How to Play Bridge – Rules for Bridge Card Game

Bridge is one of the most popular card game across the world. It is an advanced trick-taking type card game. Experienced card game players can understand and play the game easily. But don’t worry if you do not know anything about Bridge card game. In our guide on How to Play Bridge, we have covered the game from the basics. So, let’s start the guide on How to Play Bridge.

Required

Deck

A 52 cards standard deck is used.

Players

Four players required.

Score Keeping

Pen and Paper required to keep the score.

Sitting Position

The players of the same team sit in front of each other.

Rank

The Rank of The Cards from Highest to Lowest

Ace (A), King (K), Queen (Q), Jack (J), 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.

A Trump suited card is considered higher than any card of any other suit.

The Rank of The Suits from Highest to Lowest

No Trump(Explained later in this guide), Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs.

The Object of The Game

The game is played in partnership. So, the players form 2 teams having 2 partners in each team. Teams score points by winning the tricks. A trick contains one turn of each player.

Determining Dealer and Dealing the Cards

The first dealer is selected randomly or any player may accept the dealership voluntarily. After selection, the dealer deals 13 cards to each player face-down starting from his/her left. After each trick, the dealership transfers to the player on the left of the current dealer.

The Bidding

After dealing the cards, each player has to make a call starting from the dealer, moving in a clockwise manner. There are four types of calls, 1) Bid, 2) Double, 3) Re-Double, 4) Pass.

1) Bid

A player can make this type of call by bidding a number of tricks that the player expects his/her team will win over and above six. Also, he/she has to specify a suit along with that number, to make that suit, the Trump suit. Example:- If the player believes that his/her team will win 8 tricks at the end of the game and want to make Hearts, as the Trump suit then he/she will bid by saying “Two Hearts”(That is, he/she expects that his/her team will win 2 tricks over and above 6 tricks, and he/she wants to make Hearts, the Trump suit).

If the player doesn’t want to make any suit, the Trump suit, then he/she may bid “One No-Trump”(That is, the player expects his/her team will win 1 trick over and above 6 tricks, and the player don’t want to make any suit, the Trump suit).

Remember, each player has to bid a greater number of tricks in the same suit of the last bid or the same number of tricks as in the last bid but in a higher ranking suit. Example:- If a player bids “Two Diamonds”, then the next player can bid either 3 or more tricks with the diamond suit or Two tricks with Hearts/Spades/No-Trump suit.

No-Trump outranks all other suits.

2) Double

After a player makes a Bid, If the immediate next player taking the turn(Who is the player of the opposing team) believes that, the bid made by the former player, is too high to reach then he/she can make a call for Double. Whenever a player makes the call for Double, the winning points and penalties of the bidder’s team get doubled.

3) Re-Double

After a player makes a call for Double, If the immediate next player taking the turn(Who is the partner of the Bidder) also believes the same as his/her partner that, his/her team can win the number of tricks mentioned in the Bid then he/she can make a call for Re-Double. Whenever a player makes a call for Re-Double, the winning points and penalties of the bidder’s team get multiplied by four.

4) Pass

If a player doesn’t want to make a call for Bid, Double or Re-Double, then he/she can simply avoid it by saying “Pass”. In the first round, if all the players say “Pass” then the next dealer grabs all the cards, shuffles, and re-deals the cards.

Rules of Bidding

  • The call for Bid, Double, Re-Double must receive 3 consecutive passes to be accepted as the contract.
  • After Doubling and Re-Doubling a Bid, If a player makes a new Bid before accepting the former Bid as the contract then the Doubling and Re-Doubling gets canceled.
  • After a Bid is accepted as the contract, the bidder is now the “Declarer”, his/her partner is called “Dummy” and the opponents are “Defenders”.
  • If there is any suit specified in the contract, it becomes the Trump suit.

The Gameplay

After completing Bidding, the player on the left side of the declarer starts and leads the trick by playing a card. The players take their turns in a clockwise manner. Every player has to follow the suit of the led card. However, if a player cannot follow the suit, he/she may play a card of another suit. The trick ends with the declarer’s turn.

