How to Play Back Alley Bridge

By Hobbies, Games & Toys Editor
Bridge can be played with a modified card deck.

Back Alley Bridge is a card game that originated in the U.S. military during World War II. A few different versions of this card game exist today. The following steps outline the most popular version of Back Alley Bridge. Note that a trick is simply the name of the pile of cards each player plays in a round of bridge, and a trump is a card from a designated suit other than the original suit played in each hand.

Play Back Alley Bridge with two, three or four players, using a 52-card deck with no jokers. The two of diamonds is the highest trump card. This means the two of diamonds beats all other cards in the trump suit, including the ace.

Deal 14 rounds. In the first round, give out 13 cards to each person. In each subsequent deal, give out one card less. In the final two deals, give out only one card to each player. When you play Back Alley Bridge with fewer than four players, some cards go undealt even in the first round.

Cut the deck to choose the trump suit of the first deal. Cards you play in the suit of the trump card win over any card of another suit. When two cards in the trump suit are played, the higher of them wins. Since the two of diamonds is the highest trump, it's played as a member of any trump suit, not as a diamond. Trumps in each round are determined by turning over the first undealt card.

Propose each player's number of tricks. Bids are made as to how many hands each player thinks he can win. The object of Back Alley Bridge is to get the most points, and you score points by winning the played cards when you play the highest scoring card. If everyone passes, the same dealer redeals. The highest bidder leads with any card. Follow suit whenever you can, but if you are unable to follow suit, play any card, preferably one from the trump suit.

Make as many tricks as you bid in the hands where more than one card is dealt, and score three points per trick. You get one extra point for any tricks you win over your bid. Fail to make that number and lose three points for each trick you bid, regardless of the number you win.

Bid board by bidding all available tricks. In a round where 13 cards are dealt, 13 tricks are available. When you bid board you get six points for each trick bid you win, but you lose six points for every trick you don't win.

Pass or bid board on the hands in which one card is dealt. Get 13 points if you win the hand, and subtract 13 points if you don't. When you pass, you get zero points, win or lose.

Tip

You can't use partners in Back Alley Bridge.