3 Ways to Play Bridge

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3 Ways to Play Bridge
3 Ways to Play Bridge

Contract bridge, more commonly known as just bridge, is a card game for four players that can be played on all occasions, from casual get-togethers to professional tournaments. The popularity of bridge has increased and decreased over the decades since the game was first created, but bridge remains one of the most popular four-player card games in the world. Read the steps below to learn the basics of this deep and engaging game.


Method 1 of 3: Basic Elements

Play Bridge Step 01
Play Bridge Step 01

Step 1. Find three players

Bridge is a game played by four people divided into two teams, where each team consists of two people, so your lover and the other two lovebirds are probably a good choice. Each teammate sat opposite each other around a square table.

To facilitate recording, each side of the table is named according to the cardinal directions. Thus, the players in bridge games are generally referred to as North, South, East, and West. North and South are one team against opposing teams consisting of East and West

Play Bridge Step 02
Play Bridge Step 02

Step 2. Learn the structure of the game

Bridge is played with a standard set of 52 cards, which are divided into 13 cards for each player, so all cards are dealt to the players. After the cards are dealt, the players make offers. The final offer determines the importance of each type of card as well as the overall purpose of each deal/round of play. The game round is then played card-by-card in 13 sub-rounds known as "tricks." The object of the game is to win 7 or more tricks in each round to win points. The round of play continues until one team has accumulated a predetermined number of points.

  • The scoring system is different in each bridge variation and also in each bridge group.
  • The players usually take turns clockwise. This means both teams play at equal intervals.

Method 2 of 3: Game Steps

Play Bridge Step 03
Play Bridge Step 03

Step 1. Distribute all the cards

The dealer/dealer deals 13 cards to each player, so that, in a standard deck of cards, all cards are used. Give the players time to arrange their cards by rank and suit. The aces are the highest-value cards in the bridge, followed by the kings, queens, jacks, tens, and other number cards from 9 to 2.

The more cards of the same suit/picture you have, and the higher the value of the cards, the greater the profit you will get from these cards. Keep this in mind when bidding begins

Play Bridge Step 04
Play Bridge Step 04

Step 2. Make an offer and define the contract

All teams bid a number and a type/image of a card, which represents the number of tricks they believe they can win in that round of play if the type of card that accompanies the bidding number becomes a “trump card” (one type of card that will have a value greater than 3 of a kind). others while playing tricks). Whoever deals the cards becomes the player who makes the first offer, and the bidding goes clockwise from the dealer around the table, continuing for as many rounds as it takes to approve the final offer. Whichever team ultimately bids the highest number wins the right to determine the trump card. There are many specific rules and conditions regarding the bidding phase; This guide will cover the basics needed to play the friendly game.

  • A minimum of 7 tricks is required to win each round of the game. (This is because there are 13 tricks per round, and the majority must be won to win the round.) Therefore, traditionally, bridge players count deals starting from the seventh trick, referring to the first set of 6 tricks as the “book.” If your team wants to bid 7 tricks (meaning you bid that you will win 7 tricks out of 13 tricks for the round), you will announce bid 1, and so on until bid 7 which means you bid will win 13 tricks.

    You can remember this easily by adding 6 to any number bid to get the actual number of tricks that must be won in order to “fulfill” (complete) the contract. You cannot bid to win less than 7 tricks (bid 1)

  • The type of card is also important in the offer. The strength of the type of card you bid on will determine how many other types of cards can exceed your bid. The ranking of the types of cards in order from the strongest to the weakest is as follows: shovel, then heart (both known as “major” cards), then diamond, and the last curly (both known as “minor” cards).

    • Each new bid must be more “worth” than the last one before. So, if the player before you bids 1 heart, you must bid 1 of spades or 2 (or more) other types of cards to beat the bid of 1 heart.
    • Often times, it is better to bid on the type of card that you have the most, even if the value of those cards is weak. For example, if you have six diamonds, you may be inclined to bid for the diamonds for the diamonds to be trump cards. Also pay attention to the offers made by your partner to be able to guess what cards he might have.
    • No trump bids: In addition to trump card bids, you can also make bids "no trump" (sometimes called “notrump,” and abbreviated NT), which indicates that you are only bidding on the number of tricks, and not bidding on any type of card to trump. If you win a no trump bid, the tricks are played without a trump card, meaning that only the highest value card in each trick can win the trick. It's riskier than mentioning a trump card, but fulfilling (completing) a no trump contract will earn your team more points than fulfilling a regular contract.

      • In bidding, NT is rated as the highest “kind”. So, highest bid that can be made is 7NT.
  • Be careful not to bid too high. If your team wins the bid and is subsequently unable to win the bidding amount of tricks at the end of the game round, you must deduct your points total and pass them on to the opposing team, which can immediately change the winning position.
  • You are not required to bid. You can pass and let the next player bid. If three players in a row pass, the last bid wins the contract and determines the trump card; if all four players pass without bidding at all, the cards are collected, shuffled and dealt a second time.
  • There are specific terms for each player after the contract is agreed. The person who wins the bid is called " declarer,” and its counterpart is called “ dummy." The two members of the opposing team are called " defender." Knowing these terms makes it easier for people to follow the game.
Play Bridge Step 05
Play Bridge Step 05

Step 3. Start playing the first trick

Now that the trump card (or no trump bid) has been determined for the round, the tricks come into play. The game is started by the defender to the left of the declarer. The defender "leads" the trick by placing a card on the table in an open position. This card type becomes the card type for the trick, meaning players can only win the trick with cards of the same suit, or trump cards.

