partners should be seated across
the table from each other and facing each other. Traditionally the pairs are referred to as NorthSouth and East-West. Pairs can be randomly assigned by making all players draw one card.
The two highest cards are partners against the two lowest, and the player with the highest card
is dealer. Each deal requires a regular, shuffled 52-card deck and each player is dealt 13 cards
one at a time, starting with the person to the dealers left, in a clockwise direction.
Bidding is commenced by the dealer. The position of dealer rotates clockwise per round so
players take turns in bidding first.
A bid is a number 1-7 plus a suit (♣, ♦, ♥, ♠ or NT). The number, added to six, indicates how
many tricks your pair must win with the suit bid as trumps. As an example, the lowest bid, 1♣,
is a contract your pair would fulfill by taking at least 7 tricks with clubs as trumps. Similarly, 1♦
indicates 7 tricks with diamonds as trumps; 3♦ means 9 tricks with diamonds as trumps; 3 NT
means 9 tricks with no suit as trumps.The bidding can start with any opening bid. During the
auction, players in turn may pass or bid (or may double or redouble - see below). Each new
bid must be higher than the previous bid. The new bid may be in a higher-ranking suit without
increasing the number of tricks. The suit rankings are (from high to low): NT > ♠ > ♥ > ♦ > ♣.
The auction ends as soon as three players in a row pass. The last bid becomes the final
contract. Whichever partner first bid the winning trump suit is called the declarer the partner to
the declarer is called the dummy. The dummy’s hand will be played openly by the declarer.
Double and redouble: If your opponent has made the most recent bid, at your turn you may
double (just say the word "double"). This means you double the stakes, i.e., if you make your
contract, you win double the number of points (and likewise could lose more points). Either
opponent can then redouble.
The Play
The defender to the left of the declarer lays first. Once the first trick is led, the dummy reveals
his hand and the declarer will tell the dummy what card to play on each of his turns.
Once all of the tricks have been played the scores are calculated.
In bridge, you aim to win a rubber. A rubber is won by making ‘game’ twice. To make a game
you need to score 100 points ‘below the line’. Once a pair have won a game they become
vulnerable which means that contracts carry more points but have higher risk.
Each player usually keeps their own score so they can track the progression of the game. When
scoring a rubber, think of yourself and your partner as “We” and the opponents as “They.” The
first thing to do is to starts by drawing a line so your score pad looks like the following:
Beneath the horizontal line goes your score toward the 100 points needed to make a game,
whilst above the line go the following:
● Your overtricks
The points you pick up when your opponents don’t make their contract (you gain their
Various bonuses you can pick up, such as for winning the rubber
After either side scores 100 or more points beneath the first line, you draw a new line, indicating
that a game has been bid and made. Now both sides have to start all over to score 100 points
because neither side has any points under the new bottom line. When you eventually add
everyone’s score at the end of the rubber, it doesn’t matter whether the scores are above or
beneath the line; the points all count the same. But during the rubber, what’s under the bottom
line is important because it tells you whether either side has a partial score toward game. Most
packs of cards include a scoring card like the one below with all the relevant point information
displayed. Whilst a little daunting at first glance it is fairly simple to use.
This section refers to the points
earned for winning each trick that
was bid. Notice that different suits
are worth different points and the
first NT trick won is worth more.
All the following are above the line
and do not count towards game:
If a pair fail to fulfill their contract,
the opposing team gains points
depending on the number of tricks
they fell short of the contract by.
Bonus points for each trick won
over the number bid
Bonus for doubled contracts
Bidding + winning 12 tricks
Bidding + winning 13 tricks
Left: Points for winning the rubber.
Right: If players end the game
before a rubber is completed.
Bonus points for being dealt a good
Auction: bidding for number of tricks to be taken in the game
Contract: number of tricks declarer must take to satisfy his or her bid
Declarer: winner of the auction, the player who tries to make the contract
Dummy: declarer's partner; the dummy hand is laid face up on the table
Double: in the auction a bid to double the score or the penalties if a contract is made or set
Major: a heart or spade card
Minor: a diamond or club card
Not vulnerable: a side that has not won a game yet in a rubber.
Overcall: a bid made after opponents have opened the bidding
Raise: a bid in a suit that partner has already bid
Rebid: your second bid
Redouble: doubling a double
Response: your call in the auction when your partner has opened the bidding
Rubber: two games
Ruff: to trump
Set: to defeat a contract
Singleton: just one card of a suit
Table: the dummy
Undertricks: number of tricks the declaring side falls short of the contract
Void: no cards in a suit
Vulnerable: a side that has won a game in a rubber
Tips for Bidding for Beginners
“When you are first learning to play bridge, determining what to bid can be confusing. As you
continue to play, you will quickly learn that making an intelligent bid is key to winning the game.
It will take a lot of practice to understand all the nuances of bidding, and we won't get into any
of the fine points here -- whole books have been written about bidding strategies! However, to
help you get started, here are some basic guidelines to help you develop your bidding skills.
Arrange your hand according to suit. Now assign points to your cards in the following way:
Aces, 4 points; kings, 3 points; queens, 2 points; jacks, 1 point; singleton (only one card in a
suit), 1 point; void (no cards in a suit), 2 points. Add up your points. Now look at your cards to
determine which is your strongest suit. To bid a suit as trump, you'll want to have 4-5 of the suit
with a minimum of 1-2 high cards. If you have 16-18 points and a fairly even distribution of cards
in each suit, you may consider bidding no trump.
The general rule of thumb is to open a bid (to bid first on your team) only if you have 13 or more
points. Of course, it's a different story if your partner has already bid because he is signaling to
you that he already has sufficient points to open. In that case he is asking you if you can support
his suit or if you have another suit you'd like to introduce. In answering your partner's opening
bid, you should have at least 6-8 points to support his suit and 8-10 if you're introducing a new
suit. On the other hand, if your partner has passed and you don't have 13 points, it may be wise
for you to pass as well.
As you and your partner bid back and forth, try to ascertain how many points you have as a
team. For instance, if you believe that your partner's points and your points combine to total 28
or more, you should have enough to take a bid of 4. For a bid of 6, 33 points should suffice, and
for a bid of 7 (a "grand slam"), you should have 36 points between you. There are numerous
other point-counting conventions, but these cover some of the essentials.
Of course, every rule has some exceptions, and you must also pay attention to your opponents'
bidding. You may find that they're bidding a suit that is particularly strong in your hand. Then
you have to decide, based on what your partner has bid and your own points, whether it would
be a better strategy to allow your opponents' bid to go through and try to set them or try to win
the contract yourself and thus earn game points.”
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