Bridge is a card game that may seem rather daunting for beginners. It is more complex than many other card games. Because of this, going into the game with some working knowledge of the rules and basic tips beforehand could prove invaluable to you as you jump into gameplay.
Bridge is a card game for four players. The players are split into partnerships labeled north/south and east/west, according to seating arrangement. You will be seated across the table from your partner. Bridge is played with 52 cards, meaning that you don’t need to use the jokers. The object of the game of bridge is to win as many tricks as you can for yourself and your partner. In bridge, a trick is a group of four cards, one card from each player at the table. You have the chance to win 13 tricks per deal.
Within a trick, there is a lead card. The lead card is the first card to be played in a trick. Each card from other players must be of the same suit, but order of the cards doesn’t matter. For example, if the lead card is a three of hearts, the other players must play any card in the hearts suit. If you don’t have a card matching the suit that’s been lead, you can throw out a trump card of another suit and it will be considered as a higher value than the other cards in the trick. The partnership that has the most tricks once the cards are all dealt out wins.
Bidding and Values
In bridge, bidding refers to the process of deciding if a deal will be no-trump or picking a trump suit for the deal. The dealer makes first bid and decides whether or not he wants to play a trump for that hand and discusses it with his partner. Bidding should only be done when there is a sufficient number of higher value cards. If the dealer doesn’t feel he has the ability to bid, he can pass. In bridge, twos have the lowest value and aces have the highest value. Spades and hearts are the major suits, and diamonds and clubs are minor suits. The suit values from highest to lowest are spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs.
Bidding is a number plus a word, wherein the word refers to the suit being bid, or no-trump. An ace is worth four points, a king three points, a queen two points and a jack one point. If your hand has multiple cards in the suit, then you can get points for that as well. Eight-card suits are worth four points, seven-card suits are three points, six-card suits are worth two points and five-card suits are worth one point.
Consider the value of your hand before bidding. If your hand is worth 12 points or less, you should pass. For hands over 13 points, bid with your highest suit. If your hand has 15 to 17 points, then you should open the bidding at 1NT, which is no-trump.
Declarer, Dummy, Opening Leader and Responder
A declarer is someone who decides what the bidding will be, and the dummy is the declarer’s partner. The opening leader is the person to the left of the dealer who lays out the first card on the table in a trick. The responder is the partner of the opening leader, who will decide the best strategy for their hand that round.