  • The other two types of cards have absolutely no value in the trick.
  • After the first card for the first trick is placed on the table, the dummy opens his "all cards" on the table, usually in four columns arranged according to the suit of the card. The dummy cards are played by declarer for the remainder of the round. The defenders played as usual.

    Dummy has an unusual role. The dummy cannot comment on declarer's strategic decisions, but may notify if declarer has inadvertently violated the rules of the game. If there is no foul by declarer, the dummy lets declarer make all decisions during that round of play

  • The first type of card in each trick should be played if possible. For example, if the first type of card in a trick is a kinky, and you have a kinky card in your deck, you must play it, not any other suit. If you do not have the same suit as the first card, you can do " ruff ” (playing a trump card, if the suit that becomes the trump card is different from the first suit in the trick) or “ sluff ” (plays one of the remaining two types of cards).

    • Ruff is likely to win the trick, because any card of the trump card beats all cards of all other suit.
    • A sluff is just as functional as a pass, and can never win a trick.
Play Bridge Step 06
Play Bridge Step 06

Step 4. Complete the trick, and immediately start the next trick

After the first card is played, declarer plays a card from the dummy card pool. The second defender plays his cards after that, and finally declarer plays his cards. After all four cards have been placed on the table, the card with the highest value wins the trick, and whoever plays the highest card keeps all four cards in the trick for later scoring.

Whoever wins one trick, leads the next trick. No sub-round leader pattern remains after the first trick

Play Bridge Step 07
Play Bridge Step 07

Step 5. End the game round

If all 13 tricks have been played, add up the total tricks played by each team. If the declarer team fulfills the contract, they win the round; otherwise, the defender team wins the round. Give points according to the score system you have chosen. Extra points should be awarded for successful fulfillment of the no trump contract.

Play Bridge Step 08
Play Bridge Step 08

Step 6. Start the next round

Collect all cards, shuffle, and redistribute 13 cards to each player. This is the second round. The rounds of play are continued in the same pattern as described above until one team has earned a sufficient number of points to win the game.

To play a relatively fast game, play until one team has won a predetermined number of rounds (for example, 2 of 3 rounds) rather than counting points

Method 3 of 3: Strategy

Play Bridge Step 09
Play Bridge Step 09

Step 1. Play often

There is always something new to learn in bridge strategy. The best way to improve your bridge skills is to practice playing it often. Books and guides can help a lot, but in the end, developing an intuition of when to do what is a matter of gaining experience playing the game.

Play Bridge Step 10
Play Bridge Step 10

Step 2. Learn to read your partner

You can't communicate directly with your partner during the bidding stage, but there are ways in which you and your partner can exchange pointers on what contract each of you wants. Opening rounds in bidding are often used to tell your partner what your strongest card suit is, rather than making an actual serious offer.

  • Your partner can support your bid by bidding a higher number with the same suit you are bidding on (indicating that your partner agrees with the suit), or suggest a different approach by bidding on a different suit.
  • No trump bids often indicate that the player has a deck full of face cards and aces who are likely to win many tricks based on card rank alone.
Play Bridge Step 11
Play Bridge Step 11

Step 3. Try the card scores to determine the strength of the cards

If you're having trouble judging the strength of the cards you have, there's a common way of grading the cards in your hand to get a more accurate look at their strength. In this system, a standard set of cards has a total of 40 points.

  • The division of the points is as follows:

    • Aces are worth 4 points.
    • King cards are worth 3 points.
    • Queen cards are worth 2 points.
    • Jack cards are worth 1 point.
  • If your deck has 12 or 13 or more points, it's most likely a strong hand.
  • With practice, this system can help you determine how you make your opening bid to bring the final bid to a favorable outcome.
Play Bridge Step 12
Play Bridge Step 12

Step 4. Keep your strategy simple at first

Two of the four main ways to win tricks are quite easy to understand and you can immediately use them in your strategy. (The other two are more complicated, and depend on controlling how your opponents play their cards by remembering what cards they have played and are likely to play in future tricks.) By anticipating which of the two techniques when this should be used, you can increase your chances of fulfilling the contract (or successfully preventing your opponent from fulfilling the contract). The two methods are:

  • Play the highest card in the trick.
  • Beat your opponent's high card with a trump card.
Play Bridge Step 13
Play Bridge Step 13

Step 5. Also play the dummy card pool to fulfill the contract

When you lead a trick as declarer, if you and the dummy control the highest cards of the trump card in your card pool, you can be sure that every trick led by that trump card will be won by you. These tricks are called “sure tricks”, and are a great simple way to increase the number of tricks you win. Lead with a card of your exact suit, and then play the next highest card from the dummy card pool to lock in the win.

  • Since you won a trick, you will lead the next trick as well. Repeat this pattern until you have played all your surefire tricks.
  • Remember, you only need to fulfill your contract to win the round. Get as many surefire tricks as you can to easily increase your total score.


  • Consider a simpler prefix if necessary. Bridge is one of a number of card games known collectively as a "trick-taking" game. Other games in this category include spades, hearts, and pinochle. If you're confused or overwhelmed playing bridge, first learning one of these trick-taking games can make it easier for you to understand bridge.
  • Practice with experienced players. To really improve your bridge playing skills, it's best to learn from people who have played bridge for years. Look for a local bridge club or regular bridge event in your city that you can attend.
  • Memorize bridge terms. Bridge uses many special terms. At first it may seem easier to ignore the terms and use common words, but in the long run, this can be confusing and cause organizational problems. Take some time to become familiar with the terms bridge and the game of bridge will become even more fun.

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