An Introduction To Bridge
Bridge is a game of strategy and teamwork. While many other card games are about out bluffing, out gambling and out playing everyone else, this game adds the skill of cooperation into the mix.
The Basics of the Game
It’s a game for four people and uses the standard 52 card deck. Each player will also require a scorepad. The 4 players are divided into two partnerships and sit around a card table with each player facing their partner.
The aim of the game is to win ‘tricks’ – but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Bridge is a game of two parts: ‘Bidding’ and ‘Play.’ Bidding doesn’t make sense unless you understand Play, so let’s start with that.
Play In Steps
- A dealer is selected either by a card pick from a second deck, dice roll, or coin toss.
- Each player is dealt 13 cards. They may look at their hands and order them by rank and suit. In Bridge ace is high and the suits are ranked from highest to lowest: spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs.
- Now the bidding takes place, but we’re going to skip that for now and get straight on with the rest of the game.
- As I mentioned before, each partnership is trying to win as many tricks as possible. A trick is a round in which, going clockwise, each player places a single card in the centre of the table. The player who plays the highest value card wins that trick.
- In the bidding, the player who will be the ‘declarer’ for that hand is decided, along with whether any of the suits will be ‘trumps’ and how many tricks the declarer has to win. A trump suit is a suit that is worth more than any other suit.
- The declarer’s partner places their cards face-up on the table, this hand is called the ‘dummy.’ The player with the dummy doesn’t take part in this hand and the declarer plays their cards for them.
- The first trick is led by the player to the left of the declarer. All subsequent tricks are led by the player who won the previous trick. The players must play a card of the same suit as the card which led the trick, if they do not have a card of that suit they may play any other card from their hand. In this situation, the suit of the card does not dictate rank, all suits are equal, unless of course there is a trump suit, which I will explain in the bidding section.
- At the end of a trick, one of the players in the winning partnership collects the cards and arranges them in such a way that the amount of tricks won can easily be counted.
Bidding In Steps
The players are bidding to have their ‘contract’ accepted. They are stipulating how many tricks they believe they can win and if their contract is accepted they must attempt to fulfil it. Going clockwise from the dealer, each player must decide whether to double, redouble, pass or bid.
Bid – If a player bids, they are declaring how many tricks they will win, and which (if any) suit is trumps. A bid must be a number between 1 and 7, used to specify how many tricks above 6 the bidder believes they can win. The player also states a suit that will be trumps or else says ‘notrump.’ Each bid made must be higher value than the preceding bid – in bidding notrump is of higher worth than any suit.
Double – Players may double the last bid made by an opponent. This means that the same bid will be worth more when scored if this bid becomes the contract.
Redouble – Players may double a double if their partner made the last bid and their opponent doubled it.
Pass – If a player doesn’t want to bid, double or redouble, they may pass. If all of the players pass, the cards are handed back to the dealer, shuffled, and dealt again.
When a bid is followed by three consecutive passes, it becomes the contract and the player must attempt to fulfil it.
The player who was the first to bid the suit which ended up becoming the contract, is the declarer for this hand.
The 13 tricks are now played and are followed by scoring.
You will require a bridge scorepad to keep track of the score. These are easy to get hold of and it is a simple matter to print one off from the internet.
There are several different ways to score bridge, they include ‘Rubber Bridge’ and ‘Chicago Bridge.’ Each scorecard will explain how many points a partnership is awarded, receiving points depending on whether they fulfilled their contract, whether they exceeded their contract etc.
Typically, after four hands of bridge, the partnership with the highest score are declared the winners.
Tips by Online Casino Masters Australia
- Be precise and simple with your wording when placing bids – this is good etiquette.
- If you are new to bridge, play with an experienced partner and allow them to score while you concentrate on playing the game itself.
- Pay attention at all times – what your partner or opponent bids could give you a clue as to what cards they have in their hands. This will put you at a tactical advantage.
- If you want to try more games, read our reviews of online casinos before you start.