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Bridge 101
Welcome to Contract Bridge ...

Contract Bridge, or simply "Bridge", is a trick-taking card game with 2 teams (4 players) using a standard 52 card deck, with 4 suits, 13 cards per suit 2,3,...Q,K,A).

The suits, in ascending rank, are ...

  • Clubs
  • Diamonds
  • Hearts
  • Spades
  • Spades is the top ranked suit, commonly referred to as the "boss" suit. To make a bid after .. for example .. 2 , the next bidder would have to bid higher .. say 2NT (No Trump Suit) or 3 .

    The game is played by four players in two competing partnerships .. North/South partnership vs East/West partnership, with partners sitting opposite each other around a table. The game is a follow on to Whist that dates back to the late 1800's. There are various forms of Bridge (Contract, Party, Honeymoon, Rubber, Duplicate, Chicago) that are similar in the play of the hand, but differ in how the players move and/or score their results.

    General Idea

    With each hand, all players start with a completely random dealt hand of 13 cards from a regular deck of 52 cards. The dealer responsibility rotates clockwise to the next player around the table for each new hand. Once cards are dealt out, the dealer starts by making a bid or passing. Passing, typically tells partner that their hand, by partnership agreement, does not qualify as an opening hand.

    You can play a few hands for fun or many hands in organized competitions. In more competitive games, there can be 20-28 hands in a full game, lasting perhaps 3-4 hours. One can look on Bridge as a 4 person puzzle. A puzzle where four people (2 opposing teams) are trying to figure out each hand, by using a system of agreed on "bids" (i.e. 1 or 2 ) or "call" (double or pass), for the best possible score or result for their partnership.

    Before You Start

    Each partnership sits down before play and forms an agreement on what their calls (Pass or Double) & bids (Trump Suit or No Trump) mean. Example: If you bid a No Trump and I bid 2 hearts, it means ..., If I double an opponents opening 1 spade, it means ... etc. By rule, all partnership bids and calls are open and available for the opponents to ask and know about. No secret bids or calls are allowed.

    There are two stages or parts of each hand..

    1. The Auction (aka Bidding): One or more rounds of calls and/or bids by the players in an attempt to best describe their hands .. arrive at a best "Contract" by one of the partnerships, N/S or E/W, to take X amount of tricks resulting in the best or optimal score for the hand. The last and highest bid wins the contract auction.
    2. Play of the hand: 1) The left hand opponent to the Declarer, player responsible for making the contract, starts by leading one of their cards, 2) The Declarers partner becomes "The Dummy" and lays their hand on the table face-up for all to see.. 3) then the Declarer (player of the hand) attempts to take, at least, the required number of tricks promised in their contract. Whoever takes a trick is responsible for leading a card to the next trick.

    The challenge ..

    • For The Offense:.. for the contract winning partnership (N/S or E/W) to bid their hands as best they can .. so that their partner understands their hand .. so as to arrive at the best possible scoring contract and then play the hand making the maximum number of tricks.
    • For the Defense:.. for the other, defending, partnership to, whenever possible, interfere in the bidding as much as possible to make it harder for the opposing team to find their correct contract and to give their partner as much information as possible to aid in their defending against the contract during the play of the hand.

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