How To Play Bridge

Bridge is to card games what some might say Chess is to board games. Both have a long history. Bridge started in England in the 1890's, and grew in popularity in both England and the U.S. The game has taken on several variations over the decades, but has evolved today into what is known as Contract Bridge.

Bridge is played by two sets of partners. The entire deck is dealt so each person has thirteen cards. The difference between other trick-taking card games and Bridge is that you have the usual rank in each suit, the ace being the highest, but you also have each suit ranking from high to low; spades are the highest, then hearts, diamonds, and finally clubs. There is also a no-trump bid in which you can take the other cards with higher cards in the same suit, but you don't pick a trump suit.

Another difference in Bridge is that when you bid on the number of tricks you think you can take, you have to bid on how many you can take over the first six (called a book). If you have a substantial number of any one suit in your hand, you can bid according to how many cards you can trump with that suit and what you want that trump to be.

Scoring is figured by the number of tricks you take over the book. Extra points are given if you go over your initial bid. Different points are scored for each different suit used as a trump. A rubber bonus is given to the partners that win two games in a row. If you do not make your bid, the opposing team gets points for the number of undertricks you have. For instance, if you bid seven, but you only made six, the other team would get points for the one trick you didn't take.

There are also honors points that can be earned. If one team has the ace, king, queen and jack of the trump and they win the hand, they score an extra 100 points. With those cards, plus the ten of the same suit, they would get 150 points.

Bridge is sometimes difficult to learn for anyone who enjoys card games, but it is well worth the study. There are players that have played for years and still find it stimulating and challenging.


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