Bridge is one of the most popular games in the world. The rules may seem overwhelming, but all you need are a few easy steps to learn the basics.
Step 1: Understand the goal Bridge is a four-player, two-team game. The goal is to score the most points by taking the most tricks and winning the most rounds.
Step 2: Learn the setup Sit across from your partner. The dealer distributes 13 cards to each player, one at a time, clockwise around the table.
TIP: Deal a practice hand to help you learn.
Step 3: Bid on trump Bid on whether you want a trump or if you want the hand to be played "no trump." If a trump is declared, that suit is worth more than other suits. In no trump, no suit is worth more than any other. Each player bids.
Step 4: Assign points Assign points to your hand. Aces are four points, Kings are three, Queens are two, and Jacks are one. There are a total of 40 points in the entire deck. An average hand gets 10 points.
TIP: Your partner's bids are clues to his hand.
Step 5: Bid Bid based on how many tricks you can take beyond six. A player with a strong spades hand might bid 1 spade, meaning they think they can take seven tricks with spades as trump. You may choose to bid in no trump if you have high point cards in all suits.
Step 6: Follow rankings Follow ranks when bidding. Clubs are lowest, then diamonds, hearts, spades, and no trump. You must bid higher than the previous bid, either by calling a higher trump or a higher number of tricks. If you do not want to bid higher, pass.
TIP: Point values are only used for bidding.
Step 7: Contract Establish a contact by winning a bid. The declarer captures the amount of tricks named in the bid using both his and his partner's hands.
Step 8: Lay down dummy hand Lay down your hand face-up if you're the declarer's partner. This is the dummy hand, which the declarer will draw from during each trick.
Step 9: Play Lead with any card starting from the dealer's left, following suit, clockwise around the table. The declarer plays a card from his hand and the dummy hand in player order. The highest card takes the trick. If a player can’t follow suit, he must play another suit.
Step 10: Win Lead if you took the previous trick, and continue until 13 tricks are played. Tricks are added to see if the declarer met their goal. If so, the declarer's team wins the hand.
FACT: Did you know? George Washington was an avid bridge player.