As soon as the first trick is led, the dummy has to reveal all the 13 cards he/she has. After revealing the cards, dummy does not participate actively in the game. The declarer plays Dummy’s turn as well as his/her own turn in a proper manner.

Winning the Trick

The player who has played the highest-ranking card of the suit led wins the trick. During the trick, if a Trump suited card is played then the player who played the highest-ranking Trump suited card wins the trick.

After winning the trick, the winner places the cards of a trick in a pile face-down in a side of the table in a proper way. This is necessary in order to trace total tricks won by a team at the end of the game.

Score Keeping

When the 13th trick or say the last trick is completed, the scores of both the teams are counted. First of all, draw a format shown in the following image on a paper or print the image.

Format for Score Keeping in Bridge Card Game
Format for Score Keeping in Bridge Card Game

The area above the Horizontal line is for noting the Bonus scores. The area below the Horizontal line is for noting the trick score. after noting the scores, the points are totaled and the team with the highest points wins the game.

Score Guide

Trick Score

Each trick won over and above six tricks by a team, scores them several points. These points are noted below the Horizontal line in the respective column of the team. It depends on the Trump suit.

Trump SuitContractDoubledRe-Doubled
Diamonds/Clubs20 Points40 Points80 Points
Spades/Hearts30 Points60 Points120 Points
No Trump (For the first trick won over and above 6 tricks)40 Points80 Points160 Points
No Trump (For additional tricks won)30 Points60 Points120 Points
Points for Each Trick Won Over and Above Six Tricks

Overtrick Bonus

Tricks won by declarer’s team over and above the number of tricks mentioned in the contract called Overtrick. The declarer’s team gets a Bonus for the Overtricks won in addition to the Trick score. The Overtrick Bonus is noted above the Horizontal line.

Trump SuitEach Overtrick BonusDoubledRe-Doubled
Diamonds/Clubs20 Points40 Points80 Points
Spades/Hearts30 Points60 Points120 Points
No Trump30 Points60 Points120 Points
Overtrick Bonus

Undertrick Penalties

When the declarer’s team fails to win the total number of tricks mentioned in the contract, it is called Undertrick. The declarer’s team gets a penalty for each Undertrick. This penalty is noted in the opposing team’s column above the Horizontal line.

UndertrickPenaltyDoubledRe-Doubled
First Undertrick50 Points100 Points200 Points
Additional Undertricks100 Points200 Points400 Points
Undertrick Penalties

Slam Bonus

If a team Bids or Wins six tricks over and above six tricks(12 tricks out of 13), it is called “Slam”. The team doing this wins a bonus of 100 points. If a team Bids or Wins seven tricks over and above six tricks(13 tricks out of 13), it is called “Grand Slam”. The team making the “Grand Slam” wins a bonus of 150 points. The slam bonus and grand slam bonus is noted above the Horizontal line in the respective team’s column.

Slam bonus cannot be Doubled or Re-Doubled. It is fixed.

Honors Bonus

When the Trump suit is selected, Ace (A), King (K), Queen (Q), Jack (J), and 10 of the Trump suit are called “Honors”. In the end, if a team has four of them then it wins a bonus of 100 points and if the team has all five of them then it wins a bonus of 150 points. If there is no Trump suit selected then Aces (A) are “Honors”. The team having all the four Aces (A) in the end, wins a bonus of 150 points. Honors bonus is noted above the Horizontal line in the respective team’s column.

Like slam bonus, Honors bonus also cannot be Doubled or Re-Doubled.

Winning

Whenever the score of any team below the Horizontal line reaches 100 points, the game comes to an end. After that, all the points in each team’s column are totaled and the team with the highest total wins the game.

Vulnerability

This concept applies when the players want to play more than one game. The team winning the last game becomes vulnerable. The vulnerable team’s winning points, bonuses, and penalties get double. For the Vulnerable team, just multiply the above figures with 2. In the end, the team with the highest points wins the game.

Now you know How to Play Bridge.

Play with your friends and family and enjoy!

Also, check-out some other card games like Spoons and Euchre.

Thank you.

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