Learn to play Bridge



Mini Bridge Rubber bridge Duplicate Bridge

The game is played by four players, two against two with your partner sat opposite you at all times.

The cards are shuffled by the person on the left of the dealer. The dealer then asks the person on his right to cut the pack. whilst the cards are dealt dealers partner will shuffle the second pack which will be placed on the right ready for the next deal.

  • The cards are dealt as in regular bridge with 13 cards per player. An Ace is the highest card followed by K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
  • The hands are evaluated Ace=4, King=3, Queen=2, Jack=1.
    These are High Card Points.

Evaluating to find Declarer

Each player counts their High Card Points and announces the total to the table starting with the dealer.

  • The deal is abandoned when both pairs have 20 High Card Points each
  • The pair with 21 or more High Card Points become the partnership
    Declarer and Dummy
  • The player in the partnership with the most points becomes Declarer
  • With equal points the player who announced their points first correctly will be Declarer
  • The opposing pair become Defenders
  • Dummys cards are then laid out face up on the table in vertical columns for each suit.

Deciding the Contract

Declarer announces the Contract once he has seen both hands using the following guidelines.

  • Trump suits require an 8 card fit between the two hands, and this suit i is promoted above the other 3 suits
  • No trump (NT) contracts all suits are equal. Balanced over all suits. No voids, no singleton and only 1 doubleton.

The Trick Target is also declared using the following table as a guide.

Points Held

Tricks (in NT)

Tricks (In Trumps)

21 - 22



23 - 24



25 - 26

9 (game)

10 (game majors)

27 - 28


11 (game minors)

29 - 30


11 (game minors)

31 - 32


12 (small slam)

33 - 36

12 (small slam)

13 (grand slam)

37 +

13 (grand slam)

13 (grand slam)

Play of the cards

  • A Trick is a round of play. i.e. one card from each player
  • The highest card in a suit wins the trick OR the highest trump played wins
  • The opening lead is played by the Defender to the left of Declarer. The card is played face up
  • Dummy is always second player to this first trick. This hand is placed face up on the table so that all players can see 50% of the pack. Dummys responsibilities are to ensure declarer plays from the right hand, the hand which contained the winning card and to make sure he follows suit
  • Declarer nominates a card to be played by the Dummy hand and play continues clockwise until each player has played one card each and completed the first trick
  • The highest card played from the suit in play wins the trick
  • The winning hand then has the lead for the next trick
  • Play continues until all cards are played, with Declarer choosing the card played from Dummy in turn throughout the rest of the play
  • Players must follow suit to the suit in play at all times, if clubs are in play any player who holds a club must play one
  • If a player cannot follow suit they must still play a card to a trick but they can choose any one of their remaining cards to use
  • A card from the trump suit beats any card from another suit and another trump card of lower rank:

Scoring the hands

If you make all the tricks declared, 3 no trump is nine tricks then you score otherwise the opponents get the score.

Only tricks above the first 6 (the box) count. 3NT count 3 tricks

  • Clubs and Diamonds 20 points per trick
  • Spades or Hearts: 30 points per trick
  • No Trumps 10 points + 30 points per trick
  • A game is a 100 points


  • 50 points for part game (less than 100 points)
  • 250 for bidding game.
  • 500 for small slam (12 tricks bid and made)
  • 750 for grand slam (13 tricks)


    The Defenders score when you fail to make your contract.

  • 50 points for each tricks below the contract
    3 no trump called, 8 tricks made, failed by 1 trick









© Mary Vale 2009
Learn to play bridge