In this series of 10 lessons you will learn the absolute fundamentals of playing bridge. You can then sign up for your two week trial membership at No Fear Bridge and practice and learn online.
What is the card game bridge?
Bridge is a game for 4 players who play as two partnerships, with partners sitting opposite each other. Each of the four positions around the table are named after the points of the compass – north, south, east and west. North & south are one partnership and east & west are the other.
A standard pack of 52 playing cards is used and each person is dealt 13 cards.
Before play starts, each player should sort their cards into suits. There are four suits: spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. Each card has its suit marked, usually in the top corner. For game play, the suits are ranked with spades being the highest ranking, then hearts, then diamonds and finally clubs are the lowest rank. The ranking of the suits affects the bidding and scoring.
Bidding depends partly on the number of points in your hand, so before the game starts each players adds up the points (high card points or HCPs) in their hand. They count 4 points for each ace they hold, 3 for each king, 2 for each queen and 1 for each jack.
Basic Bridge Jargon
Now let’s take a quick look at some basic bridge jargon. Some of the lessons mention terms such as “dummy” and “declarer”. Here is a brief introduction to what those terms mean.
The Dealer. As we’ve already seen, a game of bridge is played by 4 players, working as two partnerships. Each player is designated by the points of the compass. So one partnership plays North and South, while the other Plays East and West. If you are playing at home, players can draw cards to decide who will be the dealer in the first round. This player then deals the cards, working clockwise around the table. If you are playing online, or playing duplicate bridge in a club the dealer will be chosen for you.
The Opener – This is the player who makes the first bid that isn’t a “pass”.
The Responder – is the “opener’s” partner.
The Declarer – The first player to bid the suit that the game is played in
The Dummy – Declarer’s partner. After the first card is played, Dummy turns their cards face up and takes no further part in the game.
For a more in-depth description of “Who’s who” in a game of bridge Click Here.
Major Suit – Spades and Hearts are the major suits and are worth more when scoring a game of bridge.
Minor Suit – Diamonds and Clubs are the minor suits.
Contract – You can read more about this in lesson 3. The final contract tells players which suit will be trumps (or No Trumps) and how many tricks the bidding partnership think they can win.
As you learn more you will also come across bridge terms such as:
Bidding Convention. Some bids that are used when playing bridge can have a special meaning. It’s a bit complicated to explain right now, when you are just beginning. Partners agree before playing which bidding conventions they are using so that they know and understand when a special bid is made.
For example – a bid of 2 Clubs usually tells your partner that you are holding a certain number of clubs and a certain number of points. However, in some circumstances it tells your partner nothing about your hand but is actually a question – asking your partner if they hold 4 or more cards in one of the major suits – hearts or spades.
You will find much more about bridge terms if you take your trial membership at No Fear Bridge. Click Here to join now.
If you can’t wait to read the rest of the lessons but want to start playing some beginner’s hands right away, hope over to No Fear Bridge UK or No Fear Bridge USA. They are the number one websites for learners. Fun, interactive and addictive. Join now – take your two, no obligation, trial membership.